Here are 4 durable & sturdy finishes to make your home stand up to whatever life throws at it:

Choose hardwood floors and solid wood kitchen cabinets over other low-cost alternatives

Do you still have wall-to-wall carpet in your home?

It might not be a good idea if you have kids with allergies or if you plan to rent out your space. Not only is wall-to-wall carpet harder to clean, but it also wears out faster than hardwood.

And dust mites hide much more easily in carpet fibres which can easily trigger those pesky allergies.

Compared to laminate or vinyl (which still has a ‘low status’ reputation), hardwood has a bigger ‘wow’ factor and will last you decades longer than laminate, which can expand and buckle if flooded with water.

For people who like the look and feel of carpet – or who have small children – you may want to consider getting area rugs instead of using wall-to-wall carpet as these can be replaced quite easily, especially if your pet likes shredding them to bits.

If you want your kitchen cabinets to last longer you may want to choose painted maple – a solid wood alternative that will better withstand hyperactive kids or animals – over MDF or laminate doors & drawers, which are still considered ‘second class’ (rather than ‘premium’) materials.

Install quartz countertops (and backsplashes) rather than marble, granite or laminate

Many people like the look of marble (or granite) and like installing them on walls and countertops.

The only problem with marble or granite is that they’re both porous materials and will absorb liquids which means that these materials will stain rather easily.

People, in general, have started moving away from organic/porous countertops and backsplashes to non-organic/non-porous materials like quartz which is much easier to maintain and also comes in plain – or patterned – finishes that resemble real granite or marble.

If you’re tempted to use laminate finishes to save on cost, I would recommend that you steer clear.

Not only is laminate less durable than quartz, but it also doesn’t have a huge ‘wow’ factor.

In fact, there are many renters out there who would opt to live in a space with nicer finishes and even pay a premium for this. Remember that you’re not the only landlord in town.

Some property owners are offering rentals that feature premium finishes and end up attracting higher-grade tenants who are willing to pay more in rent to live in a nicer home.

Replace curtains and Venetian blinds with roller shades

If you still have curtains (or Venetian blinds) in your space you may want to consider replacing them with something more low-maintenance, like roller shades.

Do keep in mind that fabric curtains tend to absorb odours quite easily and if you (or your tenants) like to cook, then anything made of fabric hanging off your walls will retain those same cooking smells.

Plus pets can easily scratch or even shred fabric curtains to pieces.

Blinds and roller shades won’t have the same problem.

Remember that horizontal blinds do require regular cleaning and if this is not done regularly, you will end up with very dirty window coverings as dust particles get trapped more easily between individual blind slats.

Roller shades, which are completely flat, don’t require much maintenance other than using a duster or vacuum to keep them clean.

Plus they’re quite minimalist and don’t discolour over time the way fabric curtains (and even horizontal or vertical blinds) do especially when exposed to sunlight.

And you don’t need to take them down to wash them 1x or 2x a year the way you would with fabric curtains.

Not doing this results in having very dusty curtains, which can trigger allergies and other respiratory issues among family members or tenants.

Use low-VOC, water-based paint for health and maintenance considerations

If you want to use a paint that has low to almost no smell and is off-gassing (i.e. the release of chemicals into the air), you may want to use Benjamin Moore’s ‘Aura‘ line of paints for your home.

Not only is it almost completely odourless, but it also does not contain any harmful toxins or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that occupants of your home (particularly children and pets) will inhale.

Furthermore, you may want to check that your house paint is water-based and not oil-based, which makes rinsing painting equipment easier and quicker, shows a deep and rich finish and has better colour-retention properties that an oil-based paint, which contains higher levels of organic compounds that release VOCs into the air resulting in a strong and almost headache-inducing odour and a greater toxic impact on people, animals, and the surrounding environment.

Know someone that wants to change or upgrade some of the finishes in their home to make it more renter, child or pet friendly?

Feel free to let them know that we can be reached at solutions@flowformdesign.com or (604) 321-8008.