If you own an older home, there’s a good chance it contains at least one ceiling you’d like to replace with something more stylish. Drop ceilings, ceiling tiles, old fashioned plaster that’s falling apart with age, popcorn ceilings…they all need to be replaced with clean, new drywall if you want to bring your home up to date. Even if you’ve chosen a stylish finish like tin or tongue-and-groove paneling, you’ll need a backer or substrate to support it, and drywall fits the bill. Removing a ceiling can be a messy and even dangerous process and installing new drywall is particularly labor intensive. Ask these questions before you start prying off the old ceiling.



What are you replacing?

suspended-ceiling4How you begin the process of removing a ceiling will obviously depend on what, exactly, you are replacing. Ceiling tiles, for example, would either be attached to furring strip or glued directly to a substrate. If furring strips were used, you can cut each tile and then pry them off of the strips. Then, go back and pull down the furring strips. If the tiles were glued directly to the ceiling above, nothing but sheer will and a scraper will pull them down.

If you’re tearing down a drop ceiling, removing the tiles is the easy part, but you will then need to go back and remove the framing that held them up. The frame was likely screwed in place. Get your screw gun and start removing pieces.

popcornOld plaster is held in place by lathe. Both the plaster and the lathe will need to come down. There is nothing to do but pry it off the ceiling and get ready for a mess. Removing popcorn ceilings is equally messy. The sprayed on popcorn needs to be scraped off. Spray the ceiling with water to minimize dust before you start scraping. When that’s done, the remaining drywall may be in good enough condition where it only needs to be patched and painted.


What’s Behind It?

demo3In the best case, there will be nothing but level, plum framing left after you’ve removed the other ceiling materials, making for a great backing for the new ceiling. In the worst case, your ceiling is on the top floor of your house, meaning there’s insulation behind it. In an extreme situation, that insulation is the loose, blown-in kind. Be ready for light, fluffy, scratchy bits of insulation to billow down from above. In other cases, a past owner of your home installed tile or other ceiling materials to hide something. Unfortunately, you’ll only know once you start the demolition.


…And Is It Dangerous?

As with any demolition, particularly in an older home, there’s a good chance you will disturb hazardousMan wearing respirator materials. Our predecessors were not as sensitive to the environmental impact of building materials as we are today. Popcorn ceilings installed before 1979 may contain asbestos. Insulation, similarly, may contain asbestos. If you have any doubt whatsoever, get the room tested for asbestos and if it tests positive, have it properly remediated by a licensed professional.  Prior to 1970, most paints contained hazardous lead. Take proper precautions to control the dust created when demolishing a ceiling that may contain lead paint.


Ready to Install the New Ceiling?

Drywall InstallersAffixing drywall sheets to a ceiling is no easy feat. After cutting each sheet to size, two people need to lift the sheet and hold it against the ceiling while a third person screws it to the ceiling joists. Alternatively, rent a drywall lift to minimize the effort and number of people required for the job. Tape, plaster and sand the seams between drywall sheets and the screw holes, and you’re ready for paint and finish. The ceiling in a newly renovated room is an often overlooked opportunity to add style and character. Consider finishing your ceiling paneling or other materials, or painting it a bright color. For an even more sophisticated look (and more complicated project) frame out a coffered ceiling, a tray ceiling, a recessed ceiling or even a barreled or arched ceiling.


During a renovation, the ceiling is one of the places where the proverbial “can of worms” can be lurking. It’s best to know what you’re getting into before you start the process of replacing it. Even if you’ve asked and answered all of the questions above, you need to be ready for surprises. The last thing you want is to be forced to live with a half-demolished ceiling for any longer than you have to.

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This Old House: 6 Great Looks for Your Ceiling

White cabinets, safe wall colours, neutral tile backsplash and floors. That’s the safest formula for kitchen design. You see that combinkitchen-colorful-ideas-varied-paletteation on every home improvement show and, likely, in most of your neighbours’ kitchens. If you’re renovating your kitchen with plans to sell your home, you may keep it safe, but if you want to add a bit of your own personality to your kitchen, don’t be afraid to get a little bold with your colour selections. The kitchen, after all, is the heart of the home and it should reflect your own personal style. Just keep these tips in mind and you’ll create a colour palette that compliments your kitchen and matches your personality.




