Sunday, January 22, 2012

Easy Ways to Update Your Home

As an Architect, I am often asked what are some easy ways to architecturally update the interior of my home.  Here are some of the simplest ideas that I share with my friends and clients:

1.  PAINT COLOR:  Although typically an Interior Designer's trick, the fastest and easiest way to update or modernize your home is by the use of paint color.  Inside or outside.  You can go down to your local paint store and pick up samples, pamphlets or preview the freshest new colors of the season.  You can also look through magazines or search websites like  Nowadays, many featured experts and professionals will share the paint colors that they use in their spaces.

2.  FLOORING:  The very next thing that can 'date' your home is the flooring materials.  Many beautiful hardwood floors were covered by carpets during the 1970's, 80's, and 90's.  Wall-to-wall carpet was extremely popular during this period and also added warmth under foot.  Most main floors are insulated today so many homeowners are removing their carpeting and refinishing their hardwood floors.  This is a great look!  If you still like carpet then purchase some area rugs to finish off the space.

Also, changing out your linoleum or tile can quickly update a space.  Many old tiles (unless you are specifically looking for a 'Retro' look) were small and the grout aged and dirty.  If you want to replace your tile the look for larger more modern tiles and colors.  There are so many wonderful choices out there, but I would recommend strongly that you try to create a theme.  What does that mean?  Maybe you are inspired by a particular tile or color--then let that be your starting point.  Try not to deviate too much from room to room.  Try to fit within the overall theme of your home as well.

3.  KITCHEN & BATHS:  You have probably heard over and over that the first way to modernize your home is to update your kitchen and baths, but what does that entail?  Do I need to completely remodel the space to update it?  The answer is no.

I would recommend starting with the least expensive and easiest changes, such as plumbing fixtures, cabinet hardware and lighting.  Also, by starting with the simplest change then you will not feel overwhelmed by the process.  Once again, you can start by looking at showrooms, magazines or on the web.  Remember that you should first decide on the finish you like, such as chrome, satin nickel or bronze.  Once you decide then that should be your theme for the space.  This will create a cohesive design.  Once in a while, a designer may want to highlight or feature a particular item by using a different finish but, in general, it is best to stick to a single finish.

Once you have changed your paint color, plumbing fixtures, hardware and lighting then you can move on to the more expensive and larger items like appliances, cabinetry, countertops and backsplash.  It is best if you think through a plan at this point.  Collect your ideas in a binder first then go collect samples of the materials or pictures of the appliances.  This process will allow you to think through your ideas before you begin any major purchases.

Of course, as a designer myself, I would recommend you consult a designer if you feel that you need assistance.  However, so many of my clients have a wonderful eye and good design sense that all they need is a bit of coaching and direction.

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