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Posts Tagged ‘kitchen design’

Designing Your Dream Kitchen (Even if You’re on a Budget)

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

A kitchen must be practical, functional and look good. Not just a place to prepare and eat meals, today’s kitchen is the social hub of the house, whether you’re hanging out with the family, entertaining friends or need somewhere to lay out your current parent-child crafts project. Creating a kitchen design plan that reflects who you are as a family can help you get a new kitchen without the actual expense of buying a new one.


It might sound like stating the obvious, but what will be the purpose of your kitchen? If you’ve never given much thought to what role it plays in your life, working in your kitchen might be more of a source of frustration than a pleasure. All you might need to do is rearrange your kitchen to match your lifestyle. Keep in mind how many people will be using the kitchen on a regular basis. The kitchen’s main focus will also determine the number of appliances that will monopolize counter space or need to be stored in cupboards.

If you entertain a lot, then you might prefer an open concept kitchen design that will allow you to talk to people while you’re prepping or cooking food.

Does your kitchen have to do double time? If the only room in your home for a dining table and dining chairs is the kitchen, then you will need to allot space. The same applies if your kitchen is the only place for your washer and dryer, a mudroom or a workbench.

Is everyone in your family on different schedules and you eat together only on weekends? If this is the case, then probably the microwave will play a bigger role in your kitchen than the stove. If a built-in microwave shelf is not an option, the Ameriwood Microwave Workcenter will free up counter space while adding more storage.


How big is the room? Take measurements. When designing your kitchen, also include any architectural features, such as structural walls, windows and doors that might restrict the use of your walls and floors. Also take into consideration how the kitchen relates to the rest of the house: if there is a bathroom off the kitchen, patio doors that lead out to your deck or the kitchen is enclosed, all these factors will affect traffic flow and impact the room’s design plan.

If the area you have to work with is limited, choose cupboards that maximize available space. If replacing the cupboards isn’t in your budget make them more versatile with turntables, baskets or organizational cubbies. Freestanding storage units like the Ameriwood Industries Beautiful Single Door Pantry will add functionality to your kitchen.

Decide on the Essentials

In addition to the sink, cupboards, the stove and the fridge, make a list of those other appliances you can’t live without. If you would like to include a deep freezer, dish washer or wine chiller, map them out on your kitchen design floor plan. Also take the time to consider which of your appliances will need permanent counter space. Items you use often enough to leave them out in the open, rather than putting them away after each use might include a rice cooker, an espresso maker, food processor or slow cooker.

Decide on the Extras

Once you’ve mapped out the basic design of your kitchen, it will give you a better idea of how much room you have to play with. Would you like to be able to watch the news while getting breakfast ready? Add a portable TV to your countertop setup. Always running back and forth to the family room to use the computer for new recipes or generating a grocery list? Consider placing the Safco MÜV Stand-Up Workstation at the end of a kitchen island. Want to be able to supervise homework when making dinner? Put a computer armoire against a kitchen wall or in a niche adjoining the kitchen.

Decide What Stays and What Goes

Appearances account for a lot. Sometimes a kitchen renovation is as easy as taking stock of the kitchen as is and then deciding what needs replacing and what needs sprucing up. Here are some ways to give your kitchen a facelift without a lot of effort or cash.

  • Don’t underestimate the power of paint. Painting the room a trendy color will breathe new life into your kitchen. If money and/or time are issues, paint one wall a bold color; it will create a focal point while giving your décor a fresh perspective.
  • Is the floor looking a bit worn and dingy? Give it a little pick-me-up. Redoing the floor may not be as hard or as expensive as you might think. Today’s market offers several “easy-fix” flooring solutions including self-adhesive tiles. Depending on the size of your kitchen, it may not cost a lot either, especially if you decide to DIY. Many retail outlets offer good deals on discontinued tile patterns or canceled custom orders.
  • If your kitchen cabinets are still in fairly good condition, but just outdated, revamp them by painting them, replacing the doors only or buying new hardware. Make sure that the paint you buy for your cupboards is made specifically for cabinets. Check with your hardware store to see if they will need primer or any other type of special preparation.
  • Is the existing space under-utilized? By adding counter stools to a kitchen island or the other side of a freestanding counter, you’ve created the ideal space to eat a snack or have a place to sit while chopping veggies. An unused corner could greatly benefit from a corner bakers rack; a great way to keep a choice selection of recipe books close at hand, as well as extra space for displaying collectibles.

More Mileage Kitchen Design Tips

Take a tip from the pros and look up. Installing the Concept Housewares Rectangular 36″ x 18″ Ceiling Pot Rack will not only add functionality but it will also give your space the look of a gourmet kitchen.

Plan on replacing your appliances sometime in the near future? If counter space is an issue, buy under the cabinet models.

