Want to get a jump start on your next home project? Here’s how.

Photo by Courtney Malone

This post is brought to you in partnership with the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show (happening Feb. 22-24 and March 1-3 at The Park Expo and Conference Center). All opinions are our own.

Spring cleaning is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to refresh a house or apartment. Home renovations—or even just an interior revamp—can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

Whether you have a big remodel in mind or you’re just looking for some inspiration for a DIY project, the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show can help. To get the scoop on the best way to complete a home project, we turned to Stephanie of Olive and Tate, who has renovated five homes in five years.

First, start with a plan. Stephanie said when renovating a whole house, she and her husband decide to start where they spend the most time as a family and what can contribute the most to resale value. For her, that’s the kitchen.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home. We have two small children, who I feel like we feed 75 times a day. It’s where everything happens. To me, the priority isn’t always to be aesthetically pleasing, but to have a kitchen that is functional for my family is always the end goal,” Stephanie said.

Photo by Christa Rene Photography

There are also tricks for where to splurge and save. It can be hard to stick to a lower budget during renovations, but luckily there are options for cutting some corners. Stephanie’s advice is to save money on appliances.

“It’s so easy to find sales, and major retailers are going to have massive discounts. You can even purchase models that are being updated,” she said. She and her husband have purchased models that are being updated for a new year’s model at much lower rates. Stephanie also advised that appliances don’t have to be the same brand—as long as the aesthetic is the same (like stainless steel), feel free to mix it up.

Where to splurge? Countertops and hard surfaces. Whether it’s in the kitchen or in a bathroom, Stephanie’s advice is to find countertops that make you happy. Spend money on a countertop that fits your lifestyle, then help offset that cost by saving on appliances. Are countertops in your sights? You can check out East Coast Granite of Charlotte at the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show.

It’s easy to make a big impact on a time crunch, too. Think of smaller items you can replace. Stephanie recommends faucets, cooktops and lighting. “Swapping out light fixtures takes minimal effort and time but can change the look of a whole space,” she said. “If you have the time, paint that bad boy.”

Don’t forget the exterior of a home when thinking of projects around the house. Curb appeal is a big factor, particularly for resale. Luckily, there are some simple changes to make to create a whole new look and style of a house.

First up, change the shutters. Shutters are often overlooked, and you can not only paint them, but change up the style. The other project to tackle is the walkway to the home. “In a home, we ripped up the existing, really dated, cement pavers and put in slate pieces up the walkway. It just felt so fresh, and the amount of time that went into it was an afternoon,” Stephanie said. This is definitely something you can DIY. For advice on how to get started with your exterior landscaping, check out MetroGreenscape at the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show.  

If you have some projects in mind, you can attend the home show to scope out ideas, vendors and ask any introductory questions face-to-face.

Stephanie said she’s going to the show to get an idea of how to put skylights in her living room. “I’m not even sure what the project might cost or what kind of vendor would do the work,” she said. “I would love to get to speak to someone about how the install works, what does the price point look like, what I’m looking at as far as time. Because I don’t know where to start, I’m excited to be at the home show where there are options of people to speak to.”

Visit the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show on Feb. 22-24 or March 1-3 to meet the experts who can help you on your next project. For Stephanie, it’s all about the face-to-face interaction with vendors. “That sort of stuff is invaluable as far as being at a home show.”


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