Design Trends 2018

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

Interior design trends for 2018 are all over the map. It’s no surprise when you look around the world at what is going on politically, economically and socially. Design is always a reflection of people’s attitudes. It has become a global experience.

After 2008 when our economy was suffering, colors were muted, dull and somber. Many manufacturers went out of business and new designs were not created. The DIY craze grew, and people started decorating for themselves. Due to the internet and the abundance of information and resources available, people are able to make purchases with confidence.

Today we have done a 180. Colors are alive and vibrant. Several colors and patterns are combined for interest and dramatic effects. Pantone just named the color of the year as ultra violet — a bright purple. People have become less fearful to add color to express their personal taste and style both at home and in their lives.

Here are a few of the trends I see reflecting for the new year:

  • Because of the expanded opportunities for design, the interior designer’s role has expanded. The designer often becomes a consultant to guide and empower people through their projects, giving the consumer creative ideas that they can complete themselves.
  • Because the internet has endless amounts of DIY opportunities for consumers, it can be overwhelming. It is important to remember that less is more. You can always add later.
  • The trend is to express your personal taste. The days of keeping up with the Joneses is over. Now individuality shines. Surround yourself with what you love!
  • The “undesigned and undecorated” look is in. A casual and comfortable lifestyle appearance says somehow the décor just came together organically and effortlessly. Living is easy and just happened.
  • Accessories complete a room. Accessories tell the story of the people who live there. They fill a room with life and personality. They add color, texture shape and interest.
  • Pillows are the rage too. The power of a pillow can change an entire room. Mixing and matching colors, patterns and sizes create fun, interest and individuality.
  • Cabinetry throughout the house does not have to be the same. Each area has its own function, style, color and personality. This includes changing the countertops too.
  • Hardware for cabinetry is the same as jewelry for a person. Your choices of styles and finishes give you the opportunity to change and coordinate metals and style in each room.
  • Carpet comes in many styles, heights, and yarns. Patterns are often raised in same or contrasting colors.  Shag is back, and carpet squares are used for residential applications.  The variety is endless.
  • Metal fibers are threaded into carpet fibers to give a glow of glitter and glitz. They could be gold or silver, subtle or pronounced giving carpet elegance and drama.
  • Wood is still a rich, elegant and beautiful choice and now ceramic tile that looks like wood is the rage. This low maintenance twin comes in endless choices of color and types of wood.
  • Area rugs are being used on hard flooring surfaces as well as on carpeted areas. They can define a grouping of furniture and define any space with color and interest.
  • Furniture is less heavy and lighter in color. The look is more sleek and contemporary. Woods are stained or painted in lighter colors. The finishes are more organic and rustic.
  • Fabrics are blended with mixed fibers. They have lots more texture and come in matte and shiny finishes. Faux leather and suede is extremely popular and available in endless colors.

Most importantly, be true to yourself and have fun, when decorating your personal environments, because, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!


Photo on Foter.com

Back Orders: Every Designer’s Worst Nightmare & Picking Paint for Your Walls

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

Q: What happens, when something I have searched endlessly for and chosen is back-ordered or discontinued?

A: Although it isn’t frequent, it does happen that something we selected is on back order, which means we must wait for it to come in. Worse case is when something we have ordered has been discontinued and we must go through the process of reselection. Usually there has been time and effort put into selecting an item — and when we learn that it is not available, this is upsetting because in some cases we must start all over. Back orders and discontinued stock is a nightmare for interior designers and disappointing for clients.

Interior designers put in a lot of time shopping and making selections to create a total look for a project. We then make a presentation to our clients and they accept the design and they set their heart on the outcome. It is disappointing when something happens to change the picture. Unfortunately, when one thing changes, everything else may have to change as well. It depends if the piece that’s missing is a central point and the rest of the choices were made around that selection, or whether the object or selection is just a small addition.

The good news is, and it has never failed me that, when this happens, as upsetting as it is initially, the outcome has always been better. When we must go back rethink and research other options, it enhances the outcome, which creates an opportunity for the end result to be even better. I generally refer to these occurrences as opportunities for greater creativity.

Q: Why is it so hard to select paint colors? No matter how much time I spend looking through paint samples, I am disappointed when the color is on the wall.

