There is Houzz. Remodelista. Home Design Twitter Feeds. Tumblr accounts. And of course the forefather of all online decor depots – Pinterest.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with remodeling or renovating online resources. Where should you start
For homeowner Sarah Schuster Canahuati, creating an “Idea Book” about Houzz was the perfect way to balance her rustic country style with her husband’s more modern tastes when they recently began renovating their Los Gatos, California home.
“It was a very helpful way to give our architect and designer a very clear idea of what we wanted with our remodeling, from paint colors and equipment to the overall style,” she says.
Home design experts and contractors repeat those thoughts and offer the following tips on how to use the abundance of the internet for your next project:
First, determine the scope of your project and your goals. Restoring your kitchen, for example, is a lot different and more involved than finding some natural accents for your living room mantle.
Will you do the work yourself How-to blogs and websites like All Things Thrifty, DIY Network, and This Old House are your new BFFs.
Are you more looking for ideas to pass on to a contractor or designer? Go to Houzz or Pinterest.
Don’t overlook the retailers, however. Paint company websites are an underutilized resource for home design, according to New York designer Karen Gray Plaisted.
“Customers often have problems with colors,” she says. “Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and PPG Paints all have fantastic interactive websites where they can try a color or virtually find a palette first. It also helps me as a decorator narrow down the color palette to find the right one for her. Annalisa Nash Fernandez, a Connecticut business owner and self-described serial mover, started a Facebook group with friends who are also into decorating.
“I post all my design issues there and get instant feedback,” she says.
Find out what you love Do you like boho-chic or do you tend more towards the clean, traditional lines of artisanal houses?
“To use home design websites to find your own style, I would advise you to pin or bookmark photos of every single room you love,” says Amy Bell, owner of Red Chair Home Interiors in Cary, NC.
“The more rooms you save, the larger your ‘data sample’ will be. When you have gathered a lot of pictures, take a step back and look for general topics that the pictures have in common. “Are there recurring colors or color combinations? Do you attract dramatic contrasts, like white cabinets paired with dark floors? Are the rooms sparsely or heavily furnished and equipped? What do you notice about architectural elements such as windows, doors, chimneys and ceiling heights?
“Having a theme and palette in mind really helps narrow down the endless possibilities on design websites and blogs,” says Patricia Leitao, marketing manager and blogger for Boston-based website homeyou, which connects homeowners with regional contractors.
“Collection” sites like Houzz and Pinterest allow users to create an unlimited number of boards or “idea books”. Go big and make one board for your entire project or downsize with more specific boards like “Colors”, “Accessories”, “Furniture” etc.
To keep track of ideas, they are easier and more visual than a list of bookmarks or a scrapbook of pages torn from books and magazines.
They’re also a great resource if you decide to hire a contractor or a home designer.
“We love going through our customers’ inspiration boards on content-rich websites. It gives us instant insight into their personal style and preferences, and we can help them narrow down exactly what fits their space and budget, ”said Margo Nathanson, designer at InteriorCrow in San Francisco.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in control, IKEA, Lowe’s, and smaller sites like Roomstyler can help you redesign your own spaces from scratch with a virtual planner. Enter the dimensions of your room and drag and drop furniture, windows and other elements where you want them.
Try an unlimited selection of cabinet and worktop combinations when remodeling your kitchen. Or see what your living room would look like with wooden floors. Then tile. Perhaps specifically.
Do not you like it? Just press Delete.