Build Your Palette Around the CabinetsPainted-Kitchen-Cabinets-Nice

If you’ve selected wood cabinets, or you have existing wood cabinets and simply intend to keep them, build your colour palette their shade. Wood shades range from yellow to orange to red to brown depending up on the species of wood and the stain and finish used on them. If you’re painting your cabinets, white is actually not a bad choice as it allows you to add colour in other parts of the room, but don’t be afraid to paint your cabinets a colour that suits your style. Yellow-based greens tend to add brightness to a room and are well complimented by white trim. Bold reds and bright browns are energetic while blues are softer and more subdued. Light blues trends towards the more comfortable and casual, while darker blues create a cooler, somewhat more formal feel.  Warmer colours like yellows and light brown can compliment wood floors and counteract the relative coolness of stainless steel with significant warmth.


orange-kitchen-counterMake a Statement With Countertops

The number of patterns, colours and materials in which countertops are available can be overwhelming. As in the rest of the kitchen, neutral colours and white are safe Given that countertops are a big ticket item, it makes sense not to follow trends, but there’s the number of options means that countertops are a tremendous opportunity to make a statement. If you are using three or more different colours in your kitchen, consider keeping the countertops simple. Select a marble or granite with minimal graining and colour variation. Otherwise, take the time to find the countertop that speaks to your style from the myriad of choices and you’ll be rewarded with a very special kitchen.


20kitchen-tile-backsplash-feb11Tie in the Backsplash

Your backsplash is literally and figuratively the connection between your cabinets and your countertops. It’s typically only 45 cm high, but for such a small area, adds a tremendous amount of style to the kitchen. Its colours should compliment those of the countertops. Here too, there are a myriad of choices in terms of materials, patterns and colours and it can be dangerous to loyally follow trends. Carefully consider the brightness and intensity of the pattern in your backsplash design. If you’re feeling brave, however, use the backsplash to add a punch of colour. There are a number of ways to do this, from a line of patterned tile that runs the length of the backsplash to evenly spaced bursts of colour within the tile pattern.


floor-squares-2-lDon’t Overlook Flooring Options

Traditional kitchen design calls for floor tiles to be consistent with the backsplash. If you take a traditional approach, though, be careful not to match them too closely. Your kitchen will be much more interesting if there is some variation, whether in pattern or colour. More modern kitchen designs feature a wider variety of flooring materials and colours. If your floors are wood, use a stain colour that ties in with the cabinets, or choose to paint them for a wider array of options. If you really want your floors to be a differentiator, consider options from concrete to vinyl to epoxy.





Kitchen Walls Are an AccentIA_int_red_kitchen_1200x880

Most of the wall space in a kitchen is covered by cabinets, backsplash and appliances. That makes the wall colour more of a compliment and less of a highlight than it is in other rooms.  Select wall colours like you would trim colours in other rooms. They can either compliment or contrast their surrounding materials. Don’t be afraid to select something that contrasts.





Traditionalists will tell you to design your kitchen with a minimum variety of colour. That is, in fact, a safe choice, but not necessarily one that will result in a kitchen that will fit your personal style. Don’t be afraid to spice up your kitchen design with up to three different colours and multiple hues of each.


Want to read more?

Better Homes and Gardens: Choosing Kitchen Paint Colors

This Old House: Five No-Fail Palettes for Colorful Kitchens

Whether you are renovating your house for the sole purpose of selling it or you plan on staying in your home long after the project is complete, the goal of any home improvement project is to add value to the property. When it does come time to sell, there are two places buyers look more than any other; the kitchen and the bathrooms. Living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms can be sufficiently spruced up with as little as some touch up paint, but kitchens and baths are opportunities to add that “wow” factor that will increase demand for your home. Follow these tips to make improvements that add maximum value.


Highlight the Kitchen

In most situations, the kitchen is going to be seen early the homebuyer’s tour oKitchen-7-f the house. That means it’s your first opportunity to make an impression. Likewise, if the buyer sees something they don’t like, their opinion will be negatively influenced for the rest of the tour. Do something in the kitchen that will enable the buyer to see themselves entertaining, cooking for the family or generally enjoying a beautifully functional space. A full renovation can accomplish this, but smaller touches, like task lighting under the wall cabinets, customized storage and new cabinet hardware are all things that can communicate this message.


Don’t Underestimate the Value of Bathrooms

Smart homebuyluxury-master-bathroom-ideas616-x-462-52-kb-jpeg-xers know that more work goes into a bathroom than any other room in the house and they will appreciate the value of a well-designed bathroom. A spa-like retreat in move-in condition can appeal to buyers as much as a beautiful kitchen. Master bathrooms, in particular, are something that can make a buyer fall in love with your house, but the other bathrooms in your house deserve attention too. The lack of a half bath on the main floor for guests to use, for example can be a major turn-off. If this is a shortcoming if your home, consider adding one.




Know your Neighborhood

If the homes in your neighborhood and target price range do not have granite countertops  and top-of-the-line appliances, you don’t necessarily need to have them either in order to get the right price for your home. In fact, if you overdo it, you can make your home harder to sell. In many cases, it’s  better to make the most out of what you have rather than gutting an entire room. In many cases, painting cabinets and replacing their hardware, for example, can create the same affect as replacing them at a fraction of the cost. White cabinets are, in fact, preferred by many of today’s buyers. If you feel you need to go a little further, update the lighting and plumbing fixtures in a kitchen or a bath.



