categories | articles | write a review | design your space
log in | sign up ARE YOU A HOME PRO?

General contractors can give your builder basics that ‘wow factor’

Purchasing a new home from a builder is a big investment. Most people opt not to spend extra dollars on expensive upgrades, but they bring about a big return on investment and elevate the look of your home. This designer shares her expertise on what projects you want to spend on. Some of them are DIYs, while the others can be done by general contractors or a local handyman.

Unnecessary versus sensible renovations

I’m a big advocate for sensible renovations that both answer the wants and needs of my clients, but also achieve the maximum return on investment (ROI).  I know, I know, that sounds like no fun.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that will appease that need to splurge: a completely generic and “builder basic” renovation, although efficient, on-budget and seemingly mass-appealing, is not enough. Like most things in life, be it people, clothing and even homes, we’re drawn to those that are familiar and safe, but we fall in love with the ones that have some defining attribute that makes them unforgettable.

In every renovation, allow yourself 5 to 10 per cent of your overall budget for splurges, upgrades and noteworthy additions when working with general contractors. Here are my top 5 favorite splurges that won’t break the bank.

General contractors can transform walls with applied moulding

The weekend warrior version of its expensive cousin, applied moulding offers instant luxury. Elevate a builder basic living room or add a chair rail in a stairwell with a simple 1½” moulding, painted out the wall tone or accented in a crisp trim white.  Materials are a few hundred dollars and this is a task even the novice DIYer can do.

If you’re not into DIYs, then we have a directory of general contractors you can consult!


Dining chandelier

There are few more prominent features in a home than the dining room chandelier. This is literally a lit up adornment hung at eye level demanding guests take note. Selecting something that nods to quality sets the tone and an expectation that the balance of the home is of matched quality.

If this is a budget-friendly option to you, then visit our furniture and home accessories database where you can find local furnishing stores to visit.

dining room chandeliers

Marble: A little will do

When potential buyers visit an open house, they’re trying to absorb a lot in a short time. If your budget is too tight to use marble in a washroom renovation, I’ll use something clean and simple like a grey porcelain on the floor, a classic white subway, or the like on the walls BUT add one row of natural stone as a feature. Just that small touch is enough. I promise when visitors have the post-visit chat about the house, they’ll remember there was stone.

grey bathroom

More related to this story: We recently did a feature on marble. Check it out! Then, contact our tile and stone contractors to see some samples.

Opt for wardrobes over closets

I’m not a fan of traditional closets. The stud wall construction and access-limiting doors are inefficient. Just because it’s how it’s usually done does not mean it’s the best solution. I like to buy big box wardrobes and build them in. The footprint is smaller. The look is slick and custom and the internal fittings offer a dreamy custom closet layout for a very modest investment.

More related to this story: There are so many benefits to having a proper closet. Take it from this closet professional.

closet organizers

Create custom solutions with store-bought products

High-end homes are customized homes. Everyday problems are solved with custom solutions. Look for ways to answer these needs using prefabricated products. I love using kitchen cabinets in creative ways to create storage flanking fireplaces, hutches in dining rooms, even window seats and desk units in bedrooms. Using these cabinets as the overall structure, trimming them out and capping the tops achieves the same look at a fraction of the cost of actual custom built-ins.


Are you ready to transform your home? We can put you in touch with the right contacts to get it done! Visit our directory of general contractors who can help facilitate some of these projects. We have an extensive directory of home service professionals who can assist you with any of these splurges!

About the Author: Toronto-based celebrity designer and contractor Melissa Davis is known for her appearances, creative design and reno work produced for various HGTV shows. Her work has been profiled nationally in print publications. With almost two decades of reno & design experience, her firm continues to service clientele throughout Ontario & GTA, specializing in value-adding ROI and resale consultations.

More in Home Renovation

Your home renovation doesn’t have to break the bank

Improve Canada: A home renovator’s one stop shop!

Want to see more great articles? Check out our Google+ page!

Array ( [0] => 833 )