Insight & Inspiration for Current Trends and Updates on Everlasting Classics for The New England Home
ISSUE 2 > The Fresh Start 2018 Guide,
Fun Recipes & More!
SAY HELLO TO 2018! WELCOME TO THE FRESH START GUIDE:
Let’s face it. The end of every year is unanimously a game changer. A year is the perfect benchmark of time for us to reflect back on and still remember the good, the bad and the ugly our "year behind us" selves endured. And the end of every year brings with it the intensified need to assess ourselves and our surroundings. We determine which habits we want to break, which new ones we want to instill, and basically how we can embody our best selves in the coming year. And there stands no doubt that our physical surroundings not only influence our inner self, but they can very well be a significant road block to achieving our ultimate goals. Let’s take a look at a few common resolutions and how they can be affected by our living spaces.
Your bedroom. Take into consideration the amount of time spent in this space. Yes, the majority of time spent here is asleep, however consider that this is THE epicenter of your home. You also are most definitely bare foot here, more so than any other area in your home. If your resolution is to be healthier overall, be more alert & rejuvenated/have more energy-look no further, this living space should be on your list of assessment.
So what can you do to optimize your bedroom space?
Superior Hardwood, Legend Series: White Oak Handscraped 6" Engineered>
Keep in mind, this is the one area where the use of screen technology should be most limited. The focus should be on hiding the television if it exists, and not sleeping with your phone or tablets on your nightstand. Proper lighting and heating/cooling/air quality in the room should be addressed. Consider using air purifiers regularly (on top of changing your home system filters and having them regularly cleaned!) and humidifiers when you are running your heat. However utilizing them properly, choosing a brand and keeping those clean are VIP should you choose to use them. Humidifiers in particular can cause more harm then good if not maintained properly. Make sure to do your homework! (The Dyson Humidifier is the only one on the market certified by the Allergy & Asthma Association.)
Assess your flooring-A plush carpet feels amazing underfoot, however keep in mind the air quality in your bedroom is crucial. Carpeting that has low VOC emissions, pet & kid friendly, as well as helping fight allergens should be your ultimate criteria when choosing a carpet. A bedroom is relatively low traffic, but typically bedroom carpeting is installed throughout the hallways and in multiple rooms, so also consider durability and texture retention when choosing your carpet. Here are a few of what the latest and greatest in the carpet industry have to offer you in 2018:
Stainmaster Live Well
With innovative AllerShield™ technology, Stainmaster Live Well carpeting helps combat dust mites, pollen, pet dander and other nasty microbes that harbor themselves in traditional carpeting. This carpeting is also stain and soil resistant, as well as when pair with Stainmaster carpet cushion, helps the carpeting breath and avoid holding onto moisture, thus inhibiting mold & mildew under the carpet.
Innovia Xtreme Clean
Cleans up spills with just plain water! Sourced with 37% renewable fibers making it an environmentally friendly choice. Featuring SmartStrand technology that is naturally soil and stain resistant, Innovia Xtreme Clean carpeting will stand up to whatever you can manage to spill!
This carpeting qualifies for LEED points in up to four categories and passes the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Green Label Plus certification for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
FEEL this carpeting and you will fall in love with the silkiness – imagine this underfoot as you make your way to bed!
Choosing hardwood (especially in a master bedroom!) or luxury vinyl click together flooring is the best choice for bedroom flooring. Installing a radiant heating system in your room can be a wonderful option if it works for your flooring choice.
Your Bed & Mattress-consider Feng Shui for your placement of your furniture. Eg. Never place the head of your bed against a window, never on a wall adjacent to a bathroom, and never place without being able to have full view of the entry door while lying in bed.
Also, your mattress only has a life of 10 years maximum. In most instances it is 7-8 years. Proper maintence (flipping), keeping a mattress protector on at all times and cleaning (sprinkle baking soda, let sit and vacuum up) or spot cleaning (hydrogen peroxide + baking soda) as necessary to prevent stains from spills. Are you due for a new mattress this year?
Your Kitchen. The next epi-center of your home. If you consider your bedroom like the head of your home, consider your kitchen to be the stomach. Nourishing you and your family, this room must also be closely assessed.
Make your kitchen a place where everything is accessible and within reach. Make it a space you WANT to be and can move comfortably around in. Work with a kitchen designer to plan accordingly.
Examine your current layout. What smart kitchen additions can you incorporate to help make better use of every square inch when planning your new kitchen or adding on to your existing? (Features shown below are available in Shrock, Omega and Durasupreme brands-all found at Gregory J's!)
Toe Kick Pull Out Step Ladder
Pull Down Shelving
Looking to maintain a healthier lifestyle by cooking more at home?
Pull out cutting board over drawer
Ready to learn a new skill such as baking or canning?
Double Wall Oven with Tray Divider
An Overall Cleaner Kitchen
Then your goal is a place for everything and everything in its place. Also-time to weed out your duplicates of all your kitchen gadgets and wares. Consider making a switch to healthier cook ware while you are at it! In: Glass, ceramic, stoneware, cast iron, stainless steel. Out: Plastic, Teflon, Aluminum.
Pull out Pots & Pans Drawer
Pull out Pantry Doors
Entertain More! Making it a goal to experience more family & friend meals together and embrace the ones you love in a space you love!
Shrock:Painted Maple cabinetry with stainless steel cabinet fronts beverage center>
Be more organized -create a command center for your home! Plan your to-do's, to-buys, mail sorting, etc. in style and keep it out of sight behind cabinet doors!
In Cabinet Message Center
Fix up your mudroom/entryway! This is a MUST for any New England home. Proper planning for your entryway will save your sanity and your floors. A purse/backpack drop spot that ensures things don't get lost/muddy, etc. is essential. Also, your purse bottom or backpack is a magnet for bacteria and germs on the bottom-make sure these don't get set on your kitchen countertops!
Pull Out Shoe Storage
The Bathroom. Maintaining proper storage in your bathroom will help keep the unfortunate from happening to your medications, makeup, nail polish,linens and new razor heads. The goal is to keep these items up away safetly from children and in cool, dry storage so as not to expose to heat and humidity. Work with your bathroom designer to make sure that you have accounted for proper and adequete storage.
Jeffrey Alexander: Douglas White Double Base Bathroom Vanity White Marble
Remember! ALWAYS run the fan for 30 minutes after you bathe! Make sure you have proper ventilation in your bathroom and that everything has been appropriately waterproofed. Gregory J's ALWAYS uses the Schluter Ditra Waterproofing System to ensure that your subfloor and shower walls are protected. Maintain the caulking throughout and this will help combat moisture getting to places you don't want.
