From Clutter to Custom

Soothing pastel bathroom

Bathroom with places to put away the necessities without being cluttered.

The opportunity to declutter is a great additional benefit of renovating your home. Shopping for tile, faucets or flooring and selecting grout colors can be a lot of fun but, as demolition day gets closer, homeowners have an opportunity for something even better than fun… purging!

Completely clearing out your living areas can seem overwhelming but the chance to go through your belongings and get rid of things you don’t need can have an empowering effect. You just decided to re-imagine your home, so why not re-imagine your life into the clean and efficient condition you’ve always wished it could be?

Organized pantry

Organized and appealing pantry

Here are some things to think about and the steps to take in clearing out your home before a remodel.

First, seriously consider if there is somewhere else you can live while your home is being renovated. There are many reasons for this suggestion. Generally, the reason people want to stay in their home during a remodel is to save money but it is worth a financial sacrifice to have a place to go that is not a construction zone. This suggestion is for your mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Second, decide how and where your belongings will be stored during construction. Banker’s boxes or plastic bins with lids are good options for packing the things that you are keeping and they neatly stack for storage during the project. There may be some room in your home (away from the renovation) where you can store the boxes or you might consider renting modular storage spaces that can be delivered to your property. Some people rent a storage unit for this purpose or have their belongings packed and stored off-site.

Third, clearing out every shelf and drawer takes time so, please, plan for it. Adjust your schedule as necessary so you don’t end up in sitting in a pile of chaos at 3AM the day work on your house is scheduled to begin.

Fourth, assemble what you need before you start. Besides the boxes or bins, you will need garbage bags, labels, markers and three large bins (or a laundry-sorting cart with three sections).

Declutter!Fifth, pick a room to start in (you might want to bring a water bottle because you’re going to be in there for a while). Staying in the room (not running in an out and getting distracted) will help immensely. Bring the three large bins, a few of your banker’s boxes and some garbage bags with you into the room and follow these steps:

1) Select a bin for “PUT AWAY” a bin for “GIVE AWAY” and a bin for “THROW AWAY.” You may want to line the “throw away” and “give away” bins with garbage bags.

2) Start in one corner of the room and quickly sort items into one of the three bins. Go with your gut and don’t spend a lot of time on individual things. (Try not to hug items, sing about them or cry because that just takes longer and makes sorting them agonizing and emotional.) You can judge if things are going well by whether the “throw away” and “give away” bins fill up quickly. When needed, reline those bins with a new bag and keep going.

closet without clutter

Dejunked and custom designed closet.

3) Try to stay right there in the room to finish as much sorting as possible before you need to empty the “put away” bin.

4) When you need to empty your bins, start with the “put away” bin and anything that belongs in the room where you are cleaning can go into the banker’s boxes. Label each box with the room’s name to make unpacking easy. Anything that is left in the “put away” bin should be quickly taken to the room where it belongs. Toss the “throw away” bags into the trash and put the “give away” bags in your car (so you can take them to Goodwill).

5) When your bins are empty, come back into the room you were working on and start the process over. Keep going until the entire room is sorted.

6) The last thing to do in the room is to put the labeled banker’s boxes into your storage area. Taking each of them from that room at the same time means that they’ll all be together when you unpack (making it easier and more efficient).

Now, you’re ready to start on another room. It feels great to empty them out one-by-one.

Going through everything you own can be stressful but it can also make you feel great. Here are some tips to keep you thinking positively and to help you not get overwhelmed during the process:


Picture your future home.

1) Picture the future. Daydream about how beautiful your home will be after you clear out the mess and construction is complete. Imagine yourself enjoying the clean, organized rooms you are creating.

2) Think of all the good you are doing by donating unused items to people in need. You are making a difference and (if you request a receipt when you drop off your items) getting a tax deduction too.

3) Remember everything you own is a responsibility. Think of your possession’s as rocks that are a weight you carry around with you. This will motivate you to get rid of the dead weight so you can really enjoy the things that you actually use and need.

Science has shown that clutter doesn’t just affect us physically; it affects our emotions, intellect, ability to rest and more. Chances are, you’ll sleep better, be more creative, feel happier and have more motivation if you find the courage to let things go.

declutter closet custom

Custom closet with organization.

