How to Create a Guest Bathroom That Will Make Entertaining a Breeze

guest bathroom

Ready to set up your guest bathroom like a pro? Keep reading. Image: EURO Design Build

Usually, when you read about bathroom design ideas, the master bath is the focus. While your ensuite can serve as your own personal escape, it’s not the only washroom that deserves consideration. A well-thought-out guest bathroom, for example, can be both a gift to your family and friends and a source of never-ending compliments.

If you’re ready to take your guest bathroom design to the next level, you’re in luck. We’ve put together a list of our best tips to help inspire your redesign. With just a few small tweaks, you may just find that you have a new favorite room in the house.


Keep it neutral. Image: Wellbuilt Company

Keep it fairly neutral

When dealing with a master suite, personal style reigns supreme. Are you someone who prefers a claw-foot tub for long baths over a quick shower? Done. On this project, though, your goal is to appeal to the masses: your best friend, your mother-in-law, and everyone in between.

To pull this off, we recommend that you stick to a fairly neutral look. Think about incorporating a monochromatic color scheme in your design. This color combo adds a sense of classic elegance to the space and will never go out of style.

Once you have your color palette in mind, you can add more visual interest to the room by playing around with a variety of shapes, textures, and materials. Think about featuring things like a tastefully curved sink or an eye-catching vanity.

luxe accessories

Add in plenty of luxury accessories. Image: Evens Architects

Include luxe extras

The best part of being on vacation is the little luxuries that your hotel has to offer. Even though your friends and family won’t be staying at a company-run resort, you can recreate the experience by adding some luxe accessories to your guest bathroom.

Take the picture above, for example. In it, you can see that whoever designed the space has taken the time to add plenty of fresh towels, a plush robe, a variety of high-end soaps and lotions, plus spa-like bath treatments can be found on the back wall.

Take the time to consider how you can include touches like these into your guest bathroom. Even one or two should be enough to stop the room from feeling purely functional and help transform it into something special.

guest bathroom

Be sure to keep necessities like towels on display. Image: FOUR POINT DESIGN BUILD INC

Concentrate on your displays

Keep in mind that part of what sets the hotel experience apart from that of a typical home is that not only are these items on-hand, they’re also meticulously displayed. With just a glance, you know exactly what towels and toiletries are available to you. When designing a guest bathroom, your goal should be to have your family and friends feel the same way.

Every bathroom needs storage. For the guest bathroom, in particular, we recommend using open storage solutions. Look for shelving units, bins, or cubes that allow you to keep your linens and lotions on display. That way, your guests won’t need to root through your belongings in order to find everything they need.

Once you have your storage options in place, remember how the items are displayed is just as important as what’s available. Just as you would with any other styled surface, do your best to create specific groupings. Vary the items in each grouping by height, size and number to create visual interest. If you need to, consider looking up bathroom design ideas on Freshome for inspiration.

spread out

Make sure there’s room for your guests to spread out. Image: Toronto Interior Design Group | Yanic Simard

Leave room to spread out

This tip is more about function than aesthetics, but it is one that your guests will truly appreciate. Whoever comes to visit, they’ll likely be bringing a host of toiletries of their own and they’ll need somewhere to put them. Make sure your guest bathroom includes plenty of room for your visitors to spread out during their stay.

To do this, you’ll need to leave plenty of negative space in your design. Resist the urge to overcrowd your design with accessories or knickknacks and only use as many as you need to make the space feel pulled together. If you’re working with a small bathroom, rely on vertical height to provide some additional surface space.

guest bathroom

Let us help you bring your guest bathroom to the next level. Image: Kenihan Development

Understandably, the guest bathroom design often takes second priority beyond a high-end master suite. However, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect this space entirely. With just a few, simple tweaks you can create a space that both you and your guests will fall for. Keep our tips in mind and put your own spin on them to give your interiors a whole new look.

What do you think of our guest bathroom tips? Do you have any of your own to add to the list? Share them with us in the comments below.

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25 of the Best Coworking Spaces When You Can’t Live (or Work) Without Good Design

If you were drooling over the awesome office spaces of your favorite brands and wish you could work somewhere just as cool, you may be in luck! Coworking spaces are popping up around the world as digital nomads and entrepreneurs opt to get out of their pajamas and “adult it” in a shared office environment.