Come see us today at 520 Amherst St. Nashua NH to design your 2018 bathroom, kitchen or flooring refresh!
Winter Comfort Foods:
Warm your bellies with our favorite ways to indulge in foods that hug you back!
Erin's Favorite: Gluten Free Mini Meatloaf
1 lb-Ground Turkey
1 cup-Chopped White or Red Onion
1 cup-Chopped Red or Green Pepper
1 Cup-Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
Ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, Honey thinned with a little warm water.
Combine ingredients; roll into balls. Place in glass baking pan. Add a little water to bottom of pan. Cook 15-20 min. Take out and cover top with glaze and place back in oven.
Nicole's Favorite: Greek Avgalomano Lemon Chicken Soup
First introduced to this years ago at Bud's restaurant in Nashua, NH, (my latest indulgence can be found at Bentlys Roast Beef)- this heavenly soup can be found as a staple on most traditional Greek restaurants. And I have been known to eat this. Just this. For days on end. I have tried many a time to re-create my favorite restaurant fare but wound up diasppointed. I have found one recipe that seems to be pretty spot on if you would like to attempt this on your own. And I personally think the more lemony- the better. The savoriness of the chicken paired with the refreshing zing of the lemon that finishes your spoonful leaves your palate utterly satisified. I don't even need crackers. Yes, all you Seinfeld fans out there, this soup IS a meal. And I am completely ok with that.
1-Roast Whole Chicken-deboned and shredded
Ground Tumeric-a few shakes
Ground Pink Sea Salt-to taste
2-Dried Bay Leaves
2-whole lemons - take out seeds and cut out the pulp
1-Cup Uncooked Orzo
2-Cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 cups-finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup-finely chopped celery
1/2 cup- finely chopped green onions
1 Box- Organic Chicken Broth Low Sodium
(I prefer to do this in my slow cooker.)
In a saucepan, add your onions, celery, carrots, garlic, tumeric, and sea salt with a little olive oil. Cook over medium heat until cooked thoroughly.
Begin your broth; pour broth in its entirety in to slow cooker. Add the ingredients from saucepan and the chicken to your broth. Add your orzo, bay leaf, and your 1 1/2 of your lemon pulp. Set to slow cook.
When orzo has cooked, season with sea salt and tumeric to taste.
Take your two eggs, and add your lemon. Whisk together. Now, tempur two ladles full of your broth slowly into your mixture. Turn off your soup. Add your egg mixture slowly. Remove all from the heat.
Jamie's Favorite: Marys Mac N Cheese
This is the best mac n cheese you will ever have according to Jamie. Ooey Gooey and savory-sure to hit the mark at your next gathering and become a new family favorite!
2 Cups- Velveeta Cheese
1 Cup- Creamed Corn
1 Cup-Frozen Corn
2 Cups-Elbow Macaroni
Place all ingredients in crockpot on high for 1 hour, stir and keep warm.
Add a Ritz Cracker Crumble by transferring mac N cheese to oven with cold butter/ritz cracker mixture on top until browned!
NEW ENGLAND HOME CHARACTER: Spotlight on Superior Hardwood
Featuring cozy,nature inspired stains and finishes- breathe the splendor of Superior natural hardwood grains into your New England abode. Enhance your homes beauty now and forever-stop by our showroom today to view our complete Superior Hardwood Collection! Scroll down to learn more about a truly Superior hardwood brand!
"The longest average board lengths in the industry. Resulting in a floor that is more uniform, and has fewer joints than any other flooring provider."
"Only the finest milling and production practices. Our investment in high grade lumber and precision equipment results in the finest floors."
"Using a nine-coat finishing process we create a durable and aesthetically pleasing pre-finished floor that includes a complete, industry leading, 35-year warranty."
"Superior flooring is a leader in the hardwood flooring industry and we have the certifications to prove it. Not only is Superior Flooring is the first manufacturer in the world to obtain NWFA Factory Finish Certification."
Enhance your homes beauty now and forever-stop by the Gregory J showroom today to view our complete Superior Hardwood Collection!
Thank You For Reading! God Bless and Thank You All For A Wonderful 2017! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
The Team at Gregory J's
ISSUE 1 > Your Weekend Fix of Ideas, Inspiration and Insider Tips
October 2, 2017
Plus Discover Our New Vanity Program featuring Jeffrey Alexander Vanities! Scroll down to learn more
Backsplash must have's: Spotlight on Subway
Soft,muted sophistication in glossy, light reflecting finishes. Neutral tones complimentary of your countertop, cabinetry and flooring.
We still love our subway tile! This classic style will forever be in our hearts; the traditional shape has been updated to include glass in various textures (think waves, fabric, or crackle)or glossy ceramic in sophisticated in cool or warm hues that come clean and on point, pulling out the subtle flecks in your granite or veining in your marble. Want to add some dimension but something subtle? Consider a beveled edge.
There's also no shortage of rustic looking subway tiles, from the Chicago brick porcelain to the glossy,random shade and tonal variations offered by Arley, Anatolia, and DalTile (just to name a few). With unrectified, uncrisp perfection these tiles are cut from-it is utter prescision that the "subtle, rustic" look will be lent to even the most pristine cabinetry/countertop/flooring combinations.
Size is all over the board now as there is still plenty of selection in the traditional 3x6 inch category, but new perspective can be found in the fresh 2x6,4x8,3x12,4x16,and the list goes on and on!
Consider your pattern options-all ways to bring interest into your kitchen backdrop without overpowering the scene. Our favorite? Herringbone, or brick paver 1/3" offcenter on a horizontal with (if you're lucky enough to have the space!) a feature of herribone blocked out above your stove. Drool worthy. Going more modern? Consider the image below. Stacked grid installation-effortlessy taking a traditional door style into a new relm of cool.
IT's THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! $.50 cent/sf REBATE ON MIRAGE IS BACK!!! Hurry Don't Miss a chance to Install This Top Quality Hardwood in Your Home!
An installer and home owners dream. Anyone who owns Mirage flooring comes back for more. Installers LOVE it because there is little to no waste in a carton, prescision milling make for an easy installation. Home owners love it for its beauty and durability.
Mirage Sweet Memories Collection: Aged Maple Nougat, Nanolinx HD >
Get the look: Maple
Cozy, curated minimalism; natural textures paired with warm, seasoned wood floors. Perfect for the New England home upgrade-and a style that is sure to stand the test of time. Maple is a wonderful flooring choice. Boasting subtle knot holes but for the most part perfectly nude-excellent for taking a stain and uninterrupting the effort by showcasing the stain to its fullest glory. Consider stain on maple like applying paint to a plain white wall, versus going over something already painted.