The opportunity to declutter and enjoy the benefits of orderly living is a great reason to consider updating your home. If you’re ready to re-invent your environment call Perry Newman Design today at 801.971.0868. He’ll take your cluttered mess from conception, through construction to completion so you can have the custom designed “a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place” place that you have always dreamed of.

“Wood” you know how to pick the best cabinetry?

Custom cabinetry in UtahCabinetry design and selection is a very important element of a home renovation. While people generally think of cabinetry as being for kitchen’s and bathroom’s, cabinets can enhance many areas of your home. Consider how cabinetry can customize a craft room, create the perfect designer closet, make an appealing feature that hides entertainment components, display art or organize your laundry room. Besides being important for design and function, cabinetry will be one of the biggest expenses in a renovation so shop smart and make sure you balance price, quality and function to find the perfect cabinets for your home.

Thicker materials make better cabinetry. Your cabinetry boxes should be at least three-quarters of an inch thick. Some cabinet makers will try to cut costs by using material that is five-eighths of an inch for their boxes instead. If your cabinetry is made well and of quality materials it will stay sturdy and not shift or warp. There are many things that happen in a kitchen or bathroom that cause moisture to interact with your cabinetry so you need quality materials that can stand up to the test of cooking and bathing so they’ll stay looking beautiful and work properly over time. Melamine interiors are a great choice for cabinets and drawers. In fact, Perry Newman believes having melamine for the interior of drawers is better than wood.Kitchen cabinetry in Utah home “Just be careful,” he warns, “to check the quality of the melamine. There is some coming in from China that is low quality and if you put a hot glass (right out of the dishwasher) on it, it will bubble up and warp. That can also happen with wood in the bottom of drawers so quality melamine is better.”

Doors are the most expensive item of a cabinetry purchase. Take time to educate yourself and know what the doors are made of before you order. So much of your cost and the success of the design rides on this decision because cabinetry is big and expensive and can’t easily be switched out like other things in the home. The cost of cabinetry varies so drastically that you really need to think about how much you want to spend and get the highest quality and function for that price. Perry Newman suggests you decide on your goal for the cabinets and work to achieve the best balance in what you purchase.

Utah custom kitchenHardware is something people seldom ask for details about but you can spend a little or a whole lot on pulls and handles. Better quality hardware is made in the United States or Germany. If you order online or through a box store without direction from your cabinet maker or designer you might end up with lower quality pulls and drawers that don’t work or don’t last like they would have if more care had been taken in the hardware selection. “There is nothing more frustrating than a drawer that doesn’t work.” Perry Newman explains, “I’ve had people want to renovate a whole kitchen over that.”

Custom kitchen and curio display in UtahCheck for gaps, untreated wood, splinters and chipped edges. A well-made cabinet will not have these evidences of poor craftsmanship. Another key indicator is to look for 100 percent, perfect right angles on each joint and corner of the cabinetry. Perry Newman says people should take time to understand how their cabinetry is built. Ask questions, a good cabinet maker knows how to explain the process and can tell you in detail how your pieces will come together.

Custom cabinetry in UtahChecking the drawers can give you clues about the quality of the product. Drawers that have steel ball bearings in the roller mechanisms and metal fittings are better quality than those with plastic and nylon. Ask about the load rating for how much weight the drawers can hold. The higher the number, the better. If the drawer is built to hold more weight, it needs to be built better. Features like soft close and full-extension guides (that allow you to access even the very back of the drawer) can also be indicators that your cabinetry is of higher quality. Also, ask about options like custom pegs and dividers (see below). Quality cabinet builders will offer those types of customization.

Look at the shelving inside the cabinets. Better quality cabinetry generally has more adjustable shelving and less fixed shelves. While you are in there, look at the hardware holding the shelves in place. You want to find a cabinet builder that uses metal hardware, not plastic, because the shelves will hold more weight, stay in place better and last well over time.

