Internet treasures

You don't have to look far for some nifty ideas online

By Francie Healy
You’ve decided to hire a renovator. You know what you want – sort of.

Well, you do, but you don’t.

When it comes right down to it, maybe you’re not sure at all. You just know you want a whole new look.

Renovators and designers usually tell you to do your homework first. Do your research. Figure out what appeals to you according to your lifestyle and budget. You can leaf through stacks of printed magazines – always a good idea – and there are also treasures to be found on the Internet.

Fire up your laptop or tablet, get comfy, and take a look at these.

Houzz – a substantial idea-generating site. You don’t need to sign in, as it might appear at first. Select “Get Ideas” to see a variety of designs (endless array of photos) in every room of the house. Warning: Be prepared to spend time on this site. It’s addictive.

Canadian House & Home – a wonderfully clean-looking, easy-on-the eyes online magazine, part of the House & Home website. You can click on the issues and find no end of interesting design and renovating ideas on specific topics – for instance, Small Bathrooms or Mudrooms. There are blogs, galleries and videos. This is terrific “inspiration” material.

This Old House – really a magazine version of the American TV show, with lots of ideas for rooms and organization, and new looks for old places. It has all kinds of tidbits about other things you might need to know – for instance, how to get rid of crabgrass.

Elle Décor − a strictly American online magazine, but with good ideas about design. Go to the “Home Tours” section to see some interesting and eclectic makeovers.

Pinterest – another wicked little time-consumer, because there’s so much to see. If you can discipline yourself to look only at the “Home” section, you might find quick ideas – or the start of ideas − for new rooms, design, furniture, light, and colour.
You can also narrow your search to “bathroom renovation” or “kitchen renovation” and so on.

Remodelista – an American site packed full of inspiration that you can select by category: bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, office, children’s rooms, outdoor spaces and beyond. There’s the latest in design news, popular styles, furniture; in appliances, fabrics and linens, bathroom fixtures, lighting, countertops – you name it.

RenoMark – more “business than “creative”, but vitally important. Some of this site is geared to renovators, but there are helpful blogs that will give you some critical inside knowledge before you go forward with your renovation.

Canadian Home Trends – a site with plenty of ideas, photos, suggestions, blogs, and advice for building, renovation, decor and changing styles. You might need a bit of time to go through this one. There are special editions that focus on things like cottage renovation and back yard retreats.

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