GREGORY J PRODUCTIONS,Vina Volunteer Program, Hanoi, Vietnam
Explore & learn about the breathtaking beauty of Vietnam and it's people. Experience Gregory's month long journey throughout Vietnam via photography and video as he travels throughout villages, towns and cities from mountainside to seaside and in between.
Styles ranging from modern and sleek to traditional inlays and French scrolled legs comprised of solid hardwood. Easy to install, these vanities come assembled with the option of packaging the granite or marble countertop and white porcelain bowl pre-installed for an amazing value price!
Prices range from $738-$2,799, these vanities arrive ready to go! Countertops and bowl in place and back is cut out for plumbing!
5 Simple Steps to Kitchen Remodeling
By Angela Kyer 2017-01-05
Kitchen remodeling can be an exciting project if you have an idea on where to begin, the steps to take and how to choose from different contractors. Today we look at 5 simple steps to kitchen remodeling.
Step 1: Planning
Planning is the most important step of any remodeling. In terms of kitchen remodeling, you should consider whether you want to add more storage spaces, or replace some kitchen cabinets or improve the flooring of the kitchen. Planning is determined on how you use your kitchen.
Step 2: Options
After you have planned what goes where and why, you need to start looking for different kitchen cabinet options, countertop designs, and appliances you want to introduce to your kitchen. While discovering your options, remember to stick within your budget.
Tip: Browse through our website to get kitchen remodeling ideas.
Step 3: Look for Contractors
Hiring contractors are recommended if you are not a DIY kind of person and also because kitchen remodeling can be a hassle if you do not know what you are doing. Moreover, a contractor is equipped with the necessary skill set and tools to tackle any kitchen renovation project.
Tip: We have established ourselves as the best kitchen remodeling company with a long list of happy clientele.
Step 4: The Design
As soon as you have settled on a contractor, you are now able to implement your remodeling ideas in terms of which kitchen cabinets you want, which countertop designs you prefer most, etc.
Step 5: The Remodeling
The remodeling is the final step, and it involves stages such as demolition, plumbing and electrical installation (especially if the remodeling is a huge project), painting, etc. This step also includes heavy traffic as different technicians work together to finish the project on time.
Tip: Kitchen remodeling can be a hassle so try and remain patient throughout the process. We at Gregory J. Home Design Center in Nashua NH specializes in complete Kitchen design and remodeling that include premium cabinets at discount prices, sinks, countertop installation. Come design with us at 520 Amherst Street, Nashua, NH or call today at 603-886-9129.
5 Simple Steps to Bathroom Remodeling
By Angela Kyer 2016-12-29
We all want our Bathroom to be both beautiful and functional. And while you may have an idea of how you want your new bathroom to look, balancing proportion and scale to achieve a harmonious whole is critical. You’ll also want to understand the factors that impact how it feels to be in the space. Here are a few simple steps to help you get started.
Step 1: Choose a Style
Identify which bathroom style you prefer. Browse through our website to find out ideas on different bathroom remodeling designs you might like.
Step 2: Choose a Layout
Here, you can choose either modern or contemporary layouts. Contemporary bathroom layouts feature clean lines with lots of glass and chrome. Modern bathroom layouts feature flooring and wall tiles with lots of contrasts such as dark wood and white tile. Other layouts include country bathroom layouts, luxury/spa bathroom vanity layouts, etc.
Step 3: Settle on a Finish
The finish here includes tiles, paint, wallpaper, bathroom vanity, wood, stone, sinks and tub(s). Popular brands include Coraian, Surell and Nevamar.
Step 4: Bathroom Fixtures
Bathroom fixtures include sinks, tubs, toilets, bathroom vanity and faucets. Different bathroom fixtures come in different designs and specifications. Factors which may influence your choice on bathroom fixtures include water conservation as well as style.
Tip: Install Ultra low flushing toilets which use low quarts of water to flash.
Step 5: Hire a Contractor
The final step is to hire a contractor to implement your bathroom remodeling projects. Ensure that your contractor is aware of the specifications before remodeling commences.
Tip: We have established ourselves as the best kitchen remodeling company with a long list of happy clientele. We at Gregory J. Home Design Center in Nashua NH specializes in custom Bathroom design and renovation that include premium vanities at discount prices, floors and sinks installation. Come design with us at 520 Amherst Street, Nashua, NH or call today at 603-886-9129.
Kitchen Cabinets Design 101
By Gregory J. 2017-01-18
Common kitchen shapes that blend beauty and function
We all want our kitchens to be both beautiful and functional. And while you may have an idea of how you want your new kitchen to look, balancing proportion and scale to achieve a harmonious whole is critical. You’ll also want to understand the factors that impact how it feels to be in the space. Here are some common ways you can use Schrock with your specific kitchen shape.
Popular with many cooks because of its efficiency, the U-shaped kitchen offers generous counter space and provides an efficient workflow by creating a compact work triangle.
The L-shaped kitchen offers flexibility for both large and small homes. This shape utilizes only two kitchen walls, providing an open sensibility. The L-shape minimizes traffic through the kitchen and, typically, features larger expanses of countertops, allowing ease of preparation at mealtime.
L-shaped with an island
Introducing an island to an L-shaped kitchen is ideal for entertaining. The ample counter space along the “L” of the kitchen becomes the primary work area, while the island allows guests or other family members to help prepare or just visit… AND to stay out of the way of the cook!
A Modified “U” shape, the G shaped kitchen is very efficient. This kitchen shape works best when one or more of the walls are designed as half or “pony” walls, so that the kitchen still has a feeling of openness for both the cook and their guests.
This layout positions all of the appliances on a single wall, and is ideal for studio apartments or other small spaces.
Open on both ends, the Galley requires a minimum corridor width of 48” so that the cook can easily maneuver during meal preparation. Typically, appliances are near one another which is convenient, but due to the corridor shape of the kitchen, household traffic may pass though the space.
Efficiency has a shape: the triangle
The basic work triangle is comprised of an imaginary line drawn between the kitchen’s primary work areas: food storage (refrigerator), food preparation (stove) and clean-up (sink). For maximum efficiency, the sum total of the triangle should be 26 linear feet, with the sink being the center point.
Kitchen Remodeling Design Styles
By Gregory J. 2017-01-31
What's Your Style?