Companies like WeWork are booming, thanks to the amazing amenities and high-design spaces they offer. Some of the amenities are pretty fabulous – and random. Besides the basics, like fiber-optic internet or good coffee, they may include:

  • A terrace
  • Restaurants and catered meals
  • Bars featuring daily Happy Hours
  • Arabic calligraphy lessons
  • Open 24 hours
  • Virtual Reality gaming rooms
  • Concierge services
  • Nap Pods
  • Yoga classes
  • Local beer on tap

For a monthly fee of as little as $30 on up to $600 or more for some of the more exclusive locations, you can work or hold meetings in a shared office. Need to impress a client for a couple of hours? Many locations have an office space for the day for as little as $20. Here’s a roundup (by region) of the most beautiful and best coworking spaces in the U.S.


best shared office spaces

WeWork Chicago, Fulton Market.

best coworking spaces chicago

Level Office coworking space in Chicago, IL (River North)

MatchBOX Coworking Studio in Lafayette, IN

Industrious in St. Louis, MO

North East

qLabs New York City, NY

best coworking spaces Boston

Workbar in Cambridge, MA

best coworking spaces NY

WeWork in Brooklyn, NY

Serendipity Labs in Bethesda, MD

best cowork spaces and shared office washington, DC

WeWork in Washington, DC

Industrious in Manhattan, NY

best shared office spaces

Serendipity Labs Stanford, CT


best cowork spaces

WeWork in Miami, FL

cowork locations

Strongbox West in Atlanta, GA

Impact Hub Austin, TX (South Central)

best coworking spaces and office sharing Austin

Impact Hub Austin, TX (North Lamar)

Spark Louisville, KY location (opening soon)

West Coast, Rockies & Southwest

Liquid Space Seattle (Bellevue) Meeting Room

Liquid Space Seattle, WA (Bellevue) meeting room

WeWork in San Francisco, CA (Civic Center)

The Port Workspaces in Oakland, CA

Click Co+Work in Flagstaff, AZ

WeWork in Berkeley, CA

The Urban Hive in Sacramento, CA

NeueHouse Hollywood, CA

WeWork in Denver, CO (Union Station)

Industrious Los Angeles, CA (Downtown)

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The Defining a Style Series: What Is Modern Farmhouse Design?

modern farmhouse design

Ready to embrace modern farmhouse design? We’ve got all the info you need to pull this look off. Image: Gardner Homes

There’s a reason why so many of us continue to fall head-over-heels for farmhouse style. Its unique take on comfort and simplicity creates an aura that could make anyone feel at home, even if they’ve never set foot on a farm. However, some people shy away due to the assumption that this aesthetic can feel a little outdated.

We’re going to prove those people wrong. Below is our guide to pulling off modern farmhouse design. Read over these tips and keep them in the forefront of your mind as you work on your own interiors. With any luck, you’ll achieve the perfect balance between classic comfort and modern flair.


Practicality is the cornerstone of farmhouse style. Image: Ken Linsteadt Architects

Put practicality first

When you consider the ins-and-outs of farm life, it’s no surprise that practicality reigns supreme. While you should always consider functionality and usage as an integral part of any design, in this case, it needs to be your first point of consideration.

As for how to make that happen, planning is key. Before you start getting into the nitty-gritty of your redesign, take some time to look at the space. Consider details like the flow of the room, the lighting, and the furniture arrangement. Consider what’s working and what isn’t, as well as what changes you can make in order to make ease-of-use your first priority.

Then, once you’re ready to start gathering your design elements, remember that function should be your primary focus. Let your furniture and storage options take center stage in the room, above any decorative elements.

neutral colors

Stick to neutral colors for a modern twist. Image: House of Jade Interiors

Choose a neutral palette

The colors you choose will be crucial to making this look work. Gone are the sage greens and buttermilk yellows that harken to older farmhouse styles. These days, a neutral color palette is a crucial part of any modern design, and including one in your farmhouse-inspired space will be the thing that helps keep your fresh, clean, and totally current.

As always, you’ll want to keep the 60-30-10 rule in mind. Here, white is the natural choice to fulfill the role of your dominant shade. For your other two colors, think about using earthy shades like grays, tans, and browns. Bare in mind that your accent shade should be the boldest of them all.

