No doubt about it, choosing finishes for a new home can be daunting. Whether it’s a 600-square-foot condo or a 3500-plus-square-foot detached home (or somewhere in between), there are endless decisions to make. It’s only natural to feel overwhelmed, but rather than worrying too much, spend a little of that energy on planning and research. With a step-by-step approach, you can accomplish the task like a professional.
Start With the Big Ticket Items
If I had a dollar for every time someone said “I have this paint colour and I’d like the rest of the room to match”, I’d have enough cash to renovate my kitchen. It’s much easier to find a paint colour that matches or complements kitchen cabinetry than vice versa. In other words, finishes that are easily changed such as paint, as well as accessories, artwork and window treatments, should be chosen last. Start with cabinetry and flooring first. Then choose all the other items that follow (countertops, backsplash, etc). The likelihood that you will ever re-do the flooring or kitchen cabinets in your home is slim to none, whereas changing the paint colour is the easiest and most economical way to freshen the look of your home down the road. Select flooring that “works” in all of the principal rooms in your home, especially if they are within the same sightlines. In a condominium or smaller space especially, try to keep the floor finishes consistent, as too many transitions really chop up the look.
Break it Down
Your home is made up of different rooms for different purposes. Each room can have its own personality, if you want, or they can flow together and have the same “feel.” Don’t try to focus on too much at once. Start with one room at a time and select finishes that will suit the function, mood and preferences of that room and its end users. A child’s bathroom, for example, should have finishes that can withstand the wear and tear that goes hand in hand with little ones, as well as good lighting and practical colours. A Master Ensuite, on the other hand, is a more appropriate place for finer finishes such as marble, luxurious faucets and fixtures, and ambient lighting.
Step Back and Evaluate
It’s easy to lose sight of the forest for all the trees. Once you have finished each room, think about the overall look to see if it is cohesive. Again, it’s not critical that each room “matches” each other, but there should be a continuous flow if possible. For example, whether neutrals, earth tones, or vibrant colours are your colour palette, this should be a constant theme throughout. This will lend itself to a more pleasing and comfortable atmosphere in your home.
Do not underestimate the value of pictures! When you are meeting with your design consultant at the builder décor centre, bring photos from magazines or the internet to show them what you like. It takes the guesswork out of determining what style and colours you are looking for. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for their advice — that’s why they are there.
While some people need more guidance than others, most are appreciative of honest advice from an experienced design consultant. It’s better to hear that those tiles don’t really go well with that countertop now, rather than being surprised when you walk into your new bathroom for the first time.
Enjoy the Experience
You may only go through the experience of buying a new home once or perhaps multiple times. Regardless, choosing all of the finishes from scratch should be something that you enjoy. And the best part, when it’s all done, is the reward of coming home to that warm, inviting place that you’ve made your own.
Sue Ferrigamo is Manager
of The Design Studio