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7 simple steps for SELECTING HARD FINISHES FOR YOUR HOME

Updated: Jan 12, 2019

Selecting hard finishes for your home remodeling project can seem overwhelming. As an architect, I realize with all the material selections available on the market today, it is a bit scary to try to coordinate all these finishes. Because hard finishes require lots of money and effort to remove and replace, it is best to proceed slowly and deliberately.


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I recently had a conversation with my sister-in-law about the master bathroom she wants to renovate. She asked me this key question,


"Where do I start?"


This blog post breaks down the process in 7 manageable steps.


1. Identify which rooms you will be renovating.

Home finishes can quickly look dated and out of step with the rest of your home if they are installed at different times. Most people do not have enough money to do a complete renovation so it is helpful to have a master plan.


2. Identify which finishes will remain.

Understand that if you are renovating a kitchen but keeping your flooring, the remaining hard finish begins to dictate a color scheme for the renovation. For example, if your flooring is Saltillo tile which has lots of red and yellow in it, this warmth will compete with the countertop and backsplash if you choose new finishes that are too cool, like gray marble countertops and bright white backsplash and cabinetry.


3. Identify your lifestyle.

Consideration of how you and your family live will help with your final selection of a hard finish. I admit that I love many marble countertop slabs and they can make a kitchen look fantastic, but I also know that I tend to be a messy cook. Understand the material and the manufacturer's limitations on what you are choosing so you don't get frustrated maintaining the finish over time.


4. Identify your style.

Style is personal to many people and can be elusive. I think it is important to know which broad category your style fits into before proceeding with a renovation. Do you like more classic settings or casual? Light and airy or dark and moody? Hard finishes are not changed that often so I personally suggest you steer your renovation towards something classic that can stand the test of time and reflects the style of the house itself.


5. Understand what colors you gravitate towards.

Color is also personal for many people. In general, hard finishes fall into two main color categories: brown and gray. Browns are warm in nature and grays cool. Browns are reflected in Mediterranean homes and grays are seen more in modern homes. It is important to know which color category you gravitate towards.


6. One pattern limit for hard finishes per room.

No one likes to hear this when selecting finishes. It is so easy to get caught up in all the amazing choices available but, believe me when I say you need to heed this step, otherwise your room will look visually busy. This would not be a good thing for most people.


7. Get samples.

This step is the most important. Get physical samples of every finish you will be installing in your renovation. This includes large paint samples for your walls and trim. Laying all these finishes out, along with the flooring in the room, will help you in choosing the right colors and coordinating the undertones in the finishes. It is good to remember that all whites are not the same.


Keep all the information from the above steps in a handy notebook. Keep this together with your samples so you can easily take them to various tile and stone shops for comparison.


If you are looking for a comprehensive package of hard finish suggestions, shop my various finish schemes for sale. The PDF download is a material list of coordinated hard finishes and appropriate foundation whites for kitchens or baths. Be sure to get both corresponding rooms if you are planning a complete remodel.


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