Now's the time for inspired thinking. We've compiled galleries of Schrock's diverse design styles to spark your imagination and inspire your creative passion. Picture yourself in a rustic countryside home, or surrounded by the clean lines and symmetry of a contemporary kitchen. Visualize our large collection of tones and finishes. Find your style and make a lasting impression.
Taking a modern base and blending it with traditional detailing, our Casual styling is a balance of relaxation and refinement. Helping you build a room that says “home” and “you” at the same time, Casual style is about the personalization of the space and finding harmony between all of the individual elements. This style allows for a mixture of ideas and shows an appreciation for freedom, non-conformity and self-expression.
Expect to see eclectic accessories like modern art next to a family heirloom, bold accent walls, and architectural elements from simple arches to ornate rosettes.
Walking a fine line between utilitarian and modern, Contemporary styling is all about open spaces and clean lines. Sparingly decorated with large scale, bold embellishments and usually dominated by more natural tones; Contemporary style relies on sleek, smooth and polished facades to create a modern level of elegance. When going for Contemporary, think streamlined, cultured and bold.
Expect to see natural materials like aluminum, leather, glass and stone, few but bold accessories, and subtle geometric design elements.
Imagine a quaint country cottage where everything seems familiar and timeless. Rustic styling is built on the simple idea that everything in the room has been lived-in. At times raw and weathered, and at others softly distressed, this warm and relaxed style brings the charm of the outside in with natural materials, carved woods, heavy copper or iron and a hodge-podge of textures and embellishments that all come together to tell a uniquely long and rich story.
Expect to see decorations inspired by nature or personal memories, worn, country antiques, distressed edges and rough or faded paint, cyclical embellishments that bring the seasons inside, and a spectrum of colors that add pattern through texture.
Elegant, inviting and reminiscent of a not-so-distant past, Traditional styling is best summed up as ornate, rich and decorative. Usually embodying the golden age of Europe, Traditional uses a variety of colors, elaborate motifs and a blend of materials to breathe new life into century-old styling. And although it can seem "busy," this style maintains order and refinement through symmetry and balance.
Expect to see many patterns and textures, gilded details, elaborate hardware, rich colors that complement one another, and a blend of curved, irregular and straight lines.
A designer shares her top tips and techniques for creating a stress-free kitchen
By Gillian Lazanik 2017-01-15
We don’t just prepare food in our kitchens, we host our friends, have family discussions and simply hang out in them as well. Enhancing the organization and functionality of your kitchen will allow the space to feel open, appear tidy and look great while serving your needs. Here are the top 10 tips and techniques I encourage my clients to follow when designing their kitchens.
1. Max out on storage. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a client say, “I have too much storage.” Since kitchens are not always arranged in a straight line, there’s often dead space. Make the most of corner cabinets and other unused areas with custom storage. In this San Francisco kitchen, for example, an angled pullout spice rack fills an awkward space next to the stove. Try to use every nook and cranny — you will probably not have much trouble filling them.
2. Add a magic corner. Another great storage solution is a “smart” corner with pullout shelves, Lazy Susans or wire shelves on tracks, such as this unit from specialized hardware-maker Richelieu. Use these nifty storage solutions to gain access to otherwise wasted space, where you can keep large pots and pans, small appliances and other bulky items. They tuck into cabinets nicely and provide easy access when needed, helping to create a more organized kitchen.
3. Put everything in its place. Use drawer organizers to create a space for each of your kitchen utensils. Their individual compartments will encourage you to put everything back in its place after each use. This two-tiered organizer from Italian kitchen company Effeti Cucine allows you to double a drawer’s storage and make it more functional.
4. Hide small appliances. First impressions are made when you walk into a kitchen, so keep those counter tops clear. It makes a huge difference when you don’t see rows of appliances on the counters, and it also frees up space for prep work when cooking or baking. Consider appliance garages, which are storage cabinets with roll up fronts that retract the same way a garage door does.
5. Organize the garbage. Having a separate pullout drawer for your garbage, recycling and compost is the best way to address your trash. By setting up a garbage center with multiple smaller bins, you are doing the right thing for the environment in an efficient way. If your compost starts to smell, for example, you can take just that bin outside without having to lug a large garbage container that might not be full yet.
Use different colors to distinguish each bin or write each bin’s purpose on top of its lid.
6. Think outside the cabinet. Aside from the obvious upper and lower cabinets, try utilizing a wall for added storage of everyday items. These can be hung from hooks, baskets or floating shelves for easy access. This kitchen storage solution is also a great way to show off decorative tile work or bricks that otherwise might be covered by bulky cabinets.
7. Create continuity. As open floor plans become more and more popular, kitchens often can be seen from the rest of the living area. While the solutions already discussed will help your kitchen stay cleaner and more organized, there are still those bulky large appliances to consider. Many appliances today come with an integrated-panel option, though it will cost you more. Hiding your appliances with panels will create a continuous, clean look throughout your space without breaking up the visual flow.
8. Let the light shine. Cooking and cleaning in the kitchen requires good lighting. While natural light is always nice, mounting under cabinet lights will help you find what you need, especially at night. You can also buy LED light strips that can be added to the inside of your cabinets and drawers.
9. Create a work space. There are many reasons to add a dedicated office space to your kitchen. It’s an ideal space for writing down a recipe, paying the bills or leaving a note for the family. Kids often like to do their homework in the kitchen because of its easy access to snacks. Whatever the reason, a little corner in your kitchen with a chair, a flat surface and storage is likely to get a lot of use.
10. Do it for you. Try to customize according to your needs. Place frequently used items next to each other in easy-to-access locations. Doing so will add to your kitchen’s functionality and efficiency since you won’t have to spend all your time and energy running around.
Remember, not all individuals use their kitchens in the same way, so make sure you communicate with your kitchen designer and describe how you want your space to work for you.
How to Remodel Your Bathroom
Mitchell Parker February 2, 2016
So you’re ready to remodel that bathroom. Congratulations! As you probably already know, you’ve got some tasks ahead of you. Even with the help of a professional bathroom designer and a general contractor who will take care of the construction and installation, a lot of the mental work inevitably falls right on you, the homeowner.
So it’s going to be up to you where you want things to go, how much you want to spend, what you want it to look like and how you want it to function. This step-by-step workbook will help you navigate the process through the planning and conceptual phases. Just remember to keep your eye on the prize, and seek the help and guidance of people who’ve been there before. And above all, plan thoroughly.
Step 1: What Are You Trying to Achieve?
It seems like a simple enough question that should have a simple answer: “Well, I need a new bathroom.” But when embarking on a journey that will take a good chunk out of your time and bank account, you want to get it right. And you want to be happy with the end result.
