If you’re planning a major home renovation that involves multiple rooms and projects, you may be confused about where to start. Should you start in common areas, like the kitchen or living room, to get them out of the way? Or is it better to focus on out-of-sight places so that the communal spaces remain usable for longer? To determine the best approach, we speak with experts to find the best path forward for your next home renovation.

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Before You Start

Decide whether you will be handling the renovation yourself or hiring a professional to do it. “Before starting any renovation, create a detailed plan that includes a timeline, budget, and a list of all the rooms you intend to renovate,” says Austin Fain, CEO and founder of Perfect Steel Solutions. “Consult with contractors or professionals as needed.”

If your remodeling plans are on the mild side—or if they are mostly cosmetic (think painting, tiling, or flooring)—you might try to tackle them yourself. If the remodel is more extensive and requires a professional’s help, your order will typically be dictated by the specialists who will be doing the work. “Renovating your home while continuing to live in it can be a challenging process,” Fain says. “To minimize disruption and maximize comfort, it’s essential to plan the order of room renovations carefully.”

Divide Your Project Up

Oren Farkash, CEO and owner of South Land Remodeling, says that you should choose your plan of attack based on how comfortable you feel about living alongside an ongoing remodel. He represents the project into sections, choosing a place to start that works for you, and then working your way through adjacent or adjoined spaces—all the while avoiding the temptation to jump around to different areas, which can prolong your renovation project.

Start With Your Highest-Priority Room

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Farkash says to start with the repairs in your first-priority room, and then move onto the cosmetic changes after they are completed. “It’s a good idea to start with your highest priority,” he says, which is usually the kitchen for most homeowners. “This way, if you run out of money or energy, at least you got the most important area done.” This makes choosing your starting point intensely personal—but ultimately, this method will make you happiest.

“The kitchen is one of the best places to start when redoing your home,” says Tom Nolan, a home improvement expert and founder of AllStar Home. “Kitchen renovations can be incredibly involved, and take longer than other rooms in the home. Starting with the kitchen can also help you quickly get back to a sense of normalcy in your home if you’re living in it while renovating the place.”

Move on to the Next Intense Room

This is likely going to be the bathroom if you start with the kitchen. Bathrooms and kitchens will be the most intense renovation projects in your home because they involve a lot of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work that often needs to be done at the same time. So, get the more intense projects out of the way first. “After the kitchen, consider renovating your bathrooms,” says Nolan. “If you have multiple bathrooms in your home, renovate them one at a time so you can always have access to a toilet and shower. Kitchens and bathrooms are notorious for being expensive rooms to renovate, so prioritize these spaces when redoing your home.”

The kitchen or bathroom are also high-value rooms, meaning that if these are the only rooms you complete, you will likely have increased the value of your home by doing so.

Shift to Your Living Room

After finishing up renovations and repairs in your kitchen and bathroom, you can move on to working on your living room. “Renovate your primary living or family room to create a comfortable space for relaxation and entertainment,” says Fain. “This room can serve as a temporary gathering place while other renovations are ongoing.”

Tackle Your Bedroom

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At long last, after your kitchen, bathrooms, and living spaces have been re-done, you can turn your attention to your bedroom. “Your bedroom should be the last place you renovate,” Nolan says. “Keeping normalcy throughout the process is essential to reducing stress during a renovation, and having your bedroom available will let you sleep and dress as you regularly would.”

Complete Cosmetic Changes Last

Farkash says that you cannot go wrong with an inside-out approach. “Work your way from the inside (like mechanical features in the walls and floors) to the outside (think cosmetic finishes),” he says. Once major elements are completed, you can do things like paint your walls, add new light fixtures, or swap out hardware on cabinets.

Tips for Choosing Your Home Renovation Order

Keep in mind that the order above is not set in stone. “Remember that this order can vary depending on your specific circumstances and priorities,” says Fain. “It’s essential to communicate with your contractor and consider your family’s needs during the renovation process.”

One of the benefits of hiring a professional team for larger, multi-trade projects is that they will know where to start—and where to go from there. “In the long run, these pros can get these projects done faster, so you don’t have to live in a renovation workspace longer than you need to,” Farkash says.

Working in the incorrect order can have unfortunate results (which is another reason why hiring a professional team is often advised). Farkash says that you may run the risk of wasting time and money by having to make repairs (especially if your mistakes involve paint or flooring stain). Additionally, bigger mishaps may require a visit from an expert, anyway. “Working in a methodical way will save you time and money, and you will finish the project faster with cleaner, better results,” he says.