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  • Marina Klima Goldberg
  • October 30, 2013 11:53:57 PM

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My Decorating Tips provides many real stories that will inspire you. They are meant to convey my passion for interior design and healthy living at any age.

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Six Secrets of Shelf Decorating that Work All the Time

Shelf decorating is like making soup. You can have all the ingredients but it all depends on what you do with them. As in any recipe, you can improvise and create wonders if you know the rules and how to break them. Shelf styling or decorating is no different, darling. So, before you start placing […] The post Six Secrets of Shelf Decorating that Work All the Time appeared first on My Decorating...

Shelf decorating is like making soup. You can have all the ingredients but it all depends on what you do with them. As in any recipe, you can improvise and create wonders if you know the rules and how to break them. Shelf styling or decorating is no different, darling. So, before you start placing your pretty things read this carefully drafted article with images from my own design work.

1. Use a Visual Triangle for Shelf Decorating

In interior design college, the rule of the triangle for shelf styling was a decorating bible. Perhaps, because the magical number “three” is something that humans are willingly accepting as harmonious. We are wired to think in threes. From the mind-body-spirit connection and, the three little bears’ fairy tale we find comfort in the numerology of the three.

As far as your shelf decorating the Rule of the Three goes like this:

When styling a shelf place a larger object next to two other objects that are smaller in size to create a visual triangle. Your eye travels from one object to another effortlessly. Here I will show you how I used the rule of the triangle in my own design work.

Let’s have a look how this works:

shelf decorating with white objects
Design Work: Marina Klima
shelf decorating with objects showing triangle rule
Design Work: Marina Klima

Above is a display in my house. I collected some things and inherited others. I wish I could give you the site where I got them but there is no such thing. It all took me years.

Some I got in Arizona and the Mexican flea market. The books are from my college interior design days. Of course, my granddaughters’ photos must be there.

I united the objects by color, common theme, and texture – in this case, Mexican or Arizona vibes.

All the objects on each shelf form visual triangles. Textured white porcelain is dominant here. My favorite Frida Kahlo figurine on the upper shelf has a touch of red. The same shade of red in the stack of books. Also, I placed a beige tall vase inherited from my grandfather in the highest opening on the left. This vase was tall enough for that opening and beige never ruins any color scheme.

2. Create Collections With a Common Theme

The collections are great for decorating any shelves. But I hear you- you don’t have a collection, right? No problem. Frames with your cherished photos, plants in pretty planters, or books – all of that you can use as collections.

styled etagere with shelves decorated objects behind sofa
Design Work: Marina Klima
etagere with objects showing triangle rule
Design Work: Marina Klima, Photo Peter Rymwood

I credit a master photographer with the above photos of my design work. An etagere displays a collection of objects inspired by a “Chinese” theme. I remember that the client wanted a mostly Italian great room. Then I thought of bringing in some unexpected objects. I told her literally that she just went to China and brought in some souvenirs. She raised her eyebrows. “I’ve never been to China.” However, after I styled the etagere she loved it.

3. Arrange the Decor with Color and Texture in Mind

items for styling a shelf

Darling, if you ever went through messy construction then you know that after a period of displacement and total chaos comes the big fun of decorating with pretty things.

So in this project above, after we built the wall unit it was time to make it sing with the right decor.

The client wanted something pretty and earthy but not glitzy for the display.

I arranged the objects by texture, form, and size. Earthy objects with tons of interest are like toys that you want to touch and play with.

4. Display Elements Against a Contrast Background

photo from Marina Klima award winning design work. Living room with shelving styled.
Part of Award-winning project for ASID Excellence Award Contest, June 2017. Design Work: Marina Klima

I am proud to showcase one of the photos from my award-winning project. I received a bronze award from the American Society of Interior Designers for a dear client in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

We built and decorated everything here including a custom wall unit.

I remember sourcing the material for the wall unit back wall. I wanted it to blend with the marble of the fireplace that we built. Also, I wanted the decorative objects to pop against the light background.

Large cactuses are bulky enough to be on the upper shelf. A white asymmetrical object is next to them making the display look lighter. A metal, lacy spider web of the book ends on the second shelf in juxtaposition to a shiny planter. The two identical heads of HIM and HER are pretty and fun. Their outline is harmonious with the spider web of the bookends. A tall light blue vase is textural and its earthy color works with the color of the other elements.

