The basement is probably the most underrated area in the house, but if it’s refinished it will be like adding another room, or even another floor altogether. There is a lot of different choices as far as the aesthetic layout, but it’s been quite popular to add home theaters or wet bars; something that doesn’t seem so basement-ish.
The following material will be some advice on some preliminary start up points to get going on a basement project. Also, some basement ideas will be tossed around a bit to get your creative juices flowing.
First, Questioning the Contractor
Before you start perusing through your local yellow pages looking for someone to contract your basement remodeling job, you will want to have some foresight so you don’t pick one that you will regret. Just like finding a mechanic, it can be worrisome as you think that you are running crapshoot with who you choose to hire.
Scour the neighborhood or scan your rolodex. A friend or family will know someone who did some home construction work in the past, whether it was a room extension or a hardwood floor install, there should be praise of some group’s handiwork. If you canvass the area you can get someone who can refer you to a proper contractor.
In addition to word of mouth, going online to visit your state licensing site is a good tool to help screen your choices. For instance, if you were looking for a Salt Lake City remodeling contractor you would go to Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing and run a search.
You can find some reference to those who are licensed, or if you have picked up some names, you can cross check them with the board’s list. Keep in mind, however, that being listed on the board only means that they’ve at least met minimum requirements. Getting a good verbal reference still holds a little more stock in making the final decision.
Once you get to the screening portion of your conversations with the contractor, it’s important to know what you will be getting into as far as cost and quality of work. Some important points to consider when forming your questions are:
- The hourly rates charged
- Rates for any part of the project that is not exactly related to the job at hand, like if you have to do some plumbing work
- If there are parts ordered, will the hourly rates be in effect still while you all wait
- What sort of insurance does the contractor have and are they bondable
- If money is one of the biggest issues, ask if there are better rates during the season
Some Basement Designs
Out of all the design ideas you may have in your mind, think warmth first and foremost. This is the leading reason why people avoid the basement — it’s cold and dark making it uncomfortable. So when you formulate the design, try to think about lighting the downstairs with maybe some windows and a heat source.
A fireplace or heated floors are some examples of a heat source. Also if you cannot make windows, or they are out of your budget, try looking into some good artificial lighting with natural color spectrum.
Hooray its bathtime! The highlight of any kid’s day – all those splashes, bubbles and squirty toys are hard to beat. So if you’re doing up your bathroom to cater for your children’s needs think about how you can make bathtime even more fun and the room a safe and happy part of your home.
There are several elements to a bathroom and each can be made more child friendly. One of the challenges with decorating a bathroom for children is that their taste and preferences change quickly, so stick with a plain bathroom suite and tiles and introduce interest in the accessories that can be updated.
Low sided baths are much easier for everyone to get in and out of, especially kids with short legs! And a bath with taps at the side allows two children to sit comfortably, one at each end with neither pulling the short straw and having to lean on uncomfortable taps.
When choosing taps, look out for all sorts of interesting designs. Some allow water to run with a waterfall effect which has an “oooo aaahhh” factor. It’s also handy to have a hand held shower head, for hair washing and of course karaoke performances! A hand held shower gets toddlers used to the idea of showers which can be introduced once they are steady on their feet.
Bath curtains, to protect the bathroom from inevitable waterspray, can add a big splash of colour. Countless children’s designs are available, and as they are relatively cheap you can change them with your child’s latest colour or character obsession.
Kids are experts at splashing and throwing bubbles around so definitely go for a tiled floor. Wet carpet will rot quickly so you need some sort of waterproof surface. If you are tiling then look into installing underfloor heating while you’re at it. The floor will feel really cosy underfoot. As a result children will be much more willing to co-operate at the end of bathtime.
Similarly a heated towel rail will provide a welcoming warm towel to be wrapped up in. However make sure you teach your children to keep well away from the towel rail itself as they get very hot.
If you are choosing a new toilet get a dual flush system. This can help teach children about water conservation and making appropriate choices – and children love pulling levers and pressing buttons. For younger children you can get a separate child toilet seat which sits on top and is tailored to a toddler’s size. For older children there are all sorts of decorated toilet seats on the market to add a bit of fun.
When selecting a sink get the largest one you can. Children can be messy when brushing their teeth and washing hands so a large sink will cut out a lot of water mess. Also choose lever taps rather than twisting ones as they will be less stiff and kids can be more independent.
What kids love in the bathroom is lots of toys to play with. And what you want is tranquillity. So make sure you have plenty of storage. Get different coloured baskets for different types of toys and let the children decide how to organise them all. This may even encourage them to tidy up and leave the bathroom pristine for you!
Kids love little gadgets. Get a tooth brushing timer so your children brush their teeth for long enough. They are like egg timers but decorated with characters to make them more appealing. Bubble machines go down a treat and encourage children to wash. They also love toothbrush holders, cups, soaps and bottles of handwash decorated with their favourite characters. These are cheap and can easily be replaced when necessary.
Lastly, don’t forget safety. Put a lock on the bathroom door that can be opened from the outside, to avoid panics. If you are tiling the floor make sure the tiles are suitable for wet use and are not too slippery. Get steps for easy access to the toilet and sinks for smaller children and make sure they have non-slip feet. And if you are keeping medicines or domestic cleaners in the bathroom store them out of reach or fit cupboard doors with child locks.