Know Your Market

knowyourmarketHaving a sense of your potential buyers’ demographics can create an advantage. If you know your house caters to young professionals, empty-nesters or young families, cater your renovation to that group. Younger buyers, for example, tend to prefer large, open showers in the bathroom, often preferring them over tubs. A family with young children, however, is going to want at least one tub in the house somewhere. This carries through to design elements as well. Select either modern or traditional finishes based on your audience.





Talk With a Real Estate Professional

No one understands the market and the comparable homes in your town than a local real estate agent. They can give you a quick, but qualified assessment of whether or not a renovation will generate a return on investment. Their knowledge of the local market can be invaluable. Ask them what you need to be competitive and whether or not the investment is worthwhile before plunging into a project.




Appeal to the Masses

appealtothemassesAvoid taste-specific finishes like heavily speckled or veined granite, patterned wallpaper or a themed backsplash. While there’s a chance, you may find a buyer whose tastes match yours exactly, you’ll appeal to a broader range of buyers if you stick with simple, clean lines and err towards fewer color variations. Popular choices like white cabinets and stainless steel appliances will attract many more buyers than they will scare away.




If you do your research properly, select the right improvements and set and stick to a budget and a timeline, you can create a tremendous return on investment with a kitchen or bath renovation, whether you’re looking go sell immediately or enjoy the improvements yourself for several years. The next owner of your home will appreciate the fact that you kept them in mind when you planned they renovation and they’ll reward you for it handsomely.


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Trulia: These are the 2 Rooms That Really Sell Homes

Houzz: 7 Tips to Sell Your Home Faster to a Younger Buyer

Storage in the kitchen is both a practical matter and an esthetic issue. You need a place to put all of your pots, pans, cutlery, silverware, etc… And, the more items you can store away, off the countertops, the cleaner a look your kitchen will have. You also need to leave some room for windows, doors and traffic flow. Smart kitchen storage design is about more than just sheer volume. It’s about maximizing the space you have with intelligent planning. Follow these ideas to design a kitchen that both meets your practical needs and pleases your senses.




The Pantry: A Walk-In Closet For Your Kitchen

Just like in the bedroom, having a separate space to store items is a tremendous luxury. Imagine opening a set of doors and having all of your kitchen gadgets displayed before you. No need to go digging through drawers and cabinets to find things. If and when it becomes disorganized, you can always close the doors to conceal it from your guests. If your space allows, consider making a walk-in pantry part of your kitchen. When planning your pantry’s layout, think about what you’ll be storing in it and plan around it.




Deep CabinetsKitchen_Closet

Those of us who do not have the luxury of space adjacent to the kitchen that can be converted to a pantry, can plan a tall, deep, closet-like cabinet into our kitchen. One possible spot is next to a full-depth refrigerator. Organization is key here. Intelligently planed racks and shelving inside a large cabinet will ensure that you get the most out of the space, rather than just having a vast, cavernous cabinet filled with an unorganized mess.





Tall Wall CabinetsWall Cabs

When redesigning your kitchen, extend the wall cabinets to the ceiling for maximum storage. Yes, this will put some items out of reach for all but the tallest chefs, but the design community has addressed your issue with folding step stools that have been designed to hide away in the toe kick beneath base cabinets. Store your seldom-used items in the highest sections of the cabinets and you’ll rarely have to use it.



contemporary-kitchenCorner drawers

Corners where one set of base cabinets meet another at a 90-degree angle can represent a challenge in kitchen layout. The lazy Susan is one solution, however, ingenious designers have come up with drawers that slide out of the corner at an angle. This prevents items falling off of the lazy Susan and the need to rummage around in the back of a deep corner cabinet.


how-to-turn-a-deep-drawer-into-an-organized-utensil-drawer-Queen-Bee-of-Honey-Dos-on-@RemodelaholicCustomized Drawer Interiors

Specialized drawer interiors have been designed for everything from utensils to trash cans to cookie sheets. When designing a new kitchen, inventory your current kitchen and give serious thought to what you want to store and where. Consider how and where you use each item, and chances are, there’s a storage solution for it.




Appliance GarageHolbrook013

You may have a beautiful looking toaster, blender and mixer, but you don’t necessarily want to display them all the time. Tuck them into an appliance garage with either a roll-top, folding or lift-up door and they will be easily accessible but out of site. Most appliance garages are designed to fit snugly between the countertop and wall cabinet.




Display Items

Some of your kitchen wares can and should be on display. Platters, daily dishes and even some pots and pans can be stores on open shelving, wall racks or hung from hooks. This will prevent you from having to cover every wall surface with closed cabinets.






The more thought you put into your kitchen’s storage, the better. Think about what you use the most and where, in the kitchen, you use it. Then, create a plan to store it within easy reach. You’ll never say to yourself that you have too much storage in your kitchen. At the same time, by maximizing the store you do have, you’ll be able to leave room to allow your culinary center to be open and airy.


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Houzz: 15 Most Popular Kitchen Storage Ideas on Houzz

Youtube: Hiding a Step Stool – Gulfcoast Kitchen Design, Inc.

One place homeowners can save money on their renovation is in the demolition phase. Rather than paying a contractor to perform the relatively unskilled task of demolishing a kitchen, for example, many choose to strip out dated countertops, cabinets and appliances themselves. In addition to the savings, many homeowners experience a special kind of joy when they a take sledgehammer to an ugly kitchen that they’ve been wanting to replace since they moved in. Before you start swinging, though, it’s important to consider the logistics and, more importantly, the safety precautions.


ScheduleHave a Schedule (and Stick to It)

It sounds simple, but keeping to a schedule will minimize the amount of time your kitchen is out of commission. No matter how ugly your kitchen is now, it will be even uglier after you demo it and you won’t want to look at it for very long. Plus, you won’t be able to cook or store food until it’s put back together again.

If you’re using a contractor to install the new kitchen, it is important to know when they’ll begin work and to start the demolition far enough in advance of that date so that the work is done before that date, but not so far in advance that your kitchen is non-functional for weeks before the first trades shows up. Understand the contractor’s schedule and make sure they stick to it. If you’re DIY’ing the entire renovation, a schedule is just as important. Your time is the currency with which you will pay for much of the renovation. If you don’t stick to a schedule, you’ll spend more of your valuable time than you estimated and if the demolition doesn’t get done in a timely manner, every other step in the process backs up and the project could ultimately drag on for months.


Skip BinRent a Skin Bin

Don’t underestimate the amount of rubble you will generate. The demolition of the average-sized kitchen will create six cubic meters of debris. You’re going to need a skin bin. Make sure it is on site before you start. Yes, you can pile the garbage up outside and put it in a dumpster later, but that’s nearly double the work.



repaired-kitchen-cabinetsSave What You Can

Not every single thing in your kitchen necessarily needs to be discarded. In many cases, cabinets can be saved, reused and even improved. Painting or refinishing old but well constructed cabinets often represents a considerable savings with an equally attractive result to new cabinets. To take it an extra step, add molding to cabinet doors to dress them up and replace the hardware. If you choose this route, gently remove the cabinet doors by unscrewing the hinges. Label the back of the drawers to avoid confusion when you reinstall.

You also may or may not be replacing the floor as part of your project. If you’re not replacing it, make sure you cover it with a drop cloth. This will prevent scratches when you move large appliances in and out. Throughout the demolition, take care not to drop heavy objects on any surface you’d like to preserve.


tap-791172_1920Turn off the Water

The last thing you want is water spraying all over the place when you remove the sink. All water to the kitchen needs to by capped off by a licensed plumber. Make sure they are turned off before you do anything. If your freezer has an ice maker, that means there is a water supply line running to it. Make sure you shut that off too.




light-918450_1920Turn off The Electricity

Worse than a large water spill is shocking yourself with a bolt of electricity while you’re tearing down a wall. To prevent this, a licensed electrician needs to safely disconnect the electricity to the kitchen. Make sure it stays off during demolition. Cover the breaker that serves the kitchen with a piece of tape so that you, and any contractors coming in and out of your house, know not to turn it back on.




Turn off the Gas

A gas leak can be worse yet. If you have gas appliances, make absolutely sure that the gas to them is shut off. Gas valves are typically behind the appliance and the appliance is usually connected to the main gas line with a flexible hose. This will allow you to move the appliance away from the wall far enough so that you can access the valve. Exercise extreme caution when moving the appliance so you don’t damage or disconnect this hose. A licensed gasfitter should be consulted when disconnecting gas appliances.




A kitchen demolition is not a project to be taken lightly. While it’s true that a confident do-it-yourselfer can take it on and save some money in the process, it’s also true that jumping into it with no planning can cause delays and even be dangerous. Like any project, the more you know before you start, the better off you’ll be.


The modern kitchen serves many more functions than just cooking, but the concept of the kitchen work triangle, invented in the 1940s, endures for good reason.

Picture this: Your in-laws are on their way over see your newly completed kitchen renovation. You’ve stocked the cabinets with all of the necessary cutlery and gadgets. You’ve begun preparing the most delicious dinner ever. You’ve researched a spectacular recipe and gathered all of the finest and freshest ingredients.



Yet, somehow, you can’t get anything done! You have to walk 6 meters across your gorgeous travertine tile floor every time you want something from your top-of-the-line, stainless steel refrigerator. There’s not enough granite counter space to chop onions between your beautiful farmhouse sink and your double oven gas range.

To make matters worse, your young son keeps running through with his toy airplane!



Looks like you and your contractor have designed the Bermuda Triangle rather than a kitchen work triangle. Your kitchen is stunningly beautiful, but it’s far from functional.

