Ultimate Guide to Designer Home Remodels: Costs + Timelines Explained

About the Author: David Perrotti

Dave has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, is a Bestselling Home Improvement Author on Amazon, and constantly seeks to reinvent the remodeling industry. As a veteran of the Army and Air Force, Dave operates his business, Fine Home Contracting, on the core army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.

If you’re considering a remodel or addition, you’re almost certainly wondering if an Interior Designer is worthwhile for your project.

Interior designers are a valuable addition to many remodels, and their expertise isn’t limited to luxury projects. An interior designer can enhance the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your home, regardless of your budget, and their skills are great for getting the most out of a limited or overextended budget.

Additionally, using an interior designer familiar with or teamed with your general contractor eases communication and ensures your remodel goes smoothly, stays under budget, and adheres to the schedule. This guide runs through the roles of designers and contractors, tips planning your remodel, what to expect in the design phase, budgeting, project timelines, communication, the construction phase, and project completion.

While we are a general contractor with an attached designer, this guide aims to be useful to homeowners regardless of what kind of project they’re undertaking, or which contractor they select. At the end of the day, the relationship between the homeowner, contractor, and designer is a huge part of what makes or breaks a remodel or addition, and these tips aim to give you a better understanding of where responsibilities lie, how to set your expectations, and how to make the most of your remodel.

Understanding General Contractors vs Interior Designers

Role of an Interior Designer

Interior designers are integral to the remodeling process. They bring a wealth of knowledge in aesthetics, functionality, and spatial planning. Their primary role is to translate your vision into a cohesive design that enhances the usability and beauty of your space. From selecting color schemes to choosing furniture and fixtures, interior designers ensure every element works harmoniously to create a space that reflects your style and meets your needs.

Role of a General Contractor

General contractors manage the construction aspect of designer home remodels and additions. They coordinate with various subcontractors, handle procurement of materials, and ensure the project adheres to the planned timeline and budget. Their role is crucial in translating the interior designer’s vision into a tangible reality. A general contractor oversees all aspects of the construction process, ensuring that the work is done to code, that safety standards are met, and that the project stays on schedule.

Planning Your Remodel

Building to Budget vs. Building to Wishlist

When planning your remodel, you generally have two options: building to fit your budget or building to include everything within your wishlist. 

Building to budget means setting a strict financial limit and making design and material choices that keep you within that limit. Many people who build their remodel solely to accommodate a budget will be happy with the price, but unhappy due to missing features. If building to budget, ensure your priority wishlist items fit comfortably within your budget, as adding them later may result in change order fees or other interruptions. 

Building to wishlist means starting with your ideal vision for the remodel, including all desired features and upgrades, and then determining the total cost, and working up or down from there. Building out a wishlist with your designer, and having costs estimated consistently is a great way to ensure you incorporate your priority features while still having a good idea of costs and remaining allowances. 

A balanced approach often involves a compromise between your budget and wishlist. Working with an interior designer and contractor can help you navigate this process. Designers can suggest cost-effective alternatives that maintain the aesthetic and functionality you desire, while contractors provide realistic cost estimates and timelines.

Tips for Budgeting and Setting Goals

  • Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve with your remodel. Whether it’s improved functionality, updated aesthetics, or increased home value, having clear goals will guide the entire process.

  • Create a Prioritized Wishlist: List all the features and changes you desire, then prioritize them. Identify which items are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves.

  • Establish a Realistic Budget: Determine how much you are willing and able to spend. Include a contingency fund for unexpected expenses, typically around 10-20% of your total budget.

  • Consult Professionals: Engage your designer and contractor early in the process. They can provide valuable insights and help you refine your goals and budget.

Budgeting Your Remodel

Accurate cost estimation is essential for effective budgeting. There are three main types of estimates you might encounter: free estimates, paid estimates, and the final proposal.