Tip: Select a light background for dark objects, but if the objects are light, choose a darker background. 

styled objects for a wall unit
Design Work: Marina Klima
styled objects for wall unit showing triangle rule within wall unit
Design Work: Marina Klima

5. Show Off Unexpected and Fun Objects

You might have noticed that I like to introduce fun, playful decor with all my projects. You can follow my lead and create some conversation pieces in your space.

Design Work: Marina Klima

The exquisite hand-made iron ladybug accent lands next to the books. The ladybug is heavy enough that the kids have little interest in it. However, it is fun to look at, right?

head planter with flowers
Head planter

You will say, “A planter is just a planter!” Yes and no. Sometimes, you can play with its shape or select pretty plants for a plain vase.

6. Use Asymmetric Forms for Photo Frames and Other Objects

photo frame shaped as a cat with cat ears jar
Cat Frame. see details below

 Most of the shelves are rectangular, right? So, by using asymmetrical or odd shapes for the photo frames you will create more interest. What I mean by that is that a space around the objects, called negative space, helps to identify the forms of the objects you display.

Also, I believe that your favorite things need a space to breathe. I’d rather see you changing your displays than crowding too many things all at once.

wood ducks display
Wood Decor Accent. See details below
alternative forms for photo frames
BRASS FRAME GREY STONE PHOTO FRAME
Brass Frame Grey Stone Photo Frame-Horizontal-5×7

I hope you enjoyed this article.

Honestly, it takes me a couple of days to create each post and your input is like air to me to continue working, crating, dreaming, and helping.

Of course, I will be thrilled to see your comments here!

Have fun styling shelves with your favorite things!

Marina's signature

Shop My Favorite Accents for Shelf Styling:

Shop My Favorite Photo Frames

The post Six Secrets of Shelf Decorating that Work All the Time appeared first on My Decorating Tips.


How to Quickly Update a Traditional Interior Design Home

If you mention Traditional Interior design decorating, I immediately see the images of my grandmother’s twenty-five piece the same color dark wood dining room, making me cringe. Now imagine the same room but only with solid color simple panels, less white moldings, upholstered chairs with modern, understated patterns,s and a simple chandelier instead of crystals. […] The post How to Quickly Update a Traditional Interior Design Home appeared first on My Decorating...

Traditional living room
Marina Klima Design. Traditional Italian Inspired Living Room side view

If you mention Traditional Interior design decorating, I immediately see the images of my grandmother’s twenty-five piece the same color dark wood dining room, making me cringe. Now imagine the same room but only with solid color simple panels, less white moldings, upholstered chairs with modern, understated patterns,s and a simple chandelier instead of crystals. Better? I thought so too.

See, you can make any traditional or classic room look updated if you know the decorating rules and how to break them.

a woman in the woods

But if you don’t know the rules, it’s like stepping foot into the forest without a map. You will surely get lost. 

The same is true about decorating your home. You can mix and match to break the rules, but save time and money and get a general idea about the main styles first. Then you’ll have more fun and feel more confident.

Understanding the Traditional Interior Design and Decorating Style

Whether you are drawn to this style or can’t care less, Traditional Interior Design and decorating styles are the basics of any decorating style. The traditional style is like an ocean with many streams and rivers flowing into it.  If you take a closer look at Modern Farmhouses,  New Traditional, Transitional, Coastal, French Country, Shabby Chic, and Bohemian, they are all rooted in the Traditional style.

Italian style traditional interior living room
Marina Klima Design. Traditional Italian living room. Front view

How to Create Classic Traditional Interior Design Style Living Room

Above is the living room I designed in the Italian Traditional Style. The client chose it because she wanted a timeless look and hated to be dependent on trends. If you love antiques, classic art pieces, and symmetry, this style is also for you.  As you can see, symmetry is important. Almost everything comes in pairs creating a balanced space around the fireplace.