Custom drawer in UtahUse the cabinets before you decide. Open doors, slam drawers, see how the cabinetry feels in the showroom or in projects that builder has completed before you order it for your home. There shouldn’t be any wobbling and the doors and drawers should feel smooth when you use them. Think about how you utilize your cabinetry and make sure that the way the cabinets you are considering function will meet your needs. One tip that has become quite a work-saving trend is to plan to store your dishes in drawers instead of upper cabinets. It’s so much easier to move dishes from the dishwasher into deep, lower drawers that it is to lift heavy plates up into high cabinetry. Another tip is those drawer dividers and custom pegs mentioned earlier help organize your kitchen, maximizing efficiency and making a place for every kitchen gadget and tool.

call button small croppedIf all this talk about testing and quality and finding balance kind of makes your head spin, consider getting the help of a professional designer to lead you through all your selections. The Perry Newman Design team specializes in finding the best choices and guiding you through the selection process to find the highest quality materials while keeping you on schedule and in budget. A designer will also have experience with different products and suggestions about ways to utilize all the latest advancements in cabinetry and the other elements of your renovation. The process starts with a free, in-home consultation so call and schedule today 801.971.0868 or fill out the contact form on


10 Tips and Tricks for Exceptional Interior Design

Sample basement media room designGetting ready to remodel or maybe just feeling like updating and freshening the look of your home? Enjoy these ten, professional interior design tips that will help you get it right.

  1. The most important renovation tip is: Always, always, always have a plan before you start. Whether it’s a big construction project or just a few changes you should think the project through thoroughly, make all your design selections, create a schedule and have everything on hand before you begin. Having a plan means you have thought through and prepared for each step of the project. If you’ve done that, you can deal with the hiccups that inevitably come along. But if you haven’t, the project will take longer, cost more and may not turn out the way that you hoped it would.
  2. Many interior designers say that the most important aspect of a room is the lighting. It makes a room. Perry Newman likes to restate “In great design it’s all about the light.” Get the lighting right and it will elevate the experience of living in your home.
  3. Sample of room with natural light and yellow accentsSpeaking of light, sunlight is a wonderful tool. Add windows (or at least clean the ones you have so they shine). Remember that glass sparkles and sunlight gives the illusion of a bigger space. Natural light is warm and inviting, it relaxes people. Choose accent pieces that accentuate the light. For example, yellow pillows or window treatments are bright and cheerful. In fact, the color yellow actually stimulates conversation in your gathering spaces.
  4. Mirrors are another tool that can increase the light in a room. They gleam and sparkle and they make the space expand so it appears larger. Think carefully about the placement of mirrors. Be sure that you arrange them so they reflect something beautiful. They can even be combined to form a point of interest or replace art on the walls. Most of the time even quality mirrors will be cheaper than art.
  5. Sample of feature wall with framed print collectionWhen it comes to art bigger is not necessarily better. Selecting appropriate art to use in design can be intimidating and the whole process is subjective. People like what they like and what one person considers incredible may not be interesting to someone else. Since art can be expensive, it is common for homeowners to get overwhelmed or frustrated while making these selections. If you find yourself in this situation consider using a collection of small prints and having them framed in matching frames. Then, carefully arrange these on the feature wall to make an engaging point of interest.
  6. There is no such thing as clutter in a well-designed room. There can be many things in the room but each piece should have intent and purpose. In most instances, a good rule for homeowner’s is “less is more.” The personal items that you do display should be carefully chosen, have a purpose and a story. You should like the items that surround you in your home and they should reflect your personality and passions.
  7. But, what do you do with all the rest of the junk you’ve collected? Simple, plan for storage in your design so the treasures you can’t bear to part with each have a designated place where they can be tucked away. “A place for everything and everything in its place” is a good guideline. If you don’t have room for it in your home then you probably don’t have room for it in your life.
  8. Layer your space. Your home will look cold, commercial and uninviting if you do not have rugs and furnishings. So, plan for these things when you are first making your selections and your budget. Getting the construction done is important but without furniture what use is a living room? It’s hard to live there if you don’t have anywhere to sit down. In the photos below you see an example of a Perry Newman Design room complete with furniture next to another Perry Newman Design room where the client had not budgeted furnishings into the cost of the project. Although both are beautifully constructed homes, not having a finished room will decrease the satisfaction of an otherwise stellar remodel. At minimum, be sure to include rugs, furniture and window coverings.


