Why You Should Hire a Professional Designer for Your Home Remodel

It’s exciting when you finally can remodel your home. Updating the look, style and functionality of a bathroom, kitchen or other room can not only enhance your home but possibly add value when it’s time to sell. The question many people ask is: “Do I need to hire an interior designer to redo my home?” The answer is a resounding “yes”!  Here’s why you should hire a professional designer for your home remodel.

Understanding what design services are

It’s easy to be confused about what a designer offers, so let’s start by clarifying what exactly design services are. Design services can guide you through the complexities of a kitchen and bath design or redesign, overseeing your project from its initial concept to completion of the project. Working with experienced designers help unlock the full potential of your space with the perfect balance of design and comfort. A designer will use their expertise to come up with appealing ideas for carrying out your vision, will provide budget estimates, and draw up plans for your review. A basic design would include the floor plan and built-in features such as cupboards, while a full-service designer might include color and material ideas, and even shopping for fixtures.

A designer can save you money

Working with a designer can help you to avoid costly mistakes that will not only help you save money during the project but can increase the value of your home. They understand which rooms are best to invest in, such as the kitchen, and will suggest the best ways to get what you want while staying within your budget. They’ll also create a solid plan, so you have a very good idea what is involved in the remodel, and what it will cost; a good way to avoid “scope creep” where services change and shift, and costs usually rise as a result.

Designers can serve as project managers to keep communication open

During a remodel project, there are several people involved:  the homeowner, contractors, and perhaps an architect. Keeping everyone on the same page and keeping the lines of communication open avoids a lot of headaches, project stalls, and miscommunications. Designers understand how to serve as a liaison to keep projects running smoothly.

A design service offers a wide array of resources and industry contacts

The typical homeowner can diligently research trends, colors, resources, and the best professionals to carry out the remodel, but at the end of the day, it’s a gamble at best. A designer, on the other hand, has a full “rolodex” of resources they can leverage:  contractors, supply resources, furniture dealers, etc. They can save you hundreds of hours in research and likely be able to pull together much better resources than you could on your own. Why not take advantage of that kind of expertise?

Design professionals know what it takes to achieve an ideal look

There’s a reason these folks do this for a living!  They have an eye for style and functionality, while keeping your personal tastes and lifestyle in mind. Hankering for a gorgeous real wood floor?  A designer will look at your budget as well as your lifestyle to help guide you on whether that’s a good choice or if there are other better options available. For instance, if you have small children and large pets, perhaps a different flooring option would be better. They’re going to get you the “wow” factor that you’re looking for, while still making your living space, well, livable for your lifestyle. They’ll also make sure that there is a good balance between getting what you want and getting a return on your investment. They understand what can help with home value, and what is simply cosmetic. And if you design you simply must have an expensive upgrade that you may not be able to recoup the cost of when you move, they’ll do their due diligence to let you know, and then let you decide.

Hiring a professional designer for your home remodel is a smart choice. Could you do it on your own?  Sure. But could you achieve the results you want while saving money, leveraging good industry resources, and stay on budget?  That’s a tall order to fill. Leave it to those offering professional design services and enjoy the outcome!

How to Choose the Right Flooring for Any Room in Your Home

Changing the flooring in any room can make a big change to that room’s appearance. Not only that, flooring can impact the functionality and maintenance of that room, so you want to pick wisely when replacing your flooring. Here are a few tips on how to choose the right flooring for any room in your home.

Different types of flooring

Before you start shopping, you want to make sure you completely understand what the different types of flooring options are. Here is a brief rundown of the four most popular types of flooring:

  • Ceramic Tile – tile is one of the more durable materials for flooring. Ceramic tile can be used as floor tiles, indoors, or even as countertops. Some types of ceramic tiles with high gloss finish tend to scratch over the time. In general, tile is easy to clean.
  • Laminate – laminate flooring is very easy to maintain. Laminate flooring provides a strong, durable surface that can resist burns, scratches, chips and gouges. It is an excellent option for high traffic areas, can be made to look like natural materials and comes in a wide range of colors and designs.
  • Carpet – carpetis a textile floor covering typically consisting of an upper layer of pile attached to a backing. The pile was traditionally made from wool, but, since the 20th century, synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon or polyester are often used, as these fibers are less expensive than wool. Options usually entail styles such as cut pile, plush pile, Saxony, twist, frieze and many more.
  • Wood – hardwood flooring presents a combination of beauty and durability. Hardwood flooring comes in Maple, Pecan, Beech, Cherry, Oak, Pine, Birch, Walnut, Hickory and more. Hardwood does require some maintenance and can scratch and wear with high use, though that sometimes adds to its attractive lived in look overall.

