Interior design project dilemma – to keep or not to keep?

A sensible approach when tackling an interior design project is to reuse what you can and only replace what is absolutely necessary. However, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out what’s worth keeping and what to get rid of, especially things that cost a lot of money in the first place.

To help you prioritize we’ve listed the most common items people try to repurpose along with the factors to consider to help you figure out if you should refresh what you have or start over.  

Flooring

Timber flooring is one thing most people try to refresh rather than replace. Understandably so, as it’s a costly investment. But timber floors can be subjected to a lot of wear and tear especially if they are in highly trafficked areas like a hallway or kitchen. Over time sections can become worn and discolored. Sun can also fade timber quite significantly.

Sanding is a great idea and can probably be done effectively once in your floor’s lifetime. Results will be mixed and depend on how worn the floor is to start with, and the shade of stain of lacquer you choose to finish the floor after sanding.

It’s a good idea to stain the floor a shade or number of shades darker than the original colour, this will help to even out any variation in colour that has occurred over the years.

If your interior design project involves lifting the floorboards, such as plumbing, structural work or alterations, bear in mind you risk damaging the floor. Depending on the extent of the work planned you might be better off replacing the floor than trying to salvage it.

Sanding is an extremely messy job and even if you’re not doing any other work it will cause a lot of disruption. Depending on the complexity of the job you might find that the cost of sanding and staining the floor is almost as expensive as replacing it altogether. If the floor is over 10 years old or is badly stained and worn my advice would be to treat yourself to a new floor.

Kitchen

Deciding between refinishing and replacing a kitchen is another common dilemma for any interior design project.  A kitchen is a big investment and one many people spend a lot of time and energy choosing, so it’s completely understandable you might like to give it a makeover rather than replace it.

If you are happy with the layout of your kitchen and the cabinets are in good condition you should explore options to refresh the look. If you have a solid timber kitchen your doors can be sanded and painted. On the other hand, if your kitchen is laminate or any other kind of synthetic finish, painting is not a good idea. It will work initially but over time it will start to chip.

Instead you might want to consider replacing the doors and ironmongery. But bear in mind when you replace doors there may be gaps or areas that are slightly different in size so you may not be able to achieve a perfect finish.

You can replace your countertop quite easily and new handles will give an old kitchen a whole new look. When swapping out handles try to find something with the same fixings otherwise you’ll have to fill holes and this can be hard to do without leaving marks.

Kitchen cabinets with significant damage must be replaced or repaired. Full stop. Covering up warping, water damage, mold, or other issues that impact the quality of the material is only a temporary solution. You should also replace your kitchen cabinets if the layout of the space doesn’t work, or if you don’t have enough counter or storage space.

Modern kitchens now have ingenious internal storage systems that can transform even the tiniest kitchen into a hard working efficient space.

Windows

Windows have a lifespan. After time, depending on the make and manufacturers guarantee they will start to fail. If you’re noticing draughts, condensation or worse, mould, it’s time to replace your windows.

Replacing your windows is a really is a worthwhile investment. From an interior design perspective, not only will you enhance and even transform the look of your home but you will improve your homes energy efficiency, reduce your heating bills and enhance your overall comfort.

If on the other hand the windows are working well, repairs are relatively easy to deal with and glass can be easily replaced, swapping out textured glass for frosted or opal panes can transform a bathroom.

If it’s the colour you want to change, timber windows can be repainted quite easily. I don’t however recommend painting PVC or aluminum. The paint will chip and peel over time.

So, if what you are weighing up is 10 years old or more then you might be better replacing it. It really depends whether you love it, it is working well, and you would be happy to live with it for another 10 years. Is the answer to these three questions is yes then its worth looking at ways to hang on to it, otherwise it’s time to let it go.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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