Busting the budget is everyone's biggest fear when it comes to renovation. And with good reason. Even if you follow the essential advice we've been doling out for years—build in a 20 percent cushion to cover the nasty surprises, get contractor references and check them, banish the words "while you're at it" from your vocabulary—it's hard not to end up shelling out more than you want to, even if you want to pen a check for a million bucks.
To soften the modern edge of stainless steel, decorator Alisa Bloom put a traditional spin on the kitchen cabinetry of her 1920s Chicago penthouse with brass inlays. With the help of a local hardware maker, she even designed her own hinges and drawer pulls. “I would never go into a store and just buy something,” she says. “It’s all about the process and the hunt."
If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space-hogging shelves with cabinet-height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items. "You're getting three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise get only one," says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with Meier Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You could easily shell out a few thousand to outfit cabinets with upgrades like dividers, pull-out pot trays, and lazy Susans, but you'll save many times that amount by skipping the addition you thought you needed.
Visually raising the bathroom ceiling will make the whole room feel larger, and it’s not a difficult illusion to achieve. For starters, it’s a good idea to replace large crown molding with narrower crown molding painted to match the ceiling, because heavy, dark crown molding will overpower a small room. You might also reconsider the room’s light fixtures. A ceiling fixture that hangs down emphasizes the smallness of a room, so replace it with recessed lighting for a cleaner look. Need extras? Wall sconces that direct light upward blur the line between the wall and ceiling, almost as though the ceiling has receded.

Rather than art, a high-impact wallpaper can give a subdued room some wow-factor. The 19th century wallcovering from this luxe Milan apartment was purchased at auction in France and adapted to the room. “We created the missing parts, the plinth and the ceiling frame, to depict an Italian capriccio, a fantastical and bucolic landscape with architectural features,” Laura Sartori Rimini of Studio Peregalli says.
I like that you talked about how you must consider having a little extra for the budget in bathroom remodeling because there can be unexpected problems that can affect the cost of the project. My husband and I are interested to remodel our bathroom to give it a newer look. We’ve been talking about the factors that we should consider in setting a budget for it since we want everything planned accordingly. With that being said, I’ll make sure to consider having a little extra for the budget. Thanks!
Sad kitchen irony: The room you want to be the freest from dangerous microbes is naturally prone to them. From the mold danger zones around your sink, inside cabinets, and along the walls, to all the food-borne, sneeze-borne, and spill-borne opportunities for bacteria to get out of control, your kitchen can be a wee bit scary on the microscopic level.

Choosing the right layout for your powder room is important, not just for you but for your guests. This is the bathroom that your friends and neighbors will use most often in your home, rather than traveling to the private bathroom next to your bedroom.Powder rooms got their name from the 18th century, and are still largely used for the same purpose: as a space for guests to freshen up. Nowadays, powder rooms typically include a toilet and a sink, but never a tub or a shower. If you are looking to build a custom powder room from scratch, you should make space near your entryway or off of one of the more public rooms in your home.Typical powder rooms are about 20 square feet in size, and can be an easy extension to a living room or hallway. Pedestal sinks are a great way to save space when your powder room is on the smaller side, leaving plenty of legroom for guests. There are certain measurements and specifications that must be utilized in accordance with the IRC. The toilet and sink must always be accessible. But in most cases, this is easy to accomplish for your bathroom remodeling.
Unless you've got loads of time (and expertise) to spend on your project, the best way to add sweat equity is up front, by handling your own demolition, or at the back end, by doing some of the finish work yourself. "If you want to save money, dig in and start helping out," says Tom Silva. "You can insulate, you can paint, you can sand." Or better still, he says, help with cleanup every day. "Instead of paying someone to pick up sawdust off the floor, put your money into the time it takes to trim the window properly," he advises.

Before you begin a remodeling job, invite the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to remove materials and fixtures for later resale. "About 85 percent of a house is reusable," says B.J. Perkins, Habitat's ReUse program manager, in Austin, Texas. "We can do a total takedown, or do a cherry-pick job and take the cabinets, the tub, the sink, and so on." You save space in the landfill, collect a charitable tax credit for the donation, and help a good cause. Visit Habitat to find an affiliate near you.
While the process of decorating your home is thrilling, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Your goal should be to showcase your design aesthetic in a tasteful way, but it’s a given that you'll be faced with everything from an interior that lacks natural light to a layout that’s much smaller than you’d like. So it’s no surprise that these common dilemmas might turn you off from decorating altogether. But instead of viewing them as stumbling blocks, use them as inspiration to design the home of your dreams.
For those who are thinking of putting their home up for sale five years from now, then it’s important to ensure that the value of your property would increase over time, consider having your home renovated for that purpose. On the other hand, if you’re planning to live in your home for a couple of years, it’s very important to ensure that the design of your bathroom is something you would really love and fit with your style and preferences.
The more light that bounces around in your bathroom, the larger the room will look. The most obvious place to start is with the intentionally reflective surfaces: mirrors. “Anytime you have an opportunity to put a mirror on the wall, select the largest one that will fit,” Maykut says. “It will give you the illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is.”
Thanks for talking about the small details like air circulation in bathrooms. I never knew that you have to plan things like the mirrors around circulation, but now that I know that, I definitely want to get a professional remodeling contractor to do it for us. They would know what to look for and be able to do it well, so I’ll just leave it up to them! The air circulation in our bathroom right now is not very good, so that’s something I’d like to fix in our remodel.
A full grand surround turns a conventional shower into a steam shower. A transom installed above the door could be utilized in a way where it would dry the shower every time you close the door. Likewise, placing the fan near the transom can also help in drawing air out of the shower every time you close the door. For those with a steam shower, it’s highly recommended to incorporate a bigger bathroom fan. Don’t forget to check the grout lines as well. Fewer grout joints are recommended because there’s less surface area to absorb moisture.

Until a few decades ago, all bathrooms were small—most were no larger than 5 feet by 8 feet, providing just enough room for a tub/shower combination, vanity, and toilet. You might think that the smaller the bathroom, the more challenging the remodeling, because how can you create openness and space without tearing out any existing walls? Luckily, homeowners who plan to work with what they’ve got may find that smart choices in colors, fixtures, and amenities can make a small bathroom look and feel larger than its actual square footage. We asked Joe Maykut, a product manager for Sears Home Services, to share with us the design tactics that work best for homeowners stuck with small bathrooms—and boy, did he deliver. If you’re itching to remodel your bathroom, the following eight tips will help you make the most of your small space.
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