Features: 

  • The main feature is 18th and 19th-century European influence
  • Symmetrical sofas
  • Crown moldings, columns, wood paneling, and tray or coffered ceilings.
  • Curved chair backs and feet, claw feet, carved wood 
  • Hardwood floors with rich accents are a staple of this style
  • Fabrics are refined, such as velvet, silk, damask, and brocade  
  • Classic and aged mirrors
  • Window treatments with valances and swags
  • A variety of toss pillows
  • Area rugs in classic styles
  • Rich color palettes 

Accents: 

  • Candleholders, china, classic lamps, and shades
  • Window treatments often with valances and swags
  • Accessories: a variety of toss pillows, elaborate style of lamps and chandeliers, floral arrangements, framed portraits, and classic landscapes.
  • Area rugs in classic styles are a must-have in a traditional home d├ęcor

Tips: 

  • Showcase old or antique china 
  • Hang chandeliers
  • Use wood flooring
  • Display aged mirrors and artwork
  • Hang elegant curtains
  • Use antique or reproduction furniture 
  • Adorn the room with crown moldings
  • Introduce wall paneling
  • Place classic wool rugs 
traditional bedroom with blue walls
Marina Klima design. Traditional bedroom

How to Create Classic Traditional Interior Design Style Bedroom

Above is the master bedroom I designed for one of my favorite clients. It boasts fully custom bedding, draperies as well as original artwork on the walls. 

Tips: 

  • Introduce lamps, chandeliers, and elegant candle holders 
  • Toss beautiful accent pillows with embellishments
  • Custom bedding and window treatments 
  • Use columns and white moldings 
  • Hang draperies with tassels and trims
  • Install classic artwork, such as landscapes
  • Put oriental rugs on the floor 

  • Use neutral or pale wall colors
  • Hang lighter fabric drapery panels instead of heavy draperies
  • Use modern furniture that is classic and not fussy 
  • Incorporate traditional elements 
  • Use solid color upholstery
  • Incorporate more geometric shapes
  • Get rid of clutter, this look is very clean and streamlined
  • Decorate with large-scale vases 

Update a Traditional Room with Color

The above photo is a perfect example of how color can alter the feel of traditional interior design. Dark taupe interacts with bright yellow, creating a polished, fresh feel in this gorgeous dining room.

dining room in traditional interior design style with coral and beige

If you love to surround yourself with fun interiors check this out. Beige and coral are strategically repeated in this dining room to create a tailored look. The final result is fun and feminine dining area to have a wonderful lunch with your friends. The moldings use an unexpected color that is truly brave and, yet it works with everything. The French chairs create a glamorous feature that is still classic. The art print adds even more fun to the space. The gold of the chandelier and the mirror pick from the gold-beige of the chairs.

Update a Traditional Room with Textures

Try playing with textures of different materials while keeping the furniture and accents within a Traditional Interior design style. The final result can be charming and romantic. You can even stay within the same monochramatic color scheme to achieve quite a bit of interest.

Inject Modern Pieces to Juxtopose Traditional Interior Design Elements

I suggest that you check the works of Daryl Carter, a reknown interior designer that is highly successful in elevated traditional style interiors. He is a genious when it comes to bringing in modern elements that work within the classic context.

Please let me know what is your decorating style and your challenges.

XO

Marina's signature

The post How to Quickly Update a Traditional Interior Design Home appeared first on My Decorating Tips.


Ukrainian Women and Children. Art that Will Touch your Heart

Beauty alters the grain of reality. -Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch Since February I wake up every day with the hope that the war in Ukraine is over. Being a Ukrainian-American mother myself the thoughts about Ukrainian women and children come in powerful waves. It is remarkable that despite a nearly impossible load on their shoulders […] The post Ukrainian Women and Children. Art that Will Touch your Heart appeared first on My Decorating...

Beauty alters the grain of reality.

-Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
mother and child ukrainian war
Dreaming of Peace by Miriam Kraft

Since February I wake up every day with the hope that the war in Ukraine is over. Being a Ukrainian-American mother myself the thoughts about Ukrainian women and children come in powerful waves.

It is remarkable that despite a nearly impossible load on their shoulders the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian women are beyond imaginable. Honestly, I’d rather see them prosper in peace rather than display unthinkable heroism during this cruel and senseless war.

Clearly, it is hard enough to be a woman and raise children in a peaceful time. Now, imagine being thunderstruck with fear when your kids are clinging to you in a freezing basement!

Families are torn apart. Sirens nonstop. Raging fires everywhere.

When real life becomes unbearable art steps forward to give hope.

Art is something to hold on to when everything else fails but the soul is still begging to survive. So, because art helps to lessen the pain I am drawn to it like a bee to a sunflower.

In this post, I will share some works that deeply touched my heart. They refer to the sacred subject of women and children through the eyes of talented artists.

These breathtaking images show that beauty still exists next to darkness, grief, and despair. Whether the art piece is a drawing, an illustration, or a napkin – they cast the light to illuminate the eroded souls.