A: Choosing colors to paint your walls is one of the most difficult things to do because looking at a small sample can be deceiving. When looking at paint chips, be aware that they are surrounded by white paper, which gives it a contrast that is not there when it is on the walls. You are also holding it horizontally — looking down at a flat surface — and the paint on the wall is vertical. In a room, the four walls and ceiling all have light hitting it in different intensities. One wall may be in shadow, another may have bright light on it and the other two may be somewhere in between. So, color doesn’t look the same on any of the walls.

When color bounces off itself, as opposite walls do, it intensifies. The texture of the wall and he finish of the paint also influence the outcome. Some walls are smooth, while others may have the popular “knockdown” texture. The textures are seen more significantly when using paint with a higher-sheen finish. (The choices of finish include flat, sateen, low sheen and hi-gloss.) Depending on the type of finish you are using, the colors will also take on a different look.

Do not be afraid to experiment. Buy a small amount of the color you want to use and put it in various places on the walls. Also, be sure to make these areas large enough to really get a feel for how the room will look with it on the walls. This way you have the experience of seeing exactly how it’s going to look. When making color selections, don’t be afraid to make a statement. It is so much more fun to live in color.

When you encounter these scenarios as you decorate your home, remember to welcome the unknown as a chance to try something new. And remember, rooms have no feelings, you do!

Thanks for all your questions and comments. If I use your question or comment in this column I will send you a free, autographed copy of my new book, The Bajaro Method: Rooms Have No Feelings, YOU Do!


Photo: Foter.com

Do You Treat Yourself Well At Home?

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

How do you prefer to live? Do you take the time to treat yourself well at home? Do you do things in your home that make you happy and feel good?

Last week I had a conversation with a client about bringing rituals and ceremony into her home. She had read one of my articles and wanted to bring her “signature” into her environment. To do this she knew she had to better understand herself so that she could customize her personal space.

As we talked about doing this she realized that it was about her preferences. It was about her habits and things she likes that gave her comfort and bonded her with her surroundings. Of course, her favorite things are very different from yours and mine.

If you want to do this, you first have to get in touch with your inner self to see what you need and want to express in your most personal spaces. This type of bonding is done when you repeat something every day and look forward to the special things you do for yourself.

The habits and preferences you practice in your spaces is what personalizes them. What you do can be peaceful and serene and other times can be fun and exciting. Here are a few examples of what I’m referring to:

  • Your kitchen can be a quiet place in the early hours before anyone else is awake. It’s where you have a cup of coffee in your special cup looking out into your garden or read your emails. Perhaps it’s taking your vitamins with a crystal or “funky” wine glass. This all depends on how you design your preference for starting the day.
  • Your bathroom can have candles around the tub for relaxation and meditation. You can have a special color toothbrush in a special glass. Your night clothing can be hanging waiting for you on a pretty hook. I have a glass that only matches my bedroom color (and doesn’t match anything else in the house) which I take to bed. This is where I take my evening vitamins which I keep on my bedside table in unique containers.
  • Any area of your home can contain your favorite things. Like pictures in beautiful frames, your private collections, flowers, personal mementos and sayings.
  • For fun or whimsy, games you enjoy can have an area with a table designed in playful colors.
  • A ceremony is something you might do when you bring a new piece of furniture into your home — you can bless it and state the intention for it.

When creating personal spaces all your senses come into play. You can surround yourself with your favorite fragrances, colors, textures, sounds and flavors. When you make yourself important enough to nurture yourself, you are creating healing. When this healing is experienced and is repeated it becomes a habit.

As you make changes in your environment remember this is your sacred space and refuge from the world. Be open to the possibilities. Look inside you, the true “interior” design, to see what you would like in your surroundings and then make it happen once your vision is clear. Trust yourself and your choices. It takes a great deal of honesty to get what you need and want. Interior design is a creative process where there is no right or wrong. If it feels right, it is right!

Design from the heart and enjoy the outcome. Remember, rooms have no feelings, you do!”


Photo: Foter.com

Right-Size Rather Than Down-Size!

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

Many people are becoming empty nesters or retiring and look around at the space they occupy and realize it no longer suits their needs.

Less space is needed and the spaces are used differently for things like hobbies, exercise, home offices and meditation and reading rooms.

Now is the time to focus on you! Discover who you are today, and how you can create an environment that truly reflects who you have become.

Some call this down-sizing. I call it right-sizing! Whichever you choose to call it, it is still change. Change may be difficult and scary, and it is also freeing to begin anew, reflecting your lifestyle now. Explore what environments are exciting to you and will help you thrive. Create a personal refuge just for you!  A space that speaks about you today.

