Thursday, 26 September 2013

How to Make Your Kitchen Look Bigger

Ask anyone who spends time in a kitchen and the one common requirement they will all have is that it shouldn’t be small. Small can be understood in two ways – small as in there not being enough space for working and storage and small in terms of making the room feel cramped and claustrophobic, even if there is adequate work and storage space.

If more space is really needed, then the kitchen will have to be enlarged, which is a major remodeling project. But if the need is only to make the room feel larger and more comfortable, then a few cosmetic, color and design changes could give you the look you want at a much lower cost that actually enlarging the kitchen would involve.

Making A Small Kitchen Look Bigger

Ø  Replace the solid kitchen cabinet doors with glass ones. The glass will make the cabinets look lighter and since you will be able to see into the back to the cabinets, the illusion of having more space will be created. You must guard against overcrowding the cabinets so that they appear cluttered and full – the effect of more space will be lost.

Ø  Consider painting the cabinets the same color as the walls. True, some of the design aspects of your expensive cabinets may be lost by doing this. But by having the walls and cabinets the same color there are no visual boundaries to break the visual flow. This will make the walls look taller, the kitchen to have a higher ceiling and the overall feel to be more spacious.

Ø  It is generally thought that lighter colored walls give a greater impression of openness and thus a feeling of more space. While this is true, dark colors like black and dark brown can give the impression of receding visually. This will make the walls seem further away than they are and so create the feeling of more space.

Ø  Get rid of all the bulky furniture in the kitchen and replace it with compact streamlined designs. Not only will this make the kitchen look larger, the smaller footprint of the furniture will actually free up some space.

Ø  Mount as much in the way of storage space, appliances and fittings on the walls above the shelves. This will clear the floor and shelves of clutter and give them an open look and the appearance of more space.

Ø  Open shelving adds a lot of storage space to a kitchen without taking up too much room. Using floating shelves instead of those with brackets mounting will increase the light airy look of the shelves.

Ø  Keep ornate design features and details to a minimum. These will draw the eye to them at the expense of the rest of the kitchen and the feeling of space will be lost. The more the lines and contours of the kitchen are in smooth straight lines, the more will be the feeling of openness.

Ø  Merge the breakfast room or alcove into the kitchen by removing any partitions or dividers. This will make the room much larger without affecting any of the functionality of the kitchen or eating area.

Ø  Modify the lighting in the kitchen to provide uniform light all over. Dark areas and shadowed spaces detract from the visual appearance of space.

Ø  Large windows with simple lines and no elaborate window treatments add to the impression of space in the room.

Ø  If you want some pattern on the walls, think about using vertical lines. These will direct the eye upwards and take a part of the focus to the ceiling which is an open area.
Ø  And finally, look around the kitchen carefully and pull out all the things you have collected over the years by never use. Store them away somewhere or get rid of them. Their absence will add to the space in the kitchen.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Tips To Keep Down the Cost of Home Remodeling

Nearly all home remodeling is done on a budget. The size of this budget will vary from case to case and on the circumstances under which the remodeling is being done. If it is purely a cosmetic one, then the budget will typically be whatever can be conveniently spent. If it is one that involves essential repairs or modifications to the home, then the money will have to be found, even if it means making sacrifices on other aspects of life.

But whatever be the reason and the budget, there is no need to waste money and a little planning and thoughtful evaluation of the need and reasons for the changes you plan to make can help to cut costs. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry likens planning a remodel to buying a car. You see an ad for a car you like at a price you can afford. But if you allow the dealer to tempt you with add-ons and optional extras you don’t need, the price can skyrocket. Being able to differentiate the essentials from the optional extras is the basis of keeping remodeling expenses under control.

What You Need To Do

Ø  Use only a professional remodeling contractor who is a member of an industry association, has the right credentials and experience and is able to provide references. His advice can often save you money.

Ø  Hire a contractor who is familiar with your local building codes – modifying work that is not code complaint can be expensive.

Ø  Have a detailed contract that defines the scope and cost of the work to be done.

Ø  Spend time planning what you want to do and the materials and fittings that will be used. Collect the material and fittings costs and build these into your budget so you know exactly where you stand in terms of overall cost. Now cut down, if need be, to bring the costs within your budget. Always keep a margin of about 20% for last minute additions and cost escalations.

Ø  Looking at product options can be a major way of keeping remodeling costs down. Often the look that you want can be achieved by using a less expensive product.

Ø  Also, when planning your remodel, keep in mind that some design features are very labor intensive and these can increase costs significantly. Ask the contractor for the cost breakup of the major design aspects or ask him for a list of the most time consuming design features you have planned. You could achieve a major saving but dropping one to two.

Ø  Do not be carried away with trends and fads, or be overly influenced by what friends and neighbors have done to their home. Collect ideas and concepts from everywhere, but never forget that this is your home and it must work for your family. With that objective in mind focus on the essentials and only if there is money left should you plan for the options.

Ø  Often a cost saving can be achieved by doing the remodeling in stages so that the cash flow can be controlled. Discuss with the contractor the options of doing only certain parts of the house at a time, waiting a few months and then going on to the next stage of the project. This will ease the pressure on the family finances, but increase the disturbance to normal family life as the total completion time could be a year or even more.
Ø  Often one of the objectives of remodeling is to make a cramped space feel larger. Increasing the size of a room will do this, but it is expensive. A cheaper option, if only a larger look is wanted and not more real space, then use colors, décor and design features to create the illusion of space.