The concept of the kitchen work triangle dates back to the 1940s, but there’s a reason it has lasted into the 21st century. The basic idea is that most of the work in a kitchen happens within a triangle formed by the range, sink and refrigerator. The space between these items should not be too large, which forces the chef to spend their time trekking back and forth, or too small, which does not allow for proper prep space.


The generally accepted rule among designers is that the total length of all three of the triangle’s sides should be between 3.5 and 8 meters with each side measuring between 1 and 2.75 meters. Ideally, this triangle will be located in a part of the kitchen that sees the least traffic in order to minimize disruptions. Other people besides the chef do need access to the kitchen, though, and their needs should be considered. Specifically, they should have relatively easy access to the refrigerator and sink without crossing through the triangle. The cooking surface can and, for safety reasons, should be less accessible. Additionally, kitchen tables, islands or peninsulas should not protrude into the triangle.

Your kitchen work triangle needs to fit your home. Depending on the parameters of your raw space, your kitchen triangle may be I-shaped or U-shaped. In an I-shaped kitchen, two of the three items are on one wall and the third is on another. In a U-shaped kitchen, all three items are on separate walls. In very tight kitchens, a triangle can’t be accommodated at all and all three items are placed galley style on the same wall.


Your kitchen work triangle needs to accommodate your lifestyle too. In some homes, two or more people work together to prepare meals. In this case, consider adding a second sink and creating two separate triangles. In other homes, families eat out more than they dine at home. Here, perhaps a galley kitchen is best option so that larger portions of the home can be dedicated to other activities. Consider exactly how the space will be used and prioritize activities when planning your kitchen layout.

The kitchen work triangle is a tried and true concept, but range, sink and refrigerator do not a kitchen make.  To design a truly practical kitchen, you’ll want to properly locate prep areas, storage space, dishwashers and microwaves, among other elements, in relation to the work triangle.

Locate prep areas adjacent or near to the sink and range. This will simplify both cooking and cleaning. For the sink, most designers suggest 90 centimeters on one side and 60 on the other. Proper prep space should also surround the range.

Maximize storage wherever you can. You’ll never say “my kitchen has too much storage space.” Consider cabinets that extend to the ceiling even if you’ll need a stool to reach seldom used items placed up high. Add cabinets above your refrigerator and range if possible.


Place the dishwasher adjacent to the sink to avoid carrying dirty dishes across the kitchen. Also, be sure to consider how the kitchen will function when the dishwasher’s door is open. Will your child cause a major disruption if they head to the fridge for a drink while you’re cleaning up?

Whether you build an appliance garage around your microwave or attach it on the wall, it’s going to occupy either cabinet space or counter space. Consider which you are willing to sacrifice when you locate it. The most space-saving method is to select a self-venting model to mount it above the range in place of a traditional hood vent.

Kitchens have come a long way since the 1940s when cooking was a kitchen’s sole purpose. Today, we use them to entertain, do homework, pay bills and eat our meals as well as cook them, but at the heart of the kitchen, the work triangle remains. You should design your kitchen around your needs, but start with a work triangle and your entire kitchen will always be functional and efficient.



Every homeowner craves that spa-like feel in his or her bathroom. Many take on a renovation with hopes of replacing a cramped, utilitarian space with a more stylish, comfortable room where they can relax and feel pampered. Some have the luxury of being able to expand the footprint of their bathroom into an adjacent cupboard or part of an adjoining room. If that’s not the case in your home, consider these pointers for making the most out of the space you have.


Maximize Space with Smartly Designed Fixtures and Finishes


Powder Room VanityA variety of stylish fixtures and finishes exist that can help improve the flow of your bathroom. Start with the sink. It does not need to protrude half way across the room and sit atop a gigantic vanity. A corner sink will tuck neatly out of the way and help create a more open layout.

Trough SinkA trough sink with a side-mounted tap takes up far less space than a traditional sink and vanity. A wall-mounted tapset can also save significant amounts of space by letting you tuck the sink right up against the wall. If you’re convinced you need the storage that a vanity provides, consider one with rounded edges. The difference is subtle, however, the traffic flow around a rounded countertop is much improved when compared to one with sharp corners.




Move on to the bath andSliding Shower Screen shower. Many homeowners prefer hinged shower doors, however, a sliding door is far less obtrusive because it does not swing into the open space of a bathroom. For an even cleaner, more modern look, consider a glass panel. It does not provide the privacy of a door, nor the water protection, but it has become a popular option for its stylish simplicity.






Find Storage for Everything

The more of your toiletries, towels and products you can store away, the larger your bathroom will feel. Most bathrooms contain a number of spots that are just right for housing these necessities.


