Finishing Touches to Make or Break a Remodel

After the dust settles and your home renovation is complete, it's the little details that can determine its success. Don't overlook these features when embarking on a remodel.

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Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn


To keep costs low, many builders use basic wooden balusters to complete staircases. The result is a lack of grandeur, which staircases are meant to add to entryways. To make a bigger impact, it's best to invest in custom or higher-end balusters made from fine woods, welded steel or forged iron. Although there's no major ROI (return on investment) associated with a high-end staircase, it will elevate the overall taste level of a house.

Front Door

The front door is the crown jewel of a home's exterior. While extra attention is often paid to exterior wall materials and roofing styles, it's the door that really adds architectural interest both outside and inside of the home. Most home improvement stores offer custom-made front doors at affordable prices and with an average lead time of eight weeks. To save money on a remodel, consider sourcing a new front door yourself. This will help you avoid general contractor markups and project management fees.

Front Door Details

Adding decorative details to a front door can boost your home's personality and accentuate its architectural style. Instead of choosing the highest-end door available, consider upgrading the middle-of-the-road option with a few special touches. Here, iron studs and a forged iron grate break up the heavy look of the solid wood door.

Enhanced Outdoor Ceilings

If you want your porch or patio to feel more like an indoor living space, start by addressing its ceiling. Rather than simply leaving the ceiling covered in basic building materials like pressure-treated plywood, consider cladding it with something more architectural, such as beadboard or V-groove wood plank. Once painted in a color that coordinates with the rest of the home's exterior, the updated ceiling instantly becomes a key feature.

Proper Lighting Height

When installing new light fixtures, a common obstacle is determining how high to hang a chandelier above a dining room table. The proper range is 30 to 34 inches from the bottom of the light fixture to the top of the table in rooms with ceilings up to 8 feet tall. Rooms taller than 8 feet require the fixture to be raised one extra inch for every additional foot of ceiling height.

Ceiling Canopies

Ceiling canopies are the decorative caps used to cover up junction boxes, which fasten chandeliers to ceilings. While most new fixtures come with coordinating canopies, many vintage fixtures are sold without them. To ensure a chandelier or pendant light coordinates with a room, source a canopy made from the same material, or simply choose one featuring the same finish seen throughout the rest of the room.

Interior Doors

Many new construction and/or recently remodeled homes are outfitted with low-end, hollow-core interior doors. While these can be dressed up do-it-yourself style with paint, trim or stain, they don’t add high-end appeal. To upgrade interior doors affordably, contact a local millwork shop and inquire about bulk orders. When several doors with the same measurements are needed, they’re easier to fabricate, cutting down on the amount of labor required and allowing millwork shops to lower their prices.

Transom Windows

Adding transom windows is an excellent way to make a room feel taller. Originally installed above doors for ventilation, transoms are also paired with new or existing windows to flood a room with natural light. Here, a fixed transom was added above a dining room window to keep the space properly lit from sunrise to sunset.

Drapery Hardware

Drapery hardware and proper installation can make or break the look of a window. Rather than placing rods directly above window casing, consider installing them just below the ceiling or crown molding. This will create the illusion of more height and make the room feel grander.


Since technology is constantly evolving and changing, dials for ventilation systems, exhaust fans or specialty lighting tend to become outdated quickly based on metallic finish trends. When adding a specialty component to a space, inquire about stainless steel or polished nickel switches, plates and dials. Since silver metals have remained in style for many years, they're likely a more enduring option than the latest trend.

Side-by-Side Closets

Lack of storage is often a reason homeowners decide to renovate or expand. Consider utilizing dead space with side-by-side reach-in closets. This usually entails reframing the interior of the walls and making use of the depth between a room and its adjacent spaces or hallways. Side-by-side closets are especially helpful in shared bedrooms since an extra closet can accommodate more clothing than a freestanding piece of furniture.

Door Hardware

The most important aspect of interior hardware is consistency. From closet doors to switch plates, to ceiling canopies and drawer pulls, it's best to use the same finish throughout the entire home for a cohesive look. Here, oil-rubbed bronze greets guests at the coat closet, then makes its way into the kitchen and all of the home's bedrooms.

Child Proofing

Child-proofing, while incredibly important, can also lead to a house full of eyesores. To maintain your home's style while protecting little ones from plugs and switches, use child-proofing items that blend into outlets. Here, outlet plugs in the same cream tone of the outlet cover were used for a seamless look.

Lever Handles

Lever handles are the standard for designers working in the hospitality industry. Mandated by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), lever handles are easy to operate whether someone has a full use of their arms and hands, and they don't present difficulties to guests in wheelchairs. To make entry in and out of common spaces in the home easy for everyone, it's wise to consider outfitting doors with levers rather than knobs.

A/C Vents

Though small in stature, upgraded A/C vent grates can make a big impact on a space. To instantly dress up a room, consider swapping flimsy contractor-grade metal grates with stained wood or iron versions. These can turn otherwise dead space into decorative, architectural moments.

Kitchen Knobs and Pulls

For a coordinated, collected look, consider outfitting kitchen cabinets with a mix of pulls and handles featuring the same finish. Here, classic oil rubbed bronze handles were added to the drawers, while simple knobs were installed on the cabinet door fronts.

Cabinets to the Ceiling

Make your kitchen appear taller by installing cabinets all the way up to the ceiling. When homeowners stop the tops of their cabinets a few feet from the ceiling, the result is choppy. To make practical use of the tall cabinets, consider designating them for seasonal items that don't require access on a day-to-day basis.

Antique Doors

Historic homes have different remodeling needs than others. An excellent way to guarantee a high ROI (return on investment) is to search local salvage yards for interior doors original to your home's style of architecture. Here, a 150-year-old solid wooden closet door was added to preserve the character of this 1910 Victorian home in Atlanta.

Antique Hardware

When shopping for a historic home, buyers often look for small details appropriate to the home's architecture. Instead of purchasing new hardware for a remodel, consider investing in antique hardware. This will add a sense of history to a newly updated home and give it more personality.

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