Step 2: IDENTIFY WHICH FINISHES WILL REMAIN.
Updated: Jan 12, 2019
Not everyone can renovate every room of their house at the same time, or for that matter, even within the same calendar year. Most of us have tight budget constraints so it is important to identify which finishes in your home will be remaining and for how long. This will influence the direction of your new finishes and help to narrow down the choices.
Identify which finishes will remain.
Floor plans today are more open. Kitchens blend into family rooms and these open floor plans allow finishes to be seen from various rooms. Flooring is an example of this. Since flooring makes up such a large area in your home, this finish dominates the color and finish palette of many rooms. Flooring is therefore the first place to start.
When considering hard finishes, natural flooring is the most limited in it’s range of color. Stone and wood are natural materials and only come in so many color options. If you are choosing new flooring, start here. If you are replacing flooring in a kitchen and adjacent family room but keeping the kitchen countertop, make sure your new flooring will be in the same color family and not compete.
Likewise, if your flooring is remaining in the room you are renovating or can be seen from this room, start to build the new finishes around the existing flooring. Don’t let this point discourage you from creating a new look. Although your choices may be narrowed, older flooring can be “updated” in feel just by adding new finishes around it. It is important to coordinate the finish color families, so they begin to create a cohesive look.
It is helpful to say a word about undertones here. Most people are familiar with undertones when looking at white paints. What we understand as white contains “undertones” of blue, pink or yellow in them. This is the case for most finishes. It is important to identify the undertones in your remaining hard finishes. This goes for wood as well as stone or tile. Wood can have grey undertones, which read cool and should be paired with finishes that are cool. Wood can also have gold undertones, like oak flooring, and should be paired with finishes that are warm. Grout, which isn’t discussed much, also has an undertone. I was having travertine stone flooring installed in my home and chose a grout that I thought was neutral. My flooring contractor saved me by explaining to me that the grout I chose would bring out the pink undertones in my flooring. I did not want that, so we choose a grout that had a grey undertone in it to offset the pink in the stone. Utilizing paint samples can help you identify undertones in tile, stone or wood. The samples are available at any paint store for free. Compare it to finishes under natural lighting to get the best color accuracy. Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace is a good true white without undertones.
Time is an important consideration when renovating. For example, if you are renovating a space and know you will be changing the flooring within a few years, you will need to select your flooring along with the other finishes in the room at the same time, so you can see that the color families work together. Be sure not to select a flooring that is too trendy. Trends don’t last long, and the flooring may not be available when you are finally ready to change it.
If you are looking for a comprehensive package of hard finish suggestions, shop my various finish schemes for sale. The PDF download is a materials 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.