Design Styles

null

Home Remodeling

An unfinished basement or attic, disused bedroom, or decades-outdated living room might seem like wasted space to some but to others, these rooms represent a world of possibility. A home remodeling project, from a subtle re-envisioning to a structural overhaul, can breathe life and energy into even the most tired, lackluster spaces, making your home feel as new as the day you moved in. In this guide we'll show you how to use the breadth of the Web to get ideas, plan your rooms, develop a budget, hire the right professionals, and more.

Design Styles

Modern, Colonial, Tudor, Southwestern: there are no one-style-fits-all looks when it comes to remodeling and design styles. This, coupled with the profusion of beautiful products on the market, means it's going to take a bit of time and research before you find a look that's right for you. Rather than picking up dozens of books and magazines on remodeling, why not use the Web for inspiration?

Dulcinea's Insight

  • A tried-and-true method for getting inspiration is to see rooms in photos or in person, and pull together the elements you like into something that's distinctly yours. As you're looking, take note of how the rooms are laid out, how they're furnished, what color palette is used, and how the rooms are lit and accented. All these factors will come into play as you plan and execute your project.
  • Although not always fruitful, image searches, such as those from Google Image Search, can yield useful photographs and Web sites. Use different keyword combinations to find examples of styles and layouts for specific rooms. "Colonial living room" or "southwestern bathroom" are some examples.
  • If the trade magazines' Web sites are too cutting edge, you might try a few of the consumer ones. In most cases, just type the name of the magazine, then dot com: for example, houseandgarden.com.
  • Part of design is finishing up your newly remodeled room with some good decorating. Many remodeling sites have decorating sections, but also browse our findingDulcinea Decorating Web Guide for additional ideas.

Dulcinea's Picks

For help determining your design style ...
For general home remodeling advice ...
For trade publications and remodeling magazines ...
For specifics ...

----------- Advertisement -----------

Try Angie's List!
Back to Top

How to Remodel Your Home

A serious remodeling project could mean taking down walls, tearing up floors, and buying roomfuls of furniture. The following sites present you with knowledge, insight, and know-how for getting your project off the ground. They'll help you work out your expectations, and provide some guidelines for getting started.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • It's essential to read about both the process of remodeling as well as about the materials you'd like to use. Make sure the materials you are considering are durable, easy to maintain, and offer a timeless style. You don't want your kitchen to look worn out or dated a year after its completion. Many of the larger home improvement stores maintain Web sites with descriptions and details about the supplies they sell.
  • Choose your do-it-yourself projects carefully. If you're not an expert, you may want to leave elements like electrical and plumbing work to the pros. Stick to hanging wallpaper and painting if you want to cut your costs.
  • Advice and tips from homeowners who've been there and done that can be invaluable. But when reading blogs and forums, take posts with a grain of salt. Homeowner advice is not expert advice.

Dulcinea's Picks

For general tips and advice ...
For forums and blogs ...
Back to Top

Find a Contractor for Your Home Improvement Project

If yours is a big job, chances are you don't have the skills, tools, time, or know-how to complete it on your own. This means you'll need to find a contractor or other outside professional to make your vision a reality. Use the resources in this section to ensure that you select the right people for the job.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Before you use the Internet to find names of professional builders, designers, or architects, ask friends and family if they have any recommendations. Then use the Web as a tool to find out more about that person or company.
  • The sites in this section let you filter professionals geographically, enabling you to find a contractor more easily.
  • See if each professional that you're considering has his or her own Web site. Often experts have portfolios displaying their projects posted on their sites. This can help you determine if you like their work, and whether they've done something comparable to your home improvement project.

Dulcinea's Picks

Back to Top

Choosing a Floor Plan

Choosing a floor plan can be tough—especially if you're not a visual person. A professional architect or remodeler should be able to guide you but here are some sites that can help along the way.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • If you want to keep costs down, ask your contractor about ways to design the layout to minimize your expenses while still providing you with a reasonable degree of change you desire.
  • If you can't understand the symbols on a floor plan, don't be afraid to ask your professional.
  • If you're having trouble visualizing the layout from a floor plan, ask your architect or remodeler to draw the rooms in perspective.
  • An axonometric drawing (one in which you appear to be looking down at the plan in a three-dimensional drawing) may be helpful.
  • When searching for floor plans on the Web, you're likely to find an array of plans for new homes. If a professional home building company designed your home, it's possible that the company's Web site could contain floor plan updates or improvements on your home's design.

Dulcinea's Picks

Back to Top

Home Remodeling Costs

Planning your remodel is fun—creating a budget and paying for it is not. Material costs, labor, financing, and budgeting all need to be taken into consideration. Use these sites to get on top of your finances, and ensure that the scale of your home improvement project matches your wallet.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • There are many things you can do to get financing. Crunch your numbers to see if refinancing your mortgage can free up some additional cash to pay for your remodeling. Home equity loans may be another option for you. Our findingDulcinea Credit Web Guide discusses home equity lines of credit.
  • Be wary of financing that comes with high interest rates or points. Even if the payments are small, in the long run you don't want to be overpaying for the job.
  • Many of the Web sites listed previously, such as BHG and Danny Lipford, also have information on your financing options.

Dulcinea's Picks

Because your budget affects your options ...
For financing information ...
For a different point of view ...
Back to Top

Home Improvement Tips

What are the keys to a successful project? The best home improvement tips come from people who've been through a remodeling project. Use the wealth of articles on the Web that offer advice on remodeling to learn what needs to go into a contract with builders, how to negotiate prices, and much more.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Always have detailed contracts listing what you expect, a timeline, and a specific outline of materials. Many of the sites recommended in the "Design Styles" section of this guide also have advice for helping a project go smoothly.
  • Some of the blogs and forums in the "How to Remodel Your Home" section contain advice from homeowners who have worked on remodel projects and have personal suggestions for managing a project well, or comments about a remodel they wish they'd handled differently.
  • Make sure that you and your contractor have the proper insurance—for your home and the subcontractors.

Dulcinea's Picks

For home remodeling tips and advice ...
Back to Top

Most Recent Guides