Before you do anything, think about what your ideal bathroom would be. Forget constraints of money and space; just imagine what you want and what the intended purpose will be. Who is this bathroom for? Is it a master bathroom? A powder bathroom? A kid’s bathroom? How often will it get used and what will the function be?
5 Ways With an 8-by-5 Bathroom
- How many people will use it?
- How much time do you spend in the bathroom during the morning, afternoon and night?
- What’s your routine — how does your current space hinder it and how could a new space improve it?
- Do you plan to grow old in this house?
- Do you have medical issues like poor eyesight or arthritis to consider?
- Do you just want something that’s easy to clean?
- Is storage the catalyst? Relaxation?
- Or do you just want to update the look for resale?
Why Are You Remodeling?
There are three main reasons people want to remodel a bathroom. (For some, it’s a combination of these or all three.)
Updating the look. If you’re happy with the layout of your current bathroom but feel it just needs a refresher, then you’ll be focusing your attention on material selection and perhaps new cabinetry or plumbing fixtures.
Pay attention to the age of your home and the remodels done by previous homeowners. Putting new tile over a foundation rife with dry rot or severely outdated or junky plumbing is only delaying a potentially huge problem down the road. You may want to wait until you can do a complete job right.
Resale value. If you’re updating your bathroom to sell, you’ll want to look at what potential buyers might want. While it’s hard to anticipate what a random buyer is looking for, you can do a little research on what appeals to the majority of homeowners. Houzz’s Bathroom Trends Study is a good place to start, but also talk to designers, neighbors, friends and family about what’s best for your area.
Better functionality and more storage. Perhaps you’ve always hated how the door swings open and hits the vanity, or you’re tired of stacking toilet paper on the toilet reservoir and seeing makeup on the counter. Maybe you never use the bathtub and long for a larger shower. Or wish for two sinks instead of one. Or crave more natural light.
This level of remodel will likely have you gutting the space, and possibly rearranging the elements within it and rerouting plumbing. This would result in an all-new bathroom. This category would be on the higher end too.
10 Tricks to Help Your Bathroom Sell Your House
Step 2: Research and Budget
Before you get ahead of yourself, it’s best to know what you will be able to spend. You probably already have an idea of what you can afford, so the first thing you’ll want to understand is how much a bathroom remodel is going to cost. According to Houzz data, half of homeowners will spend more than $10,000 on a master bathroom remodel.
Consider whether you’re after a basic remodel ($3,000 to $12,000), a mid- to upper-range one ($12,000 to $35,000) or a deluxe remodel ($35,000 to $100,000 and up), and always factor in a cushion of at least 10 to 20 percent more for unforeseen costs that might arise.
Remember: To keep costs down, see if you can make your updates without moving any of the existing plumbing or wiring.
See more on budgeting your project | Key Measurements to Make the Most of Your Bathroom
Step 3: Find a Professional
Whether or not to hire a professional for any part of your project is up to you. If you know what you want and where to find what you need, and are confident that your ideas will work, then the design phase could be left up to you.
But know that a professional bathroom designer may be able to think of things you may not have considered — like fitting a washer and dryer into your bathroom, adding a skylight or rearranging the space in a creative way to maximize functionality and efficiency.
There are different ways you can work with a designer. A little guidance from a design consultation or a more developed vision with a design plan may be all you need to get started. For particularly complicated jobs, full design services are probably best.
Find professionals in your area and browse their portfolios.
If you’re comfortable tackling the demolition, construction and installation yourself, you may not need a general contractor. But it’s a project that can quickly get out of your grasp. If you lack experience, a bathroom remodel could take you several times as long as a professional to complete, and the result might still be of poor quality.
The complexity of routing plumbing, laying tile and flooring, installing vanities and toilets, and more leaves way too much room for error, and you’re likely to mess something up, lose money and end up with a bathroom that’s full of flaws. If you want to cut down a little on your budget, stick to straightforward tasks like painting.
For major structural changes, you may need to hire an architect. Plumbing and electrical work is almost always hired out. In some places, it’s required by law. When in doubt, hire a pro to help.
See how to work with an architect, plumber or remodeler.
Step 4: Refine Your Plan
Use Houzz to create an ideabook with photos of bathrooms that you like. You can create multiple ideabooks for layouts, styles, finishes and more to keep organized. For example, you may like how the toilet, vanity and shower are laid out in one particular photo, but don’t necessarily like the style, color or materials in that space.
If your dream bathroom doesn’t seem as though it could ever fit in the space you have, think about what’s on the other side of the bathroom walls. Can you steal space from an adjacent closet, bedroom or other unused area? Is it possible to punch out from your home to create more room?
Other options to consider are whether or not you want the toilet out in the open or in its own water closet. What kinds of special storage you need — for the hair dryer, makeup, shaving kit and more. How to get more natural light. Or even how to incorporate sinks and vanities to fit your height and that of your spouse or partner.
Can you create a transition area that connects through a closet and dressing area and then out to the hallway, so you don’t have to wake your spouse or partner while getting ready in the morning? There’s almost no end to what you can dream up and execute, so think ahead and plan accordingly to get everything you want.
12 Things to Consider for Your Bathroom Remodel
And it may seem mundane, but something as simple as where the outlets will go can have a huge impact on your morning routine. Do you charge your phone in the bathroom? Use a hair dryer or other devices?
Now is when you will want to make a plan for how you’ll access the power source. Other considerations may include things like where you should put the toilet or even where you will keep the toilet paper.
Choosing the style of bathroom you want can be complicated. Designers recommend that you look to the rest of your house for a jumping-off point. For example, you probably don’t want to do an industrial-style bathroom in a Craftsman home. But, hey, it’s your money.
Again, look to photos that inspire you and gather as many ideas as possible, leaving nothing to chance. With so much going on during a remodel, it would be a shame to make a knee-jerk decision on a material or style that in the end you won’t be happy with because you didn’t make the time to plan for it.
Find your bathroom style: Asian | Beachy | Contemporary | Craftsman | Eclectic | Farmhouse | Industrial | Mediterranean | Traditional
Step 5: Approve the Schematic Design
In this phase, you’ll be reviewing sketches and preliminary floor plans and elevations that show the layout of your planned bathroom and the size of its components, like the vanity and any cabinetry.
The point here is to get the major elements and spacing down before moving forward, not to have a complete picture of how the finished bathroom will look in terms of color and materials.
