Long gone are the days of homeowners putting in new finishes and appliances in their home and calling it a successful remodel.  A new consumer poll from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) revealed that 49% of homeowners consider outcome and design as the greatest determinant of project satisfaction.

What does that mean, exactly?  It means today’s homeowners are more design-savvy than homeowners of the past, and they remodel their homes to suit their lifestyles.  They’re much less passive than they used to be, and more attuned to how their remodels will serve them on a day-to-day basis. 

Rather than simply letting an upgrade of appliances and building materials be enough, homeowners are more thoughtful and strategic when it comes to planning their home remodels.  Homeowners want their design to cater perfectly to their lifestyle and how they intend to use the space.

Good design means more than customization of the home. Design work can bring multi-functional capabilities to a room.  For example, a kitchen that can also serve as the living room. Or, design can enhance the flow of the space by widening walkways and adding more access to the space from various parts of the home.

"Once my clients start to sense the magnitude of possibilities within a remodeling project, they start to get very specific about the design and how it's going to impact their space," says NARI National President-Elect Michael Hydeck, of Hydeck Design Build, Inc..

Many remodelers put clients through special exercises to get them to think about their lifestyles. They ask clients detailed questions about how they live and the things that are most important to them in order to create a perfect space.  Whether it's a questionnaire or a walk-through of the current home, the main goal is that the remodeler knows what is desired.

The unstable economy may have a slight relation to the recent findings. A more practical attitude toward spending in the last few years has amplified the homeowner's involvement in each step of the remodeling process. That way, no leaf goes unturned.

"To be successful as a remodeler today, you must have full transparency with your clients," says Hydeck."That usually means open communication lines and joint decision making in every aspect of the job -- budget, design, material selection, timeline and management." 

This also reflects the long-term perspective most people have when it comes to their homes. Homeowners remodel their homes for the rest of their lives, rather than thinking of remodeling as a short-term investment.    

The breakdown of the poll results showed that 22% considered having their needs met as satisfactory, and 20% noted accessibility and timeliness of the remodeler during the project as influential. Surprisingly, finishing on time/safety precautions and cleanliness of the remodel were much less significant, with 4% and 6% respectively.

For homeowners considering a remodel, it’s worthwhile to take a week to observe your family’s living patterns and take notes on the following:

  • Everything you do in your home
  • Paths you take
  • Counters you set items on
  • Where you store belongings
  • Where you sit and relax

These observations can inform a smart home remodel that will serve your needs.  Be sure to share your findings with your remodeling contractor, so you can design the best possible remodel together that matches your lifestyle.