In a farmhouse design, the finishes you choose will also play an important role. Rather than choosing crisp, bright shades like you would in a truly modern design, you may want to consider choosing colors that have a bit of a vintage or antique feel to them. This will provide a small nod to classic farmhouse style without feeling too over the top.


Comfort is also key. Image: Jennifer Robin Interiors

Mix and match furniture

Next up, it’s time to focus on furniture. Traditionally, farmhouse designs relied heavily on simple wooden furniture to fill up the bulk of their interiors. You should include that in your space as well. The type of wood and finish that you use is up to you, but whenever possible, opt for pieces that feature clean and simple lines.

To give the look a more modern twist, you’ll want to infuse another layer of comfort into the space. Think about balancing out the natural materials in the room with things like plush couches, comfy accent chairs, and cushioned bar stools. You can also enhance the feeling of the room by layerings items like throw pillows and blankets into your design.

industrial accents

Finish the look off with industrial accents. Image: Irwin Construction, LLC

Add industrial accents

Lastly, you’ll want to think of the purely decorative elements your design. Here, we’d suggest leaning strongly on industrial-inspired pieces. Not only are industrial pieces commonly based on the machinery used for farming, but they also happen to be experiencing a spike in popularity right now, making them the perfect common thread to finish off your look.

With that in mind, keep an eye out for hanging barn doors, wooden mantles, iron-inspired light fixtures, and galvanized metal storage buckets. In farmhouse design, the best accents are the ones that also play a functional role, so look for pieces that serve a purpose.

modern farmhouse design

Use this guide to bring modern farmhouse design into your interiors. Image: Sita Montgomery Interiors

Farmhouse style has been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean it has to be synonymous with grandma’s house and days gone by. Take this guide on modern farmhouse design as your inspiration. The tips and advice in this post are the keys to creating a farmhouse-inspired space that feels equal parts warm, welcoming, and current.

What do you think of modern farmhouse design? Would you be willing to try out the look in your own home? Share your opinions with us in the comments below.

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Mid-Century Modern Lovers: Knoll Opens a Retail Store in Los Angeles

If you love mid-century modern design, you’ll want to take a field trip to the new Knoll store in Los Angeles for a little inspiration. In conjunction with the company’s 80th anniversary, the new Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles will let you get your hands on the company’s latest contemporary furniture. Textiles and tabletop accessories from the world’s leading designers and architects will also be available.

knoll home design shop los angeles

One of the room settings at the new Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles. All images courtesy of Knoll.

No need to come with a designer — the new shop, which opened Jan. 18, is open to the public. Just a few blocks from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, it’s the brand’s second retail location. The flagship midtown New York City location was a big hit.

Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles

A chair wall at the Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles features a collection of its most iconic pieces, ready to take home.

Be prepared to feel like you’ve just entered the coolest 1950s and 1960s spaces ever. Room settings are styled perfectly in warm, retro colors and signature Knoll textiles. New collections and introductions from Mark Krusin, David Rockwell and David Adjaye flow perfectly with iconic reproductions from Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

knoll home design shop los angeles

The latest Knoll collections mix brilliantly with iconic Knoll designs in the Los Angeles location.

To make its 80th anniversary and the store launch special, Knoll has made select designs available in the U.S. at the Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles. These include:

Avio sofa by Piero Lissoni

Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles

The modular sofa collection by Lissoni makes it U.S. debut.

Tobia Scarpa’s Bastino lounge collection

The Bastino lounge is inspired by a luxurious Asian daybed.

Grasshopper tables by Piero Lissoni

The sleek Grasshopper table will be available in different finishes, shapes and sizes.

Besides the exclusive introductions, you’ll find textiles, accessories, tabletop items and more outdoor furnishings to fit with LA’s year-round sunny weather.

The 1966 Collection is famous as the first modern outdoor furniture collection and looks as fresh and modern today as it did in the late ’60s.

The Knoll Home Design Store Los Angeles is located at 314 N. Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood.

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These 6 Home Improvements Are a Priority This Year, No Matter Your Budget

Better Home and Gardens just released the results of a national survey asking two distinct sets of homeowners what they want to change in their home for 2018. The 10th annual Home Factor survey polled two groups about home improvements they’d like to carry out this year: “luxury” homeowners who make more than $125,000 a year and “mass” homeowners who make less than $125,000 a year.