Once the measurements and sizes are nailed down, then you will know how many square feet of tile you’ll need to order or how big of a marble slab you’ll need for the countertop. You or your designer can use this info to start shopping around for prices on materials.
These drawings, sketches and scope of work will be used to interview contractors to start getting estimates.
How to Read a Floor Plan
Step 6: Choose Your Materials, Finishes and Colors
You’ve likely been planning for this remodel for quite some time and already have your ideabooks with inspiration photos breaking down how you want your space to look.
Now’s the time to research materials so you’ll have at least have some working knowledge and be able to have a good conversation with your designer or supplier. For example, marble looks great, but it’s a pain to maintain. Maybe you want to look at easy-to-clean options. Maybe you didn’t know that wood can indeed work in bathrooms or weren’t aware of the great stone possibilities.
Though the selections in this phase seem endless, here’s a general rundown of what you’ll be choosing:
Step 7: Work on Design Development and Construction Documents
At this stage, you should be actively reviewing the floor plan, elevations, tile layout and any other relevant drawings associated with your project. More planning means fewer mistakes will come up.
Also, you want to be kept up to speed on everything that goes into your project — what materials will be used and how they will be laid out. If something isn’t specified in construction drawings, such as general tile layout or how you want trim pieces in your shower niche to look, chances are your tile installer will make a decision on the spot, especially if you’re not around on the day of installation.
This stage will also encompass the permit process. If you’re working with a knowledgeable professional, he or she will take this up, as they are skilled at navigating the process and working with contacts they’ve made at the local planning office. If you’re doing a lot of the work yourself, you’ll need to brush up on what permits you’ll need, and where and how to submit drawings.
Your Complete Guide to Building Permits
Step 8: Get Estimates From Contractors
It’s common knowledge that you should get three separate estimates from licensed contractors for your project. If you’re already working with a designer, he or she may know skilled people or can help you interview different professionals to make sure they’re right for the job.
What to Look for in a Contractor’s Contract
And it helps to know a little about what’s in a contractor’s bid. Don’t let the highest bid scare you, and don’t immediately jump on the lowest bid.
Minneapolis resident Nance Lee Mosquera and her husband, Vini, got three bids from contractors for their 8-by-5-foot master bathroom, shown here after their remodel. The first bid came in at $27,000, which elicited an “Are you kidding me?” and “That’s ridiculous” from Nance. The second bid, at $24,000, was equally shocking, mostly because she and her husband offered to do the demolition and painting themselves. The third bid came in at $9,000, and the Mosqueras thought that was more like it.
But after they demolished the bathroom, things looked different. The plumbing inside the house was from 1925, and nothing could be done unless it was brought up to code. The pipe went all the way to the basement, so the Mosqueras had to remove a dining room wall and go through three levels of their house to replace it. That added an additional $4,800 just in plumbing costs.
There was also electrical wiring that needed to be replaced, which added another $2,000. By this point, they were already at $15,000, not including materials. When the dust had settled, or rather, when the dust had been cleaned up and the bathroom was complete, the total cost came to about $19,000.
They saved a little but had to put in a lot more work. Mosquera had to find the materials herself, go to showrooms and purchase everything, and coordinate with installers and other subcontractors to get things done. What she had anticipated would take a couple of months turned into five months.
Going with a contractor who offered a higher bid would’ve cost a little more, but would’ve saved them a lot of headache.
What to Know About Estimates vs. Bids
Step 9: Plan for Installation and Get Ready for Demo
As mentioned, there’s a lot that goes into a bathroom remodel. Depending on the size and scope of your project, the process can take six weeks to eight months or more, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. And while some of it can be done on the fly, you’re much better off the more prepared you are.
It’s ideal to have every last detail planned, and every material picked out and ordered, before construction starts. The last thing you want is to get halfway through your remodel and have to tell your construction crew to take a two-week break while you wait for that back-ordered marble to arrive from Italy.
You’ll want to nail down the nuts and bolts of how things will flow and where things will generally be placed. You’ll need a dry space to store your materials, so you’ll need to plan on where you’re going to keep everything while construction is underway. Can you make space in your garage or on the side of your house?
Are you prepared for the project and disruption? What time will the workers be there, and will someone be on-site to answer questions and oversee the construction? Will it affect your work schedule or any trips? Where will you shower during construction? Who in your family will be available should something come up? Think about how long the crew will be there and if the materials will arrive in time. Any last-minute decisions need to take top priority to ensure a smooth-running project.
Step 10: Make a Post-Completion Punch List
The National Kitchen & Bath Association recommends that you keep all receipts, contracts, warranties and product information (so you understand how to care for and maintain the materials).
Nevertheless, it’s highly likely that your bathroom remodel will have something wrong, overlooked, broken, scratched or missing — a dent in the wall, a malfunctioning drawer, messy caulk.
Now’s the time to make a list of these things, either in an informal email or more formal document. Get it into the hands of the person responsible for correcting the mistakes, and include a date by which the work should be completed. It’s probable that your contractor will have to return for several visits to address these concerns. Don’t fret. It’s an inevitable outcome of such a complex undertaking. Try to remember that everyone makes little mistakes and that they’ll get fixed.
Step 11: Decorate
Congratulations on your new bathroom! Now it’s time to make it look nice with the right towels, mats, soap holders, accessories and more. And if you have kids, don’t forget to childproof your bathroom.
Your Guide to Choosing Kitchen Cabinets
Updating your kitchen? See designers' top choices for kitchen cabinet styles, hardware choices, colors, finishes and more
Vanessa Brunner June 2, 2013
The right kitchen cabinetry can make or break your kitchen's functionality and style — not to mention your budget. No pressure, right? Don't stress yet — Houzz's kitchen cabinet guides can walk you through the process, from start to finish. Resource guides covering everything from Shaker to flat panel, from corbels to aprons, from glass knobs to recessed pulls, are all listed here in easy-to-access fashion.
kitchen cabinetry Door Styles
Shaker, flat or inset? Your cabinet door style is important — it may be your biggest kitchen expense, after all — but choosing it doesn't have to be stressful. See which of these popular cabinet doors fit with your home's style.
Get the guide: Popular Cabinet Door Styles for Kitchens of All Kinds
Who says cabinets have to be wood? Put your best dishes on display and open up your kitchen to light and space with glass cabinets.
Get the guide: 8 Beautiful Ways to Work Glass Into Your Kitchen Cabinets
Go beyond the standard swinging door in your new kitchen. Flip-up doors, pocket doors and corner drawers can make your cabinets more functional and your life easier.
