Watch any show on HGTV, and it’s clear that kitchen and bath remodels are the holy grail of any flip, home makeover or renovation. These two rooms get the lion’s share of reno budgets, and they’re the ones that make viewers cringe when they’re over-used, abused and left in a state of disrepair. From Flip or Flop to Rehab Addict and every show in between, what is it about these two rooms that get buyers, sellers and property experts up in arms, wrenches and jackhammers? It’s simple – they’re where you spend the most active time in the house.
Houses have passive rooms and they have active rooms. Passive rooms are just what they sound like: Areas where you relax, kick back and veg out without feeling an ounce of guilt. These include your living room, bedrooms and rec rooms. Even though you may spend the majority of your time in passive rooms, all you really need is a comfy place to sit and entertainment at your fingertips. It’s your active rooms that get you fired up and motivated to make them the best they can be.
HGTV professionals tell their clients – and viewers – that kitchens are the heart of your home. It’s where you entertain, which is why the vast majority of people want open-concept plans these days. You’ll see homeowners adamant about their island or counter having a stovetop so they can face the nook, dining room or living room and interact with their guests while they cook. Almost nobody wants a kitchen that’s totally separate from the living room anymore, and they certainly don’t want a stovetop that faces a wall (no matter how striking the backsplash may be).
Bathrooms, which may seem like a passive room at first glance, thanks to those relaxing soaker tubs or rain showerheads, are actually a hubbub of activity. HGTV experts strongly suggest powder rooms on main floors, since nothing is worse than having to wait in line for the bathroom. Bathrooms are also where you prep for first dates, the daily grind, a night out with friends and where you take care of the not-so-fun parts of pampering (like waxing, tweezing, hair dying and the like). Kitchen and bath remodels are the meat of HGTV shows because they reflect what people want: active rooms that are both functional and gorgeous.
Making Your Home into an HGTV Star
You may not have the budget some on HGTV do (especially when a reno budget of $100,000-plus isn’t looked at twice), but you can certainly use some of the expert tips and tricks to beautify these active rooms. In the kitchen, it’s all about an open concept, natural stone countertops, islands and stainless steel appliances. Making a kitchen appear more open without knocking down any walls can be mimicked by painting cabinets a lighter color, adding barstools to the countertop area if possible or squeezing in a table/stool combo. Score a great deal on natural stone by shopping for local remnants instead of slabs and get up to 90 percent off. Also look for used appliances that are sometimes offered for a great price.
Bathrooms can get that HGTV feel by swapping out fixtures (like brushed metal) instead of entire sinks or tubs/showers, painting dark vanities a light color then brushing with steel wool for a shabby chic look and embracing neutrality instead of wallpaper or brightly painted walls.
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