Understanding Contracts

A well-drafted contract protects all parties involved. It should clearly outline the scope of work, specifying what will be done and what is excluded. The timeline should include start and completion dates, along with key milestones. The payment schedule should detail when payments are due and what they cover. Understanding these elements helps prevent misunderstandings and disputes.

Look for key clauses that protect your interests, such as clauses for project delays, cost overruns, and workmanship guarantees. Understanding these clauses helps in managing expectations and avoiding disputes.

Agree on a payment schedule that aligns with project milestones. Typically, payments are made in installments: an initial deposit, followed by progress payments, and a final payment upon project completion. Some contractors will take payments on a draw schedule, where at specific progression milestones for the project, a portion of the owed money is paid. 


Coordination Between Designer and Contractor

Effective communication between your designer and contractor is vital for a seamless remodel. Regular meetings, clear documentation, and open channels of communication help prevent misunderstandings and keep the project on track. Ask your designer and contractor how often they communicate, and make sure any communication issues are handled upfront. 

Using Technology

Many contractors use project management software like Buildertrend to streamline communication. This software allows you to track progress, manage schedules, and communicate with your project team. Ensure that your contractor either uses software like this, which keeps all parties in one group message, or otherwise has a convenient way to contact your team. Companies without project management or communication software often use alternatives like group emails, group text messages, or online portals, so be sure to know your contractor’s preferred method of contact. 

Project Timeline

Phases of a Remodel

The usual length of a remodel can be divided into three phases: the design phase, retainer phase, and building phase.

  • 1

    Design Phase: This phase involves consultations, concept development, and design approval. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the project and the speed of decision-making.

  • 2

    Retainer Phase: This phase includes securing permits, finalizing contracts, and ordering materials. It usually takes a few weeks but can extend longer if there are delays in approvals or material procurement.

  • 3

    Building Phase: This is the actual construction phase, where the remodel takes shape. Depending on the scope of the project, it can take several weeks to several months.

Common Causes of Delays

Common causes of delays include weather conditions, supply chain issues, and unexpected structural problems. To minimize delays, maintain clear communication with your contractor and make decisions promptly.

  1. Weather Conditions: Adverse weather can halt construction activities, especially for exterior work.
  2. Supply Chain Issues: Delays in material delivery due to shortages or shipping problems.
  3. Unexpected Structural Problems: Discovering hidden issues like faulty wiring or plumbing that require additional work.
  4. Permit Delays: Waiting for necessary permits and inspections to be approved.
  5. Change Orders: Last-minute changes to the project scope or materials by the homeowner.

Payment Draws

Most contractors take payments on draws at particular milestones. This structured payment schedule ensures that both parties are committed to the project and that work progresses according to plan.

The Design Phase

Construction Phase

Project Completion


Embarking on a home remodel can be a transformative experience that significantly enhances your living space’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. By understanding the roles of your interior designer and general contractor, meticulously planning your project, and maintaining clear communication throughout the process, you can ensure a successful and satisfying remodel. From setting realistic goals and budgets to navigating the complexities of the design and construction phases, this guide provides a comprehensive roadmap for your journey.

For further reading and more resources on successful home remodeling projects, visit Fine Home Contracting. Their extensive library of articles, tips, and case studies can provide additional insights and guidance to help you achieve your dream home remodel.

Further Reading

By leveraging these resources and the expert advice from Fine Home Contracting, you can confidently navigate your home remodeling project, ensuring a beautiful and functional result that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.


What is a Hanok house?2024-01-02T19:26:26+00:00

A Hanok house is a traditional Korean home known for its wooden structure, tiled roof, and heated ondol floors. Designed to maintain harmony with the surrounding environment, Hanoks are admired for their use of natural materials and efficient, open layouts.

How to decorate in Korean style?2024-01-02T19:26:07+00:00

To decorate in Korean style, focus on minimalism, natural elements, and functional spaces. Use neutral colors, wooden furniture, and natural fabrics. Incorporate traditional Korean elements like sliding doors or Hanji (traditional Korean paper) lamps for an authentic touch.

