Apart from possibly the bathroom, kitchens get more traffic from more individuals in most homes than any other room. And, unlike bathrooms, they’re one of the most visible. Make your kitchen functional and beautiful on a budget with these simple ideas.
For decades, despite their rectangular floor plan, kitchen design planning was based on the idea of a triangle. One person, usually a woman, performed most of the kitchen tasks. Designs centered on making work areas efficient for that one person.
Social and technology changes make that idea obsolete. Now, think round. Even when the floor plan is that same old boring rectangle, you can spruce it up by rounding the edges of countertops or adding an island.
Installing an oval island allows more than one person to work while providing multiple areas on the same space. And, despite what may appear a smaller workspace, the usable area can easily be larger. Corner areas don’t make for good workspaces since you can’t comfortably approach them. An oval allows working around the entire perimeter.
Maximize counter space by using under-the-cabinet microwave ovens, can openers and paper towel dispensers. But unlike traditional installations, lower them to a usable height while leaving enough above-the-counter space for food and drink preparation.
Open up the look of cabinetry and show off your crystal glasses by removing the doors on one or more side-by-side(s), or replace the doors with windowed versions.
Reveal your personal style by selecting from the hundreds of different knobs, handles and fixtures available today. If your remodeling is along the retro lines, select bright colors – yellows or reds – or bright ceramic or painted wood. If your look is more elegant sophistication, go for dark woods and bronze or black and chrome.
Once you’ve selected the kind of countertops and handles that fit with your overall look, match the flooring and paint – not the reverse. Walls and floors should be background surfaces, highlighted by the appliances and knobs.
With modern life moving at a pace that seems always to increase, kitchens need to be practical as well as beautiful.
Countertops, built-in appliances and cabinetry should be easy to clean. Fortunately, today that doesn’t mean being limited to linoleum and plastic. Even stone surfaces now come in composites that make cleaning fast and effective.
If you’re doing a major remodeling avoid nooks and crannies that will be hard to inspect and reach. Food and liquids, not only dust and grime, have an amazing ability to reach places you would have to in order to remove them.
Make it easy on yourself by eliminating that small strip behind the kitchen faucet or move the microwave to a place it’s easy to lift up a couple of inches.
Beware electrical and gas connections when you redo the dishwasher area or replace the stove. And keep the entire area sealed with plastic draped from the ceiling when re-doing wooden cabinetry or plaster walls that produce dust and sawdust.
Plan for lots of storage by adding shelves to little used upper areas and placing a handy collapsible step-stool nearby that minimizes space used.
Be sure to allocate a sufficient percentage of the budget for quality sink, faucet and dishwasher components. One behind-the-wall leak can prompt repairs costing hundreds, increase insect invasion and leave you without a sink for weeks.
Create a personal and functional space and remember that all the effort and expense will payoff quicker than any other home remodeling job. Done right, you’ll actually want to spend more time in the kitchen.