Home Renovation - Helpful Tips


Back in May we started our 3rd large home renovation. At this point we have pretty much changed every room in the house, and the exterior of the house as well!

By now you would think that we would be pretty knowledgeable in the home renovation space, but since the technology and innovations are ever-changing, we continue to learn something new with each project.

Since I know how overwhelming the process of home renovation can be, I asked some experts to provide some helpful tips when making purchase decisions. 

This first article focuses on Plumbing Supplies and touches upon Kitchen Renovation as well. Thank you to Green Art Plumbing for supplying the information. 

When looking for a Kitchen Sink:

Stainless steel and cast iron are the most durable. Farmhouse is the latest trending style.


Consider adding a garbage disposal to reduce the amount of food waste in your garbage (and at the dump) – some models can even grind fruit pits and chicken bones.


Kitchen Faucet:

Consider your needs – pull-down is great and additions like a soap dispenser and instant-hot water/cold filtered water are useful. All can come in the same finish as the faucet for a seamless, unified look.

Some models also come in touch-activated or motion-sense.


Bathroom Faucet:

You’ll want to match the faucet to the other items in the bathroom – shower trim, robe hooks, and tissue holder can all match same style and same finish.


Shower Head:

What are your needs? Regular shower head, hand shower, a slide bar that can change the height of the shower head. What are your wants? Rain shower head is nice, body sprays are a luxury option. Also, a Bluetooth shower head or vent fan can play your music while you shower.

Vocab words:

Diverter: Allows for multiple showerheads

Thermostatic Valve: Sets the temperature

Volume Control: Amount of water



Water savings is essential – some models come with dual-flush technology that can help save thousands of gallons of water per year (they are labeled “EPA WaterSense”). Standard toilet these days is 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf), WaterSense toilets flush at 1.28 gpf without sacrificing performance. An older toilet can use between 3-6 gpf which is unnecessary. This is why it is important to update (and upgrade) your toilet.

Vocab words:

2-Piece: tank & bowl are separate

1-Piece: tank & bowl together – easier to clean

Skirted: concealed trapway – looks nicer, easier to clean

Non-Skirted: visible trapway – dust and debris can collect in the crevices

Comfort Height: 17”+

Standard Height: Under 17”




Choosing Cabinets:

Consider your needs – where to put most-used items? Many styles to choose from but the first decision is framed vs. frameless. (Framed cabinets are the more American style, where the hinges are on the frame. Frameless cabinet hinges sit on the box.)


Choosing Countertops:

Quartz requires the least amount of care and maintenance. Granite should be sealed once a year. Marble is very porous and must be sealed several times a year. Corian and Formica are not as popular as they are easily damaged.



Specialty countertops: Cement/Concrete, Wood/Butcher Block

Butcher Block

Butcher Block

Choosing Lighting:

The more options you install = the more choices you have to set the atmosphere.

- Under-cabinet lighting is great for countertop tasks, above-cabinet makes great ambient light for entertaining, toe-kick lighting is a good nightlight, and in-cabinet can help locate items and accent fixtures behind glass doors.

- New to the market: High-tech light switches, dimmers, and outlets in hundreds of finishes – includes USB ports for charging.


Common Lighting Fixtures:

Pendants for kitchen – can be a single or 3 or 4 above an island

Sconces for powder room or guest bath

Flush-mount for smaller rooms, basements

Chandelier for dining room or entryway

A unique statement piece can fill empty vaulted/cathedral ceiling space

 Outdoor/landscape lighting to be safe at night and also boost curb appeal


Where to save your money:

- Because of the prevalence of pull-down and pull-out faucets, a separate spray nozzle for the kitchen sink is borderline obsolete. Use that space for an instant-hot or soap dispenser instead.

- If you don’t absolutely need it, nix the touch-activated or motion-sense kitchen faucet for a regular one.

- Opt for stained cabinets instead of painted – the paint can chip over time and stain is less expensive.

- Luxury items are nice, but only if you can really afford them. Things like towel warmers, body sprays, and a whirlpool tub (especially if you don’t take baths often) could be cut to make room in your budget.

- Don’t splurge on rooms that won’t be seen often. A powder room or master bath should get more attention than a guest bathroom. Plus, in a powder room there are less fixtures to match than a guest bath so why not get that super-fancy faucet and vessel sink?


What to splurge on:

- A good heating system/boiler for your home (should be replaced/updated every 10 years).

- A tankless water heater is great for a big family who uses a lot of hot water on laundry, showering, dishwashing, etc. More showerheads = more hot water use.

- A leak detecting system can prevent damage to your home – automatically shuts off water when a leak is detected and sends an alert to your phone.

- A bidet is a great addition to any bathroom. There are toilet seats with a bidet included so you don’t have to buy a whole new toilet or separate bidet basin.

- A doorbell camera is a great safety feature – while you’re there or while you’re away. The sensor can tell when someone is near your front door. It will alert you on your phone and you can talk to the person from anywhere.

- Whole-home water purification – showering, drinking, cooking, cleaning, and gardening all involves water. Know that you’re doing it safely with filtered water for your entire home. You can’t put a price on health and safety.

- Radiant floor heating is great for basements and underneath driveways to melt ice & snow.


Unexpected expenses that may arise when renovating:

- You never know what’s behind the walls – you could encounter damaged pipes or electrical wiring. This could not only delay your project but also raise costs.

- Adding more showering options like multiple showerheads or body sprays means you’ll be using more hot water and will need an adequate hot water heater.

When renovating your bathroom:

If the kids are all grown up and you never take baths, consider ditching the tub/shower combo and go with a walk-in shower. You’ll have more space and more options (rain showerhead, body sprays, bench, etc).


Create a shower niche – built-in shelves for soap and shampoo bottles.


Lighted mirror w/defogger for faster getting-ready time


When renovating your kitchen:

1) Find your style (Pinterest is great for this)

2) Be ready for the long-haul (New cabinets can take 4-8weeks to come in)

3) Financial readiness (Add at least $5k-$10k to your budget for unexpected expenses)

4) Prioritize your wants and needs (Choose more cabinet space over a dishwasher if you don’t need it)

5) Work with a kitchen designer (Better understand the scope of your project)

Also a new trend is creating “stations” – a charging station with integrated outlets for all the family’s electronic devices, a coffee station with a coffee pot or Keurig with special drawer for K-Cups.

charging station.jpg

Smart home options:

- WiFi Thermostat with Geofencing – you can set your home temperature from your phone or connect to Amazon Alexa/Google Home

- WiFi security cameras

- WiFi sprinkler system

- Doorbell Camera

- Leak detecting system – automatically shuts off water supply

- Intelligent Toilet – comes with a touch-screen remote, motion-sense/hands-free opening and closing seat, seat warmer, bidet with customized temperature and warm air drying, deodorizer, foot warmer, dual-flush, nightlight, tankless design – optimum hygiene and comfort

- Digital showering system – preset your perfect shower

- Even fixtures can connect to Amazon Alexa/Google Home. Voice-activate your shower, tub, toilet, mirror, and faucet. Learn more HERE


Hope this information helps with your next renovation! I know I learned some things from doing this post! If you have any helpful tips you would like to share, please leave a comment below.

Pamela LiptonComment