They found that these two groups may not have the same money to spend, but they have the same priorities when it comes to upgrading their homes. Amy Panos, Home Editor at Better Homes and Gardens said, “Regardless of their income, homeowners care about creating an inviting home that has useful, upgraded spaces for family and friends to enjoy.”

Here are the top 6 home improvements that are a priority for 2018:

1. Painting rooms

Caliente is Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year for 2018. Image: Benjamin Moore

Painting a room is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to give a room a makeover. It’s also a great DIY project that can often be tackled over a weekend. The best part about this type of project is that homeowners can take a bigger risk with color and paint over it if they don’t like it.

2. Replacing flooring

home improvements 2018

Wood flooring is the top choice in floors for homeowners and potential buyers. Image: TK Interiors

This is not only high on the priority list, but a smart move. Upgrading to hardwood flooring can add up to “2.5% to the home’s sale price,” according to

3. Bathroom remodel

home remodeling ideas

When remodeling a bathroom, try to create a spa-like environment with a combination of textures and finishes. Image: Racing Green Construction

According to a report published by the National Association of Realtors, a complete kitchen renovation, a kitchen upgrade and a bathroom renovation topped the list of projects that add value to the resale price of a home.

4. Kitchen remodel

Contemporary coastal kitchen design is a favorite among families. Image: Chelsea Lauren Interiors

A modern, functional kitchen is one of the top features homeowners look for. But it’s important to not go overboard on the upgrades, since, according to U.S. News, a minor kitchen remodel will recoup 80 percent of its cost, while a major mid-range kitchen remodel has a 65 percent return on investment.

5. Decorating with furniture and accessories

The right furniture and accessories add a unique and polished look to a room. Image: Studio Envie

The right furniture and accessories bring new life to any room. If your budget is limited, focus on buying the highest quality main furniture piece in the room and then bargain hunt for the rest of the accents. For example, when redecorating the living room, splurge on the sofa — you’ll spend lots of time sitting on it and get creative with the accessorizing.

6. Adding a separate laundry room

Style and function are both possible with a well-designed laundry room. Be sure to add plenty of storage and a countertop area for folding. Image: Studio Envie

A separate, well-organized laundry room can not only make life easier, it makes the regular task of doing laundry a pleasure. Depending on the amount of space you have, a separate laundry space can be as simple as converting a closet to plumbing out a whole designated laundry room.

What’s difference between the two groups?

If the two sets of homeowners agree on the same projects, what are the differences? The luxury homeowner set is willing to pay more for quality pieces and hire contractors to do more of the renovations than the mass set. Interestingly, mass homeowners want to focus on the pricier kitchen and bath remodels while the luxury homeowners want to paint or redecorate the home with furniture and accessories.

What are you planning on upgrading this year?

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Hiring an Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator: How to Choose Between the Two

Interior designer vs interior decorator

Need to decide between an interior designer and an interior decorator? Here’s how. Image: Paloma Contreras Design

If you’ve ever tried to bring someone in to help with an interior design project, you know that finding your perfect match can be a task unto itself. For one thing, there are a number options to choose from, each with their own body of work. For another, there’s design lingo to sort through. Some call themselves an interior designer while others use the term interior decorator. What’s the difference?

The last question is the one we’re tackling today. While these two professions are very similar, a few key differences can have an impact on your project. Keep reading to learn what sets the two apart and how to figure out which one will best suit your needs.


Interior designers have a formal education and specific architectural skills. Image: Graystone Custom Builders, Inc.

What makes an interior designer?

Education: To become an interior designer, you need to go through formal training. It’s usually either a two-year or four-year program. In some areas, designers may have to pass an exam in order to become registered with their local governing body, though this is not always the case.

Special skills: A large part of an interior design education focuses on space planning. This process includes conducting an in-depth analysis of how the current space is being used, as well as any functional changes that should be made in a redesign. Usually, this will include things like changing the layout to achieve better functionality or usage throughout the space.

When to bring one in: An interior designer is your best choice if you’re working on a remodel and require guidance beyond aesthetics. They can help you redesign your space from the ground up, as well as navigating day-to-day details like working with contractors.


Interior decorators handle aesthetics. Image: Century Floorspace

What makes an interior decorator?