Bathroom StorageThe space above the toilet is a good place to start. In many bathrooms the toilet is located next to the vanity, in which case an extension of the countertop to the space above the toilet makes perfect sense. In other cases, a cabinet, either mounted to the wall or freestanding and built around the toilet, fits perfectly in that space. Shelving can also be built in that area.



towelracksAnother common problem in space-challenged bathrooms is locating towel racks. Often, every bit of wall space is taken up by fixtures. If that’s the case in your bathroom, consider mounting them on a door – either the entry door or a shower door. If you’re mounting it on the entry door, you may also want to consider changing the swing of the door so that it swings into the hallway rather than into the room. This will help with traffic flow and also ensure that the towel racks do not damage the wall every time the door opens.



above_the_doorLook up! The space above your head in the bathroom is likely not used for much. Put it to use as storage for your less-than-frequently used items like guest towels or extra soap by mounting shelving. You don’t want to fill every centimeter of overhead space with storage because that will only make the space feel smaller, but pick and choose the right spots. The area above the door can be one location that’s perfect.








Give Careful Thought to Lighting

Bathroom lighting can make the difference between a room you want to luxuriate in and one that you want to get into and out of as quickly as possible.


Natural light can make a huge difference in the way a bathroom looks and feels. If you can add a skylight, by all means do, but even if you can’t there are other ways to maximize the effects of natural light. If you have an attic or crawl space above your bathroom, a sun lighting tube, lined with reflective material, can bring the natural light through that space and into your bathroom. Something as simple as a well-placed mirror can also maximize natural light. When placed across from a window, a mirror will reflect the light that enters through the window.

Your lighting fixtures are, of course, also an important consideration. The more adjustable they are the better. You may want an overhead light for general purposes, but should you also have a light above the vanity for when you are fixing your hair or putting on makeup? Do you need a fixture that casts light into the shower? These are all important considerations. Another tip: Use a dimmer switch to change the mood in your bathroom. You may want it at full brightness when you’re getting ready for work in the morning, but when it’s time for a relaxing bath, you may want to tone it down.


bathroom-ceiling-design-wooden-pyramid-recessed-luminairesKeep Décor Simple

The cleaner and more simple your design style, the larger a bathroom will feel. By limiting the number of colors you use, you will create a visual affect that convinces the eye that a space is larger than it actually is. Many bathroom designers, in fact, choose a monochromatic theme. This does not mean that the entire bathroom is the same exact color, but it does mean that all or most of the colors in the room are various hues of the same color.


When selecting tile, consider larger-sized tiles. This will, similarly, make the space appear larger. Also, don’t forget to look up! The ceiling is an often overlooked part of the room that can be used to make the space feel large, open and comfortable. Vaulted or tray ceilings may be the ultimate in bathroom design, but they are built-in architectural features that might be beyond your renovation budget. If you’re not going that route, consider simply painting the ceiling a lighter, complimentary color or get artistic by adding a mural to the ceiling.



By intelligently planning your bathroom renovation, you can create a room that you look forward to using every day, even in the smallest of spaces.

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Houzz: 12 Tips to Make a Small Bathroom Better

Freshome: 20 Ways to Get the Best Use of Space in Your Bathroom

Deciding whether to hire a contractor or take on a home improvement project yourself basically comes down to a time/money equation. While there are some other considerations, the pros of doing a renovation yourself largely relate to saving money and the cons mostly involve the amount of time you need to commit to the job. Following is a more specific description of the pros and cons of tackling a home renovation yourself.



Pro:  Savings – Labor is the biggest expense in most home renovations. By doing some or all of the work yourself, you will, almost certainly save money. You can decide whether to simply keep that money in your pocket or invest it in higher quality materials and finishes. A well-executed renovation will also add to the value of your home and, eventually, turn your sweat equity into dollars. If you’re working with a tight budget, consider DIY.






Expect-Delays-sign(1)Con:  Time – In choosing to do a home renovation yourself, you are committing a portion of your time to the project. This can be a slippery slope, particularly when taking on projects that you have no experience with. You will almost certainly make mistakes that will lead to delays and force you to spend more time than you anticipated. Even if you don’t make mistakes, you never know what unexpected obstacles are going to spring up like unforeseen plumbing, electrical or structural issues. If you have the time to commit to the job and are prepared for the project to drag on longer than you thought, consider DIY, but if you are on a tight timeline, or if work, family and life in general don’t leave you with any extra time, maybe DIY is not for you.


514154-renovatePro:  Satisfaction – For some people, the satisfaction of completing a project themselves is part of the reward for investing so much of their time. Pride of ownership and pride in a job well done can truly make a person feel great. If the idea of coming home every day to a beautiful renovation that you completed yourself appeals to you, and you’re willing to dedicate required time and energy, then, DIY might be for you.