Get the guide: 8 Cabinet Door and Drawer Types for an Exceptional Kitchen
If you'd rather stick with something more traditional for your cabinets, then the timeless Shaker style is a sure bet. Learn how to make this look work with different counter, hardware and backsplash materials.
Get the guide: Shaker Style Still a Cabinetry Classic
Add a more traditional furniture style to your kitchen storage with a countertop hutch. Glass fronts make these the perfect place to put pretty dishes on display.
Get the guide: Need More Kitchen Storage? Consider Hutch-Style Cabinets
Open shelving feels as much at home in modern kitchens as it does in traditional ones. See how to make this simple, clean storage style work in your home.
Get the guide: 8 Ideas for Immaculate Open Shelving
Using ecofriendly materials isn't rare anymore — it's easy to choose kitchen cabinetry that contributes to a healthy home and family, as long as you know what to look for.
Get the guide: Ecofriendly Kitchen: Healthier Kitchen Cabinets
Can't decide between two different styles? Mix and match — two different cabinet styles can make an even bigger impact.
Get the guide: Mix and Match Your Kitchen Cabinet Styles
kitchen cabinetry Hardware Styles
Of course, once you have your cabinets chosen, you have a whole other task ahead of you: choosing hardware. Even if you've got simple Shaker cabinets like these, your choice of drawer pulls and knobs makes a big difference in your finished look.
Get the guide: 8 Top Hardware Styles for Shaker Kitchen Cabinets
Flat-panel cabinets tend to work best in modern kitchens; make sure you choose hardware to match. Clean, simple and contemporary pulls work well with this cabinetry style.
Get the guide:Top 9 Hardware Styles for Flat-Panel Kitchen Cabinets
Raised-panel cabinetry tends to suit traditional kitchens. Look for classic, old-world fixtures to fit this beautiful style.
Get the guide: Top 6 Hardware Styles for Raised-Panel Kitchen Cabinets
kitchen cabinetry Colors and Finishes
Colorful kitchen cabinetry has made a big comeback. Try pretty palettes to give your kitchen flair.
Get the guide: 8 Great Kitchen Cabinet Color Palettes
Try playing with two different colors on your kitchen cabinetry. Scared to go too bold? Contrast a single bright color with neutral finishes.
Get the guide: Two-Tone Cabinet Finishes Double Kitchen Style
If you want to get color the DIY way, read our related ideabook first. Painting your kitchen cabinets can be difficult, but these pro tips will help.
Get the guide: From the Pros: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Stains are a great way to get color on your kitchen cabinetry without covering up the wood's beauty. From greens to blues to browns, stain colors can really enhance your new kitchen.
Get the guide: 8 Stunning Stain Colors for Kitchen Cabinets
Curious about color but worried about the maintenance? A distressed finish can cover all the bases, offering a warm, bright look that can actually embrace wear and tear.
Get the guide: Stress Less With Distressed Cabinets
Sometimes a kitchen remodel doesn't require a new fridge or oven — but how do you pick a cabinet color to go with your existing appliances? Check out our cabinet color guide for cabinets with dark appliances.
Get the guide: Cabinet Colors for Dark Appliances
kitchen cabinetry Molding and Details
Adding molding is an easy way to make any type of cabinetry look custom. Whether you want to add crown molding to your existing kitchen or edge molding to new cabinets, this guide can help you envision the final result.
Get the guide: 9 Molding Types to Raise the Bar on Your Kitchen Cabinetry
Decorative supports, aprons, corbels and toe kicks — these features might not come standard on most cabinetry, but they can make a huge visual impact.
Shower Design: 13 Tricks With Tile and Other Materials
Playing with stripes, angles, tones and more can add drama to your shower enclosure
Yanic Simard July 8, 2015
- Vertical stripes. Instead of adding a horizontal border, consider a vertical accent stripe to visually highlight the height of your shower while adding an unexpected bit of drama.
It’s especially effective here in a chevron tile, creating an arrow-like pattern that draws the eye up and creates a sense of dynamic energy. Both tiles are relative neutrals, keeping the look interesting but not overwhelming.
- Vertical and horizontal stripe combo. You can also combine a horizontal band and a vertical one to create a layered look. Here, both of the flooring tiles are repeated on the wall, creating a backdrop to the shower fixtures and helping integrate the materials into one palette for a look with lots of diversity but also a sense of harmony.
Tip: Edging a tile with metallic banding will echo fixtures in the same finish. Again, it ties the different surfaces together for a look that is subtly sophisticated and clearly well considered.
- Graphic stripes. Thin stripes of colorful tile in concentric patterns give a shower lots of energy — this can be a great DIY project for those feeling a little handy. The effect is high-end even when created with inexpensive tiles. Just make sure to plan carefully in advance to make sure everything lines up. A computer-drawn layout will help. When in doubt, leave the job to a professional.
- New angles. Sometimes all you need to give a shower a dramatic look is a new angle on the tile — specifically, a tile cut at an unusual angle (instead of the more typical 90 degrees). Use a contrasting grout to highlight the quirky shape and add to the veined look of a natural stone.
- Negative image. Other times, the best way to accent a shower is to keep it as an oasis of white in a room with busier finishes. The shower will feel as large and open as possible even with a curtain drawn. Break up wallpaper or bold tile in the larger space for a perfect sense of balance.
- Feature flooring. If you love a wild tile but worry about how it’ll look in a large area, apply it to just the shower floor. After all, it’s a natural place for you to look while enjoying a relaxing shower. You’ll mostly only see it as a daily treat, too, so you won’t get sick of it, and it won’t crowd you in either.
- More is more. Using one patterned tile for all the bathroom surfaces, wrapping from the floor all the way up the walls, creates a custom-designed feel that evokes European apartments. It’s especially effective if you have a window in the shower to break up the look, or an oversized storage niche dressed in a plain tile for a similar effect. Either way, it’s still big on drama — and if you choose a tile you love, it’ll be timeless.
Tip: Using classic black and white avoids any trendy colors that might one day feel dated.
- Tone on tone. For a perfect balance between a bold accent and a sense of calm, use tone-on-tone blues or blue-greens to cover your main surfaces and your shower walls — use a more neutral shade for the vanity area and a brighter pop for the shower itself. This way the entire bathroom will feel integrated and timeless, and will have enough interest and life.
- Top to bottom. Using a flooring material to wrap the shower walls is a classic luxe look, but what gives this shower an extra spin is the repeated flooring material overhead, so the stall is clad floor to ceiling.