How to own a great art piece for cheap while helping Ukraine

Thankfully, most of the artists below are willing to sell the prints of their original work as digital downloads. You can own a great quality inexpensive print while helping Ukrainian people.

Most artists use the proceeds from their sold artwork to donate to Ukrainian charities. Their determination takes my breath away. I bought many prints already. And you can do it too. Many of them are on Etsy, but some I found on Instagram.

I included a gallery of images at the end of the post. Scroll down and you will see the links. Click on the links to buy great quality digital downloads.

Paintings

Mother and child Ukraine painting with child
Viktor Babak- Ukraina Matu by Viktor Babak

Viktor Babak’s acrylic painting of a young Ukrainian mother protecting her baby from the horrors of the war. She is stunningly beautiful and strong. Her traditional Ukrainian Vyshyvanka (shirt) and Vinok (wreath) are symbols of Ukraine. Apparently, two conflicting and powerful forces on the right and on the left loom over her. On the left, close to the heart is nature itself represented by birds and butterflies on a bright blue background of the sky. The dark forces of the war on the right. She is hurt, humiliated but dignified, unflinching, unwavering. her focus is solely on protecting her baby.

Ukrainian modern mother  with a baby
Ukrainian Mothers are the Strongest Mothers on Earth by Polina Skurykhina

Polina Skurykhina portrays a modern Ukrainian mother on her quest to save herself and her baby. Violent piercing all over her feminine forms looks like the war itself tears her apart. The blue and gold colors are dazzling on the pitch-black background. She holds a baby in her large arms in a powerful gesture. She is thunderstruck but not destroyed, devastated but intensely beautiful.

mother embracing her baby in Ukrainian dress
Woman Embracing Her Child by Maria Dyavgo Art

The artist, Maria Dyavgo says about this work:

A beautiful woman’s face is always a mystery and a pleasure to look at. All my modern women portraits feature female power as the future is female.

Intentionally curvy lines of the painting accentuate softness and femininity. In contrast, her face is angular and composed. The red color of pain prevails. Allegorically, the cup contains red as well. Of course, blue and yellow make reference to the Ukrainian traditional colors of the flag. The primitive style of the painting makes the eternal subject of mother and child more human.

Watercolor

a drawing of a woman and a baby on light background
Ukrainian Mother with Baby by Lizzie McLoughlin Art

The magic of Lizzie McLoughlin’s painting is in contrast between the lacy and delicate watercolor technique and the strong, powerful emotions it evokes. The woman is holding a beautiful baby in her strong arms. She is all that love and motherhood stand for. The baby is wrapped in traditional Ukrainian khustka, which is a lovely scarf representing true love. Vinok (wreath) in the background is a symbol of Ukraine’s independence and heritage.

Illustrations and Drawings

mother and child ukrainian war
Dreaming of Peace by Miriam Kraft

Miriam Kraft lovingly draws an image of a modern young mother who looks like she just took a deep inhale. Perhaps, she is praying for peace. Dark circles under eyes. Hair unbrushed. Swollen faces. She is at a crossroads. Did she just lose her home? Is she fleeing to save her children? The intensity of the moment is multiplied by the softness of the baby’s little bright blue shirt with innocent white clouds. Obviously, the woman is thunderstruck but she stands strong. The immense image of the Peace Dove is transparent, powerful, and clear over the flames and darkness of the war.

children during ukrainian war
No War by Miriam Kraft

Miriam Kraft writes:

The thoughts spinning in your head, the anger in your stomach and the whispering fear in your neck need an outlet…

Clearly, I can’t say better than that. By the way, this is my favorite drawing. Thank you, Miriam.

young Ukrainian mother with baby fleeing the war
Ne Chipay Moih Ditey (Don’t touch my children) by an unknown artist.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the artist of this piece. It says in Ukrainian, “Ne chipay moih ditey” (Don’t touch my children). Blood red Vinok with flowers falling off represent pain, chaos, and darkness. Is she fleeing to save herself and the baby? it looks like this young Ukrainian mother swishes through the air, through the darkness, through the war. But suddenly, the sun peeks through the darkness, and very soon it will light up her life and her child.

Postcards and Crafts

napkin showing mother and child
I Love You to the Moon. by Kateryna Stepanishcheva, MyFabStory

Kateryna Stepanishcheva’s I Love You to the Moon feels to me like I entered the door to my childhood. Nostalgically, I remember my grandmother’s dinner napkins with a very similar flower motif sewn on. Also, the precious mother-daughter embrace – something between the umbilical cord and a perpetual love gesture – has a simple, almost childish composition yet a deep and meaningful symbolism. It amplifies the eternal bond in a relatable way.