Right-sizing is just that! It means that only you know what is right for you. What you would like to change? And how it would look and feel?

Keep in mind that you are not decorating to please the room, it is for you! What do YOU like and how do YOU want to live?

Don’t rush into any decision. This is a journey of discovery! Do you want to keep all the furniture you have now — which pieces would you give away or sell? If you choose to keep pieces you love, repurpose them. Use the pieces in different rooms and even change the colors.

Your home is your sanctuary…your happy place. The place where you can do whatever you want. It is the only place where you have that kind of control.

Be fearless! Make color statements with paint on walls and upholstery you purchase or recover. Add pillows and area rugs for interest and panache. Your accessories are a wonderful way to bring in color, shape and interest. And no room is complete without wall hangings. Whether it be pictures, sculptures or mirrors strategically or unexpectedly placed to the furniture, your room will be complete!

Our possessions speak to us consciously and unconsciously. Now is the time to listen and give yourself the colors, styles and comfort you want and need. And definitely don’t keep what doesn’t make you happy!

A client came to me not knowing how she wanted her down-sized home to be decorated.  She felt overwhelmed by all the decisions she had to make, knowing she had to live with the outcomes.

I encouraged her to only make decisions that were essential to moving into the house and then wait, even a short time, until she was ready to move forward.  After all, her new environment would be filled with things she hadn’t experienced before.

I asked her easy, personal questions that what would satisfy her senses, like:

  • What colors are you attracted to? Think about what you like and don’t like.
  • What furniture styles do you like: French, Tuscan, contemporary, etc.?
  • What type of wood do you prefer: light or dark color; light or heavy grain; laminate or lacquer?
  • What metals and finishes do you prefer: chrome or brass, shiny or matte?
  • What kind of window coverings serve your needs?
  • What floor surfaces do you prefer: hard or soft?
  • What sounds are important to you: bubbling water from a fountain or music?
  • What variety of textures do you desire in fabrics?

These details help you visualize and understand how you want your new home to be.  When you do, you’ll create an environment that takes your breath away.

And always remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

As a gift to you, you can discover decorating and design answers to help you visualize and identify your taste and style, take the free questionnaire on my website: www.bajaromethod.com.


Photo credit: Foter.com

Good Design Is Comfortable Design

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

The single most important characteristic people tell me they want in their home is comfort, and I believe you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for the look you want. Good design comforts — but everyone has a different definition of what comfort means to them. What is warm and comfortable for you, may be very different from your neighbor’s home.

Some people choose a traditional style because they think it looks more comfortable and feels more inviting. This could be because of the softer, rounded lines of these styles and the warm texture of woods and soft fabrics. I’ve found that contemporary furniture can be comfortable, even though the materials may be hard and sleek and the fabrics plain and smooth. You just have to be willing to take the time to look for the pieces that suit your space visually as well as give you the physical comfort you need.

Some rooms require more comfort than others. A bedroom, which is meant for tranquility, especially requires a feel of comfort. A family room, where you relax and have casual entertainment, is different from a living room, where you tend to be more formal and sit up straight in a chair, which is more conducive to lively conversation.

Using heavier upholstery weight fabrics will feel softer and look more inviting on seating that you will feel under your legs and hands. Draperies can add to this feeling by using the heavier fabric there too, instead of lighter drapery fabrics, and give the design element of surprise. Either weight can add warmth by making the draperies fuller and long enough to puddle on the floor. This also adds warmth to the walls and floor, and changes the ambiance of the room.

Painting walls warm colors can change the mood of a room. Darker colors tend to calm and add warmth, while brighter colors add warmth and excitement. These background choices of colors affect the other colors you will use in the room. Contrasting colors add interest and shades of the same color are used for continuity and drama. The mood you choose depends on what you want to accomplish.

Another favorite way to add comfort is with lighting. Lamps on tables can create a cozy, intimate setting. Ceiling lights highlight floor areas, creating shadows, highlighting the important areas and creating interest. Kitchens can be warmed with lighting by emphasizing the work areas separately, leaving the floors in shadow. Since kitchens have less fabric, furniture, and walls for color and have so much hard surfaces, lighting becomes a critical design consideration both aesthetically and functionally.

