Don’t overlook these small, relatively low-cost additions in your next project
After several years of working in the home renovation industry and being on both sides of the remodeling process, I’ve come across several items that make a substantial difference in the end product. I’m not talking about the big-dollar pieces such as appliances or light fixtures, but little things — hardware, cabinet interiors, switches and outlets. Things that you may not necessarily think of as luxuries but are invaluable pieces in making the whole project come together. Like a cherry on top of a sundae, the following seven little touches can make your final project that much sweeter.
1. Screwless outlet and switch plates. Who knew not seeing a couple of screws could make such a difference? Screwless plates are actually just screw-on plates with a smooth cover that pops over the top. They go a long way toward creating a sleek, finished look and come in a variety of colors. My personal favorite brand is Lutron, but there are tons of others.
2. Matching door hardware. Often when someone is remodeling a single room or section of the house, he or she will only focus on the part that’s being remodeled. This is not surprising and is totally fine. But say the person installs new doors and selects new handles for that project only, failing to consider styles found elsewhere in the home. Matching your existing door handles or selecting handles for the entire house helps to avoid that “obviously remodeled” look and create more of an “obviously well-thought-out” look. 3. Remote venting. Picture this: You’re taking a long, steamy shower in the middle of winter after a long day. You spend extra time, and as such, you create extra water vapor. You turn on the bathroom vent, and suddenly the relaxing atmosphere (pardon the pun) evaporates as soon as you hear the obnoxious whirring of the vent. Remote venting removes this problem entirely. The actual motor for the vent (whether it is in your bathroom or kitchen) is moved several feet away, usually into the attic. So while the venting power is still strong, the sound is practically gone. I’ve had several customers say they brag to their friends about how quiet their bathroom vents are. To some this may sound … odd. But once you’ve had a remote vent installed, you’ll understand.
4. Soft-close cabinet hinges and drawer glides. Don’t you just hate it when someone (possibly you) shuts a cabinet door too hard or closes a heavy drawer, like a silverware drawer, and it makes a racket upon hitting the cabinet frame? Soft-close hinges catch the cabinet door midswing, about an inch or two away from fully being closed, and then slowly shut it the rest of the way. (The same goes for soft-close drawer glides.) They’re amazing. You’ll be spoiled by them and find yourself accidentally slamming ordinary cabinets everywhere you go. 5. Custom cabinetry organization. I’m not talking about going to the Container Store and buying everything in sight — although that is pretty fun. For me, in-drawer organization comes during the design phase of cabinetry. Take inventory of everything you have or want to store, and see if there are storage solutions (check out Rev-A-Shelf) that can be integrated into your cabinets. Common examples are knife holders, as seen here, spice racks, trash drawers, laundry bin holders and hair dryer/straightener holsters. Custom cabinetry organization is the embodiment of “a place for everything and everything in its place,” and it makes life that much neater and easier.
6. Good-quality pocket door hardware. Pocket doors are a great way to save space in tight areas, especially small bathrooms. But moisture from bathrooms can do a number on poor-quality hardware in pocket doors, and changing that hardware is a super pain in the you-know-what. So if you’re going for a pocket door, spring for the quality hardware on all fronts.
7. Protective shower glass treatment. I can’t stress enough the value of adding protective sealant to glass shower doors. Yes, it protects the glass from water, heat and mineral deposits, but more importantly, it stays clean longer! On top of that, when it’s time to clean, it is so easy to do (no elbow grease required). Sealants, like ShowerGuard, also prevent glass from getting that slightly opaque, scummy look that comes from regular use. Some of these items may seem irrelevant and relatively minuscule, but in the end they can make a big difference in your happiness and quality of life in your new space.