Con:  Risk – If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit there’s a chance you, ultimately, won’t be able to produce the results that a pro would. Unfortunately, if you take on a DIY project, you won’t have anyone to hold accountable but yourself. Maybe you can live with minor imperfections. Maybe you’re willing to invest even more time and work on it until you get it right or maybe you’re fully confident in your ability to deliver a top quality renovation. If that’s the case, go with the DIY approach, but if you’d rather reduce risk, hire a contractor.



DIY-reno-guidePro: New Skills – Learning a new skill can add to the return on investment you receive from thetime you put into a renovation. These skills will be particularly valuable if you plan on doing more renovations in the future. Often, learning by doing can be the best way to pick up new skills. It’s going to require the time and patience to research, read and watch how to videos, but the resources are out there and if you’re a fast learner, you can become adept at anything from plumbing to tiling to cabinetry. You may want to practice your newly gained skills on scrap materials before moving on to the expensive stuff. If you have the time and interest to research and practice the skills required and you are willing to use your house as your classroom or laboratory, DIY could be for you.



No-Extended-WarrantyCon: Lack of Warranties – If the tap you installed springs a leak a month after your DIY renovation is complete, what are you going to do? You’re either going to jump in there with a monkey wrench yourself and hope you get it right this time or you’re going to call a plumber and spend some of that hard-earned savings to have them fix it. A quality contractor will warranty their work for some length of time. If something goes wrong, you simply call them and they come make the repair. If peace of mind is important to you, you may want to stay away from DIY.




The decision to take on a do-it-yourself project should not be taken lightly. Nor should the decision to hire a contractor. Whichever way you go, do your research and know what you’re getting into. If you choose to DIY, have patience, be prepared for pitfalls, adapt to the situation and always follow proper safety precautions. If you choose to hire a contractor, choose carefully. Interview multiple companies and make sure you fully understand the timeline, the budget and what services you are getting. Are they offering design services or will they look to you for what finishes to install? Will they see the project through from start to finish or will they leave some of the finish work, like painting, up to you? Whether doing it yourself or hiring a contractor, the more questions you ask at the start, the better.

Top 5 Bathroom Do’s and Don’ts

Bathrooms are the smallest rooms in our homes, but between the plumbing, the lighting, the fixtures, the finishes and the layout, they require more thought and more work per square meter than any other part of the house. Here are 5 do’s and 5 don’ts to consider as you plan and execute your bathroom renovation.



Trendy_Fixtures1. Ask Yourself “How Often Do I Take a Bath?”

If you’re like most people, the answer is “almost never.” You take a shower every day, though, right? Instead of accommodating a full size tub, consider a large, luxurious walk-in shower. From rain heads to body sprays to steam generators to his and hers shower heads, the spa-like options are limitless. While some of these fixtures require a more complex installation, the fact that you will use them, literally, every day, may make them worthwhile. Having no tub is not right for every bathroom though. For resale purposes, your home should have at least one tub in it. Also, manufacturers have accommodated the trend towards showers with smaller tubs. If you want the best of both words, but don’t have a large space to work with, consider a smaller tub and a larger shower.



Hide Toilet2. Hide the Toilet

The fact is the bathroom door in many homes is often left open. And, the toilet is the one fixture you and your guests probably don’t want to see when walking by. Locate it away from the door if at all possible. Also, consider designing a room within a room to house the toilet. If that’s not possible, build a knee wall, or half wall to minimize its visibility. Better yet, tuck the toilet behind a storage piece, whether it is built-in or a piece of furniture like an armoire or dresser. If you’re after that spa-like feel, keep the toilet hidden.




3. Consider the Long TermLong_Term

Depending upon how long you plan to be in your home, you may want to consider its next owner. They might have children. They might be older and less mobile. If you’re going to sell your home some day, design the bathroom for a wide range of lifestyles. If you plan to live in your house forever, design the bathroom so that it fits your needs for the long term. We don’t like to think about it, but eventually, we might like to have a bathroom that accommodates us as we age. The concept of Universal Design, or the design of products to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, is gaining popularity and an increasing variety of attractive, accommodating bathroom products are available.






Wood4. Consider Using Wood, Yes Wood!

We use wood on the exterior of our homes where it is exposed to continual moisture and weather. Why not in the bathroom, then? Wood, when treated and installed correctly, can stand up to the wet, humid conditions of a bathroom and also offer a change of pace from the typical tile that clads nearly every surface of the typical bathroom. Wood simply looks, feels and even smells different than most other materials in the bathroom and can be a welcome contrast to stone or porcelain. As flooring, wood has a much warmer feel, when you step out of the shower, than tile. As cladding on a wall or ceiling, it can be a gorgeous accent.





92252610016417.tcvAAHrBiYR8UBRfT5G8_height6401. Don’t Move the Plumbing (Unless You Have to)

Unless the current layout of your current bathroom is completely non-functional, consider redesigning the space with the fixtures in the same location. This will prevent you from having to move the plumbing lines, which is an expensive endeavor. If plumbing fixtures need to be moved slightly, that’s OK, but when you start adding plumbing to walls that previously did not have it, that’s when the plumber’s bill starts to skyrocket.



