Skip to main content

5 tips for renovating your space from an HGTV star

Here's what the experts say you need to consider when starting a DIY home remodel

Recently, homeowners flocked to the annual Indianapolis Home Show featuring designers, brands, contractors, and more. During its final weekend, HGTV’s Good Bones star Mina Starsiak spoke to locals about her TV show, upcoming projects, and tips for renovating a property. For homeowners looking to take on a fixer-upper or DIY home remodel, Starsiak has a few pro tips.

Two women planning a kitchen renovation
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Itemize your renovation with your contractor

One of the most important tips Starsiak and her team stressed to homeowners undergoing a renovation is to itemize the project with your contractor. Starsiak emphasized, “When speaking to a contractor, itemize the project and have them list everything with the price.” She said that homeowners can avoid miscommunication with their contractors by listing project specifics.

For example, in a bathroom remodel, list every step of the project, from installing new lighting and reworking plumbing to placing new tile and painting the walls. Gather a cost and estimated time frame for each step of the project. “Be annoying at the beginning,” said Starsiak. “Be upfront.”

Kitchen renovations with man on a tablet
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Set a budget, but pay as you go

A great way to set an itemized project plan with your contractor and to ensure it runs smoothly is to set a budget, but pay as you go. Starsiak said when it comes to “good contracts, break it up into manageable bites.” You never know what issues will spring up in a renovation project. From contractor challenges to building woes, renovations can come with several surprises.

For example, pay your contractor once a task is complete rather than paying everything upfront or starting with a large down payment. If you pay upfront and your contractor happens to do a poor job or falls ill, you may be overpaying for poor quality or an unfinished job.

Making a budget
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Know where every dollar is going

“It’s good to know where every single dollar is going,” said HGTV designer MJ. No matter what your specific renovation looks like, you can save a lot of money by knowing where you’re spending every dollar. Keep track of how much you’ve spent on paint, cabinetry, furniture, plumbing, and more.

Keep an open line of communication with your contractor to ensure you’re aware of how much you’ll be spending on their time and expertise as well.

Kitchen renovations and man with a drill
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Don’t go overboard on demo day

“Everybody loves demo,” Starsiak and her team joked at the Indianapolis Home Show. But as exciting as demo is, cleaning up afterward can be a hassle. “It’s fun for 2 to 3 hours,” Starsiak stated, “but then you have to clean up for two days.”

When performing a demo in your home or a fixer-upper, it’s best to keep it simple and as clean as possible. Also, going overboard with demolition won’t just put you in a time crunch; it can also be dangerous. It’s best to go through a demo carefully to avoid injury.

People renovating the kitchen and replacing the cabinets
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Know that not everything has to be custom or designer

It’s easy to assume that when embarking on a renovation project, everything needs to be custom or designer. Custom cabinetry is super popular these days. However, it’s not always the most affordable option, particularly for homeowners with a tight budget.

Starsiak said renovations are only “as expensive as you make them.” The Good Bones star continued to tell homeowners that “sometimes we get our cabinets from the Home Depot.” Homeowners don’t have to splurge on every facet of the project. If custom isn’t necessary for your reno, it’s OK to head to the big-box stores for a more affordable solution.

At the end of the day, you want your home to be perfect, and you shouldn’t have to spend more than necessary to see it through. Starsiak’s tips help inform homeowners about their contracts and seek contractors who are willing to communicate effectively.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
Kitchen remodel before & after: A few changes brighten up this space
Check out this Redditor's very own kitchen remodel
Father and daughter cooking in front of pvc kitchen cabinets

Doing a kitchen renovation can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are tackling it yourself and not hiring a contractor. But since the kitchen is where most of us congregate to cook, eat, work, and entertain, it's one room that deserves to look and feel bright and warm. If you've not spent any time on Reddit, it's a great place to go to get inspired and see real kitchen before and after pictures posted by others. One Redditor posted a stunning kitchen remodel that they've done, and seeing what it looked like before and now gives you perspective on how small changes can add up to big improvements.


Read more
25 stellar staircase ideas to freshen up the look of your home
Not ready for an entire remodel? Update your staircase with one of these ideas
Young woman on stairs in a loft caring for potted plants.

If you want to change the interior of your house, you can change out throw pillows and invest in new furniture, but your stairs are a set thing, right? Not quite. You may not be able to move stairs or rip them out entirely, but you can get creative about your stair design.

Changing up your staircase can be one way to upgrade the look of your home and it isn't as difficult as you may think. If you aren’t sure how to accomplish this, we’ve got 25 ideas ranging from subtle to dramatic to help you figure it out. Keep reading for inspiration on how to update your staircase.

Read more
11 helpful tips to keep bugs out of your apartment or condo
Keep bugs out of your home without calling the exterminator
Dead bug with pest control sign

Cleaning your apartment will keep your place looking nice, but it may not be enough to keep pesky bugs from making your home their home. Keeping bugs out of an apartment or condo is much different from keeping them out of a house. When you live in an apartment building or condo that's part of a larger unit, bugs can quickly enter your space from community spaces. So if your neighbors have habits that attract bugs, it doesn’t take much for those critters to come into your rooms, too.

Your apartment or condo location can also contribute to the number of bugs in your living area, such as if your apartment is near the woods or close to the outdoor dumpsters. Also, apartment complexes and condos often have several entrances, which increase the chances insects have to get into your home.

Read more