Personally, I would use this illustration to decorate a pillow. But you can also use it as a postcard, a shirt, a bag, or a napkin.

t-shirt image with mother and children Ukraine
T-shirt application. Mother-daughter art from Ukraine by Ekaterina Stepanishcheva, MyFabStory
one line drawing graphics with mother and baby
Mother and Baby of Ukraine. Minimalist one-line art print by Pauline Art

Description by Pauline Art:

On the night of February 24, at five o’clock in the morning,
Russia attacked Ukraine without declaring war!

By purchasing this digital poster you can show your encouragement to people in a difficult life situation.
We pray for a peaceful sky without missiles and warplanes.
Your prayers, your encouragement are very much appreciated, it is impossible to put it into words.

God Save Ukraine!

This is how Mother and Baby of Ukraine look when printed.

I hope that the war will end soon with my beloved Ukraine will celebrate victory very soon. Meanwhile, more than anything I’d love it if you share this post with your friends and family. I also hope that you will consider helping Ukrainian women and children by buying art. As a creative myself, I know firsthand how hard it is to work when your heart is crushed. Let’s support them!

Marina's signature

Click on the images below to buy

Instagram inquiries: Dreaming of Peace and NO War by Miriam Kraft. Instagram: mirikft

Ukrainian Mothers are the Strongest Mothers on Earth by Polina Skyrihina. Instagram: pollypop92

The post Ukrainian Women and Children. Art that Will Touch your Heart appeared first on My Decorating Tips.


Why I Buy Inexpensive Art from Ukrainian Kids All the Time

Buying art directly from Ukrainian kids for $3-$5 gives me some level of satisfaction. I go on Etsy and type “Ukrainian art” or “Ukraine children art” and the whole bunch of shops pop up. The best part is that I can write a review after the purchase. This is great because I can express myself […] The post Why I Buy Inexpensive Art from Ukrainian Kids All the Time appeared first on My Decorating...

 a Ukrainian Boy holds support Ukraine banner

Buying art directly from Ukrainian kids for $3-$5 gives me some level of satisfaction.

I go on Etsy and type “Ukrainian art” or “Ukraine children art” and the whole bunch of shops pop up. The best part is that I can write a review after the purchase. This is great because I can express myself and wish them all I want.

The best part of this is that I buy directly rather than through charity.

Why is it good? Because it is personal.

A little person gets the money and he or she is very proud. It is not charity.

He or she earned the money. No one feels sorry for the kid. See the difference?

Why do I buy art from Ukrainian kids?

Because I was a kid once too.

I remember living by the hour. In childhood, this is exactly how you live. Everything is colored by the emotions of NOW.

And What if I could change five minutes or an hour of a girl or a boy in a way that he or she remembers?

Just think about it.

Below are the links to Etsy.

You can go to Etsy site and for $3-$10 make a difference in the way the young artist feels. I heard many times from my friends in Ukraine that emotional support is priceless for them.

Please share this post, which is the most important part.

Thank you! God bless You! God bless Ukraine!

Here below are some of the art from Ukrainian kids that I purchased.

art from Ukrainian kid

kjhaskjskasj

a cat drawing - art from Ukrainian kid
Ukrainian Children art

a destroyed Ukrainian building - art
my heart is with Ukraine - art watercolor

The post Why I Buy Inexpensive Art from Ukrainian Kids All the Time appeared first on My Decorating Tips.


Ukraine Will NEVER Fall!

Keeping my bewildered eyes on the news, photos, and videos about the war in Ukraine is what I have been doing for the last week. Then I came across an article by one of the popular bloggers The Roaming Boomers, Ukraine, War, and Travel who wrote a short matter-of-fact little post about European travel where […] The post Ukraine Will NEVER Fall! appeared first on My Decorating...

A Ukrainian woman soldier in military uniform

Keeping my bewildered eyes on the news, photos, and videos about the war in Ukraine is what I have been doing for the last week. Then I came across an article by one of the popular bloggers The Roaming Boomers, Ukraine, War, and Travel who wrote a short matter-of-fact little post about European travel where he states:

“The sad and likely scenario is that Ukraine will fall to the overpowering forces against them”.

And then:

“And further, as you can see on the map, this conflict is quite far removed from the European countries where most of us desire to travel”.

