A renovation is an opportunity to take your home from ordinary to extraordinary by customizing your residence to work for you. Perry Newman says one of the biggest mistakes people make is focusing on a particular color or item (because it ends up dictating the whole design). Seeking timeless design for expensive, permanent elements (like tile, cabinetry and fixtures) is a smarter choice because if you choose those things based on a certain color, or a painting, or even a counter-top then you are modifying all your selections around something unimportant. Instead, seek to makeover your home in a pallet that will allow you to pull in patterns, textures and natural elements to give you a designer look. Then, hang that painting and add pops of your favorite color with furnishings and accent pieces. That way, when you tire of the color or the painting doesn’t appeal to you anymore, you simply change the furnishings and have a whole new look to your home. (Click here for more information about achieving timeless design.) The options for customizing your home are endless, from installing light switches in areas that work for you to changing the height of doorknobs, however, here are a few favorites to consider:
Bathrooms—Remodeling a bathroom gives you an amazing opportunity for customization. Your bathroom can become your retreat, a place to unwind and rejuvenate yourself. Some clients prefer to create a spa-like setting and others are interested in simplifying and making things efficient. A professional designer can help you think out-of-the-box and let you know about the latest trends in luxury, form and function. Many times, the traditional way of arranging a room is not the most efficient and expense in furnishings, maintenance costs and time cleaning can be reduced with smart design choices and thoughtful selections. For example, niches in the shower can eliminate racks and soap dishes or an oversized shower with a bench can give a luxury spa experience now while providing a solution for the future (when someone is elderly and needs a wheelchair).
Lighting—In design, “it’s all about the light.” Perry Newman says, “You get the right lighting and you are 75% of the way to great design.” Lighting sets the mood for your residence and customization allows you to adjust that mood to your needs at different times of day or different times of life. The type of lighting you choose affects paint color and how people see and perceive their surroundings. Fixtures should be carefully selected so they fade away and are invisible when appropriate and stand out as an accent or point of interest when that element is a feature of the design. Dimmer switches can give you control and help your house work well for different functions. For example, under-counter lighting in a kitchen can help brighten the room and make your kitchen more functional by giving direct light above the counter-top where you are cooking. It can also be used for safety, as a night light, or can be used for ambiance to help set the mood by dimming the lights in the evening.
Plumbing Fixtures—A great place to customize and make your home work for you is in your plumbing selections. There are so many features and options that it can be overwhelming but one tip is to not spend a lot on your sink. Choose something functional and then dress it up with gadgets like racks in the bottom, soap dispensers and a faucet with features that make you say, “Wow!” Because there are so many possibilities, you don’t have to spend a lot of your budget to get flexibility in function and a style you find appealing. Extra shower-heads in the bathroom, pot fillers and industrial sprayers in the kitchen, or even a retro, copper-colored faucet that looks just like the one your grandma had in her laundry room can all be yours with careful planning and smart selections.
Cabinetry—The best tip to cabinetry selection and customization is to trust the pros. Meaning, you may have an idea about how you want your kitchen, laundry or bathroom laid out but keep an open mind and listen to the person representing your cabinet company. They have seen it all! They have experience with what works and what doesn’t. They are in and out of kitchen’s every day so they know about the trends and what great ideas people are coming up with to make houses work better. At least set aside your preconceived notions and really hear what they are recommending for finishes and designing your room for the best functionality. Trust them to create the layout. For example, tradition has taught people to put plates in upper cabinetry (because that is what they have always done) however, a smarter solution is to put heavy plates in a drawer that is as close to your dishwasher as possible. It’s easier to put things away down low, instead of lifting them, and these days upper cabinets may not be deep enough to accommodate your large plates anyway. Clients hesitate at making these changes and then, after using their kitchen’s for a while, come back to tell us how wonderful and easy it makes things. They wonder how they did it the old way for so long. Since your cabinetry will probably be one of your biggest expenses, it’s worth taking time to listen and get it right. If it’s done correctly, you’ll be happy living with your choices for a very long time. Another opportunity that comes when you replace cabinetry is the chance to change the height to meet your needs. For someone very short or tall it is a luxury to have the counter-top at a height that makes it comfortable.
When a remodel is in your future, remember it is a great time to plan and think about how to customize your residence. Make sure that the changes you choose for expensive items are ones that can last over time and you can be happy with for the long haul. Feel free to play with color and accent your rooms with favorite items but don’t design a room around something temporary. Think about the little things and how they affect the way you live in and move around your house. Brainstorm creative ways to improve the function and features of your home. You’ll be surprised how much getting the little things right can improve your mood and enjoyment of your rooms. As always, the professionals at Perry Newman Design are here to help you through the process of making the best choices and taking you from your home to the home of your dreams. Give us a call at 801.971.0868 or fill out the contact form at perrynewmandesign.com to get started.