- Playful hexagons. Hexagon tile is a strong long-term trend, and the quirky shape works well if you don’t want to tile top to bottom (for budget reasons or just to create a fun effect). Simply let the top edge end perfectly imperfectly (like the uneven top line in this photo) for a look that recalls rippling waves.
- The little things. Sometimes small details can make the look of a shower, especially when you start with a classic plain white tile. Bronze or brass hardware, instead of a more common silvery chrome or nickel, has a subtle glam look that’s both trendy and timeless. Meanwhile, tiny doses of accent tile tucked between larger tiles play with the brick layout pattern and make an eye-catching geometric statement without a huge investment.
- Gray glass. Tile isn’t the only way to add some drama to your shower. A fixed glass panel is an essential upgrade to give a shower modern appeal, and choosing a smoky gray instead of the typical clear glass adds a sense of moody sophistication. Make sure to include some sparkling light fixtures to reflect off the glass for that look of endless depth.
- Disappearing tub. Love the option of the occasional bath but prefer the look of a wide-open shower? Finishing the exterior of a combination tub-shower with mirror or highly reflective tiles lets the tub portion visually disappear while extending the look of a beautiful floor. Finish it off with a garden stool and you’ll barely see the tub at all until it’s time for a soak.
Bathroom Countertops 101: The Top Surface Materials
Explore the pros and cons of 7 popular bathroom countertop materials
Lisa Kahn December 19, 2014
Choosing the perfect material for one’s bathroom countertops can be a bit of a brain teaser, thanks to the abundant — and quite attractive — options available at nearly every price level. But because bathroom surfaces typically don’t face the same abuse as those in the kitchen (think hot frying pans, sharp carving knives and spilled Bordeaux), the decisions most buyers wrestle with are usually more about style and cost than Herculean strength. Fortunately, the top bathroom countertop materials on the market combine beauty and brawn in equal measure. Here’s a closer look at some of the most sought-after bathroom surfaces among today’s buyers.
If your heart is set on granite, count yourself among an enduring majority. Despite encroaching competition from quartz (see below), granite remains the premier choice among the varieties of natural stone, due to its dramatic beauty and seemingly endless variety of colors and patterns.
- A profusion of options: With patterns from subtle to bold and a rainbow of hues, you’re sure to find a slab that speaks your language.
- Granite is hard and scratch resistant, and requires minimal upkeep when properly sealed.
- It’s impervious to humidity or damage from a hot curling iron.
- It lasts just about forever.
- Because granite is so desirable, it’s likely to add resale value to your home.
- Granite is still one of the most expensive countertop choices.
- Because there’s a real chance of damaging the slab if it isn’t handled properly, it’s best to hire a professional to do the job.
- Though granite is recyclable, its transport and mining require extensive energy resources.
Price range: $50 to $100 per square foot, depending on the size and thickness
Quartz is one of nature’s hardest and most abundant minerals. In fact, nearly every type of stone contains some percentage of this ubiquitous material. Manufacturers of quartz countertops (familiar brand names include Caesarstone, Cambria, Zodiaq and Silestone) add pigments, resins and, occasionally, recycled content, to a base that is about 95 percent natural stone.
- Quartz is tougher than granite and doesn’t require sealing.
- It’s naturally resistant to moisture, stains and bacteria.
- It has a variety of edge treatments and installation options
- Quartz can rival high-end granite and marble in cost.
- Honed and textured finishes will show fingerprints and smudges, so frequent wipe-downs may be necessary.
Price range: $60 to $100 per square foot
More about quartz countertops
Solid-surface materials are made of acrylic resin and crushed stone. Top brands include Corian, Gibraltar, Formica Solid Surfacing and Staron. You’ll find a wide range of solid colors and subtle patterns that pair especially well with contemporary decor.
- Extremely durable and naturally resistant to water, bacteria and stains.
- Realistic flecked or streaked styles can rival natural stone.
- Virtually seamless.
- Minor damage can be buffed out.
- Available with integral sink and backsplash options, as well as custom color inlays and lighting effects.
- Requires professional installation.
- Wear and scratches are more visible on darker colors.
- Can be damaged by intense heat or dropped objects.
Price range: $40 to $100 per linear foot
For centuries marble’s cool elegance has been synonymous with wealth and privilege. But thanks to improvements in its production, this rare beauty has become a bit more affordable. A hard, crystalline form of limestone, marble is often white with streaks of grays, although there are many color variations.
- Long lasting and strong enough to resist most chips or dents.
- Can be polished for a high shine or honed for a casual, matte finish.
- Adaptable to nearly every style.
- It’s expensive.
- Marble’s porous nature makes it prone to stains, scratches and etching from acidic substances.
- Requires periodic sealing to maintain the finish.
- Price range: $125 to $150 per square foot, depending on thickness and installation
No longer exclusively an industrial material, concrete has miraculous shape-shifting abilities that allow an endless array of looks. Most concrete countertops are manufactured offsite for maximum quality control.
- It’s an appealing organic material that can mimic the look of natural stone.
- Vast range of customized colors, textures and decorative inlays.
- Can be cast in the exact shape, dimensions and edge style desired.
- Extremely durable.
- Reasonably ecofriendly, especially when recycled content is added.
- Professional design and installation are recommended.
- Because concrete is naturally porous, countertops need to be waxed and sealed regularly.
- Visible seam lines, although their appearance can be minimized with a colored filler.
Price range: $65 to $135 per square foot, not including installation
Laminate has come a long way since the garish pastels and visible seams many of us remember from the ’60s and ’70s. Most commonly known as Formica, this easy-care product is composed of a thin plastic surface that’s pressure bonded to a particleboard or plywood base. The latest printing technologies are used for modern laminates to produce amazingly realistic stone- and wood-like finishes, as well as a plethora of solid and graphic patterns.
- One of the most affordable countertop surfaces.
- Durable, water resistant and easy to clean.
- Warm to the touch.
- Presized products are widely available at home supply stores.
- Relatively easy to install without a professional.
- Laminate tends to thin or dull over time.
- Damages can’t be repaired; the entire counter usually needs to be replaced.
Price range: $24 to $50 per linear foot
Ceramic tile can be a charming and informal surface material, especially in a Spanish colonial– or beach cottage–style bath. Boldly patterned tiles also make wonderful backsplashes and tub surrounds.
- Glazed ceramic tiles are resistant to heat, stains, scratches and moisture.
- Tile is affordable, and individual tiles can be replaced if damaged.
- The installation and pattern can be customized.
- Grout can attract stains and mildew and may be difficult to keep clean.
- Tiles can crack or chip.
Price range: $10 to $50 per square foot.