There are plenty of tips on the Internet about how to hire a good home remodel contractor. All of them talk about that contractor's portfolio, but they skip over one vital step--how do you evaluate a home remodeling contractor's portfolio in the first place? If you don't know what a good remodel looks like, those photographs won't mean much to you when choosing a contractor. Here are some things to look for.
First, look at the size of the spaces the home remodeling contractors have in their portfolios. If there are lots of pictures of large, cavernous rooms but you just want to transform your tiny kitchen, think about refocusing your search elsewhere. You want to find evidence that your contractor has experience with the type of space you have.
Next, try to determine the contractor's style. Is there a lot of wood in the portfolio? Stone tiles? Bricks? Just like artists, home remodel contractors have a certain style that they follow. Don't expect your contractor to really break the mold. Your home's new look isn't likely to be much different from what you see in the portfolio, so if you don't like the materials, move on.
In addition to the contractor's style and preferred materials, examine the photos to see what really catches your eye. If it's the furniture in the room instead of the layout or the walls and floors, then you're more impressed by the interior design than the remodel itself.
To continue narrowing down your search, see if the contractor has supplied before and after photos as well as the home's "story." Looking at the "after" picture doesn't mean much unless you see the "before." Find portfolios that have rooms and homes that look like yours. Some home remodeling contractors will also provide information about the clients they worked for. This will clue you into the functionality of the spaces and if your contractor is familiar with needs like yours. If you have a large family, but the contractor has portfolios of the homes of retirees or young, childless couples, consider a different company.
Finally, eliminate any portfolios that don't make you feel excited. This sounds more intuitive and less fact-based than the previous tips, but it should be! After all, you want rooms that feel good. Even if you can't quite describe what your dream house looks like, your emotions will point you in the right direction. If a contractor's style and design really sings to you, send them an inquiry.