Lighting and Lamps – Home Improvement Centers Have Quantity, But Lack Quality Unlike Specialty Shops

Many interior decorators rely on the big brick and mortar home improvement stores for many of the items, such as lighting which will be installed in an individual’s home. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it can be very limiting for the home owner. If the budget is exceptionally tight, then by all means, use these home improvement stores for inspiration and decorative details. Should the budget allow for a wider variety then it is recommended to visit many of the specialty shops and boutiques for that unique treasure.

Stores specializing in lighting or other home fixtures will be able to offer the home owner or interior decorator an incredible variety of products. Instead of three to five brands from which to choose, as one can expect from the home improvement stores, the home owner will very often be able to select from 20 to 30 distinct manufacturers; very likely more.

Some of these featured manufacturers will have the ability to custom make a lighting fixture based upon a sketch and description. If there is a common design or motif the home owner is attempting to complement, it is best to bring a sample with what is trying to be coordinated. An example of this would be a style of picture frame or other lamp that the décor is supposed to match. Frequently it may not be practical or possible to bring a sample to the specialty boutique. In this case, multiple pictures of the item, such as a table, from varying vantage points will be helpful.

One material which has always been a popular choice for custom-made lighting is wrought iron. Wrought iron lamps or lighting fixtures may not always coordinate well with the chosen home décor. There are several other choices of material from which to take advantage. Wood is a very malleable material which can be crafted to blend with any style or period.

The home owner needs to be aware of the added cost the lighting shop will need to charge for a truly one-of-a-kind piece of art. The individual will most likely be required to put a deposit down towards the work requested in order to cover the shop’s minimum costs in the event that the customer decide not to purchase the special order.

Lighting is just a small part of decorating a home. In order to provide a complete decorating solution, the majority of specialty lighting stores also sell pieces such as mirrors, glassware, candlesticks and so on. There are usually too many items for one store to have on display so the home owner needs to make good use of the catalogs available. It is quite likely that the home owner will be able to find just those right fixtures without resorting to the expensive alternative of having the lighting fixture custom made.

How to Make an Informed Decision – What You Need to Consider For Any Home Improvement Project

Home improvement projects, whether they are strictly cosmetic or repair/renovation jobs require research. Sometimes we aren’t even clear what questions we need to be asking or what exactly we need to research. Whether it is flooring or countertops, wall covering or a dated ceiling, there are options that we may not even be aware of.

Home improvement, building and design, is a vast industry. As a professional, who lives and breathes the options and considerations out there, product development and new information is being dispersed at a pace that is nearly impossible to keep up with.

I had the opportunity recently to speak to the owner of a local flooring company. I walked in with outmoded information about carpeting and came out understanding that there have been astounding improvements; from construction and durability to the ecological advances (recycled and recyclable products) and designs. Did you know that, allergy considerations are now a reason to have carpet! There are air purifying, virus destroying microbes, and some carpeting if paired with the right padding comes with a lifetime warranty!

Rule #1 Do your research, it pays. Get on the internet. Pick up a magazine or talk to the salesperson in your local home improvement center. Go to a specialty store, appropriate to your specific project needs, ask questions and pick up anything that might give you more information. I know they can be dry and too technical but READ the brochures; you will be amazed to find some of those questions you didn’t know you needed to ask.

Rule # 2 Buyer Beware. Are you really comparing apples to apples? Is the brand name toilet at Home Depot really the same toilet as the one at your local plumbing store? Ask! Get the model numbers. Often, you are not getting the best value for the lowest priced item. Comparison shop either on-line or directly through a local retailer. You may want to consider a publication such as, Consumer Report Magazine, depending on the scope of your project and the areas of expertise that you are going to need to research.

Rule #3 Know your total costs. Cost is usually one of the top considerations, but are you really looking at the full cost? What is the longevity of a particular product and what kind of maintenance costs can you expect? Are you going to have to replace it in one year or ten? Is there a warranty and if so, what are the limitations? As with brochure information, you can unearth some considerations about a product that you were not aware of by really reading the terms of warranty. What do they mean by “proof” and “resistant” terminology can have different meaning from one manufacturer to the next.

Is delivery and installation included and if not, what is that going to add to the bottom line?

Rule #4 DIY Project, is it really a do-it-yourself project, now that we’ve mentioned installation? What is the best use of your time and energy given your skill set, level of interest, capabilities and timelines? There are books written and comedy acts that feed off of self proclaimed “do-it-yourself” projects gone awry that are hilarious, but not so funny when it’s your own kitchen that is messed up and you’ve just flushed money and time down the drain. Be as clear as you can about understanding what the scope of your project is. Take at honest look, are you the best candidate for this job, or do you need professional expertise? Might be, it’s a combination, you hire the expert to hang and tape your drywall and then do the painting yourself.

Implementing these 4 rules and applying them to your next home improvement project will give you a blueprint; you will be armed with the information that you need to make the right decisions ensuring that your investment of time, money and energy is well spent.