  1. Utah kitchen with dark cabinetry and a white ceilingWhen considering paint choose a base color and then purchase a 50% lighter mix as well as a 150% darker mix of the same color. Use these in your room to simulate texture (as would happen if you striped a wall) or to add interest with accent pieces. Another tip with color is that if your room feels dark (because of color or cabinetry) you can paint the ceiling a lighter version of the wall color and it will instantly brighten the room.
  2. People think that designer homes are all about “the look” but great interior design engages as many senses as possible. As discussed in a previous Perry Newman Design blog, textures add interest and help create the feel of a room. Another way to elevate your home is through fragrance. Fresh flowers bring the outside in to make your home lovely. The smell of clean linens gives people the impression your home is spotless, fresh and well taken care of. Whatever fragrance suits your style can become part of your home by using scented candles, air fresheners and other products described in the “Eleven easy ways to make your home smell better” blog.

call button small croppedCareful planning is the key to a successful renovation or redesign project. One way to plan carefully is to meet with a professional and Perry Newman Design offers a free consultation for homeowner’s who are seriously considering a remodeling project. If you want a new kitchen, master suite, or bathroom or if you are ready to finish or redesign your basement, give Perry Newman a call and we will spend an hour in your home going over your options. As part of our renovation experience, we take you from your conception, through all the planning and construction, to the completion of your designer home.

perry_logo-full cropped

Three ways to elevate your design by utilizing texture

Sample room with wood, stone and other textured elements.

Sample room with wood, stone, fabric, metal and other textured elements.

Texture is an important element to elevating design. To achieve a designer finish, Perry Newman advises “stay within your palette and use lots of textures for interest.” Utilizing different textures can help create the perception of a feeling, balance the room by weight or contrast and add interest while highlighting a focal point. Proper, careful placement and use of a variety of textures can lead the eye through a room and create the desired ambiance. Here are three suggestions to making the best use of texture:


  • Sample room with brick, wood, glass and metal textures.

    Sample room with brick, wood, glass, plant and metal textures.

    Texture adds dimension and different moods can be achieved through selecting the right combination (even while staying within the colors in your palette). For example, rough textures feel warm because they do not reflect as much light as a smooth surface. They also have a rustic vibe, while smooth textures seem more modern and feel cooler because they reflect more light. A bold texture creates depth and enhances the feeling of warmth. Movement and tranquility can be achieved by repeating shapes and patterns (the way being near water and seeing the ripples on a pond can soothe and mellow a person’s emotions). Unity and integrity can be conveyed by matching borders on different elements in the room. Playing with textures can strike any mood between creating drama or giving the impression of a relaxing, faraway place.


  • Texture on shower wall

    Adding texture to accent a plain white wall gives an upscale, luxury feel without adding any color at all.

    Different finishes (smooth, matte, course, fine, etc.) can add interest and depth to a neutral room, keeping it timeless but making it homey and livable. When placing objects in the design consider whether the texture offers a visual or tactile experience or both. The more bold or rough a texture is, the heavier the piece will appear. Smoother or shiny textures look lighter and can be used for contrast. Utilizing texture to make features in the room appear heavy or lighter provides an opportunity to balance the room or create imbalance and angst, depending on the look a designer is striving to achieve.


  • Finally, consider placement and selection of textured objects to combine into an appealing overall concept. Things like tree branches, wood, textiles, draperies, art or brick can be altered to stand out as a focal point or blend in to conform. For example, a brick wall left as it is may be a feature in the room but painted a neutral color it fades away, offering the interest of the brick texture, but not detracting from the carefully placed focal point. Natural elements that are incorporated into the design add an appealing, earthy feel. Things like plants, sisal, wood, etc. are elements to consider incorporating for added interest.



texture sample room with horse art

Sample room displays texture of glass, brick, sisal rug, fabrics, stone, metal, plants and wood.