Education: Since interior decorators generally focus solely on decorative details, there’s less of a need for them to have a standardized education. Most will have undergone some sort of training program to learn about the foundational principles of interior design.

Special skills: Interior decorators are all about aesthetics. They can handle tasks such as selecting color schemes, purchasing new design items, arranging furniture layouts, and hanging wall art. Think of them as an expert who can help you bring an entirely new look to your existing space.

When to bring one in: Bringing in an interior decorator might be the right choice if you need another set of savvy eyes to help bring your design inspiration to life, or if you want to give a room a makeover and don’t have time to handle it on your own.

who to hire

Who you decide to hire will depend on the scope of your project. Image: Madison Modern Home

Which one should you choose?

Ultimately, which type of professional you decide to hire is a matter of personal preference. If you’re on the fence between the two, we’ve compiled a list of questions to help you sort out which pick is right for you. Read them over before making any hiring decisions:

  • Are you planning on redoing a room like a kitchen or a bathroom, where functional fixes might be more difficult to navigate if they pop up during the process? Or, somewhere like a bedroom or living space where they’ll likely be less extensive if needed at all?
  • How important are education and credentials to you?
  • Are you looking for someone to manage the project?

One thing to keep in mind: Every decorator and designer is different. This is only a general guide. You should research individuals in your area to see what services they offer. As always, we recommend that you do your best to look over design portfolios, read reviews, and get your questions answered before deciding who’s the best fit for the job.

Interior designer vs interior decorator

Let our advice help you decide who to hire for your next project. Image: Christen Ales Interior Design

When you’re trying to sort out your next design project, you may be dealing with so many things at once that small details like whether you’ve hired an interior designer or an interior decorator may not seem to matter. However, this is one place where lingo does matter. Consider this to be your guide to sorting out the differences between these two titles and how to find your best fit.

Have you ever used an interior decorator or an interior designer for one of your projects? What factors ultimately helped you make your hiring decision? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

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Best Consumer Electronics Show Home Trends for 2018

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is the biggest tech show around and the place where far-out innovations are introduced. You’ll see what’s coming up in the next few years, including driverless cars, robots, smart pet toys and … boxer briefs that block out cellphone radiation. It’s a free-for-all at the CES, with some brilliant intros and some that leave us wondering.

So what do exhibitors at the show have in store for the home? Here are the coolest Consumer Electronics Show home trends for 2018.

1. Old school split-flap boards with a digital twist

If you’re old enough to remember the analog floppy-letter boards that announced departures at train stations, you may be excited to hear that a startup called Vestaboard is bringing them back, but better. You can now create and schedule messages via your smartphone to wirelessly add to your board whenever you want.

It would be a great industrial or vintage design touch in any home and a great way to remind you of important events. You can sync Google Calendar, Slack and Twitter to display messages and reminders on your board.

2. Pre-fab tiny houses, but better

If you love the idea of the tiny house but it cramps your design sensibility, you will love the pre-fabricated Flex House. It’s been “right-sized” at a well-thought-out 760 square feet. It’s not just sustainable, it’s also built with integrated smart home tech throughout. According to the builders, the house comes with these features:

  • Whole house control by app or voice using Amazon Alexa
  • Wemo smart plugs
  • Rachio WaterSense smart irrigation controller that schedules irrigation depending on weather data
  • A greywater recycling system
  • Kwikset smart lock
  • Smart lighting by Sylvania
  • Sensi smart thermostat
  • JinkoSolar solar panels
  • Tabucchi Electric battery system
  • EV charging station from Bosch for your car

3. Home entertainment robot that follows you around

Meet Keecker, the adorable pet robot that can project your favorite movie or YouTube video anywhere it can roll. It’s also a guard dog that can alert you to intruders via a camera and sensors by sending a video feed to your smartphone of what’s going on.

Keecker is fitted with navigation software that can follow you around the house. A self-adjusting HD projector and an impressive 360-degree sound system means you can watch high-definition movies on any available wall. It has a terabyte of storage, too, so you can play games or house media and music instead of streaming them wirelessly.

4. Hi-Fi speakers that double as wall art

Bang & Olufsen has created the most beautiful and customizable speaker system to date — the BeoSound Shape. Each speaker is available in a variety of colors and can be as modular as you need it to be. Group a small handful in a room in the design of your choice.