So this is my reply:

Ukraine will NEVER fall!

Even if there is one person left in Ukraine this country will NOT fall.

Ukrainian bride and groom and Ukrainian flag

It is true that the forces are not equal and Russia’s military resources are larger.

But Russian soldiers have no idea what and why they are killing.

Any war, especially this one, is about people.

Ukrainian children

Ukrainians and I happen to be being one of them by birth, will fight and WIN with or without arms, with or without missiles, with or without help from anyone.

Even if Putin places his dogs in Kyiv it will mean nothing in terms of actual victory over the people’s minds.

Ukrainian people will not obey.

A servant will spit in their soup.

A teacher will conduct underground education of the children until they know the truth.

There will be a partisan war on all levels and so strong that the occupiers will be thrilled to get out.

War in Ukraine is Hopeless for the Aggressor.

All these years in the United States I saw beautiful images of Ukraine as peaceful, warm, beautiful, musical, spirited, smart, colorful, funny, spirited, unique, multicultural, humorous, alive!

The Odessa National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet is the oldest theater in Odessa, Ukraine.
a Ukrainian woman in the window
Ukrainian men playing chess

Now my mental images are poisoned by a spray of hallucinative horror. It’s like someone has painted beautiful pictures with blood and death. The grief is blood-deep and paralyzing, but also powerful at the same time.

Ukrainian people hiding in war shelter

I am in awe of Ukrainians.

My dear friend in Odessa with whom I grew up is actually trying to calm me down, not vice versa.

This is the image that she sent me today, a beautiful flower in February in the middle of the chaos. I think it is very symbolic.

And one more thing, David.

This “conflict” concerns ALL OF US, and it is not “quite far removed”. If you think about it real hard, you’ll get it.

Marina's signature

The post Ukraine Will NEVER Fall! appeared first on My Decorating Tips.


How to Minimize the Average Bathroom Remodel Cost

Why a Good Contractor Can Actually Save you Money The best way to minimize average bathroom remodel costs is to do it once instead of trying to fix what’s done wrong. I will never forget how one of my favorite clients turned down two contractors and pointed to the third one that, in my view, […] The post How to Minimize the Average Bathroom Remodel Cost appeared first on My Decorating...

Why a Good Contractor Can Actually Save you Money

The best way to minimize average bathroom remodel costs is to do it once instead of trying to fix what’s done wrong.

I will never forget how one of my favorite clients turned down two contractors and pointed to the third one that, in my view, was rather expensive. “That guy knows what he is doing,” she proclaimed. “I don’t want to go through this process twice!”

Turned out she was right. The contractor she selected did a wonderful job, and the process was smooth. Firstly, he was able to get materials for less. Also, no subcontracting, which means almost no waiting for Johny, the plumber, to come four weeks after the demolition is finished. He was checking on his installers every day, ordering the right quantities of materials instead of tons of unused ones that end up in your garage.

diagram of average bathroom remodel cost
NKBA Average Bathroom Remodel Cost Diagram

NKBA (National Kitchen and Bathroom Association) states that an average bathroom remodeling cost is between $635-$650 /square foot depending on the area.

Only twenty percent labor cost and eighty percent materials. Of course, it varies depending on where you live. For example, in my area, Central New Jersey it is up there on the chart.

The good news is that, if we trust the numbers, a bathroom renovation recoups up to 60% of the cost at the sale of the house.

How to Save Money on Labor

Below is the breakdown of the average bathroom remodel cost.

a breakdown of the average bathroom remodel cost
A breakdown of the average bathroom cost

Avoid Hiring the Wrong People

funny contractor

Unfortunately, there are many things that can go wrong as soon as you put a hammer touches the walls in your bathroom.

For example, my first concern is always waterproofing. Because mold is the last thing you want, using the right process and materials for your bathroom remodel is like eating good food for you to stay healthy.

Slope to drain in the shower pan is crucial. The shower can look very pretty but if you are ankle-deep in the water it’s annoying, to say the least. A typical slope pitch requirement is the ratio of 1/4″ of a slope to one foot of the floor to the drain. This is what your contractor has to get right!

So, whether your contractor is building the shower bed from scratch or using the ready-made pan, he needs to know what he is doing.

Because not all ready-made shower pans, as well as drains, are created equal. I don’t recommend trying to save money on drains and ready-made shower pans. Ask your contractor about your options.

