EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story was published in the Grand Forks Herald's Design a Home edition.
With home renovation season upon us, many in Grand Forks will be taking advantage of the warm weather to renovate their homes by updating their appliances.
Andrew Schneider, co-owner of Dakota TV & Appliance in Grand Forks, said there are many things to keep in mind.
Schneider emphasized he and his employees have experience helping with the process not only as a sounding board for options for appliance designs and specs, but as collaborators with other experts home renovators may need to help with the appliance-updating process.
“We work with a lot of builders and a lot of remodelers in town,” Schneider said. “We’re pretty good at communicating needs with electricians and plumbers. We try to help out a little bit as much as we can offer, as far as our insight on it.”
Schneider said more people have been updating appliances and renovating their homes since the pandemic began. He has seen an uptick in sales since then, and he thinks it is partly due to people being inside more than ever before.
Colorful appliances are becoming more popular, as far as trends go. People are also moving away from the modern popularity of electric stoves, as well as what he calls the "sea of stainless steel."
"(Stainless steel) is still very popular, but other colors are starting to move in,” Schneider said. “GE has got some matte finishes. They’ve got matte white, matte black and different kinds of textures. Gas is making a comeback. Gas cooking appliances, whether it’s a gas range, gas cooktops, a lot of people are (choosing gas).”
Even as gas-powered appliances make a comeback, the technology in modern appliances is moving forward at breakneck pace. Smart appliances are only getting smarter, and Schneider said they are the future of the industry.
“I’d say the benefit of smart appliances are the connectivity,” Schneider said. “It’s being able to update yourself on where the load of laundry’s at, being able to put a roast in and run to the store, run an errand and know that you’ve got your temperature probe in there. It’s the ease-of-life, where you can preheat your oven at work and grab a pizza on the way home, and your oven’s ready to go for it.”
At Vilandre Heating in Grand Forks, AC and Plumbing Sales & Installation Manager Gene Lill works with clients who are upgrading appliances to make sure their energy-saving efforts are sufficient. He said one of the mistakes many people make is paying less money for appliances that end up costing more money in energy use down the road. Smart appliances usually have settings to manage this, but it can be costly for people who purchase ones that cannot be altered.
“On the front end, people look at saving money and do a less efficient furnace or air conditioner or refrigerator, or less efficient windows or doors,” Lill said. “In the end, they end up paying for it in higher energy bills. If somebody’s updating, we like to see them updating their quality equipment, as far as air cleaners, air purifiers, UV lights and things like that.”
Part of the equation when upgrading appliances includes planning what kind of design the new appliance will fit with. Kelly Larson, interior designer at Elle Interiors, said one of the mistakes many people make when buying new appliances is not knowing how they will fit into their designated area. She said it is important to always measure the space before deciding on a new appliance.
“Not knowing what size or considering the space for where your appliance is going, that’s probably the biggest mistake people make,” Larson said. “We run into that a lot. There’s a need for planning. You’ve got to know the size of cabinets and things like that.”
Larson said it’s also a good idea to accent bright colors with darker ones can be a more stylish look instead of matching everything together.
“Sometimes people can get too ‘matchy-matchy,’” Larson said. “They’ll match their appliances with the cabinets, and things like that. Sometimes it’s nice to make the appliances stand out from the cabinets.”