The panels are wireless and each have their own built-in speaker, amp and acoustic damper or a BeoSound Core hub so you can use AirPlay, Spotify or Bluetooth to play your music. The best part is how well the panels all play together. Bang & Olufsen developed an “upmixing algorithm” to always create a centered sound experience, regardless of where you’re hanging out in the room.

5. Wireless, plug-free kitchen

Design minimalists will love this one. Startup Urbaneer is redesigning small appliances and counter surfaces for small kitchen spaces by getting rid of electric cords. Its appliances will charge wirelessly and operate anywhere on charging countertops, making it possible to cook or prep from any corner of the countertop space. The wireless charging countertops feature wheels and a smaller scale that can work with most small kitchens.

Most of these products are in stores now or will be shortly. Which of these Consumer Electronics Show home trends for 2018 do you want most?

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Simple But Effective Basement Renovation Tips

A lot of homes have basements. However, some homeowners don’t realize that they aren’t using this space to its full potential. As a matter of fact, a number of households are using their basements just for storing unwanted stuff. Thus, it turns out to be a dingy room no one wishes to go.

Don’t worry though; your basement isn’t a completely hopeless case. You can change that dull and boring basement into a usable and bright space by means of an effective basement renovation. Here are some tips on basement renovation to help you out.

Know Your Purpose

The first thing you should consider when doing a basement renovation is to know why you are doing this. Are you going to change it to an additional bedroom or living room that will often be visited by your friends or family members? For example, this can be an entertainment room or a game room where you and your friends or family can hang out. Or would you want it to be a special room that you will only use for the occasional purpose. Maybe it can be another room for guests. This must be the first consideration as the design will be based from this purpose.

Renovation Process

Next thing to do is to plan the renovation process, however, you have to think about the existing structures in your basement. Is there a vapor barrier, insulation or framing setup? Making sure that your basement is waterproof is vital, it makes sense to bring in a basement waterproofing company to assess prior to renovating.  What are other structural arrangements there that you’ll retain? Keeping these things in mind will not just help you in the designing process, but also help you in determining the budget needed. Complete fundamental structures will mean another thing lost in the list of expenses. Also you will have to consider building code and know if you are required to update your business structures to conform to it.

Lighting is an Important Factor

Another factor to think about when planning a basement renovation is the lighting. With regards to a basement, the key here is to bring natural light when possible. However, it depends on the current structure and the location of your basement. Like for example, a walkout basement that has direct access outside, windows should be integrated in the restoration to let light in. However, if your basement is totally underground, you would need to consider window wells.


The use of colors is an essential factor you should think about amongst basement renovation tips. In this situation, you must choose colors that will make your dull, dingy and dark basement bright and lively. Avoid using beige or grays alone. Instead choose warmer colors like yellow, gold, rust stone, orange as well as brown. Decors, walls, furnishing, flooring and rugs must be of the right color. Colors add warmth to space. The warmer the feel in the basement is, the more enjoyable and fun it will be to stay there.

There are many basement renovation tips on hand online and magazine that you can read in order to come up with basement ideas. On the other hand, basement renovation isn’t a totally easy feat. It can also be very daunting and challenging most essentially if you are starting out an unfinished space or overly crowded room with lots of machines. Therefore, for these purposes, you can get the service of an expert and professional home renovation company in your area to do the task for you. They can provide you diverse basement renovation tips for you to select from. What is more, they have the skills, knowledge as well as years of experience, thus able to provide you the result you want.


We Asked The Pros: Which Home Improvements Have the Best ROI in 2018

ROI in 2018

These are a few home improvements that will give you the biggest bang for your buck in 2018. Image: My House Design Build Team

Every homeowner wants to get the biggest impact possible out of their home improvements. Whether you’re looking to make a move in the near future or are planning on staying put for years to come, it’s comforting to know that your investment of time and money is worth the effort, that the work you’re doing will add value to your home.

