(ARA) - With the housing crunch and the economy keeping renovation budgets tight, more homeowners are looking for smaller home improvement projects that offer a big return on investment.
In the past, if your bathroom was too small, you might not think twice about turning it into a huge master bath suite. Today, homeowners will try to make it more livable with the smaller touches: more mirrors to add a sense of "space," new lighting, glass shower enclosures, and updated fixtures and hardware. Structurally, it's the same bathroom, but now it has an airier feel.
Not a do-it-yourselfer? The housing slowdown also means good contractors may be able to take on these smaller projects that they passed on previously. Further, these contractors are more willing to negotiate a fair price, providing affordable opportunities to homeowners.
Mirrors are the leading tool in changing the way a room is perceived. Long seen as a "secret weapon" of interior designers, mirrors can change the look and feel of a room instantly, without a lot of effort or expense. They add light, create a sense of space and openness, and reflect interesting views.
A recent study by a leading mirror manufacturer in the United States revealed that homeowners perceive a mirror as "cheap art," adding a focal point to a room that didn't have one before, at a cost far more attractive than a painting or expensively framed print. Interior decorators are discovering classy new ways to implement mirrors into the home environment with dramatic yet refined results.
"The new sense of design with mirrors has provided some groundbreaking interior aesthetic inside the home," says Randy Brooks of Gardner Glass Products. "New effects with mirror, including colored mirror, mirror with acid-etching, new custom sizes and beveling, etc., provide homeowners with a great design palette to add pizzazz to the home while fitting any design style."
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Here are a few designer secrets for using mirrors or decorative glass to update your home:
In the Bath
* A large mirror over a vanity can open up the space visually.
* A framed mirror along with updated towels or hardware can update the space instantly.
* Glass shower enclosures instead of a shower curtain make a small bathroom feel less crowded.
* A mirrored wall can brighten up a small, under-staircase powder room.
Elsewhere in the Home
* A mirrored or back-painted glass backsplash in the kitchen reflects light back into the room without costly electrical work.
* Transparent or a semi-transparent decorative glass in the upper kitchen-cabinet doors is an easy way to change the look instantly.
* In the den, a large framed mirror over a fireplace adds a warm focal point as well as reflected light.
* In the foyer, a mirrored wall portion can make the entrance area feel larger.
* A glass table makes a dining room or sunny kitchen nook feel less cramped and allows colorful