Hiring a General Contractor vs. Each Trade Person Separately

Since it takes many trade people to remodel the bathroom the process is never easy.

I designed more bathrooms than I wanted in my interior design career. They all turned out good at the end, some better than others. Whether I wanted it or not, I always ended up on the forefront- that is, coordinating plumbing and electrical, tiling and painting.

A Real Life Scenario of Hiring Several People to Do the Job

Sometimes it seems to be easier just to call a tile guy, and then the electrician, and then the plumber and have them all come in at different times. Maybe the final cost will be lower than what the general contractor charges.

But then you might have many surprises. For example, let’s say that you schedule a plumber to install the new valve for your showerhead. Suppose he even comes on time. But, oh horror, now he demands the carpenter to move the stud by two inches. “I am not a carpenter!” he croaks. By the time you hire a carpenter and reschedule, your kids already spent too many overnights at grandma’s, and now she is calling you to complain.

Because if one thing goes wrong and off the schedule, everything gets scrambled like a lego house for a one-year-old.

See what I am saying?

In my opinion, it is easier to work with a good general contractor rather than going through the scheduling issues with a number of people.

Tip: Ask the contractor what certifications and/or licenses he has. Don’t rely on experience only.

Checking References

Suppose that you decided to hire a GC (general contractor). The next thing you do is ask around for references. That’s exactly what I do, and sometimes, not so successfully.

Not so long ago, I got a GC reference from my long-time tile supplier. She told me the best things about him, and I didn’t think twice to doubt her. I did not check his other references from real clients, and I did not ask to see his work. Her referral was golden to me. Guess what? It turned out that he was a fraud. He subcontracted to the guys that started building the shower bed and cutting corners. I had to let them go and then apologize to the client. Bottom line: ask to see the actual project, and/or talk to as many people as possible.

Tip: I can’t stress it enough- the best way to minimize the average cost of bathroom remodel is to have it done the right way from the get-go.

DIY. You Want to Remodel Your Bathroom Yourself

Some people are capable to remodel their bathrooms DIY, and I admire that. However, don’t rely on YouTube videos as if they are bulletproof instructional manuals. Many of those videos are giving utterly wrong instructions. It is sad but true. Anyone can make a video and post it on YouTube. If you want to consult with a specialist, at least go to official manuals, such as TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation

Handbook for Installers

How to Save Money on Materials

Tile and Stone

Ceramic and porcelain tile– is usually less expensive, easier to install, and more versatile. You might want to consider it first.

Design: Jennifer Kizzee Design; Photo: Gisele Parra; Tile Bar: Carolina Bay 2×20 Polished Crackled Ceramic Tile

Marble and marble mosaic – marble breaks easily when cut, so you will have much more waste. Therefore, more material equals more cost. Some beautiful kinds of techno marble look just like their natural counterpart.

Marble Pencils are used for the corners transitioning shower of this bathroom

Pencils are priced by the piece. For example, one twelve-inch marble or even ceramic pencil can cost from$10-25. They can embellish the look of your bathroom, but they do add the cost.

As an alternative, use Schluter Systems for corners and niches or transitions to reduce the cost.

Schluter Systems come in all different configurations and finishes

Glass Tile

Glass tile from Tile Bar

Glass tile – can be sleek looking and pretty. However, cutting it requires special tools. Also, depending on the transparency of the glass tile, an installer might need special glue and grout. Be aware of it. From my experience, a contractor will charge you more when he knows that the tile is not easy to use.

Cabinetry and Countertops

Used cabinetry doesn’t necessarily mean that it looks old. Facebook Marketplace is a good source for bathroom vanities. You can come across some great bargains. If you live close to a big city, check out their Facebook groups as well. You’ll be surprised what you can find.

Shower Systems and Faucets

The best shower system is the one that lasts. Right? What if you need a replacement part? Ask about availability and cost of replacement parts as well as the manufacturer’s level of service.

From the lips of my plumber, Moen is known for good service and availability, and Delta is not.

Also, think about the functions that you must have in a shower. Is it the pressure/speed? Looks? Some people get carried away with too many functions they think they want. Every additional feature adds cost. Are you going to use all of that in real life?

I’m Inviting You to Chat and Share

Please chat with me by writing a comment below if you want to know more about minimizing your bathroom remodel cost. I’ll have my eyes on your project. How to minimize average bathroom remodel cost.

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The post How to Minimize the Average Bathroom Remodel Cost appeared first on My Decorating Tips.


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