Interior design help for everyone.
So, let’s review, we've looked at 15 Essential steps to design your dream home Part 1 of 5.
1. Selecting your perfect structure.
2. Floor plans and elevations.
Then 15 Essential steps to design your dream home Part 2 of 5.
5. Mood and Style
6. Overall design
Now, let’s move on to step #7 shall we?
7. Bathroom and Kitchen:
In our last blog I had mentioned that, when considering the overall design of a new home or renovation, I always start with the kitchen. I find the kitchen counter top to be the most limiting. Yes, there are lots of different materials; quartz, granite, cement, laminates, etc. But the colour palette generally starts with the countertops.
Then we move onto the cabinetry itself – do we want stained or painted? The trend is certainly towards a light coloured, painted finish.
When I specify a painted finish, I usually go with MDF material for the cabinets. I find all kitchen cabinets or wood in general, contracts and expands with the moisture in the air. If you are using wood, the joints will split a little when the wood swells. If the cabinets are stained, that small gap is not noticeable, but if they are painted, it certainly is noticeable. MDF does not contract or expand to the extent that natural wood does, so we don’t have to worry about any tiny cracks.
That being said, if a raw (unpainted) area of MDF is exposed to water for an extended period of time, this will swell and will not go back down. However, all areas of MDF should be painted, leaving no ‘raw’ areas. Just take care to dry off those items before stacking them in the cupboards.
Now we’ve got appliances selected (as stated in my last post), cabinets and countertops selected, let’s select our sinks and faucets. Speak with your cabinet manufacturer and find out which size sinks you can accommodate. Ensure the sinks will be large enough to contain all the splashes from either washing dishes or washing hands. Select faucets that are easy to use and go with the general style of your home.
In the bathroom when selecting your tub – don’t be afraid to visit showrooms and lay in the tub. There are two things I don’t like selecting for clients - tubs and beds – they really are a personal preference. Make sure you’ll be comfy in the tub.
Now, select tile to coordinate with bathroom fixtures, flooring, faucets, etc. Please, please, please don’t select an accent tile. If you really need an accent, perhaps select a textured tile (i.e.. one with waves), that coordinates with your general tile. Different coloured tiles or patterned tiles date the home so easily. Remember, when in doubt use plain tile. You can always bring in accent pieces of sculpture, or flower vases, etc. to give life to the room, don’t rely on accent tiles to do this job.
8. Furniture plan:
It is essential to create a furniture plan before choosing lighting or finalizing the electrical plan. Go through each room and write down all the activities that will happen in each room. i.e. in our living room we:
Play board games
Ensure you have furniture for each activity and plan for furniture to perform double duty for several functions. We have upholstered ottomans that we prop our feet up on when watching TV, but when we have several guests over, they become seats and they also can be pulled up to the coffee table for board games. Arrange furniture around a focal point, perhaps the fireplace or a window with a view.
9. Lighting plan:
a. Choose your general lighting first. This is the lighting that you initially switch on when entering a room – it casts a soft, even light over the bulk of the room. This can be recessed lighting or perhaps a beautiful chandelier over a dining room table.
b. Task lighting next; such as Island lighting, under cabinet lighting, desk lighting. Think about what tasks you’ll perform and ensure you aren’t struggling to see what you are doing (have you ever tried to finish a jigsaw puzzle with dim lighting?). A tip when you are reading – the bottom of the table lamp shade should be level with your eyes when seated, this is the most comfortable level for most people and helps to reduce eye fatigue.
c. Decorative lighting is last; such as: wall sconces, up lighting, etc.
To me, lighting is one of the most important aspects of design. It can make or break the atmosphere of your room. Be sure to include both up lighting and down lighting (have some light sources shine up, some shine down). Ensure you have enough outlets to plug in your favourite lamp, stereo, computer etc. The electrical budget usually equates to 3% of your budget.
Stay tuned next week for more design tips. If you need help or have any questions on home design, please email contact me. I’d love to help you complete the home of your dreams!
Virtual Interior design help throughout Canada and USA
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.