Don’t Get Tripped Up On These Common Design Decisions


When working on project homes, we find that most of our customers can breeze through selections for countertops, faucets, flooring, and even appliances. But there are three elements that will typically cause a hitch in the selection process and can often lead to expensive change orders or delays:

  • Cabinet color, especially if the cabinet line is custom (with sky-is-the-limit selections!) or a stock item that comes in more than a small variety of wood shades or paint colors
  • Tile selections
  • Paint colors for wall and trim

Here are our suggestions for avoiding getting stuck:

  • Have a few magazine tear outs of kitchen cabinets you love — as well as some you hate.
  • If you are going with a custom cabinet, you can have any wood species, any stain color, and any paint color you like. These cabinets are expensive, so rely on your designer for direction!
  • If you are working from stock or semi-custom cabinet choices, the color selections are much more limited — and they decrease as the price goes down. Ask to see two or three samples, and then line them up in the order of your preference. You will like one or two. Few people find more than that in a given range.
  • Paint baffles most people. When they choose a color that is not a white, they tend to choose a slightly “off” color. For example, they choose a red for their dining room that doesn’t work with their flooring color. Or the canary yellow in the kitchen is too bright, where a buttery, soft yellow would be better. They may have a sea green glass tile in the bathroom, so they want a sea green wall color. Often, they are trying to match or contrast a color already in the room instead of thinking about how to complement those shades. A trained colorist or professional painter can help. Don’t forget: They do this every day!

In all three cases, we find that clients get “analysis paralysis” when there are just too many options to consider. Pre-set limits can actually increase creativity and make selections easier. An experienced professional can create the limits you need to feel comfortable making your selections, and this will keep your project rolling along on budget.