What color should I choose for a small bathroom?2023-12-14T17:47:03+00:00

Light, neutral colors or cool tones like light blues or greens can make a small bathroom feel larger and more open.

How do I choose a color scheme for a room with limited natural light?2023-12-14T17:47:05+00:00

In rooms with limited natural light, opt for lighter and brighter colors to make the space feel airier and more open. Reflective hues can help bounce the available light around the room.

Is it okay to mix different colors in one room?2023-12-14T17:45:55+00:00

Yes, mixing colors can add depth and interest to a room. Just ensure they complement each other and maintain a balanced look. Using a color wheel to identify complementary and contrasting colors that align with your base color is one great way to make sure the mix of colors match. Another option is using recommended matched colors based on recommendations from your paint provider.

How do I choose a color scheme for my living room?2023-12-14T17:44:50+00:00

Start with colors you love and consider the mood you want to set. For a serene space, go with cool colors; for a vibrant feel, choose warmer hues.

What’s the best color for a relaxing bedroom?2023-12-14T17:44:24+00:00

Soft, muted colors like light blues, gentle greens, and warm neutrals are ideal for a relaxing bedroom environment.

How can an interior designer use AI tools like Chat GPT in their business?2023-11-29T15:28:26+00:00

Interior designers can utilize Chat GPT for automated customer interactions, answering client queries, and providing initial design consultation, enhancing client engagement.

How do I find an interior designer?2023-10-09T13:22:30+00:00

Finding the right interior designer for your home addition project involves these steps:

  1. Research: Look for designers in your area through online directories, design associations, or recommendations from friends and family.
  2. Portfolio Review: Examine their portfolios to see if their style aligns with your vision.
  3. Interview: Schedule meetings with potential designers to discuss your project, budget, and expectations.
  4. References: Ask for client references to learn about their previous work and client satisfaction.
  5. Agreement: Once you’ve found a designer you’re comfortable with, sign a clear contract detailing the scope of work and payment terms.

Hiring an interior designer can greatly enhance the success of your home addition project by ensuring that your space is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and tailored to your unique preferences.

What do interior designers do?2023-10-09T13:21:42+00:00

Interior designers play a crucial role in enhancing the functionality and aesthetics of interior spaces. Their responsibilities may include:

  • Space Planning: Optimizing the layout for efficient use of space.
  • Color Selection: Choosing paint colors, fabrics, and finishes.
  • Furniture and Decor: Selecting furniture, lighting, and decor items that align with the design theme.
  • Budget Management: Keeping the project within budget while ensuring quality.
  • Collaboration: Working with architects and contractors to ensure design implementation.
  • Client Satisfaction: Tailoring the design to meet the client’s needs and preferences.
Do I need an interior designer for a home addition?2023-10-09T13:21:21+00:00

Whether you need an interior designer for a home addition depends on your personal preferences and the complexity of your project. Interior designers can provide valuable expertise in optimizing space, selecting color schemes, choosing furniture, and enhancing the overall aesthetics. If you want a professionally designed and cohesive look for your home addition, hiring an interior designer is advisable. However, for simpler projects, you may choose to handle the design yourself.

How much does an interior designer for a home addition cost?2023-10-09T13:20:52+00:00

The cost of hiring an interior designer for a home addition varies based on factors like project complexity, location, and the designer’s experience. On average, interior designers may charge a fee ranging from $50 to $200 per hour. Some designers work on a fixed fee or a percentage of the total project cost, typically around 10% to 30%. Be sure to discuss pricing and services with potential designers to find the best fit for your budget.

How long does it take to install a soaking tub?2024-07-12T19:34:16+00:00

The installation time for a soaking tub typically ranges from 1 to 7 days, depending on the complexity of the project. Freestanding tubs generally take 1-2 days, while built-in tubs, which may require additional plumbing, electrical work, and custom framing, can take 3-7 days. For the most efficient and safe installation, hiring a professional is recommended.