Perry Newman says an easy way to bring texture into a design is carefully selecting fabrics on the furniture but a less expensive alternative is to choose different fabrics on throw pillows. Remember that adding a variety of trims and fringes adds interest. The same is true for draperies and art. Just stick to your palette plus white, black and grey. If you would like a designer eye to help make your texture choices, the professionals at Perry Newman Design can help you take your home renovation project from conception, through construction, to completion. Call Perry today at 801.971.0868 or fill in the contact form at

perry_logo-full cropped

Four renovation tips to customize your home

Grand Kitchen

Sample of timeless design: Grand kitchen with custom cabinetry, wooden floors and under-cabinet lighting.

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:


  • Custom bathroom with shower room

    Sample of custom bathroom with innovative features.

    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).


  • Custom kitchen with lighting

    Sample of kitchen with custom lighting.

    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.


  • Custom muti shower heads

    Sample of custom shower with multiple shower heads and a bench.

    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.


  • Custom laundry room

    Sample of custom cabinetry and professionally designed laundry room in Utah.

    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 to get started.

perry_logo-full cropped

Eleven easy ways to make your home smell better

Kitchen island with bar stools

Kitchen island with bar stools.

People say they love the smell of a new car but do you know what’s even better? New house smell! A new house smells amazing and that scent comes free with every Perry Newman Design renovation. To get started remodeling your home, call us at 801.971.0868 or send us a message from our website

If you are looking to make your home smell better today, here are ten more easy ideas:

  • Use baking soda: If your home is clean but still doesn’t smell like it then you might have pet or other odors clinging to your carpeting. Sprinkle baking soda over your carpets, let it sit for 15 minutes and then vacuum until the white powder is gone. For more tips on how baking soda can help your home smell fresh, visit the Arm and Hammer website.
  • Freshen your drains: Sometimes foul orders come from your pipes. Try grinding some lemon or lime slices in your disposal or put a few drops of a strong essential oil (like peppermint) down each of your drains.
  • Burn a scented candle: They come in hundreds, if not thousands, of flavors and in all price ranges. Find a candle you love and enjoy. Don’t forget to use safety and common sense when burning a candle in your home.
  • Baking cookies

    Hot cookies smell delicious.

    Bake something yummy: The smell of baking bread or cookies makes your house homey and inviting. This is a trick real estate agents have used for years. If you aren’t a chef, buy premade cookie or bread dough and your house will smell like a delicious dream.

  • Put air freshener cones in closets and older cupboards: Gel air freshener cones are inexpensive and can work wonders in small, closed spaces like closets and cupboards. If you are using this trick in a linen closet, you may want to choose an air freshener that smells like clean laundry. That way your towels and linens will stay fresh longer.
  • Clean the air: If you have a smoker in the family or some other issue is causing foul smelling air, put some bowls of white vinegar or ammonia around the problem areas and leave them out overnight. Dispose of the liquid the next morning and things should smell better.
  • Invest in a diffuser: Another great way to make the air smell better is to use essential oils in a diffuser. Your local store will sell plug-in units that allow you to insert a new scent about once per month. These are a fairly inexpensive solution. Or, you can buy a diffuser and a selection of oils from companies like or to custom scent your home as often as you choose.
  • Use your furnace: You can use your furnace to send a pleasant aroma throughout your living spaces by purchasing a freshener that attaches to your furnace filter. Look for these products in the furnace filter section of your local home improvement store. They don’t cost a lot and come in a variety of fragrances. You could change your scent to match each season and keep your home smelling fresh and festive all year long.
  • Boil potpourri: Put water in a pan on your stove (or use a potpourri pot designed for this use) and add potpourri. As the water boils, the scent will spread through your home. You can purchase potpourri at most grocery, department or home stores. Craft stores have a variety of this product too.
  • Scented sachets

    Example of scented sachets.

    Make scented sachets: For small spaces like drawers, cupboards and bathrooms you can make small sachets of whatever you enjoy the scent of. Just set these sweet-smelling cloth bags wherever you want a pleasant scent. You can find ideas for different scent combinations online and there are instructions on making sachets at

The best scent of them all is a new house scent and we still offer that free with every Perry Newman Design renovation. call button small croppedWe pride ourselves on offering beautiful, creative and custom design solutions and then we bring in the best artisans and craftsmen to complete your project on time and on budget. Push the red button to call Perry now and, until you are ready to start your project, enjoy these ideas to help your house smell as good (or better) than it looks.

perry_logo-full cropped