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Top-room-designs abound in this article*. It is jam packed with TEN help-with-room-design tips from one of the country's top interior designers. Although, originally this room-design-tips article was written from the perspective of marketing and selling new homes; it's a great resource for our tips to accomplish your own best room design.

Design impacts every facet of our lives and the spaces where we live. Whether you are in need of fresh new design ideas for your kitchen, living areas, or bathrooms, we trust you'll find our help-with-room-design as a great design inspiration.

The Difference is in the Details

by Patti Guthrie

Free Standing Designer Bathtub at Top-Room-Designs

We've seen trends in shrinking floor plans, simplicity of form, and a variety of architectural styles. We've seen less regionalism and an increase in designs that bring the outdoors in. But no matter what the trends are or what you are designing, it's the details that determine your success.

With construction budgets stretched to the max, the smallest of details still matter the most, and how they are handled can greatly influence a company's reputation and image. Take a look at these ideas to help you establish a unique design signature for your company.


Top-Room-Designs Tip One:
Think beyond the backsplash when installing the accent tile. Instead, splurge by covering an entire cabinetry wall with the backsplash material. This works well above a cook top with a modern hood, or over the sink area.

Top-Room-Designs Tip Two: Clean up the countertop edge. Formal ogee edges are fading in popularity and are being replaced with simple contemporary edges such as a pencil or erased edge. If you can afford it, thicken the edge of an island countertop to a full two inches to make the whole kitchen feel more expensive.

Also move beyond granite and look instead to some of the more progressive countertop materials such as engineered stone, recycled glass, stainless steel, and concrete.

Top-Room-Designs Tip Three: Find furniture-grade upgrades to elevate your cabinetry. A bland production kitchen can look semi-custom with simple changes. Skip a standard toe kick when designing desks, island fronts, and built-in hutches, and use a furniture base instead.

Compound the crown molding with a small frieze on the top of the cabinets, and leave no room between the ceiling and top of the cabinetry. Also, varying cabinet heights is a dated "don't". The cleaner the better--and try contemporary cabinet pulls or knobs even if your kitchen leans traditional.


Top-Room-Designs Tip Four:
Wall cladding gives character and substance to the most affordable spaces. Try a textured stone or tile on an entire fireplace wall. Painted brick is back. And wide, V-groove panel molding can add vintage charm to foyers, dining rooms, and fireplace walls.

Top-Room-Designs Tip Five: Create a memorable transition between spaces. You've seen good ideas like this before--but can you get creative about where they occur in the plan? Try a vintage door when you least expect it.

Top-Room-Designs Tip Six: Create signature, "found" spaces. Tuck shelves under a stairway. Find a way to put a reading alcove/window seat at the top of a stair landing. Design a walk-in pantry to die for with a mini-mosiac floor, pendant lighting, custom shelving, and storage on the door. Make your fireplace a standout by using one of the new horizontal and rectilinear fireboxes.

Dark Floors & Light Trim at Top-Room-Designs

Top-Room-Designs Tip Seven: Stop buying the bronze, pseudo-Mediterranean lighting. Look instead at simple, large shade fixtures, simple rustic wood chandeliers, and even woven wicker fixtures. Think young and fresh with your light fixture choices--the whole house will look fresher.

Top-Room-Designs Tip Eight: Embrace contrast. Walls are getting lighter and floors are getting darker. Trim is a little bit of both, but I see a trend toward darker trim and lighter walls. Picture an ebony floor with crisp white walls and stained trim.


Top-Room-Designs Tip Nine:
Free standing tubs are back, back, back. Get creative, and ground the walls and floors surrounding the tub with contrasting materials to highlight the splurge of a free-standing tub.

Top-Room-Designs Tip Ten: No more bar lights above the unfinished mirror. Spend the money to frame your mirror with cabinetry or millwork, and make sure there is no leftover drywall at the top. Locate simple sconces within the mirror to highlight your buyer's faces. And add enough recessed cans to make the bath sparkle.

The details are at the top of any potential homebuyer's priority list, even if they don't realize it. Details can transform any house into a home and make or break any sale. So be a little daring. Think retro-contemporary. Try some new eco materials.

Vintage Door Room Divider at Top-Room-Designs

Remember, gaudy excess is gone. In its place are authentic interiors with character features and less square footage. The buyers will get on board a lot easier than you may think.

Author: Patti Guthrie has been vice president of model merchandising at Marc-Michaels Interior Design since 1995. She has more than 20 years of marketing and merchandising experience in the industry and is involved in many industry affiliations, from local to national, keeping her abreast of marketplace issues and trends.

She integrates industry insights and solutions to the challenges into the merchandising plan for every project. To witness the home builder's success is Patti's professional ambition; to be instrumental in that success is her satisfaction.

*Reprinted with permission from "The Difference is in the Details" by Patti Guthrie, 2010, Sales + Marketing Ideas, pages 46-48, Copyright 2010 by National Sales and Marketing Council of The National Association of Home Builders.

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