Shopping for fixtures & appliances? Try these tips

ZILLOW | Los Angeles celebrity interior designer Michelle Workman heads down South for a simpler life in Chattanooga, TN. Watch Michelle build her design business in a new setting and completely redesign her southern farmhouse, all while adjusting to the slower-paced life with her once city-dwelling family. New episodes of “Glamour Goes South” will air exclusively on Zillow Blog the first Thursday of every month.Shopping for fixtures (lighting, plumbing, etc.) and appliances can be exhausting and confusing, especially if you have a spouse or significant other to take into consideration when choosing. Often times my husband doesn’t get much say in the overall design choices in our home, but when it comes to certain things like plumbing, fixtures and appliances, he wants his voice heard —loud and clear!

Here are my three biggest tips for homeowners about to embark on a fixture or appliance shopping excursion:

1. FIND A COMMON GROUND

If you and your significant other disagree on style, start by collecting photo examples of what each of you like. I’ve learned when my clients approach style disagreements this way, they often find considerable crossover in their design aesthetics that makes selecting fixtures and appliances as a team much smoother. When there isn’t crossover, I suggest selecting the style that is least objectionable to you both. To get started, try browsing for inspiration online. Zillow Digs is a great resource for design ideas as you can find and save your favorite photos all in one place, and you can easily revisit your favorites when you’re on the go.

2. EXPERIMENT WITH SOMETHING UNUSUAL

I always suggest my clients try at least one design element that is uncommon or out of their comfort zone. I try to do this in my own home as well. One of the best ways to experiment is with fixture and appliance finish colors. Right now I’m very into burnished bronze or copper finishes for both lighting and faucets. I also have a thing for exposed plumbing. It feels very Victorian and “proper” to me, which is always a fun element to add a home.

3. VISIT BOUTIQUE SHOWROOMS VS. BIG-BOX STORES

It can be very challenging and overwhelming starting your search at large warehouse home stores. That’s why I’m a huge fan of the smaller specialized showroom, like Ferguson. I feel that most people are intimidated by boutique showrooms as they think their products will be too expensive or there won’t be enough selection. I often recommend trying these stores first, as boutique showrooms have expert salespeople who can answer your questions, educate you about your options and help you remember your selections for next time. They can help you make the hard decisions with no mistakes. This personal touch coupled with a variety of price points to choose from make this the best and only choice for me as a homeowner and as a designer.

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