With that in mind, we decided to take the issue to the experts. We asked the leading minds in real estate to tell us which home improvement projects are set to have the best return on investment (ROI) in 2018. Read on below to see what they had to say and to learn where in your home your sweat equity will ultimately have the biggest impact.

smart home technogies

Expect smart home technologies to start popping up everywhere. Image: Honeywell Home

1. Smart home technologies

“According to the most recent Luxury Portfolio Global Luxury Real Estate Report, 76% of buyers agree: Having a ‘smart home’ is very important to me. In particular, safety is a top concern. Of those surveyed, 39% are looking for a convenient, centralized network that securely controls smart-home and internet connections; aka the ability to operate a home security system through a mobile device.” — Stephanie Anton, EVP of Luxury Portfolio International

outdoor living space

Let an outdoor living space draw in buyers. Image: Creative Environments

2. Outdoor living space

“According to a recent survey, 51% of home buyers find outdoor living space the most attractive quality when searching for their perfect home, more so than open floor plans and curb appeal. As such, outdoor spaces are becoming an ideal investment, not only for current homeowners’ enjoyment, but also for sellers looking to bring added value to a home for future sale.” — Joe Raboine, National Design & Training Specialist for Belgard in Atlanta

Energy-efficient kitchens

Energy-efficient options are set to be a smart investment. Image: Energy Efficient Homes

3. Maximizing energy efficiency

“Making energy-efficient upgrades will give you more bang for your buck in 2018. When thinking of energy efficiency, people often go straight to solar panels. However, smaller changes like upgrading your HVAC, water heater, or windows can also cut energy costs — resulting in an accumulation of savings over time. You can even make improvements as simple as adding solar-powered lighting to your front yard, which will help increase overall savings.” — Sacha Ferrandi, Founder of Source Capital Funding Inc., San Diego

modernized bathrooms

As always, modernized bathrooms make a big difference. Image: Robson Homes

4. Modernized bathrooms

“Modern bathroom trends are staying the same in 2018 as in 2017. Clean lines with rustic touches. Adding grays into the color scheme is also very popular right now and most consider this the greatest non-offensive tone to go choose from. (Beige is out.) Be careful, though, buyers like a very light gray. Some darker grays can come across as purple in certain lights.” — Sotereas (Teris) Pantazes, CEO & Founder of EFynch in Baltimore

fresh finishes

Sometimes fresh finishes are all that’s needed. Image: Designtheory Inc.

5. Refreshed finishes

“Not all renovations have to be huge. I like to suggest that homeowners update their finishes before they go to sell because it’s not always easy for buyers to visualize the potential of a space. If a space is really run down and a buyer thinks that he will have to redo everything, it’s easy to either over or underestimate the cost to achieve what it could look like. Older finishes also eliminate a big chunk of the buyers out there who just aren’t willing to do the work.” — Ori Goldman, CEO of Loftey in New York City

ROI in 2018

These are the projects to keep in mind when ROI matters most. Image: David Morello Garden Enterprises Inc.

Home improvements can be a bit of a gamble. On the one hand, while you’re living in the space, it’s only natural to want to create a space you’ll enjoy. On the other, if you intend to sell, you also want to make changes that appeal to buyers. That’s why we asked the pros to help you weigh the risks. They told us which home improvements will probably have the best ROI in 2018, so you can make sure to get the most bang for your buck.

What do you think of these home improvements? If you were a buyer, would they sway your opinion on whether or not to buy the home? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Wood and Glass Boxes Define Contemporary Retreat in Norway

Architecture Studio Snorre Stinessen completed the design of Malangen Retreat, a cluster of accommodation units located in Tromsø, Norway. The cabins are located on a ridge rising from the fjord below and neighbor a lush forest.

The clients wanted to enjoy a high level of privacy, while also being able to receive guests during the weekend. The main residence and the annex are each composed of two boxes. The main part accommodates the entrance, children’s room and a small secondary living room in the first box, while the bathroom and master bedroom were placed in the second unit.

The “annex” hosts guest rooms, utility rooms and a relaxation area with a sauna directly exposed to the view outside.

“We planned the main entrance, the living room and an annex separated by the central courtyard,” the architects said. “From here the retreat opens up to the natural clearing in the forest and you can enter into either the main building or the annex. A dedicated exit from the kitchen leads to the south-facing outdoor area where the family enjoy their dinners on warm summer days.”

All the individual boxes are clad in cedar panels and treated with iron sulfate. Large expanses of glass create a seamless connection with the surrounding landscape. Photography courtesy of Snorre Stinessen.

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