Design & Planning Kitchen
From space-saving designs to the latest in sophisticated style, our design tips are made with you and your dream kitchen in mind.
Design for Your Budget
While you may envision your ideal kitchen with granite countertops and top of the line appliances, many homeowners don't have the budget to afford these dream spaces. However, that doesn't mean that you can't update your space to make it more enjoyable and more uniquely yours.
No matter what your budget, there are many updates that you can make to your kitchen or bathroom to add some design style. Here are a few examples of ways that you can add some design elements and your unique style to your rooms while still following a budget:
With this small budget, you may need to get a bit creative to achieve your goals, but there are some easy steps that will greatly improve the look of your kitchen or bath
* Countertops — To simulate the look of real (and very expensive) stone, without the cost, use ceramic tile or a higher density, more upscale tile called through-body porcelain tile. Especially for countertops, since they cover a large surface area of your kitchen, a new tile surface will add a dramatic update. However, for an even lower cost, choose a new laminate countertop to replace outdated or worn countertops for a fresh, new look.
* Faucets and Hardware — Replacing an old faucet with a newer, stylish model in an updated finish will instantly perk up a kitchen. Then, update drawer pulls and knobs to match the finish of the faucet to pull your room together.
* Cabinets — If your cabinets are paintable, a fresh coat of paint can brighten and refresh worn cabinets and give the entire room an updated look.
* Window coverings — Remove old valances and let in more natural light with simple, open window treatments. Replace old vinyl blinds with two-inch faux wood blinds. These offer an upscale look of genuine white wood blinds without the associated cost.
* Paint — Perhaps your room has some flowered wallpaper or grandma's favorite shade of pink on the walls. Painting is often the least intimidating project and has the biggest impact on a room. So strip off that wallpaper, prime those walls and add a splash of your favorite color to reflect your style and update your kitchen.
* Vanity and Countertops — Since it is the working area of the bathroom and often the focal point, you may want to replace the current vanity. Or, if the vanity is in decent shape, try working with what you have and just replace the countertop and update the knobs and pulls on the vanity. Since you don't have as much area to replace as in the kitchen you may want to try an upgraded material for the countertop, such as a ceramic tile.
* Faucet — Often the focal point of a bathroom is the sink and faucet area. For a modest price with large impact, you may choose a more bold or dynamic new faucet. Faucets today are available in a variety of shapes, designs and finishes to meet the style and functional needs of any bathroom.
* Paint and Color — Inject color and style into a bathroom with a new paint color. Since it is a smaller space, especially for a powder room, choose a color that you love but might not be brave enough to use in a larger, more prominent room. Be sure to tie your color together with coordinating towels and shower curtain.
* Floor — Since the bathroom is one of the most used and abused rooms in the home, try updating the flooring with a ceramic tile or through-body porcelain tile to add style and functionality to your bath.
With a little more room in the budget, you now have the opportunity to do a bit more or to upgrade the materials to transform your room. Just, don't forget the basics, such as painting walls and changing window coverings.
* Countertops — With a bit more budget, you may now be able to afford upgraded countertop materials, such as stone or a solid surface product, such as Silestone®. The natural-looking surface will update and add style to any kitchen.
* Floors — New laminate flooring may be a cost-effective choice for homeowners who prefer to leave installation to the professionals. However for the adventurous DIYer, natural stone products, such as slate, are now an affordable and stylish option.
* Sinks, Faucets and Hardware — Since the sink and faucet are functional parts of your kitchen that you and your family will interact with everyday, they are great updates to consider. Beyond just replacing with newer models, perhaps you may want to upgrade to an undermount sink or a high arc faucet with pull-down spout. When choosing the new faucet you can let your design flair loose and choose a new finish beyond the traditional stainless. Just be sure to coordinate the drawer pulls and knobs in a similar finish.
* Flooring — While ceramic tile is a popular, cost-effective option, a more upscale and luxurious choice for flooring is a natural stone, such as granite. Today's natural stone floors offer a variety of colors and patterns to add a unique and upscale flair to your bathroom.
* Vanity and Sink — With more budget to work with, replacing the current area with a pedestal sink or a new vanity will automatically add an updated, new look to the bathroom. Pedestal sinks often make the room look larger and more upscale than a vanity, but if storage is a concern a new vanity is the wiser, more functional choice.
* Water closet — While you may not think of a toilet adding style to a room, a shiny new toilet (perhaps to match a new sink) will give your bathroom a fresh new feeling for you and your guests to enjoy.
* Faucet and accessories — With the endless variety of coordinating bathroom collections, a new faucet and accessories will update the look of your bathroom, tie your design together for a cohesive look, as well as provide functional storage tools, such as shelving, toothbrush and soap holders and towel bars.
A big budget opens the door for many other upscale materials or custom design details. Again, even with a bigger budget, don't forget those easy and inexpensive fixes, such as painting!
* Countertops — Larger budgets could mean larger natural stones, such as marble or large pieces of granite. These beautiful, large slabs of stone can add a naturally beautiful design that you can use as the central inspiration for the rest of the room. Additionally, new popular solid surface countertops, such as Corian® may be an upgrade option.
* Floors — Wood floors add to the natural beauty and design of a kitchen. Newer woods, such as teak, are becoming more popular for their natural moisture resistance and beautiful color tone.
* Lighting — With the extra budget, be sure to banish the fluorescent lighting fixtures to the garage. Many homeowners don't realize that different types of lighting actually produce different colors of light. For instance, fluorescent produces an unflattering, cold, bluish light. To add a warmer, natural-looking light, try recessed lighting fixtures or sconces with incandescent or halogen lights.
* Sinks, Faucets and Hardware — When updating the countertops to new natural stone, an undermount sink is the perfect way to accent the new smooth-edge design. Additionally, with the variety of designs, kitchen faucets can add the final touch. With intricate designs with one or two handles, high arc or even pullout spouts, the faucet can be the jewel in the center of the new beautiful countertop. And if the budget is too low to overhaul the cabinets, be sure to update the old cabinets with new hardware to coordinate with the new sink and faucet.
* Cabinets — Today's options in cabinet colors and styles are endless. No matter what your style preference or budget, there is a cabinet to meet your needs. For tighter budgets, you may look to affordable stock lines of cabinets. Or with larger budget, perhaps semi-custom cabinets with custom storage solutions and accessories are in order. Also, remember the newest mix and match trend when choosing your cabinets. This can add more to your design and may help to accommodate your space or your budget.
* Vanity — No longer do you need to choose from what's in stock-with a larger budget, you can begin to design more customized vanities. Whether you are interested in a more traditional look that meets your needs, or a completely original look with exotic materials such as natural stone, the designs can be as big as your imagination.
* Sink — To go along with a custom-designed vanity, you might consider a specialty sink. Whether you are interested in a free-standing vessel sink with a wall-mount faucet, or a uniquely shaped stainless or porcelain sink with a unique asian-themed free-flowing faucet, this area can become a beautiful art masterpiece.
* Shower and Bath — Showers and baths can become the spa-like experience of your dreams. Think about creating a vertical spa with massaging jets in a walk-in shower made of stone or glass. Or add a sunken tub with a large Roman tub faucet to sink back and relax after a long day.
No matter what your budget, any homeowner can add design style to their kitchen and bath(s). You may need to start small or wait until your budget allows, but by adding elements that inspire you, you will be able to enjoy these two well-used rooms.