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Remodeling Tips: Remember the Little Things

July 5, 2017


As homeowners planning to remodel, we spend our time on “the big ticket items”: flooring, cabinets, counters, plumbing fixtures.  In a full kitchen remodel, most of a homeowner’s material dollars will be spent on the cabinets and appliances, and counters if the kitchen is large.  For a full bath remodel, the tile and plumbing fixtures often require the largest investments.  So, lets talk about the most forgotten items which really bring your newly remodeled room together.


Cabinet hardware. Shop, choose, and buy your cabinet hardware as early as possible.  Cabinet hardware comes in varying styles, shapes, and price points.  If you buy cheap, you are likely to feel regret a few years down the road when the color fades or they break.  I’d say, most consumers have no idea the desired handles or knobs cost at least 2X what they thought, no matter your budget.  Ask your cabinet vendor if you can borrow a door sample while you shop.  This will help you give you the best idea how your new hardware will look.  Count your doors and drawers, and buy a few extras.  Share your choice with your contractor as soon as possible, if your want them installed with the cabinets.  A good contractor can give you feedback, especially regarding durability and daily function.


Towel bars and hooks. These are limited in most kitchens, but a necessity in most bathrooms.  This is not an item you buy on the last day of construction to ask your contractor to install.  Shop, choose, and buy one of each to check how they fit and look in your space.  Check with your contractor to verify space and installation.  Once your choice is made, buy the number you need and request they be installed as the schedule permits.  If you are a DIYer, coordinate with your contractor for the best time for installation to prevent unintended damage.


Windows, blinds and glass.  This may seem obvious, but many homeowners are so used to their current windows and coverings, they don’t have a plan for the remodeled room.  New blinds or obscured window glass (bathrooms) are easy fixes, yet need to be coordinated so everything is ready as promised.  If a new window is ordered, you’ll want to be sure the installation price includes any exterior and cosmetic work required to make the replacement appear seamless.


Ventilation fans.  In today’s modern kitchen, the ventilation fan is a featured appliance.  These simple, yet beautiful appliances can come with an unexpected price tag.  Research the products you want and learn when the best sales occur.  Also, ask your contractor whether they have access to special pricing on the model you want.  It doesn’t hurt to compare.  In bathrooms, the ventilation fan is often forgotten.  The latest models of bath ventilation fans are almost silent, detect moisture, and easily connect to a timer.


Built-in soap dispenser, tip-out trays, hidden outlets, special lighting.  Discuss your ideas with your contractor early.  Even if you are a DIYer, your contractor can improve your final look by understanding your ultimate plan.  If you plan to install your own under cabinet lighting, an extra outlet can be installed near the cabinet the kick plate.  Sponges (kitchen) and brushes (bath) can be hidden in front face tip-out trays.  When possible, install tip-out trays before the countertops.


The most important point to make on all the above areas is choose and buy early.  Material delays can be costly on the schedule, and thus incur additional charges.  When possible, purchase these items before your remodel.  If you need to wait to order, verify with your contractor the last dates for installation.  You may find it more cost effective to pay for express shipping on the items versus paying for contractor labor overtime.   Happy Remodeling!

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