Improve Your Bathroom and Increase Your Home’s Value

Homeowners often want to know where they can get the best bang for their buck when they take on a remodeling project in their homes.  The bathroom is one of those places!

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If you’re going to put some money into home improvement, whether you have plans to sell your home soon or not, it’s wise to put your money into improvements that make your life better AND increase the value of your home.  A bathroom is just one of those places.  It’s a room that sees a lot of use, so it should be well-designed, functional, eco-friendly, and beautiful.  Here are some great ways to go about improving your bathroom.

Improve Your Bathroom and Increase the Value of Your HomeIf you’d like to improve your bathroom, whether it’s just cosmetic or a total renovation, call me!

Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer for All About Interiors

Infographic used with permission from DecorPlanet.com

 

Concrete Floors, Part 2: Pros and Cons

Last week, I gave an overview of the options available in concrete flooring (they’re almost limitless!).  Every building material has its pros and cons, and it’s important to know what they are before making a choice.

Advantages of Concrete Flooring

Durability — Concrete floors are extremely tough and resilient, so it can be a great choice for high traffic areas or pet owners, as the surface is very difficult to gouge or scratch.  Concrete is also a long-lasting finish, so even in commercial applications, it can survive extremely high traffic for many years, and in a home, will last indefinitely.

Maintenance — Maintaining concrete is also fairly easy:  periodic mopping with a neutral cleaning agent such as vinegar to maintain the protective finish.  Most polished concrete will not require further waxing or sealing once done correctly at installation.

Eco-Friendly — In a lot of cases, you may already have a concrete subfloor, so installation simply consists of removing the flooring that exists on top of the subfloor.  No new material needs to be produced!  Even a new concrete floor requires less energy to produce than other types of flooring.  In terms of indoor air quality, concrete inhibits mold, mildew, and odors, contains no VOCs and can be finished with zero-VOC sealers.  Concrete also absorbs warm and cool air, thus making it a good companion for radiant heating.  Concrete can also be recycled, so there is no waste after installation.

Design Options — There is an endless variety of color and texture effects that can be done now with concrete, either with new installation concrete or through the application of stains or dyes to existing concrete.  It can be made smooth or can be stamped or textured during installation, even achieving the look of tiles.

Versatility — As long as the concrete is in good condition, you can install any type of floor covering over it at a later date, thus giving you great design potential.  Note that you may need to add an underlayment, depending on the material you choose.

Disadvantages of Concrete

Hardness — The hardness that makes concrete especially durable can also be a drawback should you fall or drop things on it, so it may not be the best choice for a home with children or the elderly.  Likewise, an item dropped on concrete is very likely to break.  Concrete also doesn’t have any give, so it can be difficult if you need to stand for long periods of time on a concrete surface.

Cold — While concrete will absorb head and cold easily, it does not retain heat well, so walking barefoot on a concrete floor in the morning may be a chilly endeavor!  You can offset this by adding throw rugs.

Moisture — You must make sure that your concrete floor is properly sealed on top and bottom.  If it is not, moisture can penetrate the concrete and lead to the growth of mold and mildew.

Eco-unfriendly — While using an existing concrete slab requires no new materials, the production and installation of new concrete can have a negative environmental effect, since the cement requires a significant amount of energy and carbon dioxide to manufacture.

Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to think differently about concrete and give it a second thought the next time you think about a flooring change.  It’s important to deal with a professional installer to make sure it’s done right.

For help with flooring or any other interior design choices in your future, contact Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer with All About Interiors.

Concrete Floors: Not Just for Patios Anymore!

If you think sidewalk or patio when you hear the word “concrete,” then have I got an eye-opener for you!  Interior concrete floors are stylish, durable, eco-friendly and come in a myriad of colors, styles and finishes, often at an extremely competitive price.

Concrete tiles by Arto Brick, used with permission

The days of typical, gray concrete are long gone!  There is such a range of options for concrete flooring now, that if you’re in the market for a new floor, it really pays to get educated about what’s available.  So first, let’s talk about the options that are available with concrete.

Types

There are two basic types of concrete floors — existing concrete and decorative overlay.  If you have concrete in your home already, the surface can be enhanced with stains and polishes.  A concrete overlay can be installed over certain types of hard-surface flooring.  This offers the chance to mask damage or update your look.

There are a variety of surface textures from smooth, polished, troweled, stamped, scored or even aggregate, which incorporates crushed stone into the finish.

Concrete can also be made to look like tile, slate or marble, and can also be enhanced with stenciled borders or custom graphics.  No other flooring choice gives you the ability to create such unique looks.

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Basement floor by Supremecrete

Colors

Obviously, color is a huge consideration when choosing a flooring material, and there are various methods used to color concrete.

  • Integral Color is added during the mixing process of the concrete
  • Stains offer a unique look through translucent finishes
  • Achieve more vibrant shades using dyes, often mixed on-site
  • Colored Hardeners give surface-level colors when added to fresh concrete.
  • Paint

Concrete is the chameleon of the flooring world, because it can be stained or colored to match any hue, thus giving you limitless design potential.  Recent advances in materials and finishing techniques have also resulted in some pretty trendy new looks, especially in polishing and metallic epoxies.  Concrete polishing will give you a high-luster look, similar to polished stone, that will never require waxing.  Metallic epoxies are a great choice for modern, upscale looks and contain the addition of metallic powders or reflective pigments that will give the look of copper, aged bronze, silver or other metallic patinas to the concrete surface.

Please come back next week for Concrete Floors Part 2, when I’ll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of concrete flooring.

Creatively Yours,

Melanie

All About Interiors

 

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Rooms of Color: Sunny Yellow

When I think spring colors, yellow is near the top of the list.  Think of how delicate daffodils and branching forsythia bloom before most other plants really have a chance to get going in the spring, and don’t you just love that pop of yellow?

If you were to ask people which color is the happiest, I’d wager that most of them would say yellow.  If you need a mood-lifter inside your home, add yellow!  For the same reasons that spring flowers stand out so beautifully in the yard, yellow will lighten and brighten your mood and your home.  If this color isn’t your favorite, though, there’s no need to douse your walls in the most daffodil of yellows.  Using yellow as an accent and choosing the right hue will give you the mood-lifting benefits of yellow without feeling like a lemon exploded in your house!

This dining area is an excellent example of how yellow as an accent color can pack a lot of punch.  Imagine this space without it.  A bit sterile, huh?  The yellow accents warm up and brighten the space in a subtle way that will please even the pickiest person.

Whether a yellow has a red or blue undertone to it will change its personality and how it feels in the room.  Yellow with a red undertone will feel warm and welcoming, so it’s a good choice for furniture or walls, whereas a blue undertone can feel cold, so you should keep this hue for an accent color or small furniture pieces.  Choosing a warmer shade of yellow is a little more forgiving, so you can feel more at ease when using it.  A pale yellow will also function as a neutral, thus making it easier to incorporate, especially into a space such as a bedroom where you want to create a soothing atmosphere.

This kitchen is another good example.

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Source:  Flickr

For more inspiration, check out my Mellow Yellow Pinterest board, BHG’s or Real Simple’s Decorating with Yellow or contact me for help creating a home that makes YOU happy.

Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer for All About Interiors

 

Decorate with What You Already Have

You may not be in a position for a full-scale remodel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the effect of a different space with a little time and effort!  These 5 tips for how to decorate with what you already have will get you started.

1.  Create a Vision

Is there something that you don’t like about your room?  Maybe you lack a strong color scheme or there’s just too much stuff.  Try to identify any design problems you want to fix before starting any heavy lifting – trust me, your back will thank you for it!  Perhaps you like your space but just want to update or breathe some fresh life into it.  Before you start, evaluate what you want to accomplish, and keep that goal in mind as you work.  For more on this planning process, check out our post on Decorating with Designer Secrets.

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All About Interiors

2.  Remove

The best way to get a fresh viewpoint on a room is to remove what’s there.  If you’re already planning on some spring cleaning, this is a great opportunity to accomplish both things at once.  Remove as many items from the room as possible, cleaning those hard to reach places as you go, and then evaluate each item critically to decide whether it should return to the room or find a home elsewhere.  Make sure you use the criteria or plan that you came up with in step 1 to decide whether to use an item or not.

3.  Rearrange

One of the easiest room makeovers can be done simply by rearranging your furniture.  While you have the room emptied, ask yourself what other location an item could have in the room.  If you find yourself at a loss, do a little homework on the rules of furniture arranging or how to arrange your furniture.  You might also find it valuable to book a consultation with a designer.  Even the budget conscious homeowner may consider the money very well spent for the peace of mind you’ll get knowing that your efforts to change things up are done right.

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Christopher Barson Interiors

4.  Re-Imagine

Do the items in your rooms have to be used as they are intended?  Perhaps you have a console table that could serve as a desk or vice-versa.  Can your ottoman serve instead as a coffee table?  Look through your house to find pieces in other rooms that might work in the room you want to redecorate.  When mixing and matching, look for unifying elements that will keep your room from looking too mish-mash.  It also pays to do a little homework!

5.  Get Creative

A little crafty know-how or elbow grease can give you the feel of a new space without a large dent in your wallet.  Use the main colors you already have in your space and choose a new accent color.  Some paint or a little bit of fabric can transform an accustomed item into something brand new!  Pillows are also a great way to bring in a new accent.  If entirely new pillows aren’t within your budget, perhaps you can find pillow covers that will fit over your existing pillows, or, if you’re handy with a sewing machine, create new pillow covers.  Maybe you have a piece of art or some photos in another room that can have a new life elsewhere.

Do you remember TLC’s Trading Spaces?  Each episode paired two designers with two sets of neighbors charged with redecorating a room in each other’s houses on a very limited budget.  One of the things those designers did frequently was to check out other rooms in the home or storage areas to find items that the homeowners already had that could be used in the redecorated room.  Don’t be afraid to do just that; you may be surprised with what you find!

To rent a designer’s eye to help you with your redecorating, to undertake a full remodel or for anything in between, contact me today!

Creatively Yours,

Melanie

All About Interiors

April 1, 2015 - 2:45 am

Jerry Hoekman - Great tips Melanie, it is good to be reminded to use the ideas and furniture we already have available and to do things one step at a time. Have been thinking about remodeling recently, but this makes things a lot easier. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

April 1, 2015 - 7:21 am

Melanie Langford - Thank you Jerry, I completely agree! Thank you for stopping by, please come back often! I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions! ~Melanie