92252610016419.kyh9wgwNcCBbuyXWHaAP_height6402. Don’t Buy Materials Online Without Seeing (and Touching) Them First

You’re going to see, and use the materials and fixtures in your bathroom frequently. Therefore, it is incredibly important to see them with your own eyes and touch them with your own hands before you spend money on them. Digital images can only tell so much of the story. The color of many popular surface materials such as quartz, marble and granite can vary significantly between samples. Ideally, you’ll select the actual piece of stone that your materials are cut from. Additionally, lighting fixtures that look great online may overpower the room when you install them. Plumbing fixtures may have a more glossy finish than you envisioned. Visiting a showroom or design center before you spend your money will prevent any disappointment.



261632581_d4b1577f769a3. Don’t Overspend on Trendy Fixtures and Finishes

You want quality materials, but popular design trends can become outdated in as little as five years. If your design aesthetic is more towards the modern and the trendy, consider buying your fixtures from the discount store instead of a high-end retailer, as you may need to replace them in a few years. If your aesthetic is more timeless, classic or neutral, feel free to spend up, but consider consulting with a designer before you take the plunge.



FVN8010BW-34. Don’t Overlook Storage

You’ve perfectly situated the sink, the tub, the shower and the toilet, but what about towels, toiletries, extra soap, your hair drier, make-up, moisturizers, hair spray, nail clippers, shaving cream…? A lack of storage in the bathroom can be a major inconvenience. That pedestal sink may be sleek and slender, but a vanity cabinet offers more storage. A beautiful framed mirror above the sink is attractive, but it doesn’t house small toiletries like a recessed medicine cabinet can. Did you plan wall space for a towel rack, shelving or even a cabinet? Do you have space to for a small closet? What furniture piece would fit in that leftover space in the corner? These are all questions to ask yourself before you start renovating your bathroom.



onepoint-webdesign5. Don’t Do It All Yourself

From plumbing to electrical to tiling to cabinetry, bathroom renovations require a wide range of very specific skill sets. Chances are, you don’t possess all of them, even if you are the most accomplished do-it-yourselfer. For the average weekend warrior, the best return on investment they’re going to get on their time is at the beginning and end of the renovation. Go ahead and demo the old bathroom at the beginning (just don’t forget to turn off the water) and feel free to paint the walls at the end, but unless you are very experienced, leave the more complicated jobs to the trades. Because of the variety of trades involved, the services of a well-qualified general contractor (GC) are well worth the investment. A good GC will not only keep the trades on schedule and help keep the job within budget, but will also help you plan the job from start to finish, ensuring that nothing gets overlooked and that the results meet or exceed your expectations.



Home Renovation Ideas That Help You Save Money Without Sacrificing Results

Australia isn’t called “Renovation Nation” for nothing. According to the latest estimate from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, home-loving Australians have spent almost $15 billion during the first 3 months of the year alone for residential work, including building and renovation.

Experts say those billions of Australian dollars are serving a worthwhile purpose. A good home renovation can offer multiple benefits: increased market value, improved curb appeal, better looking interiors, household efficiency and productivity, building safety and security. All these benefits translate to peace of mind which—everyone will agree—is priceless.

But you don’t have to be a high-rolling homeowner to enjoy the ROI of a well-planned, well-executed home improvement project. You can stay within your budget and see a vast improvement on how your home looks and functions, through home renovation ideas that allow you to manage costs better. Here are a few tips that you might want to consider for your next property upgrade:

Don’t DIY. Do-it-yourself upgrades may seem like the most frugal option, but in reality and viewed with a long-term perspective, they can actually be more expensive than paying professionals to do the job. Without the proper tools and training, you can get into mistakes that double or triple the cost and time to renovate. Errors such as accidentally hitting a plumbing pipe or constructing cabinets that will never fit the kitchen can be easy to make but costly to correct.

Deal with a straight-talking contractor. When choosing home renovation experts to hire, choose one who won’t sugar-coat things and who can tell you directly which of your ideas will work and which won’t. Hire someone who can talk to you about budget requirements and help you figure out the best option for your range. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. A good contractor will move the extra mile to educate you as a client, so you achieve the best results for each project.

Look beyond cosmetic changes. Have your house plan ready before the work takes place, because a good renovation team will ask for your blueprints first and make an on-site assessment before making any changes. They will take time to examine the foundation and other things related to the construction of the building, and create various simulations using CAD software, because they want to make sure that every change they make won’t disrupt the overall integrity of the structure and its components.

Keep in mind that no home renovation is minor; every single change you make to your house will have a significant impact on its look and performance. Hire a renovation group with the experience, skills and systems to make sure your next renovation will upgrade not just your home, but also the quality of life of your household.