Many markets have taken a hit from the economic recession; home renovations, however, don’t need to. With these budget-friendly products and tips from local kitchen and bath businesses, New Orleans homes can be remodeled or just touched up with the best value for the dollar. Here are some great ways to spruce up your kitchen or bathroom:

When it comes to cutting cost corners without sacrificing quality, Peggy Stafford of Stafford Tile & Stone (5234 Magazine St., 895-5000) recommends a compromise. “Use small amounts of those things that are the most gorgeous, expensive things and use it sparingly,” she says. She recommends choosing a cost-effective tile for the majority of the space so that the pricier material is used only as an accent wall or section of a wall or floor. She suggests creating a mosaic of decorative tile (which she calls the room’s “jewelry”) using exotic materials such as abalone seashell “so that you’re getting impact and getting to use your product, but in a smaller scale.” Stafford also points out that labor costs are generally constant, regardless of square footage of a room, so the budgeting focus should be on materials. Stafford Tile & Stone offers, not surprisingly, tile and stone in a wide variety of designs for not only the kitchen and bathroom, but for living rooms, exterior spaces and for commercial uses.

Sometimes working within a price point means getting creative. “In trying to decorate (or) renovate on a budget, in relation to stone counter tops, you can usually find great buys on remnant pieces of stone in our yard,” says Dina Pieri Chevalier of Pieri Tile & Marble Co. (3622 Toulouse St., 488-1509). “It just requires some flexibility on color. And for projects requiring ceramic (or) porcelain tile flooring or walls, there are tiles to meet every budget.”

She says that with both the expansive selection of products in the showroom and a high level of customer service, budget and vision can both be met. “We are here to help you every step of the way in trying to find the look you desire but to also meet your budget,” she says.

When it comes to the necessary kitchen and bathroom appliances, homeowners can’t afford to sacrifice quality, though usually their wallets can’t afford it either. Coburn’s (139 Plantation Road, Harahan, 733-6300; 1849 Commercial Drive, Harvey, 348-2042) has the solution: “We offer a wide range of kitchen sinks and faucets that will give your kitchen that up to date boost at a great cost,” says Linda Wall of Coburn’s. “Kitchen faucets with pull down sprays have become very affordable (as have) the very durable granite or quartz composite sinks. Our showroom consultants can also help a consumer select quality appliances for their kitchen design. Many consumers cringe when they think of buying a refrigerator or a cook top; it seems to be more of a task than an enjoyment.

With our trained staff your kitchen can be both affordable and a dream come true.” Bathroom fixtures require the same level of quality but don’t need to break the bank, either. “There is a wide variety of affordable bathroom faucets that come in designer finishes,” Wall says. “Many consumers (want) to give their bath a richer look by requesting furniture pieces. Coburn Supply Company offers multiple wood furniture pieces with granite and marble tops at affordable rates.”

Mattix Cabinets (415 N. Solomon St., 486-7218) has helped some big names redecorate their kitchens or bathrooms: Deuce McAllister, Pete Fountain and Jan and Bob Carr, to name a few. Mattix offers cabinets, countertops (they manufacture their own laminate counters), appliances and fixtures as well as installations and other services. For designing and remodeling on a budget, Paul Mattix has a few words of advice: “Make a realistic budget,” he says. “You will always find an ‘Oh, no!’ when you start looking behind the walls and unhooking fixtures.” He also recommends another crucial step: “If you want to remodel and don’t hire a contractor then you are the contractor. The contractor makes sure everything is finished. Do yourself a favor; hire a contractor.” Mattix also recommends planning ahead and exercising caution. “Make sure you get everything in writing,” he says.

“Take the time to make sure everyone is speaking the same language. Allow yourself enough time to do the job correctly. On most remodels, delays are the norm; it is the exception to have a project go totally smoothly. Your mindset should be ‘I am ripping my house apart. This could be a little annoying but the end result will be well worth it.’”

When it comes to kitchen and bathroom fixtures, one of the most important aspects of shopping is variety. Keller Supply (3215 28th St., Metairie, 834-8688) recently moved into a new state-of-the-art showroom, “featuring all the latest and greatest trends in bathroom and kitchen fixtures,” says Patrice Keller Kononchek. A wide selection of toilets, sinks, faucets and accessories means more room to stay within a budget while sticking to a particular style or design. Keller also carries Jacuzzi brand whirlpools, air tubs and walk-in tubs to give your bathroom a custom layout. 

As any good design or decorating show will tell you, organization is key. California Closets (3211 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 828-5705) will install a custom closet system that can be a simple, basic design or one that includes additional features such as vertical dividers, baskets, drawers, can racks, wine racks and more. Depending on your budget, you can include as many or as few features as your pantry or bathroom closet needs. For a complimentary in-home design consultation, visit

Southland Plumbing Supply Inc. (2321 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 835-8411) offers a variety of plumbing and lighting solutions for the home, from bathtubs, faucets and pipe fittings to lighting chandeliers, wall sconces and landscape lighting. Southland features two premier Kohler showrooms to offer shoppers a thorough look at their many options. The lighting division, a recent addition to the plumbing supply business, ranges from practical solutions such as basic light bulbs to more design-oriented selections, such as track lighting, outdoor lanterns and accent lighting to give your space a personal and affordable touch.

For the home decorator looking for guidance from start to finish, Cabinets by Design (5201 Tchoupitoulas St., 899-2300) offers planning and design services “from conception to completion, assisting clients in not only space-planning and design but also finish selections,” says Monique Poché Bennett of Cabinets by Design. “Every client has a budget when renovating or redecorating and we have options to suit budgets of all sizes,” Bennett says. “A good first step is to prioritize what’s most important to you in your project. If you’re looking for an easy update to your kitchen cabinets, you may want to replace your hardware.” Cabinets by Design works with the entire home, but also offers specific services for kitchens and bathrooms including cabinetry, appliances, tile, decorative hardware and plumbing fixtures. Sometimes the number of design choices when redecorating can be overwhelming; having step-by-step expert assistance takes the stress away from the homeowner.