Have you sat in a chair that at first feels comfortable, and after a short time you feel something is wrong and you want to get up?  That is physical comfort. On the other hand, the true test of inviting and comfortable design is the sensation you get when you walk into a room and want to sit down.

What about the discomfort when sitting at a table that is too high for you to eat, or being unable to cross your legs because the apron is too wide or you keep kicking the pedestal? When you are constantly reminded by the furniture you are using that it is in your way or not serving your needs, this is bad design. Look for the right comfort elements when buying furniture so you are not disappointed when it arrives in your home.

Good design works and is comfortable. Human beings are meant to be comfortable, so we can be happy and function with ease. Then we can appreciate the beauty around us. Mr. Marriott, of the hotel chain, has as one of his slogans, “When you are comfortable, you can do anything.” Look for comfort when designing your home, and remember, “If it feels right, it is right. “

Rooms have no feelings, YOU do!


Photo credit: Sofas And Stuff via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

What Is Bajaro?

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

For most people their home is a refuge – a place where they can forget about the outside world. A place that allows them to go within to create healing for the things they cannot control. This is what I refer to as a person’s “sacred space” or “healing environment.” Everyone needs a sanctuary where they feel safe from the outside world and in control of their circumstances.

As we leave our homes and go about our business every day, we have “musts” and “shoulds” to deal with. How we respond to them dictates how we feel. At the end of the day it is our home where we rejuvenate and energize for tomorrow – it’s a place where healing occurs.

You can create your own healing environment with a technique I developed called the Bajaro Method. It is an emotional design process involving your mind, heart and spirit. This three-step approach helps you find the answers for yourself.

Element one is Understanding – which is a learning process all about you. This Element explores your feelings to discover how you want to live in your (outer) environment. Once your mind understands the information you gathered you will be able to create a design plan.

Here are the steps to understanding:

  • Expose yourself to design ideas through magazines and visiting showrooms
  • Dialogue your thoughts and ideas with someone you trust
  • Keep a Journal of your feelings about how you want to live
  • Decide which design ideas belong to you or someone else
  • Determine what you need to live with such as furniture, accessories, etc.
  • Determine what colors make you look and feel good

The second Element is Acceptance – this is the time you accept your design choices. It’s important to believe you deserve everything you have chosen and be willing to spend the time and money necessary to finalizing your plan. Your heart becomes comfortable with the information and you are able to connect with your feelings and the project.

  • Decide what is most and least important to you
  • Prioritize what needs to be done
  • Establish a budget

The last Element is Allowing – having the self-confidence and courage to act upon your plan. Once this happens you can move ahead to let the project develop and grow, knowing that you will be able to fearlessly handle whatever presents itself because it is an expression of who you are. Your spirit is expressed by taking responsibility for completion.

  • Make sure you are at the center of all design decisions
  • Trust your decisions and choices
  • Surround yourself with capable people who will help you through the project
  • Stay focused and don’t let doubt in
  • Use the unexpected as an opportunity for greater creativity

Bajaro helps you make the right decisions – when using this method, you gain the confidence to make decisions based upon your likes and dislikes. Find the pieces of furniture and accessories that attract you in some way. The difficulty of making a decision about a design choice has to do with the fear of making a mistake. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of this piece? Do I think it will look good? Will I use it? Do I like touching it, holding it and seeing it? If what you are attracted to feels right, it is right – and it won’t be a mistake.

Now take yourself shopping knowing that you can’t make a mistake if you are pleasing yourself. Experiment with your environment, to create a signature look that is all your own.

Bajaro is about you!

And always, Remember, Rooms have no feelings, YOU do!


Photo credit: Ani-Bee via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Spring Reflection

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

As Spring begins it is a time for reflection. I also find it hard to work and stay focused because I want to stop for a short time. I want to stop doing and just be. When anticipating Spring, I think about how I can make my life better. I also look around and see if my house is in order. It’s when I think about how I have integrated my personal interior and exterior to give me a home that is truly a place I call “my sanctuary.”

Using today’s technological terminology, we might call it a reboot. We simply shut down our computers and start them again. This is what we can do with our lives, too. It’s time to take a moment to stop and take stock of where we are.

  • Have we gone numb to our surroundings?
  • Do we take our environment for granted?
  • Have we made the most of the opportunities we have to create our own personal healing environments?

Many clients come to me for that very reason. They want to create a place where they can reboot, regenerate, or just have some downtime. Of course, this means different things to different people. How do you reboot? How do you stop your world and get off for a short time before getting on again?