Of course, there are other flooring options such as bamboo, cork, marble or even stamped concrete for those ultra-modern homes, but the above is the four most common.

How to pick the right flooring for any room in your house

Different types of flooring provide different benefits and drawbacks. There are essentially four items to take into consideration when choosing flooring for your home:

  • Your personal décor style
  • Your lifestyle
  • The function of the room
  • Your budget

Let’s look at each one for a moment. Unlike throw pillows or even furniture, flooring is a permanent commitment, so you want to make sure that you like the look overall, so consider your style. Are you casual?  Modern? Trendy?  Do you like farmhouse chic or a more polished, refined look?  Look at your house as a whole, and then look at the room. What kind of style are you looking for?  High polished dark tile flooring will provide a completely different look than distressed wood or even wood tiles. Even different types of carpet give a different feel to a room. Really connect with the overall look you want. If you’re truly not sure, or are looking to make a big change in your personal décor style, it might be a smart idea to engage in professional design services to help you determine what you want.

Lifestyle should be a big, big consideration when choosing flooring! Wood flooring, for example, is gorgeous and durable, but it may not be durable enough for your three 50+ pound, active dogs whose claws can do a number on a nice wood floor in no time. Same goes for Berber carpet which can snag.  Do you have lots of little ones running around, along with lots of spills?  Tile might be a good option for you to stand up to high traffic and easy clean up. If you have a large brood of kids, pets and overly active teenagers, you may even want to consider a good laminate. Different types of flooring hold up better to lifestyles, and tile and laminate require less maintenance than carpet and wood floors.

Let’s talk about the function of the room. Kitchens and bathrooms require a completely different consideration than, say, living rooms or bedrooms. You likely wouldn’t put carpet in the kitchen or the bathroom, and most people won’t put laminate down in the master bedroom. Bedrooms tend to be warm, comfortable and inviting, so people tend to opt for carpet, or they’ll choose tile or wood for the polished look and lower maintenance and add an area rug. Look at those high traffic areas like hallways and decide what will hold up the best and require the least maintenance.

And of course, there’s the budget to consider. Laminate is likely your least expensive option and while real wood floors can be an investment. Working with an experienced interior designer will help you decide the value of the flooring option vs. the expense. They’ll guide you through what your best options are based on all the considerations discussed.

Flooring can be a big but exciting investment! Understanding your options and knowing what each option offers will help you choose the right flooring for any room in your home.

What to Consider Before Remodeling Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are not utilitarian anymore. Homeowners not only want practicality and functionality, but also want style, luxury, and convenience. The challenge is, how do you plan a bathroom remodel that can be both useful and luxurious?  Here’s what to consider before remodeling your bathroom.

Gather costs and create a budget

Like any remodeling job, a budget can quickly get blown if you get caught up in the bells and whistles, or never researched the cost in the first place. Before you get started, step back and take a look at what you want to do, and then do your research on what it’s going to cost. Regardless of whether you’re trying to do the remodel yourself or are working with a remodeling professional, it’s important to have an idea of what the costs are going to be. This will include materials, design and labor.  Decide what kind of materials you want and get an idea of what those costs are. Granite or marble countertops? Stock lighting or custom order? Will that new bathtub require a complete replumbing job to accommodate? Gathering costs and creating a budget will help you enjoy the process and the end results without facing a stunning and unanticipated bill at the end.

Consider the functionality of your bathroom

When people remodel their kitchen, they’re very in tune with the functionality aspect. What needs to be in reach?  What’s the flow from the stove to the sink to the table? Oddly enough, the same consideration isn’t always given to the bathroom but it should be! How many people will be using it at the same time?  Do you want a spa-like bathtub or would you rather have a steam shower (or both?). What kind of lighting will you need if you’re putting on makeup in that bathroom? Here are a few key items to consider when choosing a bathroom layout:

  • Vanity
  • Shower
  • Bathtub
  • Shower/tub combo
  • Toilet

What’s the focal point? Is the bathroom adjacent to another room such as the master when it will always be in view? Think not only about functionality by the visuals:  if you’re laying in bed at night, do you want a toilet in your line of sight? Really plan the footprint of your bathroom to make sure it serves your functional and aesthetic needs.

