Things That Make a Difference

By Christine Brun

May 31, 2017 4 min read

On occasion, some expensive items are worth the splurge when you are remodeling or redecorating. Please do not dismiss the idea as elitist before you hear me out! Sometimes nothing short of the most excellent option will make your space function. It never hurts to know about what specialty items are on the market, and it's possible that by watching your budget in other areas you can find a way to afford that one precious thing that makes a huge difference.

Budgets are elastic: When you cut in one area, you are able to stretch in another. If you have struggled to make your tiny place useful, how much would you spend in order for it to suit your needs? Would you spend three times as much on the ideal table that articulates between coffee table height and typical dining height, for example? What if that one purchase meant that you could use the room designated for a dining table as a compact home office or a yoga space instead? Perhaps you tighten up your budget on carpet or window treatments. In that case, spending $1,000 more on just the right table could prove to be a wise investment in the long run.

Here we see an example of a contemporary recessed uplift medicine cabinet. Typically this type of storage unit is deeper than normal at about 6 inches, which allows for maximum storage and function. You can hide away a TV screen or electrical outlets for hairdryers, curlers and straighteners. Instead of swinging mirror doors, the door to this storage cabinet slides up and down in order to conserve precious space. This feature makes it perfect for an old bathroom — the kind with a very narrow doorway where every inch matters. Yes, this is costly, and depending on what features you order the price can range between $2,500 and $3,000. But if you only have one bathroom and you stick with basic finish materials in the rest of the remodel, you could squeeze out the money for such a specialty piece.

Not all decisions are so expensive. For example, if you are ready to reupholster your furniture, it might be a good time to re-measure and make sure you are working with the best size sofa. Be realistic when you get estimates for upholstery labor and fabric. It's possible that a new piece that is the exact size that best fits your room won't be that much more money. My point is that before you launch forward on automatic, stop and give serious thought to other options. Could you get by with two reclining chairs instead of a sofa and a chair? Or could you use a loveseat and two chairs instead of a sofa and loveseat? By altering the mix, you might create the feeling of augmented space. The vast improvement might be worth an extra $500.

Evaluate. Be smart about where and how you shop. We are fortunate to have the internet as a very fast way to shop and compare items. But it is still valuable to see certain things in person, particularly when you are considering seating items. That one perfect unique item might be a hanging light that pulls up and down on a cord, a dishwasher drawer or an 18-inch-wide dishwasher for a small pantry. For other things such as casegoods — cabinets, shelving, tables or storage pieces made of wood — dimensions and photos often provide enough information. Avoid impulse buys when considering luxury items that stretch the budget. Check and double-check dimensions and finishes. But do not be afraid!

Photo Credit: Robern

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at [email protected] To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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