DIYer Fariha Nasir sits in a remodeled room in her home

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Self-taught DIYer Fariha Nasir started her blog, Pennies for a Fortune, with the goal of inspiring her audience and, in particular, equipping women with skills to tackle their own DIY projects. Her blog and Instagram account have since turned into a large community appreciating good design and the struggles of DIY projects.

Over the past year, Fariha has documented the makeover of her guest room and a complete laundry room refresh for her followers – and this summer, Fariha and Discover Personal Loans worked together to demonstrate how DIYers can customize a personal loan around their projects, large or small.

An expert in the home improvement space, Fariha shared her tried-and-true three-step planning process with Discover Personal Loans to help people understand how to sketch out their project’s design and budget.

Here’s a look at Fariha’s three-step planning process:

1. When planning spaces, draw your layout on a piece of paper. This will help you visualize where things can go.

Fariha always starts her room designs with a Pinterest board of her project inspiration, which helps give her a sense of how her design elements fit together, and how much space they need. Then she begins to translate them into her own room by sketching out each aspect of the design – walls, doors, windows – into her space along with actual measurements.

2. Make a list of priorities for what the room needs.

Your list should encompass everything from the biggest part of the project (like refinishing a wood floor) to the new picture frame you want for your grandmother’s portrait. This can help you sort out if you need professional assistance on some element of the project. And, if you run into budget limitations it can help you prioritize your “must haves” and “nice to haves.” Maybe Grandma’s portrait can stay in that frame for now, or maybe you can keep the throw pillows and area rug as is for a while longer.

3. Outline a rough budget for the items needed. Fariha likes to make a spreadsheet with all categories and calculate an initial budget estimate.

“Planning and budgeting is an extremely important early step in any home improvement project,” Fariha said. “It can really make a difference in how you take a task to completion. Making estimates for each step of the way is essential to knowing what you’re looking at in terms of finances.”

In general, she recommends ensuring your budget has some flexibility because every project has variables and occasional surprises. “Make upper and lower estimates,” Fariha says. “You need wiggle room in your estimates to make sure you don’t have issues with under-budgeting.”

How can I apply this to my project?

To get started on your budget with a list of questions to ask, take a look at Discover’s checklist for planning financially for your remodel.

Common home improvements, like remodeling a kitchen, refinishing hardwood floors, or relandscaping your outdoor space, can have a wide range of price tags. If a project exceeds the available funds or you don’t want to deplete your savings, Fariha said DIYers have a few options. First, they can opt to cut back, for example, by using less expensive hardware, lighting, or décor. That’s where step two comes in handy – you can look at your priority list and figure out what you can omit in order to stay on budget.

For her recent guest bedroom makeover, Fariha set a hard budget limit of $3,000. However, an upcoming main bathroom renovation will likely cost significantly more.

“That will be a much more expensive project, something I might not want to pay for out of pocket, all at once,” she said. “A typical full bathroom remodel (without higher-end finishes) can cost from anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000. It sounds like a big investment, and it is, but Discover Personal Loans offers a great loan solution to help make big home renovation projects a reality.”

Another option is to work with a lender like Discover Personal Loans to bridge the gap between your budget and your dreams. You can customize a Discover personal loan to fit a wide range of projects and budgets. And since home improvement budget overages can come as a surprise and often need quick attention, it’s helpful that most people get a decision the same day; and if your application is approved your funds can be sent as early as the next business day after acceptance.

Having a financial plan for your renovation allows DIYers to focus on what’s most important: the getting the work done.

“Knowing how much you’re looking at spending can take the headache and stress out of a project, and you won’t have surprises down the road,” Fariha said.

Want to learn more about how a Discover personal loan can help keep your project on budget and on time?Go to Home Remodel Loans

To stay up to date with Fariha’s latest projects, follow her on Instagram @pennies_for_a_fortune, or visit her website, Pennies for a Fortune.