Perhaps it’s the new season, but I feel the need to write this personal column to you. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to communicate with you these past months. I hope you’ve enjoyed the information I’ve shared. I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to contact me. We’ve had fun e-mailing and talking about design.

Being able to reach so many people at one time is awesome and overwhelming. I sit and write all by myself at my computer, not realizing the impact of my words. Then I meet one of you and you quote something I have said in the column and tell me how it has affected your life and lifestyle.

I look forward to communicating with you in all the seasons. I would love to hear from more of you so I can furnish information that has meaning for you. Let me know what’s in your hearts and minds. I’ll continue to answer your questions and continue to ask questions so that you can find your own answers.

Lastly, I want to explain why I keep writing that “Rooms have no feelings, you do!” All that means is that you are the most important part of the equation when decorating. Rooms don’t care how you decorate them. Only you care how your rooms look and feel. So follow your heart – and if it feels right, it is right.

Thanks for all your questions. If I use your question in this column I will send you a free, autographed copy of my book The Bajaro Method: Rooms Have No Feelings, YOU Do!


Photo credit: Neal. via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Eye-Catching Collectible Displays Bring Personality Into A Room

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

Q: My home décor is eclectic. I like the feeling and would like to keep all the fun accents I’ve collected. However, I would like to redecorate so my collections make more of a statement. Should I do it with color, new furniture or lighting? What will give me the quickest, most cost-effective change?

Also, is it possible to blend ethnic art and collectibles?

A: The list of what humans collect is endless. We collect whatever turns us on or what we want to put our energy into collecting.

Perhaps inherited pieces have memories attached.

Or, they might be items we purchased on our travels. Even though others may not understand why we collect certain things, they have meaning and sentiment to us.

Some collections also have value from a financial standpoint, such as art glass, porcelain birds, music boxes and so many more.

Anything you might decide to collect has either a visual, monetary, conceptual or sentimental appeal.

This is an opportunity to use your creativity.

Consider the display space. Find a unifying or contrasting color for the background of the collection. Your background can make a big difference as to the impact of how your collection will be seen.

For example, if most of the pieces are light, the wall behind the collection can be dark. I once placed shelves on a dark fuchsia background for a client who had an extensive Iladro collection.

Conversely, if most of the pieces are dark, use a light or bright color for your background. The contrast of color will make your pieces pop!

If your collection has to be protected from the elements, choose a display cabinet to go with your furnishings. Be sure the shelves are sized to accommodate your pieces. You don’t want to put small pieces to high or large shelves, they will get lost. And keep the surrounding and background color of the cabinet always in mind.

Lighting is important, no matter where or how the collection is displayed. In a display cabinet things are harder to see, so lighting inside the cabinet is essential. If the pieces are exposed, lighting can be directed right on the pieces from track, cable or recess cans.

To make the greatest impact, create an unexpected arrangement or shelf for it. An unusual arrangement and foundation is always intriguing.

When the pieces are “grouped” in an unusual and creative fashion, they also appear more important and impressive.

If grouping on the wall, begin by laying it out on the floor. Move the pieces around so they relate to each other in size, color or shape. If there is a particular theme, such as pictures of boats, you can hang the pictures using little anchors to hold the wire to enhance the theme.

Nothing in your home can say more about you than your collection of chosen objects. It says how you made a decision to devote your time and space.

You are making a statement about your personal preferences. Be sure that when you decide how you want your collection displayed, your decisions come from your heart, because rooms have no feelings, you do!


Photo credit: Douglas Coulter via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Let Go Of The Past To Find Your Own Style

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

I frequently get asked how I help people decorate when they have bad taste.

My response:  There is no such thing as bad taste.  What you like and don’t like is purely subjective.  If you like something, no one can tell you it is wrong. If it feels right, it is right!

Make selections based on your wishes.  We have different experiences and histories when we create the picture of our own style.

I was recently asked in what style I had decorated my home.  I answered, “Barbara Contemporary,” but I had no idea what that actually meant.

Yet it felt right, comfortable and accurate.

I have spent the past 10 years recovering from being the child of antique dealers.  I lived a major part of my life with 18th- and 19th-century antiques as an expression of who I was.

It was comfortable, until I moved into a more contemporary home.