Children should have fun in the bathroom and enjoy water and bubble play, so make the experience a happy, safe one that can be easily adapted as your family grows up.
A time will come when your baby has suddenly turned into a little kid and the decor of your nursery room just will not work anymore. Your little boy or girl will need a room that is more suitable to his or her age.
Not only comfortable and relaxing, kids’ rooms should be a fun place as well. Before starting to re-decorate your children’s bedrooms, ask them about their favorite colors and themes so that you can integrate them into your re-decorating plan. Yet, you have to keep in mind that your little kids will soon become teenagers and their tastes and preferences will change again. The decoration plan should be flexible enough for future changes.
Some tips on re-decorating kids’ bedrooms:
1. Prefer colorful curtains. Show them some curtain selections and ask their opinions. Kids like colorful things. If it is OK with them, it is better to use bright colored curtains in children’s rooms because they make the room look cleaner and sharper.
Adding a valance can help define the opening of the window and lessen bright overhead light from coming in at the top of the windows. It also opens up the window so the room can be lit evenly during the day. Add a colorful or themed shade for privacy at night.
2. Consider using your childs toys as wall decor. This can serve two purposes – as decoration and to save on storage space. You can create hooks to hang larger toys and add shelves to display the smaller ones. Now if you can only get your kids to put them away!
3. You can always add paintings and prints in strategic places but make sure they are appropriate to the room. If you can afford it, consider having a wall or room mural painted on the walls in your childs favorite theme such as a magical forest, sports or race cars.
4. Decorate with photos of your child’s most fondest memories. Family pictures of fun vacations or photos of your child on a day of achievement can add a personal touch to his or her room.
5. Depending on the age of your child, consider adding lifelike statues of his or her favorite cartoon characters or super heroes. This can add a bit of whimsy and make the decor unique.
6. Plants always add softness to any room and live plants help to clean the air. Just be sure you don’t add any plants that can be toxic and that your child is old enough not to dig in the dirt in the pots!
7. Don’t forget about the lampshades when decorating a kids room. Lamps and their shades can be purchased to accent any type of theme. You can also try making your own shades by buying plain ones and embellishing them with accents the compliment the rooms theme. Make it into a project that you can do with your child and they will really feel a sense of accomplishment every time they go into their room and see the lampshade.
8. Select your bedding to match the theme of the room as well as for comfort. Be sure to buy sheets, pillows and comforters that can be mixed and matched and don’t forget to add some extra accent pillows. You can even buy curtains that match the bedding, or if the curtains are not available for the bedding you have chosen, buy an extra set of sheets and make your own curtains.
9. Turn your childs ceiling into a magical night sky with glow in the dark decorations. These can be fun and even comforting for your child to be able to lay in bed and gaze up at the night stars.
10. Don’t forget to put educational and informative things into your kids bedroom. Include books, charts and toys that add to the childs education. Then your children can be learning while having fun.
Decorating your kids bedroom is a great way to give them a place they can call their own inside your home. You might even find your kid spending more time in there!
When you are planning your kitchen design, you might be surprised at the different types of kitchens you can choose from.
The way you and your family lives will mostly determine the style of kitchen that will work best for you. Do you have a large family with lots of kids at home? Do you want a gourmet kitchen? Is your house tiny or gigantic? Are you single and only need the basics?
The traffic flow in and around your kitchen is one of the most important aspects of designing a kitchen and something that should be carefully thought out. Taking the time up front to visualize this is well worth it as you will have to live with the consequences for the life of your kitchen.
Lets suppose you have children still living with you at home and you entertain family and friends for parties and meals a great deal.
You will want your kitchen to be large enough for several people to be in the kitchen at the same time without feeling cramped. A good kitchen design will allow people to move about in the room without having to shove anyone else out of the way.
Counter space is another critical element of any kitchen design and perhaps the most difficult part is deciding what type of material you want for the counter surfaces. Granite is a popular modern trend that lends both durability and elegance to your kitchen design but other popular materials include limestone, concrete, tile and even metal.
If you your kitchen is big enough, an island is fabulous to have. Islands serve many functions. You can prepare food on it, and it is especially convenient if your stove is in the island itself. If the island is big enough, you can eat at it too. A seating island is a great place for guests to get a chance to talk with the cook while he or she is preparing the mail and of course, an island will give you more cupboard space, something that is always at a premium in any kitchen!
Storage space is another important element of your kitchen design plan. A pantry is most desirable if you have the room for it. If you are tight on space, then making use of every nook and cranny for added space will help you get more out of your cabinets. Lazy Susans and other built ins inside the cabinets and help maximize cupboard space and make things easier to reach as well.
When planning a kitchen, you need to think about where you will put your major appliances. Consider the workflow when you fix a meal or do the cleanup afterwards. You don’t want to install your sink a mile away from the prep area where you will need to use it for washing vegetables and meats. You also wouldn’t want to locate your refrigerator in the middle of your sink and stove or have your dishwasher too far from the sink. The best placement of sink, stove and fridge is actually in a triangular shape with each appliance only a step away from the others.
When you plan your kitchen, there are many things to consider, these are just a few of the more important areas.