Does the dining set in your kitchen still bear the battle scars of marathon finger-painting sessions and paper mache fights? Now your children are older maybe it’s time replace that old kitchen table.

You can greatly improve the kitchen’s outlook by updating the curtains or blinds, particularly if they’re eight or more years old. Especially if your kitchen doesn’t get much natural light, selecting a contemporary window treatment that lets more light in can give the room a completely different look and feel.

And speaking of light, when fixtures are outdated or inadequate, it can take its toll on your kitchen by making it appear dark and uninviting. Changing the lighting will make a tremendous difference to the space. Even if you have to hire an electrician to install the new fixtures, it will be worth it if it makes the kitchen more functional and welcoming.

You can spend a lot of time in the kitchen. If you think that a new kitchen isn’t in your future because of budget restraints, you might want to reconsider. With a bit of creative thinking, a lot of planning and a little DIY, you can have a kitchen that really will be the heart of your home.

The Farmhouse Kitchen Reinvented

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

The farmhouse kitchen was literally the heart of the home. It was designed as a place not only to cook a lot of food for a lot of people, both immediate family members and farmhands, it was also the place where the meals were eaten and everyone would gather to catch up on news and socialize. It typically displayed exposed ceiling beams, wood floors, large stone, tile or porcelain sinks and hanging utensil racks. With a rustic charm that still resonates today, the farmhouse kitchen is the ideal kitchen interior design for a country, mission or even contemporary style home since it evokes a simpler time of hearty, home cooked meals, freshly baked bread and warm fruit pies, especially apple.

Farmhouse Kitchen Walls

The color palette should be as warm and inviting as possible. Deeps reds, grass greens, sunshine and lemon yellows, creams and mochas are popular colors for farmhouse kitchen walls, window treatments and area rugs. Other commonly used colors are the ones that closely resemble the shades and tones of spices.

To recreate the walls found in farmhouses of yesterday, walls are often made to look weathered and aged by specific painting techniques like ragging, sponging and other faux finishing methods. Stenciling is also used to decorate walls; common patterns used include farm animals such as roosters and cows; trailing vines; and fruits and vegetables.

Farmhouse Kitchen Floors

Pine wood, unfinished with a scrubbed or bleached appearance, is the premium choice for the kitchen floor in a farmhouse. Stone is also a common flooring material. A great alternative to a stone floor is simulated stone tiling; it’s easier to keep clean and not so difficult to maintain. Since the farmhouse kitchen is also a place where meals are eaten, round braided rugs or woven rugs with a country theme are used to add warmth and charm.

Farmhouse Kitchen Windows

Traditionally, farmhouse kitchen windows would have curtains in plaids, ginghams or florals. Window treatments are often paired with wide, draping tie-backs and swagged or ruffled valances. Tying back the curtain to let as much light in as possible was especially important in a farmhouse kitchen.

Farmhouse Kitchen Furniture

Pine furniture reigns supreme in the farmhouse kitchen. Tables are solid and square or rectangular in shape. Chairs have rounded backs. Wood finishes are whitewashed or lighter in color, often distressed to create an aged appearance. Often the dining area resembled a picnic table because the table had benches instead of side chairs.

Cupboard doors and door and drawer knobs are typically made of pine. Kitchen hardware and decorative accents made of brass, bronze or copper are also popular. Backsplashes are usually made of ceramic tile in beige, cream, taupe or other earth-toned neutrals.

Farmhouse Kitchen Charm (accessorizing)

Hang an oversized utensil rack or pot rack over the main work table or food prep area.

To uphold the integrity or spirit of the farmhouse kitchen, modern conveniences, such as a stove hood, can be “hidden” by disguising them behind cabinetry of white washed exposed grains or wainscoting panels.

Oversized accent furniture pieces such as a sideboard with a hutch are ideal for displaying a collection of jugs, teapots or other country-themed collectibles.

Choose table linens in berry colors or playful plaids. Placemats, runners and chair seat pads with a rooster or hen theme are ideal.

Computers in the Kitchen?

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

A stove, sink, microwave, and fridge are definite must-haves in a kitchen. But a computer…well, that’s just crazy talk!

Bago Luma Serving StationWhile adding a computer to your kitchen design, whether new or reno, might sound a bit odd, consider this: professional chefs and restaurateurs have actually been using computers in the kitchen for several years now. In a residential setting, they can be just as valuable for anything from meal planning to a place where young children can use the computer while you’re preparing dinner.

People have many reasons for wanting a computer in the kitchen. One of the driving forces behind designing computer-friendly kitchens is contractors who are building homes with multi-purpose rooms in response to consumer demand – gone is the “formal” living room reserved only for guests. Another reason computers are appearing more and more in kitchens is multi-tasking. It allows you to keep an eye on the stove while checking your email, watching an online news story or supervising a child’s computer time, whether for homework or for fun.

