So, you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen or bathroom. Well, you have come to the right spot. With so many options available in today’s market, one may get a little overwhelmed as to where to begin and what to choose. Setting a budget, selecting a good contractor (and interior designer of course 😉) and making a plan are good places to start. Once those decisions have been made, the next steps are the fun part! Selecting fixtures, finishes and equipment (FF&E) are what I think are the fun steps in revamping or remodeling a new space. Here are a few things to keep in mind in the process.
The walls are a great beginning to a kitchen or bathroom revamp. Are you keeping the same footprint or are you wanting a new configuration in your space? Your contractor and interior designer can help you with those decisions. It might also be a good idea to bring in an architect if your project is very involved.
Paint, wallpaper and decorative tiles can transform your rooms. From extraordinarily colorful to calm and serene, the selection of decorative tiles and wallpaper available are vast. There are tiles and wallpaper that look like wood. There is wallpaper that looks like tin tiles and tiles that look like stone. Here are some key considerations when contemplating how you’d like to update the look of your walls:
- Would you like a fun color to paint the walls or prefer to keep them clean, classic and neutral with a fresh coat of paint?
- Would you like a fun wallpaper with a colorful pattern or maybe a more subtle approach by selecting a wallpaper with a slight texture?
- What about a decorative tile for a bathroom shower in a fantastic emerald green like we did for our Rice University client (shown below) or a tile with a fun pattern for a kitchen backsplash? The possibilities are endless.
The floor is the primary area where you can consider tile. As I mentioned before, the different options with tile are inspiring. If you like the look of a wood floor but don’t really want to use real wood in the kitchen or bathroom, there are many great options in tile that will fool even a seasoned PRO. If you prefer the look of stone but would like to stay away from the expense, tile is an excellent answer.
There are basically two types of tile: porcelain and ceramic. Porcelain is the more durable between the two. When porcelain tiles are made, they are fired longer to make them stronger, more durable and more impervious to water than ceramic tile. Porcelain is also a more dense, fine grained, smooth tile. It can even be purchased in slabs and installed as kitchen countertops! Floor tiles are commonly available from 1”x1” to 24”x24”. You can also get them in specialty larger sizes like 12”x24”, 12”x48” and even 16”x32” as well as specialty shapes like hexagon, diamond, round or even Fish Scale as shown below. Our partner Stone & Tile published this fabulous blog post on tile shapes that I highly recommend. It’s quite informative with great illustrations and photos.
One practical concern when remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is suitable storage. Cabinets can be factory built or custom built and can come with a variety of different features. Cabinets with sliding shelves and drawers of all sizes with many different compartments are now available to store just about everything out of sight to keep your counters neat and clean. Think about what you use most and where those things should be placed for easy access. For example, a kitchen should have storage for all your baking needs, cookie sheets, cake and pie pans. You could arrange to have a baking drawer that is tall to place all of your cookie sheets and cooling racks in one place. And whenever you need one, there is no digging through drawers and unstacking pans. You can have a spice drawer right next to your range or cooktop for spices at your fingertips. For your bathroom, drawers with small compartments for makeup and makeup brushes are ideal. Cabinets with hooks on the inside of the drawer for hanging a hair dryer or flat iron are handy. Maybe even some slide out shelves for larger toiletry items. Plus, painting your cabinets a fun color is an option too. Instead of white or grey, think about a bright green or a fun yellow to create a fun pop of color in the room or coordinate with a patterned wallpaper.
Another area where you can add some bling is with decorative hardware and plumbing fixtures. Long gone are the days of having just one or two finishes (chrome and satin nickel) and one or two styles. Today we have finishes like Champagne Brass, Antique Gold, Black Matte and Oil Rubbed Bronze. The styles of plumbing fixtures are broad too. From contemporary to traditional, finding a fixture and a finish to coordinate with your style is so much easier now. The same goes for the hardware for your cabinetry. The same array of finishes are available for cabinet knobs and pulls and the designs are boundless. There are even decorative glass or acrylic selections.
Next, let’s talk about countertops. The countertops, like anything else, are available in a wide range of colors, patterns and pricing. Quartz and granite are the most commonly used and the most durable. Marble is great too, but there is much more maintenance with a marble countertop and more care needed to not mar, scratch or stain the marble. Quartz is a manmade product that is both durable and beautiful. It can be made to look like marble or just about any other stone. It can also be made in some great colors as well. Quartz is actually harder than granite and thus, more durable. In fact, quartz is nearly indestructible, and because it isn’t porous like granite, it’s easy to keep your countertops relatively bacteria-free. Be careful with cooking pans though. Quartz can be damaged by excessive heat, so use oven mitts at all times. If you’d like to look at some gorgeous options, check out our friends at Cambria, who have a great selection.
Another great solution for kitchen and bath counters is granite, a very hard stone and 100 percent natural. It’s mined from quarries all around the world, cut down to manageable sizes and then polished to a fine finish. If you’re trying to decide which countertop material is best for your home, I also recommend reading this HGTV article comparing the two materials as well as our post “Kitchen Counters that are Easy to Clean“.
Lighting, ah lighting! The mood setter of your kitchen and bathroom. Actually, it’s the mood setter for any room, for that matter. Lighting in my opinion can make or break a room. Lighting has three basic functions and is most effective when applied in “layers”. There is ambient or general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. Ambient lighting is the lighting that fills the room, like the recessed lighting in your ceiling. Task lighting is what we use to perform specific tasks like chopping or food prep in the kitchen or the lighting used to put on makeup or shave. Task lighting is more focused on specific areas of your room to help you see better when completing certain tasks. As it sounds, accent lighting is the final touch to add beautiful spark or drama in a room. In a kitchen it might be lighting in a cabinet or unique pendants over an island. In a bathroom, accent lighting might be a decorative chandelier. Of course, lighting can also add color in the form of finish and texture. Lighting designs and unique creations can truly be works of art. From formal to casual, colorful and textural, lighting adds that finishing touch to any room! Be sure to see our short “Chandelier Spotlight” post and “Kitchen Lighting Ideas That Will Brighten Your World” post on lighting too.
So, when you think about remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, remember there are many options available for every style you can imagine. Take your time and select colors and finishes that make you happy in your space. You spend a significant amount of time in these spaces, so they should bring you joy when you use them. Contact us at Pamela Hope Designs for expert guidance on renovating your kitchen and bath. We’d love to help you.