Warm greetings with top secret design hack intel from our Mighty Hand Design team!
One of my favorite things about working as a designer at a construction company is how my behind-the-scenes knowledge of the industry has helped me design more cost-effectively, aka, create "design hacks". In this blog post, I want to share some design considerations that will help keep your costs low while still getting a beautiful finished look!
Design hack with LVP over Tile
One of my favorite design hacks is using Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVP) in bathrooms instead of tile. This design change can save between $500-1500. Most consumers only have product costs in mind when making decisions, but that's only part of the overall cost of a product. Keep in mind there are still costs for additional install materials and labor. For example, although a large format tile (12x24) and LVP might be the same price ($3-6/sqft), The tile is more expensive. Unlike LVP, which has an easy install, tile requires purchasing and installing an underlayment, mortar, and grout and takes more labor cutting and laying. The labor to install tile is usually around $10-15/sqft, whereas LVP is closer to $3-5/sqft.
Besides being less expensive, LVP is also a great product because it's waterproof, has no grout lines, and camouflages dirt well. With that said, I would focus on items like furniture, art, and lighting to accomplish your desired style in a bathroom and keep your floors neutral by continuing the LVP in from the rest of the house. Besides, these things are more accessible to change as trends come and go, and you can purchase them via antique stores/second-hand for additional savings.
Takeaway: LVP is cheaper as a flooring material than tile. Use art, lighting, and other fixtures instead of decorative floor tile to play with style.
Most people enjoy visual interest in their countertops and like how patterns can mask surface stains that naturally occur from use over time. Granite and quartz are popular countertops for their dramatic speckling and vein looks. Although granite is a really affordable option, quartz has become a far more popular option since it requires no maintenance and is known for its strength and resistance to staining, chipping, and cracking. However, quartz slabs with dramatic veining usually cost $80-$100+/sqft. My next design hack helps you get the countertop of your dreams without overspending on this design decision.
For those who don't know what a remnant yard is– it's leftover slabs that countertop companies sell at a dramatic discount. I love remnant slabs because you can find high-end/ premium slabs for the same price as their entry-level countertop. Remnant slabs are great for vanity tops, fireplace surrounds, shower benches, desktops, and small-medium-sized islands.
2. Mix and Match the island & perimeter countertops.
If you end up using a remnant slab for the island, another great way to save money on your countertops is to use a stock program quartz for the perimeter. When purchasing countertops, you usually buy entire slabs rather than by the square foot. So, for example, if your project required 2.5 slabs worth of surface, you would still have to pay for 3 slabs--even though you aren't using the last ½ of the slab. Annoying, right?! Weaverstone, our preferred fabricator here in Fort Collins, offers solid-colored quartz and granite at a great point price. Their stock program allows you to only pay for the amount of stone you use. Returning to our first example-- if you needed 2.5 slabs of material, you would only pay for 2.5 slabs instead of 3. Also, because these options are solid in color and neutral, they usually pair well with any remnant I find.
Takeaway: Start your countertop search by looking through remnant slab options. Feel free to mix and match countertops-- find something dramatic for the island and something simpler for the perimeter cabinets. Ask your countertop provider if they have a stock program so you can purchase by sqft instead of entire slabs.
My final design hack concerns the ever-so-popular wood cabinet look right now. Most of our clients love the warmth and durability of natural wood cabinets in their kitchens. However, quality wood cabinets are costly. Here at Mighty Hand, we can currently source painted cabinets that are more affordable than wood cabinets. Our wood cabinet options are usually about two to three times more expensive than our painted shaker options. So, instead of incorporating wood into the kitchen through cabinets, we've been wrapping the back of the islands with wood, and this option still gives a comparable look making it a true design hack.
A few other benefits of a wood island are that wood will wear better than a painted backing, and as styles change, you could always paint it an accent color in the future.
If you are still desperate for wood cabinets, I recommend having half of the cabinets painted and the other half wood. You could do all the upper cabinets as wood and the lower cabinets painted, or vice-versa. I like this option better since it creates more visual interest in a kitchen.
Mighty Hand Construction
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