Material Choices in Kitchen & Bath Design

kitchen remodel

Many homeowners find remodeling a kitchen or bath challenging due to the overwhelming amount of material choices they face. Granite or quartz for the countertops? Hardwoods or tile for the kitchen floor? Chrome or oil-rubbed bronze for the bathroom fixtures? Options abound! We have some advice on how to narrow your choices so you stay sane, and get the end results you are seeking.

First and foremost, you must have a design for your kitchen or bath. Knowing how the footprint will be laid out, and the intended flow of the space, will drive what materials you will include. Within the design phase of your project, elements that support your project scope will emerge, providing you with your shopping list. From there, you can scale down your choices by considering three factors: functionality, aesthetics and budget.

Functionality offers up some questions for you to answer: Who will be using the space and how? How much maintenance am I willing to do? Do I have a need for the latest technology? Knowing the answers to these questions will guide how you weigh the pros and cons of your material options. Placing the characteristics of each material through your functionality needs will lead you to the appropriate choice. Common examples include:

  • Granite kitchen countertops require a bit more maintenance than quartz. How does will this affect the use of your kitchen? On the other hand, solid surface countertops are very durable. Perhaps they should be included in a kid’s bath remodel.
  • Touch-technology faucets are convenient but require battery changes. Is there a need to have that functionality for the kitchen sink or will a manual fixture do?
  • Hardwood flooring is easier on your legs and back, but tile is better at handling water and dogs. The introduction of tile that looks like wood just adds complexity to this decision!
  • Induction cooktops boil water in 90 seconds but may require new cookware. Are ready to give up your beloved pots?
  • The size of your tile determines the number and size of your grout lines. Go with a smaller tile, more grout to maintain. Are you willing to scrub the shower a bit more often to get that pebble floor look?

Aesthetics are the look and feel of your space, and are greatly affected by your material choices. The textures, colors, styles, patterns and even sizes all come together to create an ambiance. Your kitchen or bath design was created with an aesthetic in mind, so it is important to choose materials that support it. Consider these options:

  • Cabinetry sets the tone for a kitchen (See Kitchen Cabinetry 101 for more on this topic), so choosing the right door style, stain or paint, and finishings is imperative to achieving your intended look. Knowing your style will help you weigh the options offered by the many cabinet manufacturers.
  • Modern kitchens and baths will include fixtures with sleek lines and shiny finishes. More traditional spaces lend themselves to oil-rubbed bronze and embellishments.
  • Backsplashes in the kitchen come in all styles. Tile ranges from glass to natural stone, and can be laid in many different patterns. Accent stripes can also be included. Other backsplash options are sheets of painted glass, stainless steel and your countertop material. Which option will allow you to create the feel you want?
  • Shower doors now come in frameless or semi-frameless glass. The shape of your shower can influence the look depending on how the glass will come together. Which style best suits your new bathroom?
  • Granite countertops can have a polished or honed finish. Which one is appropriate for your kitchen, or can you use a mixture of both?

Often there is a tug-of-war between functionality and aesthetic, and this is where budget can become the deciding factor. Often achieving both high functionality and perfect aesthetic can be cost prohibitive. A skilled interior designer will be able to help you set priorities and offer viable options that balance the two over the full project scope.

Wading through the many material choices involved in a kitchen or bath remodel can seem impossible. Good design and clear goals for functionality, aesthetic and budget can ease the process. Our interior designers make it a joy to create the kitchen or bath you have always dreamed of. Schedule a free, in-home consultation to learn how they do it. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317-846-2600.



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After 20 years remodeling homes throughout Central Indiana, we’ve decided it’s time for a remodel of our own!  Case locations in Carmel, Meridian Kessler, and Zionsville will become Worthington Design & Remodeling.

The Worthington name pays tribute to our founder and president, Larry Worthington Greene, and demonstrates our unyielding customer promise: your home is worth the very best. Expert design, craftsmanship, service, and superior results remain the cornerstone of all we do. It’s the Worthington Way.

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