  • Everyone today is aware of privacy and online security issues; children, especially young ones, should be supervised when surfing the net.
  • Not just for meal planning or looking up recipes, a computer can also be used to create grocery or inventory lists, convert measurements and watch videos of how to cook certain foods.
  • It makes placing online grocery orders easier.
  • A computer in the kitchen creates a natural gathering place for family members to plan an outing, buy movie tickets online or to have a video conference with the grandparents.
  • You will have music wherever you go. A kitchen computer is a handy source of music to cook by.

The Antique Black Computer Armoire ideal for a kitchen that is also used as the main dining area
Will it be a computer station for the kids so you can supervise their homework and/or internet usage? Then you will want the computer to be in your line of sight rather than behind you when you’re standing at the sink or stove.

If you like a dedicated recipe station and a place to plan meals, perhaps it would be best to put the computer at the end of the counter or on the kitchen island where you do most of your food prep.

Give some thought to traffic flow. Whether the workstation is a built-in or a freestanding unit like a computer desk or a computer armoire, you will want to be able to sit and work at the computer without blocking the “kitchen triangle” (pathway from the sink to the stove to the refrigerator), as well as any entrances.

Your computer desk or workstation will need to be situated near a power source.

Work out your electrical wiring/power source needs. Even if you plan on using a laptop, it will eventually need to be recharged at some point. 

The width of the computer area should be at least 24 inches. If you would like your kitchen computer station to include space for spreading out papers or homework, or room for friends to gather around the screen, double the width, from 42 to 48 inches. 

Whether it’s a built-in or freestanding unit, you probably will want under-desk storage for any computer hardware you would like to hide away. Make sure any cabinetry, computer desk CPU compartment or enclosed area provides adequate ventilation. 

Don’t forget to include some kind of wire management system. You want easy access but without the clutter. 

Especially in a kitchen environment, include a dedicated slide-out keyboard tray in your computer setup. When not in use, you can retract the keyboard tray, protecting it from any potential mishaps.

Shelves above the computer desk or workspace are a must-have for office supplies, a choice selection of cookbook faves and peripherals like a printer or fax machine.
If you’re designing a built-in computer station, don’t forget to shed some light on the subject. Under-cabinet task lighting is the perfect solution, freeing up workspace while make the most of the light source. 

The same goes for any computer desk or computer armoire you are adding to your kitchen. Make sure you select a good desk lamp that will let you work comfortably at the computer.

Kitchen Carts the Secret to Your Dream Kitchen

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

black granite kitchen cartDoes Your Dream Kitchen Lack Adequate Work Space?

Are you frequently running out of space on your countertops? Does your kitchen work space feel congested? If you have answered yes to these questions – perhaps you should consider a kitchen cart that can supply more storage for small appliances and free up your counters thus allowing you more freedom to create the perfect meal!bamboo kitchen cart

A kitchen that is not fully functional is a calamity for anyone who wants to enjoy cooking in a well planned space. Kitchen carts can be a life saver when situated in an unused corner or can even be placed in the center of the kitchen as a work island and act as a storage area as well. Today’s kitchen carts come in all shapes and sizes and are not just functional but are extremely stylish and can fit well with your cabinetry and other appliances making it seem like it was always there. 

breakfast bar kitchen cartKitchen utility carts are beautifully crafted in many wood finishes of hardwoods or traditional butcher block and some even feature granite tops. With ample storage shelves and drawer space you can utilize these efficient carts for pots and pans or serving dishes and utensils depending on your needs. Often having other accessories like a towel bar or even a wine rack, you will find that this kitchen addition will give you more room on your counters because you have cleared off the non-essential items – like a can opener or toaster that doesn’t always get used every day.

Some of the more adventurous kitchen carts feature extensions that can provide even more work surface when needed but can be easily folded down when not in use. If you want to just add a little pizzazz to your kitchen and don’t really care about the work space but want to add a place to display your favorite tea cup collection or serving dishes – there are also many attractive carts that have open shelves or even mirrored doors so that you can showcase your china or Grandma’s dishes.

Most of the kitchen utility carts have wheels but also have the ability to be locked so that they become stationary and won’t go running away from you while you slice a kitchen carttomato! In an apartment or a smaller home where space is a problem everywhere, these carts are ideal for a microwave or coffee maker thereby leaving your counters empty for cooking.

Many of these carts resemble a piece of furniture like breakfast bar kitchen carts so rather than what you would refer to as a utility or kitchen cart so they can be used in a dining room or other areas if there isn’t enough space in the kitchen. These versatile kitchen carts not only come in all shapes and sizes but will fit all budgets as well and can be used for a multitude of purposes: storage, workspace, display center or even a pantry to store canned goods. Whatever the need you can redesign your kitchen space so that you have the needed counter space so cooking becomes a pleasure rather than an ordeal!

Nicolette Interior Design Diva

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