Plan out your color scheme

This might seem like a minor point but it’s not!  If you’re completely renovating a bathroom, you’ll likely be choosing flooring, countertops, sinks, faucets, shower heads, shower tiles, glass, and paint, not to mention other bathroom décor such as mirrors, lighting, towel racks and hooks, etc. Not having a color scheme in mind can result in a mismatched bathroom. Your best bet is to work with a bath design professional who can guide you through how to create a color scheme that you will love.

Plan your lighting

So often overlooked and yet one of the more important aspects of a bathroom both for functionality and style. Consider what light you already have, such as a window or a skylight, and plan from there. The best approach to a well-lit space is to incorporate layers of task, accent, ambient and decorative lighting.  Current bathroom design trends create focus on lighting schemes. To highlight this space, homeowners are using creative lighting techniques, fixtures, and dimmers to create a luxury and relaxing feeling. There are many lighting styles you can use for the vanity area including light bars and wall sconces, or small pendants.

Don’t overlook the hardware

Bathroom hardware includes faucets, showerheads, and knobs, but also includes handles, hinges, towel racks and hooks, and door handles. Make sure you have hardware that’s complementary (not matchy matchy) to each other. If you’re using oil-rubbed bronze for your shower hardware and faucets but your door handles are brass, it’s going to impact the overall look of your bathroom.

Think about technology

To say bathrooms have become high tech is an understatement! There are all kinds of options to add technology to your bathroom including floor heating, under counter appliances such as warming drawers for robes and towels, or wireless music systems. You spend a lot of time in a bathroom; why not make it a luxurious retreat?

Remodeling a bathroom can be a huge project, but an exciting one as well! Having a well thought out plan from the start will help you achieve the bathroom of your dreams!

5 Trends in Kitchen Countertops

When it’s time to renovate your kitchen, countertops can often make the biggest impact as they’re the most visible part of any kitchen. Trends have come and gone over the years; some are still going strong while others are considered outdated. Want some fresh ideas for your kitchen remodel?  Check out these 5 trends in kitchen countertops.

Prominent Patterns

Natural stones such as granite and marble can come with many different patterns or styles. You may see a fairly consistent pattern throughout the stone or you can see what’s called “movement” which means a unique pattern of crystals, veins and patterns that flow through the piece of stone. In the past, movement wasn’t desirable by homeowners for countertops but the new trend is to bring it on! Very distinct, prominent patterns in granite and marble are now in style; the more unique the better. For many, it makes decorating more interesting as designers match the colors and patterns in the stone with other décor in the kitchen such as artwork, wallpaper or backsplashes.

Backsplash Tiles

In the past, a backsplash was an extension of the stone or other material used for the countertops. Nowadays, backsplashes are predominantly tiles which allows for much more versatility. Whether it’s multi-colored tiles or subway tiles, backsplash tiles are the new norm. Materials for the tiles can include marble, metal, glass, copper, slate or glass, just to name a few. The options allow homeowners to really customize the look of their kitchens.

Neutral Countertops

Another emerging trend with the popularity of backsplash tiles are neutral countertops. While many homeowners want their countertops to take center stage with interesting patterns, others want their backsplash creativity to shine through, and are instead opting for very neutral countertops. Soft greys, whites, creams and beiges allow for other items in the kitchen, not just backsplashes, to stand out. The goal is for the countertop to be neutral and not catch anyone’s eye while other fun features such as lighting, backsplashes or even appliances to stand out.

Metal Countertops

This surprising trend is actually quite stunning! Metal countertops are now becoming increasingly popular all homes due to their durability and eye-catching shine. Though not new; this trend has been spotted in more contemporary, urban homes, the look is going mainstream. Many metal countertops are made to withstand rust and surface dings that are bound to happen in the kitchen.

Integrated Kitchen Sinks

Over the years, styles of sinks change with some frequency:  Over-counter, undermount, black granite, white porcelain, stainless steel, farmhouse sinks, etc. The trends seem to be driven by the look more than the functionality. Now the trend is sinks that are integrated into countertops. Also known as an “integrated sink countertop,” “counter sink,” or “integral sink”, integrated kitchen sink countertops are a single-piece design because the sink is made of the same material as the countertop. Why is this on trend?  They’re easy to clean because there are no seams between countertops and sinks. They provide a sleek look, so the sink isn’t a visual focal point in the kitchen. They’ve been popular for awhile in bathrooms, but now kitchens are featuring them as well.

At the end of the day, if you’re interesting in building your dream kitchen, the style needs to reflect your tastes as well as what you want the functionality of your kitchen to be. Countertop trends can be fun in opening up possibilities to make your kitchen unique. Not sure if these trends will work for you?  Work with a company that specializes in kitchen remodeling and restoration to find options that are right for you.