home thumbnailWhen remodeling the interior of a home (or kitchen or bathroom), the biggest issue people usually have is how to deal with all the myriad of design decisions and choices that they will have to make and ensuring that the end result is a home, or room, that still looks and feels like what they wanted when they started out on the journey. If there’s a designer involved, that shortcuts the process quite a bit, and he/she will become your guide along the way, but if a designer is not in your budget, then you will be on your own, which can be a scary thought, especially on a larger remodel! 


But fear not!! Below is a framework to help guide you along the design path. More specifics on each of the below items will be covered in future blog posts:


  • Start with the kitchen cabinetry - In most cases, the kitchen cabinetry will be the biggest contributing factor to the overall style and feel of the remodel. So by making this decision first, all the others that follow will be that much easier. This is the first domino that needs to fall so that all the other decisions can be made around it. And this is also generally the most expensive decision to make, so it’s important to make sure you get it right! When starting your journey on your remodel, keep in mind that each material should feed off and compliment the others, so that together as a whole they are better than they were individually. Being able to capture that element is what separates a good remodel from a truly great remodel.

    Bottom line: You want to consider the “feel” or “theme” you are going for with the overall remodel, and then try and pick out a cabinet door design and stain that reflects that.

  • Pick a kitchen countertop - Once you have your cabinets picked out, countertops is the next most important decision to make. The biggest thing you will have to decide are granite vs quartz. They are both good products and hold up to wear and tear equally well. It is more of choice of which fits the theme and feel of your remodel better. There are a host of other niche products out there, like concrete, compressed paper, recycled glass, etc, but they are all generally very expensive or have regular maintenance required, which most people would rather avoid.

    Bottom line: When picking out the specific counters you want, make sure of two things: it contrasts with the cabinetry color, and that it either pulls in some of the cabinetry color or is in a color family that compliments the cabinetry color. So bring a sample cabinetry door with you when picking it out.

  • Find a kitchen backsplash - Now that you have your cabinets and countertops chosen, give yourself a pat on the back as the most important decisions have now been made. If your budget permits, and if you want to achieve the highest level of design for your kitchen, you will want to do a “full” backsplash at the kitchen to fill the wall between the countertop and upper cabinets. Picking out a backsplash, for many people, is the most fun. There are so many choices, styles, and designs, which in this case is a good thing, as it will be easier to find one that matches up with the color-palette already established with your counters/cabinets, while still staying true to the feel/theme of the remodel.

    Bring a sample of your cabinetry and countertop with you when looking for your backsplash, and the right ones will catch your eye and start to pop out at you. If something looks good in the store but you are a bit unsure, take it home and look at all your samples together in the space where they will be installed (and during the day so that you can see how they actually look in your space.

    Bottom line: Choose a backsplash that contrasts with your countertop: so if you countertop is “busy” with lots of pattern or color variations, then choose a more monochromatic splash (or vice versa). Having contrasting elements is key to any design and creates “energy” in the space.

  • Pick out your floor tile - Now that you’ve put together the major building blocks of your kitchen, it’s time to pick out your floor. There are a ton of flooring options, and it’s most important to make sure you pick out something that won’t look too “busy” and distract from all the other elements in the home. One tile by itself might look good, but group 4 or 5 together side-by-side, and if it has too much variation, it will look too “busy” and likely not what you want. Ideally your tile complements your kitchen cabinetry, counters, and splash, and pulls off of all of them with coloring and contrast.

    Bottom line: You generally don’t want your tile to be the centerpiece, instead you want it pull everything else together.

  • Paint- The last major element of any remodel is the color of the walls. It should tie everything else together, but in a subtle way. This can make or break a space, and the most important thing to do is to put samples of the colors you are considering on the actual walls of the space. And not just in one room but in multiple rooms and multiple walls. Colors WILL look different in different light, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

    Bottom line: Make sure the color you choose is not too bold. As being too bold is the most common mistake. Wall paint is generally not the place to be bold, but rather to be subtle. Scaling down the saturation of your color can make it more pleasing to the eye while still capturing the color you are wanting. You can be bold with your accents, your kitchen backsplash, or your furnishings. But being too bold on the color of the walls can overpower and ruin a space.

  • Bathrooms - Bathroom cabinet/counter/tile choices turn out best when they run off of variations of themes established in the kitchen, while still being distinctively different and unique. Bath cabinetry is usually, but not always, the same style as the kitchen in order to create a unity in the house, but it is best to vary all the other material and fixture choices so that the space is kept interesting. It is “easy” to just copy the same materials as you used in the kitchen, but it will not be the highest level of design or create much visual interest.

    Bottom line: Keep things interesting and don’t be afraid to make the bathrooms a variation on the themes established in the kitchen. Even if all the bathrooms are the same, having them different from the kitchen will improve the “energy” and visual interest of your home.

  • Everything else - Once you have all the above 6 choices made, the remaining items, such as door hardware, lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, etc can be chosen to reflect the overall theme and style that has been created by the rest of the remodel. At this point, you will have a good grasp on what it is you’re going for with the remodel and the all these smaller decisions will come much easier. Also, if you are wanting to be bold, lighting fixtures are oftentimes are the most impactful way of doing it.

With the above 7 steps, you will be remodeling your house in no time. And remember, remodeling should be fun, so be sure to give yourself enough time to find what you want without being rushed, and visit enough places so that you see a large enough selection to find exactly what it is you’re looking for. Also, not every contractor will have good design skills, but they WILL (or at least should if they are well experienced) have a knowledgeable background of ideas, so don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and get lots of other peoples opinions if you are unsure of something, just be sure that you are the one making the final decision.

Good luck and happy remodeling!

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