MoneyAngie's List


Angie's List: Right-sizing your home upgrades

Posted at 5:04 AM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 05:04:25-04

(WTXL) — Upgrading your home can be overwhelming especially if you've never done it before.

We've all seen the extreme cases: the man-cave that feels like an actual cavern, or the kitchen island as big as an actual island, all with the price tag to match. This week's Angie's List Report provides advice on avoiding those mistakes by right-sizing your home upgrades.

When beginning a home remodel, you want to be sure the updates are right for you and your household, all while getting the most for your money. The term 'right-sizing' is coming into play more and more as homeowners make upgrades that aren't necessarily the biggest and grandest. Instead, their changes are sized just right for their needs. Doing that correctly begins with a lot of planning.

"It's important to talk to an architect or builder who understands your household needs when you're thinking about remodeling," said Angie Hicks, Co-Founder of Angie's List.

Wendy Langston, the owner of Everything Home Design, knows the value of right-sizing for her clients and starts by asking questions.

"When planning a new home or remodel, there's some critical things to consider to ensure that we right-size the home and don't build a home or design a home that's too large. Specifically, we want to understand your lifestyle, the function of the space and projections on how the home might suit you, moving forward in time," said Langston.

An architect or designer can suggest ideas that fit into your lifestyle, as well as your space. But first they need to know exactly what your lifestyle entails. Wendy uses a detailed questionnaire.

It allows us to look at everything from the demographic of the folks who might be using the home, to their lifestyle, how their hobbies are, how they like to entertain, what kind of clutter tolerance they might have, concerns or opportunities for using low-maintenance products, if they have dogs or small children, grandchildren. So through this lifestyle questionnaire, we're really able to get a lot of answers that then help us guide our planning for the home design.

With that detailed knowledge of your household and your needs, your designer is now ready to help you make the most of your upgrade.

"A well-thought out remodel can expand your space in your home thoughtfully to make it more livable for you, and can also increase your house's resale value," said Hicks.

Mark Einselen, the residential designer at Old Town Design Group, suggests willingness to make adjustments to your vision to really get the best use of your space.

"A lot of times, people want like a really big grand first impression in the foyer, but that space may not be used that frequently. And so you can cut out unused space and re-appropriate that space in your living space, so your foyer might be a little bit smaller but then your living area is larger and that's the space you're actually going to use," said Einselen.

And when you're thinking about upgrading those less glamorous spaces in your home, like utility closets and pantries, our experts agree that it's good to go big.

"When designing a home, clients sometimes are afraid to go big in areas like closet space, and it might not be so much afraid as that they haven't considered the needs for storage," said Langston.

An area that you shouldn't be afraid to go big in is, I think, maybe your mechanical/utility/storage space. You might not want the biggest laundry room but it's a space that you'll use, maybe not every day but at least every week and you can use it for different projects too, so no one really regrets having that extra space there.

Through thoughtful planning and design, you can get an upgraded living space that comfortably fits your household, your lifestyle, and your budget. For more information, go to