Learning which items to spend your money on goes hand-in-hand with making a realistic budget and determining a sensible scope of work. The earlier you can make this determination, the more likely you will stay on track with costs. Think about which items you will use most frequently, as these are products that might be worth the higher price-tag. If you're on a tight budget, you might want to save on cosmetic finishings, as these items can be easily changed with time.
Be brutally honest about your DIY skill level. Assess which projects to do yourself and which are better left to the pros. You could save yourself a ton of money in the long run if you don’t have to call someone in to fix a project you’ve messed up. The best way to find a good contractor — seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had remodeling work done.
Last but not least, one of the worst things you can do when it comes to home improvements is to start a project without the major details—cost, time, materials, and design—as realistic as possible from the start. Nothing costs more than having to "change horses in midstream" (e.g., you want to move the fridge somewhere else now or want to change your tile choice). Use design tools to conceptualize your project and add a healthy buffer (10-15% more) to your time and financial budget to account for the inevitable surprises.

Task Lighting: Under-cabinet lighting should be on your must-do list, since cabinets create such dark work areas. And since you’re remodeling, there won’t be a better time to hard-wire your lights. (Here’s more about under-cabinet lights.) Plan for at least two fixtures per task area to eliminate shadows. Pendant lights are good for islands and other counters without low cabinets. Recessed lights and track lights work well over sinks and general prep areas with no cabinets overhead.
Once you’ve determined a realistic budget, you’ll need to clarify exactly what work can happen and when. You may also need to ask yourself some tough questions about what you really need versus what you simply want.  This will help you identify the true intention of the project and lay out important ground rules. It can even help with scheduling and determining what work happens when. 
That’s a great point to design with the future in mind, especially for people who are looking to put their home up for sale within the next few years. We are actually doing a renovation so that our home will be worth more when we sell, so that tip is for us. I think we might try consulting with a bathroom remodel specialist because they would know what trends are here to stay for the next few years—at least long enough for us to sell our home. Thanks for the info!
A great room to update for less than $750 is the bathroom. The two rooms that benefit most from even small renovations are the kitchen and bathroom. One cost-effective change — like replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck and give your bath an updated, modern look.
If you know a renovation is on the horizon, it’s time to call in favors from those handy family and friends. Give them ample time to arrange their schedule to help and provide plenty of reminders as the project approaches. (An offer of free food also helps!) If hiring a contractor, make sure you allow enough lead time to snag your desired timeline, otherwise you could be stuck waiting on them. Consider a message center to keep everyone informed as they come and go to make life easier on everyone.

Unfortunately, when it comes to bathroom remodeling, a lot of homeowners tend to neglect this aspect. What they are not aware of is the fact that proper ventilation is very important, especially if you want to ensure that your bathroom renovation project lasts for years to come. A bathroom that’s not properly ventilated could contribute to a number of problems, such as the buildup of mold and mildew. This could wreak havoc and ruin some of the expensive upgrades made in the new bathroom remodel, such as the floors, walls, and even the cabinetry.
You’re right that there should definitely be some kind of ventilation in a bathroom to prevent moisture build-up. My husband and I are remodeling our bathroom and removing the window that is attached to one wall (it’s just so awkward having one there) and installing a vent to replace it is definitely something we’ll want to look into. I’m not sure if we already have an inlet valve, but our toilet can be rather noisy, so we’ll have to talk to the contractor about that, as well.
I’ll spell out the survey findings below, but if you are considering giving the crew a tip, I would first talk to the owner of the company to determine if tips are allowed. You don’t want to put the workers in a difficult situation.  If tips are not allowed, but you still feel strongly about the work, you could write a letter to the company owner praising their work, and/or you could write a positive online review that spells out that great experience. This written proof will likely be appreciated just as much as a tip and may have a much longer lasting effect.
Every bathroom should have an excellent mirror. What makes a bathroom mirror excellent? It should be large enough that you can see at the very least your entire head, although more of your body is better. It should also be well-lit. Mirrors are beneficial, particularly in small bathroom remodels, because they reflect a lot of light and make the tiniest, postage-stamp-sized bathroom feel a bit more spacious than it actually is
If your home is lacking plumbing shut-off valves in the area you are working on, you may have to shut the water off at the main valve, leaving your home without access to running water. Plan ahead and place containers of water in the fridge for drinking, on the counter for cooking and have buckets of water available to flush the toilet. An easy way to do this is to fill the bathtub with water and place a bucket nearby to pour into the toilet bowl.
Dear Debbie: Tipping isn’t the standard in the home services trades, as it is in the restaurant and personal grooming trades. Still, it’s a question many homeowners wrestle with. To help answer it, Angie’s List recently polled nearly 5,000 home service professionals across the nation to find out if they expect a tip and if so, what they tend to collect.
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