• Lisa for humble house design

Steps to select finishes for your home.

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

Selecting finishes for your home renovation or investment property project can seem overwhelming. Given all the material selection choices available today, coordination of these permanent finishes for your home can seem daunting. It is best to take your time and follow the steps below.

Where to start.

Everyone begins by visiting the tile store. Don't. I hear many customers saying they are overwhelmed and don’t know how to begin choosing or coordinating finishes within their home. They think the process will take about an hour and don’t realize all the decisions that need to be made during this process.

Here are some steps that will help you with the process.

1. Identify which rooms are to be renovated.

Home finishes can quickly look dated and out of step with the rest of your home if they are installed at different times. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at some of the interior real estate photos for properties listed for sale online. Most people do not have enough money to do a complete home renovation, so it is helpful to have a master plan.

2. Identify which finishes will remain.

It is important to understand that if you are renovating a kitchen but keeping your flooring, the remaining permanent finish, in this case your flooring, 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 begin to 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. Define your budget.

It is important to define your overall budget for your renovation project. Costs involving permanent finishes for your home can add up quickly, not to mention labor costs. One basic question to ask yourself is, how long will you remain in your home? If the answer is less than five years, don’t over-build your home with expensive materials that may not pay back when you sell your property. Find out from local realtors or realty sites online the finishes that help sell a home quickly. Maybe changing one finish, like a kitchen backsplash, is all it takes to allow for your home to look fresher when you sell. Beware of trends as they come and go quickly.

4. Identify your lifestyle.

Consideration of how you and your family live will help with your final selection of permanent finishes for your home. I admit that I love marble countertop slabs and they make a kitchen look fantastic, but I also know that I tend to be a messy cook and marble requires more care and attention than quartz. Understand the material and the manufacturer’s limitations on what you are choosing so you don’t get frustrated maintaining the finish over time.

5. Identify your personal style.

Style is personal to many people and sometimes 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 looking settings or casual? Light and airy or dark and moody? Permanent finishes are not changed often so I personally suggest you steer your renovation towards something classic that can stand the test of time and reflect the style of the house itself.

6. Understand what colors you gravitate towards.

Color is also personal for many people. In general, permanent 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 gravitate toward.

7. One pattern limit for permanent 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 or worse, your whole house will visually look busy. This would not be a good thing for most people.

8. Get physical 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.

Take these steps slowly. One at a time. Define your project parameters. This will save you money in the long run.

The goal in the end is to have a home you love to come home to.