It was then I decided to shed the old and begin anew.  I sold the antiques and moved with no furniture or accessories.  I even sold my dishes, flatware, and pots and pans.  I had cleared the space to find out what fits me today.

First, I realized I didn’t need as much as I thought I did.  I appreciated open spaces.  When I was able to feel what was missing, I began buying.

Antiques were my heritage – they were my parents’ business and life – but I didn’t have to live with them.  I had my own ideas and interpretation of the look I wanted.

I would have never given myself a chance to find the real me until the antiques were gone.

Emptying out the old gave me the space to find the new.

This led to the discovery of new colors, styles and a way to live that was more satisfying.

Was one bad and the other better now that my taste had changed?

No, it was just time to re-evaluate myself and determine what was important to me now.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself to see if what you are doing is right for you:

  • Are you comfortable living with the things you have chosen?
  • Have you chosen the things you have – or have you inherited them or been influenced by others in choosing them?
  • Are you holding onto things because you are afraid you might offend someone or afraid you can’t afford to replace them?
  • If money were no object, what would you do differently?

Let go, explore and be open to new ideas, styles and colors you never thought about using before.  Select some new things and keep some of the old – then combine them to create your style.

Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

To explore your taste and find the “best of the best” home & lifestyle companies, go to http://barbaraspicks.com.


Photo credit: mattwalker69 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Kitchen Design Begins With The All-Important Countertop

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

We’re surrounded by counters – particularly in the kitchen, bathroom, home office….and so much more. We take them for granted and don’t realize the impact they have on us.  Their colors, patterns and textures affect our feelings daily. Choosing the material is a decision based on style, function and cost, whereas the design decision is based on your preferences.

Taking this a step further, we coordinate our cabinets with our countertops. We might even match the walls and accessories with the color of the countertops. When I work with a client, we generally begin the design of the room by choosing the countertop. Your counters can be the most dramatic feature, as well as the choice that affects you the most.

For example, in the kitchen, while working you are you’re constantly looking down and seeing the counter. You’re surrounded by the mood-altering energy of the color and pattern.  When choosing countertops, consider how they will be used and who will use them. Are there children at home? Do you want to use a cutting board? Do you want to put hot pots on the counters? Do uneven surfaces bother you?

Today you have a variety of choices:

  • Granite is the most expensive, one of the more durable and still the most popular countertop choice today. Plus, there are a multitude of colors and textures to choose from. Check out the leather finish.
  • Marble is beautiful but more porous, so it’s more apt to stain than granite.
  • Engineered Quartz such as CeasarStone, Cambria or Silestone are man-made materials using 90 percent ground quartz and add resin are more durable than granite and are similar in price to the mid-range price of granite.
  • Other man-made materials in solid surface such as Corian and Cambria come in a variety of colors and are strong; however, you cannot cut on them.
  • Tile comes in many colors, is durable, and can take heat, but the grout is porous, needs to be sealed and is difficult to keep looking good. The surface may be more uneven. Vertically, hand-painted tiles can create beautiful and interesting designs on backsplashes.
  • Cement is smooth and heat resistant; however, it is porous, and can stain or crack as it cures.
  • Natural stone, which is honed until smooth, must be sealed. This creates a rustic and earthy look.
  • Stainless steel and/or stainless combined with copper are more sensitive to scratches, yet resistant to heat and stain. This look is often used in more contemporary-looking kitchens and can emphasize a theme with stainless appliances.
  • Laminates are less expensive and have the greatest amount of color and pattern choices. They are not resistant to heat or cutting.
  • Solid wood is warm, rich and elegant, and when sealed properly has a long life.

Once you’ve determine your material, you have to decide how the backsplash will look and how much of a backsplash you want. They can continue to the upper cabinets or they can be the standard 4 inches. You can use the same material as the countertop or introduce a new material such as tiles or mosaics. Combining materials creates your signature look.

Lighting changes the way your countertops look. Not only functional, under-cabinet lighting, be it fluorescent, halogen or LED, will highlight the countertop material and emphasize the theme for the room. In the evening your counter tops could be the only glow in the room.

How do you make this difficult choice? Cost is a factor:  Each material has a different price.  Durability is your next consideration:  How hard a surface do you need? And finally, consider what you want to look at every day.

Counters are there to serve you.  And remember, rooms have no feelings, you do!

 


Photo credit: sherwoodrealestate via Foter.com / CC BY
%d bloggers like this: