Many home owners are still feeling the economic pinch but want or need a change of scenery. Given that the property market is currently not all that seller-friendly and that moving typically entails hefty costs, many homeowners are opting to renovate their existing properties on a budget instead.
According to Kate van Niekerk, marketing manager for Tile Africa, the bathroom and kitchen are usually the target of renovation projects as they are typically the first rooms scrutinised by potential buyers. She says some bold kitchen and bathroom trends have come to the fore in 2012 but not all are a wise or budget-friendly investment.
Rather than try to follow wholesale the latest trends, Van Niekerk says those on a budget should look at incorporating some of the elements stemming from these trends instead. For instance, murky grey and muddy green shades are ‘on trend’ colours which can easily be integrated with the majority of bathrooms which are typically decorated with tiles and accessories in natural stone shades.
Black is apparently making a bold design statement in 2012’s bathrooms and is being used in subtle scattered mosaics all the way to all-black feature walls. “For those who can’t quite see themselves entirely surrounded by black, the sensible use of silver, soft pewter, matt and gloss white are all ways of introducing a lighter touch.”
For those looking for something really flamboyant, look no further than the reddish orange ‘Tangerine Tango’- Pantone’s 2012 ‘Colour of the Year’. Van Niekerk says a mosaic feature wall in this colour might just be the perfect fit for your bathroom if you are so inclined.
“Vivid mosaic tiles create a dramatic effect if used as a solid block of colour behind the bath and vanity or in the shower. However if you’re not flamboyant enough for an orange feature wall, try adding mosaics as an edging or border to deliver a quick colour punch,” she says.
For the really adventurous who can afford to splash out (in more ways than one in this instance) ‘wet’ rooms are the way to go. With wet rooms, the shower is no longer contained in a cubicle with a shower tray, but spans the whole room. The water produced drains away through one drainage hole.
“The shower is the focal point of a wet room; therefore consider investing in an over-sized shower head and contemporary mixer set. Careful planning is necessary to ensure that this room fulfils its function. Owners need to make sure that the walls are properly waterproofed before they start tiling as leaking water can cause serious damage to the walls and damp can affect adjacent rooms.”
To prevent water from pooling, slope the floor slightly. As a wet room’s shower no longer consists of a glass enclosure, remember to fit towel rails within easy reach of the area now reserved for the shower, but not too close as towels can get wet. The basin and toilet completes the wet room layout.
On the kitchen front, Van Niekerk says that these rooms are increasingly being viewed as a social hub. “With entertainment as one of its key functions, kitchens are increasingly being fashionably designed with custom-made doors, sleek taps and mixer sets and feature granite, wooden and quartz counter tops.
“Such features are usually pricey though. If you’re renovating on a shoestring budget, simply change outdated fittings such as the kitchen sink and mixer set with modern versions to update the look. Investing in durable tiles and quality taps will also enhance your kitchen investment. Tiles are hard-wearing and low-maintenance and are therefore ideal for a kitchen floor as it experiences high footfall.
“Ensure that you purchase a tile with the correct wear rating, such as a tile with a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating of three which will be able to withstand the scuffs of everyday family life.”
Finally, although slightly more expensive than regular tiles, Van Niekerk says small mosaic tiles enable owners to be creative without blowing the budget and are ideal for adding colour and texture behind the stove or at the sink splash back area. Those on a strict budget can use mosaics as a feature, perhaps on one wall. Alternatively, glass mosaic sheets can be cut into narrow strips and added as a horizontal border above existing wall tiles.