Combining two staples of September: Renewed interest in home improvement and questions with tricky answers, the POP QUIZ series returns

Questions could  have more than one correct answer. Give it your best before scrolling down, good luck!

1.  White walls will make a small space look bigger

a)  Yes

b)  No

c)  Depends

d)  Bigger is not always better


2. When a contractor is hired by, and paid by your Decorator or Home Stager whose responsibility is it to be sure their insurance, certification and licensing is all adequate and current?

a) Client

b)  Decorator/Stager

c) Contractor

d) Depends

e) All of the above


3.  Expect to discuss and establish a budget at the first meeting with a Decorator or Home Stager.

a)  Yes

b)  No

c) Kinda-sorta

d)  Depends


1.  White walls CAN make an EMPTY room feel biggerBut with generously proportioned, or darker -colored furniture, the contrast against stark white walls will shrink a space. Color on a wall can actually make it feel bigger by balancing the visual weight of furniture, and by lessening the contrast, so the furniture recedes into the wall.

What result are you going for?  Bigger is an intellectual win. After the 90’s, “big” is not so, well, big.  No matter the size of a space, personality and energy that draw people in, and makes them want to stay.

2. The first general right answer is ‘it depends’: It depends on the job or issue, on where you live, and the trade and commerce laws that govern your particular area. Some laws-like the EPA Lead Paint Act  (for renovation, repair and painting) is a federal law. Most other laws and regulations are determined by a local municipality.

While not law, it’d be due diligence for any property owner to know what the law is, and to be that second set of eyes…the Better Business Bureau is a great resource; here are links to local county sites to get you going in the right direction:




Fairfield County

In Westchester County, when money passes through one contractor to pay another (ie subcontractor) that makes the first contractor a GC, and responsibile for all said compliance.

Plumbers and electricians are an exception, they must also carry their own insurance, even if they are working under someone else. The Refreshed Home functions as an advocate, will coordinate a project and offers free referrals to all her clients, but is not a GC.  All contracts are between the property owner, and the contractor(s).

3. Yes…and No…Kinda-sorta, and It Depends,  HA!

OK, money is no laughing matter, but each of these answers has some truth in in. YES, discuss. ‘Establish’?  Well, getting started is more accurate.

Initial consults are information exchanges. Costs can be ballparked to guide simpler projects, but larger projects, or in need of accurate info?  Expect to spend time to explore, then refine the scope of the project so costs can more accurately be predicted.