13 Alternatives to Plain Wood Floors in the Kitchen

Graphic patterns, surprising transitions and unexpected materials make these kitchen floors stand out

Wood flooring laid in a straight pattern can be a beautiful option for a kitchen and continues to be popular in photos we see uploaded to Houzz. But what if you want a kitchen floor that’s a bit more distinctive? The pros who created the following 13 kitchens demonstrate creative use of materials — including wood — to give these spaces a unique flavor. Which kitchen flooring would you like to see in your own home?

9 Ways To Create The Perfect Home Office

Are you more productive from an office or from your own home? This has been an ongoing debate for some time. Still, there’s something to be said about working from your home.

Home Improvement Projects That Make Homeowners Happier

Certain home remodeling projects are making homeowners happier and proving to be well worth the cost and time when they sell their properties, according to a new survey from the National Association of REALTORS®, which includes insights from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

After completing a home remodeling project, 74% of more than 2,100 consumers surveyed reported having a greater desire to be in their home, 65% say they experienced increased enjoyment, and 77% felt a major source of accomplishment, the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report shows. Researchers examined 20 projects and surveyed REALTORS® and consumers on home renovation projects.

“REALTORS® and homeowners alike recognize the value of taking on a major home remodeling project,” says NAR President John Smaby. “While these tasks can be time-consuming and costly, the projects are well worth the temporary inconveniences, as this report shows, and the final products ultimately reward us with feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction, and higher home values.”

NAR calculated a “joy score” for each home remodeling project studied. The score, a scale from one to 10, is based on homeowners’ overall perceived happiness with their renovations. The higher the joy score for the project, the more homeowners felt satisfaction from it.

Some of the highest joy scores for interior projects centered on complete kitchen renovations, closet renovations, full interior and interior room paint jobs, kitchen upgrades, and basement conversions to living areas.

The exterior jobs with the highest joy scores were new fiberglass or steel front doors, new vinyl and wood windows, and new roofing.

15 Smart Ideas From Beautifully Organized Pantries

See shelf, bin, drawer and lighting setups that can help keep your food and supplies in good order

The pantry is the workhorse of the kitchen. It helps you when you need to get dinner (or breakfast or lunch) on the table and keeps ingredients fresh and cool. But like all hardworking spaces, it can get a little (or a lot) disorganized. Gather inspiration from these beautifully organized spaces, and pick and choose from 15 takeaway tips to get your own pantry in shape.

11 Ways to Age-Proof Your Bathroom

Learn how to create a safe and accessible bathroom without sacrificing style

If you’re planning to stay in your house for the rest of your life, it might be wise to renovate your bathroom with accessible design in mind. Along with kitchens, bathrooms are one of the spaces homeowners use the most. They also happen to be wet zones, which increases the likelihood of slips and falls. That said, reducing slip hazards and ensuring adequate lighting and maximum comfort are vital when creating an age-proof bathing space. These 11 ideas will ensure that your bathroom is safe and easy to use for decades to come.

How to Properly Light Your Kitchen Counters

Discover these 6 professional tips for lighting your countertops and other kitchen workspaces

Like a canvas is to an artist, so a countertop is to the home chef. It’s a workspace that requires proper lighting to create a safe, functional and comfortable environment. If you’re remodeling your kitchen or just looking for a quick update, working with your home professional to place lights in the proper location will make your kitchen work better for you while adding beauty to the heart of your home.

Behold These Bold Kitchen Backsplashes

See how these 62 backsplashes bring beauty, personality and style to their kitchens

The kitchen backsplash presents an opportunity to bring color, pattern and texture to your space, and plenty of designers on Houzz have maximized this surface area in their work. From graphic tiles to aged copper and dramatic quartz, the possibilities are many. Here are 62 standout kitchen backsplashes that you can use as inspiration for your own kitchen renovation. Which kitchen backsplash would you most like to have in your home?

Tips for Making Your Bathroom Remodel Worth the Investment

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the home to keep up-to-date—not just because you spend a lot of time in there, but because it can influence the market value of the entire home. That said, remodeling a bathroom can be a great investment if you do it the right way. While you want to make sure it’s a comfortable space that fits your personal style, you also don’t want to pour in so much money that you couldn’t recoup it later if you were to sell the home. If you’re considering remodeling your bathroom, here are some tips to help make it a worthwhile investment:

Making a Budget and Design Plan

The first part of remodeling your bathroom should be to make a reasonable budget. A contractor and/or designer can help you estimate total costs and choose the elements that meet your preferences while also staying within budget. Making a design plan, rather than winging it as you go, will help you ensure that each purchase has a purpose. 

If you need to cut out some things to stay within budget, consider luxuries (e.g., a steam shower, a heated toilet seat, etc.) but not essential components that will raise your home’s value. Also, be sure to factor in the cost of labor (typically about a third of the total cost), and try to leave a cushion for unforeseen issues such as plumbing, asbestos or termite damage. In general, it’s good to set aside about 10% of the estimated labor costs. The average cost of a bathroom remodel in Seattle is close to $50,000. In this case, you would budget about $16,500 for labor and $1,650 for a cushion. 

Splurging on the Low-Cost Stuff 

When you’re budgeting for the remodel, think of the entire cost scale for the items you need to purchase. Things like storage solutions, accessories, towels and other linens are the perfect kinds of items to splurge on because they’re on the lower end of the cost scale. And even though they’re the less expensive items, you can still save on them by shopping at home furnishing stores like Crate and Barrel. Moreover, finding a promo code or Crate and Barrel coupons will earn you further savings.

Things to DIY

There are some things you can do yourself during a bathroom remodel that will save you money. For instance, you can choose the fixtures and install most of them, including light fixtures, towel bars, drawer handles, sink faucets and shower heads. You can find plenty of affordable options for these fixtures (drawer handles, for example) at Home Depot. You can also bring some life to the bathroom by re-caulking around the sink and tub

One of the most significant ways to upgrade your bathroom by yourself is painting. Just use a lot of tape and take your time when painting around the tub/shower, sink, toilet, mirror and other areas you can’t touch. Lowe’s offers a variety of affordable semi-gloss paints, which are easier to clean than other types of paint. 

Things Not to DIY

There are also some things that you should not try to DIY. For example, you should call a professional for any plumbing that’s more involved than changing a faucet or fixing the flush handle. Also, any electrical work you need done should be completed by an electrician, because it’s simply too dangerous. Furthermore, it’s generally a good idea to leave the removal and installation of tubs, showers and other large pieces to the pros. 

Bathroom remodels can add comfort to your daily life and raise your home’s value. For it to be a good investment, however, it’s important to make a reasonable budget and design plan and stick with it. If possible, splurge on the lower cost items like towels and accessories, and look into projects you should and should not DIY. Planning your remodel beforehand will help the whole process go more smoothly. 

Photo Credit: Burst

Ideas to Design Your Home Office for Maximum Productivity (Infographic)