Vol 6 No. 44 - July 26, 2006
Decorate and design your
By Louise Bolger
SUN STAFF WRITER
I dont want to say that interior designers and
home decorators are following travel agents into the never never
land of obsolete specialists, but every day that goes by there
are more and more internet Web-sites ready to help you with
your design and decorating decisions. These are some that will
walk you through the web of choices, or at the very least give
you a leg up when you finally do consult a professional.
If your kitchen and bathroom countertops are starting to look
like 1980s distressed wood furniture, its time to start
thinking about replacement. Nothing gets you more bang for your
buck than updating kitchens and baths, and now you can actually
design the color and product you want and price the job on line.
Corian.com gives you the ability to a chose cabinets that resemble
yours, insert the color of your walls and choose the materials
and color countertops you would like from a large pallet of
colors and products. You can even choose what type of edge the
countertops should have bevel, bull nose, ogee
and chose a sink style as well.
After youve done all this, you click on their price estimator
and youre walked through how to measure for both the countertops
and black splash (this feature alone is invaluable). Fill in
that number and an estimated range will appear. Its certainly
not a firm estimate from a local contractor, but theres
enough information to let you know if you want to go for the
granite or a lower end product.
Marble.com is another site that has a granite and marble virtual
showroom with downloads and mix and match rooms.
Picking flooring on line also gives you lots of options. You
can choose style and color for carpeting, ceramic, laminate,
hardwood and even area rugs. There are lots of tips on purchasing
and measuring. Stainmaster.com. mohaw-flooring.com, miragefloors.com
and armstrong.com will get you started.
Baliblinds.com has a virtual decorator option that allows you
to not only pick out your window treatment style, color and
fabric, but also permits you to change the color of the contents
of a room to mimic your home. You can "virtually"
change the color of your furniture, right down to the pillows,
flooring and walls, to see how your choice of window treatments
will work. Smithandnoble.com and hunterdouglas.com are additional
Web-sites that will make you swoon.
As much fun as countertops, flooring and window treatments can
be, the ultimate decorating high comes from paint. Some of these
sites I discussed a year ago, but its worth mentioning
again if you missed it first time. Behr.com, benjaminmoore.com,
valsparatlowes.com and sherwin-williams.com (my personal favorite)
will do more for your decorating addiction than 100 issues of
Architectural Digest. These sites will also allow you to change
the color of walls, cabinets and trim so you can mix and match
what works best for your home. I actually used the Sherwin Williams
site when picking a color for my kitchen and believe me it works,
saving a lot of experimentation and anxiety.
Even though redesigning your kitchen or bathroom online may
be the most fun youve had since your first dollhouse,
dont discount the importance of expert advice. We certainly
dont all have an artistic and innovative eye, not to mention
the time to do all the online research required. But you can
sure have a blast mixing counter tops with cabinets, paint with
carpeting and window treatments with furniture. It certainly
can make a rainy day fly by.
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