Thursday, February 2, 2012

Have a Nicer Kitchen In 2012

Between preparing meals, entertaining and simply gathering as a family, much of our time is spent in the kitchen.  As we roll into the new year, let's make time to assess this space.  Could it benefit from changes?  Perhaps you could improve your kitchen's functionality or dress it up aesthetically.  Whether you're in the budget for a complete kitchen overhaul or a few affordable fixes, there's an upgrade that will work for you.  Check out the following kitchens for some fresh ideas. 

Create an accent wall.  It could be a back splash, the wall behind the kitchen table or the space above the sink - wherever you feel could use a splash of color or pattern.  Achieve it via tiles likes this kitchen, or with paint or wallpaper, and transform the personality of your kitchen.  I'm also loving these bar stools....I'm such a sucker for checks and plaids, and the nail head trim is just the icing on the cake. 

Paint the cabinets.  Want a fairly easy and affordable upgrade that will make your kitchen feel like an entirely new place?  Try a fresh color of paint on your cabinetry. When I moved into my last home as single woman, I was on a tight budget and painted the old 80's oak cabinets a rich inky black.  Everyone thought I was nuts because it was already a small kitchen and I was choosing to paint in BLACK!  It turned out great and until the day I moved out I received compliments on my brave decision. 

Replace your chairs with a banquette.  If you budget has the room and your kitchen has the space, consider swapping your chairs for banquette seating.  This also offers an opportunity to incorporate more storage under the benches, a two for one! 

Organize the pantry.  Step up and face something we all put off until "tomorrow", the pantry.  Take a Saturday to go through everything, get rid of what you haven't touched in years and restock what's left in an organized fashion.  Consider freshening up the walls with a bold paint color or some wallpaper. 

Update your stairs/stools.  Kitchen chairs and bar stools bring in color, pattern and distinct style.  This kitchen has a very modern but yet traditional feel yet the addition of the colorful aqua color adds a pop of excitement. 

Sink.  Take a minute to assess your relationship with your sink.  Are you happy with it?  If not, it may be time for a replacement; you likely spend far to much time hovering over it to be unsatisfied.  Under mount and flush sinks are great choices, as they're easy to clean and have a chic, seamless look.  Single-bowl sinks provide ample room for washing dishes, yet multi bowl sinks provide the option of using half the sink as a drying rack.  Consider your needs and preferences before meeting with your designer.

Lighting.  Lighting is all-important in the kitchen.  If your kitchen doesn't have a mix of ambient lighting (which provides general lighting to the entire space) and task lighting (lighting that illuminates work areas, such as counter tops and islands), you may want to consider consulting with a designer and electrician to come up with the perfect plan for this very important detail of any kitchen.

Introduce artwork.  Just because the kitchen is primarily a space of function does not mean the walls shouldn't be dressed up with artwork.  This is an easy change to make and it will instantly personalize the space.

Sink faucet.  Faucets are used not only for washing dishes or hands, they should also be able to reach all corners of your sink for proper cleaning.  You might benefit from one with a spray nozzle or a purified water spout.  Also, consider the height of the faucet which will be important when filling pots, etc.

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