The Two D’s of Home Improvement – Design and Decorate

A great deal of time is spent at home. It is a refuge from a hard day of work and a place to enjoy family activities and gatherings.

We want to make our home attractive, comfortable and efficient for our use. In the process of decorating our home, we want to make sure it fits the architecture of the space. Designing the interior provides a certain “feel.” Interior decoration includes applying wallpaper, painting the walls, choosing furniture and fittings such as light fixtures, and adding decorative elements such as paintings, flowers, and statuary.

The concept of home interior decoration began in the late 18th century. The concept has evolved over the years and has gone through many trends and transitions. Today, home interior decoration and design focuses on innovative ways to decorate on a budget.

The objective of interior decorating is to improve the home functionally and have it to reflect the owner’s tastes and personality in a unique way. This is a challenge.

An interior designer and/or an architect can help with the design and decoration. In years past, there has been a distinction made between an interior designer and an interior decorator.

Interior decorating focuses on finishing such as wallpaper, window covering, furnishings, and paint. Interior design deals with the architecture in addition to the decoration. Interior design is focused on the space as a whole such as the layout of the rooms as well as custom made furnishings.

Color palettes change, the same as in fashion, as trends change. Color is also a unique preference. While some homeowners may follow current trends, others may use colors that fit their personality whether they are in vogue or not.

Innovative home interior decorating ideas which cost less but give the impression of being up-to-date decorating schemes are what young professionals and newly married couples are trying to achieve. Most of these ideas are eclectic decorating styles in which the home owner can put their own stamp of uniqueness. Harmony has to be balanced with uniqueness so that the home provides functionality.

In one year alone, homeowners spent approximately $175 billion on home improvement. About 65% of this can be attributed to interior decoration. Most money is spent on improving bathrooms and kitchens. Growing in popularity are specialty rooms such as home theaters and craft rooms.

There are new trends, new styles, new decorative elements, and new colors each year. It is difficult to keep track of these trends. The important rule in home decorating is that whatever you choose to do with your home be functional and comfortable for you.

Quality Home Improvement Ideas for Budget Bathroom Remodeling

When homeowners want to start a home improvement project around the home, whether it’s in the kitchen or it’s a major bit of bathroom renovation, they tend to get sticker shock once the research begins. Budget remodeling is key, but that’s doesn’t mean you have to settle on the cheapest goods, materials and labor. It just means smart home improvement. You can use some tried and true home improvement tips to shave money off the cost of your next remodel that will still turn a simple bathroom into something truly unique.

Of course the best way to eliminate budget problems is to plan appropriately. Nothing will blow your home improvement budget faster than going at it without a plan. A general contractor will help you plan accordingly but if you’re doing it alone you definitely need to take the time to develop a game plan for your bathroom renovation and remodeling. Get the big problems drawn up first, figure out your dislikes and target those things that you’d love to update. Here are some great tips to update your bathroom without breaking the bank:

Home Improvement Design Challenge One – Ditching the same tired color scheme

Updating the colors in your bathroom is easy, and there’s really no cheaper way to go about giving your bathroom a new look during the home improvement process. Too many bathrooms are a drab white or come with contrasting “safe” colors that contractors use in the building process. The problem with stark white or contrasting blacks & whites is that they don’t often match the personality of the homeowner. Use softer tones, earth-tones and other simple palette choices to quickly transform your bathroom into a room you’ll find most comfortable.

Home Improvement Design Challenge Two – Shrinking the Vanity

The vanity is the focal point for most bathrooms. It’s not uncommon to have a lot of counter space in master bathrooms with plenty of storage. A small vanity is common in smaller bathrooms. If you can get away with it, don’t replace this with another big cabinet system. Instead, purchase a pedestal sink and open up the floor plan. The style and extra space will definitely enhance the comfort of the room.

Home Improvement Design Challenge Three – Originality in the Flooring

This is where a lot of homeowners try to save money by installing cheaper material like a vinyl floor or cheap replica tile. Instead of getting cheap on the material, do something a bit more unique. If you decide to splurge in one area, this is where you should do it. You want your floor to be durable and last, while also standing up against the moisture. A great idea (and easy to install) is a pebble floor using smooth natural stones or larger glass beads.

Bringing Your Bathroom Remodel Together

If you’re concerned with how budget remodeling will look in your bathroom, remember that decorating and some additional improvements can really accent the remodeling you do in the rest of the bathroom. Custom moulding isn’t expensive, especially in a small bathroom space and it can really flesh out your color in the paint. Likewise, linen shower curtains can help the reach of your linen curtains. It doesn’t take much to create a beautiful new bathroom and you can still get a custom, luxury look even on a budget.

Making the Most of the Relationship With Your Construction Manager

Congratulations. You have decided to build your new home or major renovation. You have picked out your construction manager and you are finally ready to get started.

Building a new home or doing a major remodel is an exciting time. And the most important relationship you have during this time is with your construction manager and maybe primary contractor. Here in Panama, like most places they are usually the same firm.

If you do it right, your project will be a dream and your friendship will be a long one. But, if this relationship is strained, the venture could turn into a nightmare of never ending expense and bad feelings.

Here are 5 steps to keep a good relationship with your construction manager.

Set a Proper Budget

Your budget should be determined before anything else is done. This includes getting your initial quotes and estimates. Without knowing a budget, it is almost impossible to come up with a proper estimate. It’s possible to do a $5,000 dollar kitchen or a $50,000 dollar kitchen. Without a budget, it is impossible to proceed.

Also, when you are doing your budget, you need to allow for changes and over runs. 80% is a good benchmark. So, if you have $200,000 to allocate to your new home, your budget should be around $160,000. If you have it and don’t need it, you can use your extra 20% for furniture. But, if you need it and don’t have it, everyone’s schedule needs to go on hold while you find the extra funds.

Pre-Plan

The most important stage of any construction project is the pre-planning you do with your construction managers. A good plan will eliminate or reduce changes and problems along the way. But, not having a good plan is sure to result in cost overruns and bad feelings.

You should know everything in advance. The makes and model numbers of supplies, how they will be installed, everything. This planning will help keep everything on schedule and as expected.

Keep to the Plan

Wherever possible, try and keep with the plan. When you change anything along the way, schedules are interrupted and it is going to cost you. Probably more than the upgrade or change would have cost originally. So, if you change from a $20 door knob to a $40 door knob, it may end up costing you more than the $20 dollar difference, due to extra trips to the store, schedule changes etc.

This is a small example, but any change at this point causes a disruption, and any disruption takes time from the schedule. If possible, nothing should be changed at this point. If a change needs to be done, use a proper change order. This way all parties know exactly what is expected and what it is going to cost. It will save misunderstandings later.

Follow Up During the Process

Sometimes, no matter how well things are planned, there are misunderstandings during the construction process. Maybe you thought one thing, while the construction manager’s understanding is something different.

Regular follow ups through the construction process will ensure costs are kept to a minimum. If you wait until the project is done before telling the contractor that you wanted a different finish, it might mean ripping out some other finishing work later. And disrupting your entire schedule.

Do a Walk Through / Punch List

Finally, after the construction is completed, do a walk through with your construction manager. Waiting for 3 months to inform the construction manager that there is a problem isn’t going to help you resolve the issue. Get everything out in the open right away, so it can be dealt with.

Working with a construction manager is a process starting before your construction begins, and ending after it is complete. If things go well, the relationship could last for years.

The most important parts of the entire relationship are in the preplanning stages. So make sure that ample groundwork is done.

Make your next construction project a dream come true, and make your construction manager your best friend.