Are soaking tubs energy-efficient?2024-07-12T19:33:11+00:00

Yes, many modern soaking tubs are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Features like superior heat retention materials (e.g., Victoria + Albert’s ENGLISHCAST®) and systems that maintain water temperature can help reduce energy consumption.

How do I choose the right size soaking tub for my bathroom?2024-07-12T19:32:52+00:00

Measure the available space in your bathroom and consider the tub’s dimensions, including length, width, and depth. Ensure there is enough room for comfortable access and any additional features you may want, like a showerhead or faucet.

What is the difference between a soaking tub and a regular bathtub?2024-07-12T19:32:42+00:00

A soaking tub is designed for deep relaxation, typically deeper than a regular bathtub, allowing for full immersion of the body. They often have ergonomic shapes and advanced features like hydrotherapy jets or chromotherapy.

Can I install a soaking tub myself, or should I hire a professional?2024-07-12T19:32:30+00:00

While some soaking tubs come with installation instructions for DIY enthusiasts, it’s often best to hire a professional. Proper installation ensures that the tub is level, securely connected to plumbing, and that all features function correctly.

What is the average cost of a luxury soaking tub?2024-07-12T19:32:09+00:00

The cost varies widely based on brand, material, and features. On average, luxury soaking tubs can range from $2,000 to $15,000 or more. It’s important to consider the long-term value and benefits of investing in a high-quality tub.

Are soaking tubs suitable for small bathrooms?2024-07-12T19:31:48+00:00

Yes, there are soaking tubs designed for smaller spaces. Freestanding and corner tubs can be excellent options for maximizing space while still providing a luxurious bathing experience.

What are the latest trends in kitchen remodeling?2024-06-25T14:36:19+00:00

Current trends for 2024 include open shelving, smart appliances, sustainable materials, mixed metal finishes, and bold colors. Custom storage solutions and multifunctional islands are also popular.


Should I hire a designer for my kitchen remodel?2024-06-25T14:36:00+00:00

Hiring a designer can be beneficial, especially for major remodels. Designers can help with layout optimization, material selection, and ensuring that your vision is realized effectively. For remodels where large structural changes are happening, consulting a designer or architect is more necessary.

Can I live in my home during a kitchen remodel?2024-06-25T14:35:24+00:00

Yes, you can live in your home during a kitchen remodel, but it may be inconvenient. Many homeowners set up a temporary kitchen in another part of the house to minimize disruption.

How long does a kitchen remodel typically take?2024-06-25T14:34:55+00:00
What factors influence the cost of a kitchen remodel?2024-06-25T14:35:08+00:00

The cost is influenced by factors such as the size of the kitchen, the quality of materials and appliances chosen, the complexity of the design, and labor costs. Custom cabinetry, high-end appliances, and structural changes can significantly increase the overall cost.

What Does a Kitchen Remodel Cost in Connecticut?2024-06-25T14:34:23+00:00

The cost of kitchen remodeling in Connecticut varies based on the project’s scope. A minor mid-range remodel, focusing on tasks like replacing cabinet doors, installing new countertops, updating appliances, and freshening up paint and trim, costs approximately $40,000 – $80,000. A major remodel, which includes replacing cabinets, floors, and all major appliances, and may involve new plumbing and a kitchen island, ranges from $90,000 – $140,000 for mid-range upgrades and $200,000 – $400,000 for upscale renovations. For a tailored estimate, consult a professional remodeling contractor.

What is a VOC in paint?2024-06-17T17:51:43+00:00

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, chemicals in paint that can affect air quality.

What is the advantage of frameless cabinets?2024-06-17T17:51:22+00:00

Frameless cabinets offer a more contemporary look and provide easier access and more storage space.

About the Author: David Perrotti

Dave has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, is a Bestselling Home Improvement Author on Amazon, and constantly seeks to reinvent the remodeling industry. As a veteran of the Army and Air Force, Dave operates his business, Fine Home Contracting, on the core army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.

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