Even if you’re working with seasoned professionals (which you should do for your investment and peace of mind) or you’ve redesigned your home before, renovating is a process that requires smart planning, patience, and trust. It’s no wonder that most first-timers have no idea how to start their project, what to expect, or who to contact first. (Spoiler Alert: Call your interior designer first… but more on that in a jiffy.) 

The good news? DPI has been captaining this sexy design ship for quite some time now, and I know exactly how to help you cruise through this process like a champ. So let’s walk through the 5 preparatory steps, and what you need to know to succeed in each.

Sit back and relax… planning is the fun part!

dark moody bedroom hanging pendant light nightstand blue walls drapery miami
I’m dreaming of a dreamy bedroom...

Step 1. Define the Scope of Your Project

Your project’s “scope” is a list of every aspect of your space that will be getting some attention during the renovation. It’s where your wishlist meets your to-do list. You might say, “Well, Darla, my kitchen is still singing odes to the 90s and needs some serious help.” 

Fantastic start. Now, what about that kitchen specifically will be changed? For example, the scope in renovating that 1990s kitchen might look like:

  • Install new cabinets and hardware

  • Add a functional island with a sink (which means you’ll need to reroute some plumbing)

  • Remove a wall to open the kitchen up to the living room

  • New flooring throughout

  • New appliances

  • New, sexy backsplash and counters

  • You get the idea, right??

It is crucial to define scope at the beginning of your project, because ev-er-y-thing depends on it: your project’s phases, the trades we need to bring in, permits to secure, and our ability to budget (and stretch) your investment wisely.

fresh functional kitchen white transitional island miami darla powell interiors
Goodbye, 90s. Hello, fresh and functional!

Step 2. Create Your Renovation & Design Budget 

Speaking of budgeting your investment, here we are at Step 2. Let me start by saying that if you watch HGTV and are convinced you can renovate your whole home for $20K (and have it endure longer than a month), guess again.

These shows have a lot going on that doesn’t reflect the real world costs, such as getting products donated for promotions, operating in low-cost areas (not anywhere near Miami, I can tell you!), and using cheap products and labor. 

In reality, you’ll need to budget for... 

  • design fees and contractors

  • architectural details (built-ins, wainscoting, etc.)

  • permits and building materials (right down to the grout between your tiles)

  • appliances and furnishings (will vary depending on the space)

  • delivery and installation

  • any surprises that may crop up once we roll up our sleeves and open up the walls (hello, contingency budget!)

These are all normal parts of a renovation project and gosh darn difficult to predict yourself. This is why I suggest starting with your desired investment and then working with an interior designer (howdy!) to wisely allocate that investment to the materials and people who can make your dream renovation a success.

Tip: Our Guide to Budgeting Your Furnishings is available at the bottom of this page and can help you get a head start!

black white sexy home office branched lighting contemporary transitional mounted bookshelves wainscoting drapery
Hello, sexy home office. ;)

Step 3. Find Your Design Style

At DPI, we specialize in designs that lean contemporary and modern — but each interior takes our client’s unique preferences into mind. At its heart, the look and feel of your dream home is based on your design style and how you want the home to function for you. 

So, how do you know which design features will give you the warm fuzzies from your sun salutations to happy hour and beyond? With a little style exploration.

We personally ask that clients create boards in Pinterest and Houzz. The photos can be of homes, hotels, furniture pieces, architecture, etc. The idea is to compile an inspiration board so that we can analyze your style and pinpoint what you’re looking for… and not to brag, but we’re pros at it!

You could also explore our portfolio for inspiration, especially if you already know that you’d like to work with us. This will give you a good feel for our “zone of genius,” as well as which design features might resonate with you. Of course, we will always personalize those features to you and your lifestyle.

suave game room wet bar transitional interior design darla powell miami
Suave game room and wet bar? OH YEAH.

Step 4. Assemble Your Renovation Team

Now that you have your ducks in a row, it’s time to assemble the dream team that will turn your vision into a personal yet professional-quality renovation. As I mentioned before, your first hire should be your interior designer. “Shouldn’t I hire a GC first, Darla?” Let me say it one more time for the people in the back: designer first!

Hiring a designer first has several advantages. First, it prioritizes the look and feel of your home, first and foremost. If the walls are already up and then you bring us in, we have far less flexibility in achieving your goals. Simple as that.

The second benefit is that you won’t have to make a jillion calls to contractors and trades. We have an extended team we trust, and we’re happy to bring on the talented people you need to get the job done right the first time. 

Recap: Stunning home that ticks off the boxes on your wishlist. A team you can trust. 

By the way, we offer a free in-home consultation that you’re more than welcome to book! We believe in getting to know each other first and making sure a mutual spark is there. That’s where the design magic happens. ;)

modern interior design master bedroom darla powell interiors concrete wall pendant lights velvet pillows
Modern meets luxe with cool concrete, minimal furnishings, and cozy velvet.

Step 5. Plan Ahead for the Construction Phase

There are two aspects for planning your life while construction is going on: living situation and furnishings. 

As we’re working to make your home look drop-dead gawgeous you gotta live somewhere right? Depending on the scope of work, it's your choice. If we're working on one area of your home and you decide to live on-site, my team is very skilled at keeping the magic dust to its designated area. The renovation section of your home may be out-of-commission, but you can safely use the rest of it.

If we’re working on the whole home, we recommend staying in your second home, a rental, or other accommodations. (Believe me, it is far more magical to come home to a complete, glorious renovation than live through every loud minute of it.)

We’ll also want to consider your existing furnishings. During our preliminary design meetings, we will sit down and make a list of all the furnishings and decor pieces you want to incorporate into the new design. We suggest moving these to another part of the home or into storage for safekeeping. 

contemporary interior design black white sofa fireplace miami fl

And that’s it! That’s how you plan a renovation like a pro. You set the direction and the vision. We bring it to life with experienced hands, creative minds, and your best interests at heart.

So, what do you say we get down to business? Get in touch with us here, and let’s do this thang!