This article introduces the section of HomeTips that deals with home planning and design, including architecture, interior design, decorating, and more.

A well conceived plan is critical to the success of a house remodel or home improvement project.

Whether you’re adding a new master suite to your home or building a patio overhead, a design that illustrates the project’s construction is a necessary guide for ordering materials, figuring the sequence of construction, joining the various parts and pieces, and realizing an end product that is sound, pleasing to the eye, and as functional as it can be.

This design work is typically the art of architects and professional designers. In this section of HomeTips, you will find helpful information for working with these design pros.


Decorating or redecorating your home is a new beginning. It offers an opportunity to create an environment that represents who you are, what you care about, and your sense of style.

Some parts of the process are easy, such as painting, wallpapering, and similar tasks. The decisions are the hard part. Thousands of paint colors, wallpaper patterns, faux finishes: Sorting through the options and making the right choices can be overwhelming.

In this section, we will help you separate the wheat from the chaff. You’ll find a wealth of information on color, design, finishes, and more.

Many houses come in one of a variety of architectural styles—each as different as the people who inhabit them.

Other houses have a distinct lack of personality, making it difficult to decide how to decorate them.

Architectural Principles

The first step toward successfully decorating your home is to identify its distinct style (or lack thereof) and learn the basics for enhancing it.

In this section, we take you through the various home styles and offer tips on how to complement them through decorating and furnishings. You will also find advice on how to turn a nondescript home into a showcase of style.

Kitchen Design

Color schemes, appliances, furnishings, window treatments, and floor and countertop materials–are all elements that can work in unison to create a beautiful kitchen design. However, it is the layout of these elements, the ease of movement around the room, accessibility to food, utensils, and cooking apparatus, and the comfort of using the space that can make a beautiful kitchen design as functional as it is beautiful.

Here you will find articles and advice on designing a kitchen that is truly outstanding–a kitchen that will meet the needs of your family with both style and performance.

Bathroom Design

A well-designed bathroom is stylish, attractive, and much more. A bathroom that has been thoughtfully designed utilizes bathroom fixtures and cabinets efficiently and functionally. Sinks, toilet, shower, and–in some cases–a bathtub are arranged sensibly.

Universal and accessible design principles have been employed so the bathroom is usable by all. And flooring, countertops, tile, and other surfaces have been selected for maximum beauty and utility.

Of course, a family’s needs and priorities are critically important in developing a thoughtful design. Understanding these is very important. A master bath that is intended as a refuge may call for luxuries such as a soaking tub, steam shower, or fireplace. A kid’s bathroom generally demands easy cleanup. A guest bathroom may focus on style.

Because a bathroom is typically smaller and more private than most other rooms in a home and is loaded with plumbing, it has special requirements when it comes to ventilation, natural light, and privacy. All of these issues—and more—should be taken into account during bath design.

If you’re considering a bathroom improvement or building project, explore the various articles listed below and then decide whether you want to tackle the design work yourself or whether it may be better for you to work with a professional designer who has the range of talents necessary for creating a successful design.

Also See:

• Home Design Styles
• How Paint Color Works
• How Bathroom Design Works

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” served as MSN’s home expert for several years, and is featured as Yelp's home improvement expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort