Kitchen Renovation Ideas

Friday, June 30, 2006

Over the years the kitchen has gained popularity as the central, most important room in any home. It enjoys, in most cases a round the clock patronage, starting from a very early morning breakfast to a late night snack. The kitchen is a loyal witness to any drama in life that unfolds in every home whether preparing an important meal for a client or surprising a loved one on a special occasion; or a weekend dinner specially made for the grandchildren. So when it comes to planning for a kitchen renovation, there are a lot of things to do and consider so that it will become a room where everybody will feel comfortable and welcome.
First and foremost, set a budget. Decide how much money you are going to spend on your project. To have a budget already set for a specific project will help you decide more easily how far you will go in terms of choosing the materials and design for your kitchen renovation. If possible, price out every item you want to include in your new kitchen, like new appliances, fixtures and accessories. Do not leave anything off your list; as much as possible include even the smallest detail like paints and brushes. There are wide ranges of materials available so you can choose from whichever price range you can afford. Once everything is priced, add 20% onto the cost of the job because you never know when things will go wrong and you suddenly find yourself out of budget.

After all the financing is thought about then you are set to start. Try to have a look at your own existing kitchen. How well do you like it? Is there any part of it that you love and want to retain? Or any part of it that you hate and want to change? Or is there something that you want to add or wish you have? Is the size sufficient enough for your family needs? Or do you need to have a bigger space and more storage? Then think of a style you want for your new kitchen. Taking into consideration the style of your own house and of course your sense of taste. If budget permits you can hire a kitchen design expert who can help you draw out all these things. While still in the planning process it is always necessary to define the space available. Note any opportunities for space modification. Areas with interesting architectural details should be utilized to their full advantage, as they will accentuate the overall visual interest of the entire room. Today there are a lot of kitchen designs to choose from and in varied themes like old world style, European and American country style, Victorian Kitchens, American Traditional, Shaker style and the list goes on. Choose a design which suits your personality, lifestyle and the style of your house itself. There are at least four basic kitchen layouts than you can choose from and incorporate in your own kitchen.

1. Single-wall Layout: This layout is usually done with small spaces where all the appliances and cabinetry are placed against one wall, where there's no other place to put it. A full height unit like a refrigerator must be placed at one end while a cooktop should be placed near the sink and never at the end of the run. Otherwise it will create an unsafe environment and at the same time add unnecessary steps to the cooking process.

2. Corridor Layout: A corridor or galley layout is made of two opposing counters which should be at least 42" apart. This is also a good design layout for small spaces but has the added advantage over the single-wall layout since, the work-triangle principle can be applied here, although this layout sometimes suffers from traffic passing through.

3. L-shaped Layout: An L-shaped layout is usually a more desirable layout for a kitchen with limited space, compared with both the single layout and the corridor layout. The work triangle can be designed in such a way that there will be fewer steps for the cook thus making the cooking experience less arduous. It's also usually free from traffic snarls compared with the corridor layout. Make sure however, that the counters are not interrupted by the passage door, refrigerator or full length cabinets.

4. U-shaped Layout: The U-shaped layout is by far the most versatile and efficient kitchen layout. If your space and budget can accommodate this type go for it. This type of layout makes the most of the working triangle principle. All the appliances, storage systems and work areas face each other and are directed towards a central point - the kitchen operator.

After deciding on which layout you would like for your kitchen, then it's time to get down to details. Take into consideration the comfort of the cook. There should be a minimum distance between repetitive chores to save the cook from fatigue therefore adding comfort and pleasure to the entire cooking experience. Lots of pantry storage and pull out drawers for everyday use dishes would be an indispensable part of the kitchen cabinetry. For drawers, the use of full extension drawer slides indicates good quality drawers. This will allow easy access to those hard to reach objects and provides strong and sturdy support for fully loaded and heavy drawers. Consider also the countertop material. Countertop dictates much of the appearance and overall atmosphere of the entire kitchen especially if your kitchen design includes a large uninterrupted counter space. You can choose from a variety of materials like Laminate, Solid surface material sold under such names as Corian, Surrell, Gibraltar etc.., Ceramic tile, Granite and Marble, Stainless steel, Soapstone, Lavastone, Butcher's Block counters.

A seating area for those who are not actively participating in the cooking process but are there to accompany the cook for lively conversation is an added bonus to any kitchen design. If space is available, adding an island not only creates a good focal point but it also gives an added counter space, a good place for a quick meal or just a place where kids can hang out while mom prepares their favorite meal. The key to a successful kitchen design is the complete understanding of the true needs of the intended user. Once this is achieved, everything else in the design will just follow.

So, are you still fed up with looking at your old worn out kitchen? Then start planning for a renovation now.

Article Source: Interior Design Guide

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Learning Interior Design

Learning interior design can be a simple or complicated task depending on a wide variety of factors including exposure, ability, creativity, and willingness to learn. This article is dedicated to explaining the basic elements that interior design is based upon so that you will have the ability to go out and research these elements on your own in order to advance you ability and perspective of the interior design world. Lets begin with a few suggestions of where to properly conduct your research. A good beginning point for all of those interior design newbies would be television shows dedicated to the subject, books, magazines, other interior design professionals, ect. Another resource that you have an unlimited exposure to that doesnt cost you anything but time and focus are your eyes. Your eyes are wonderful tools for learning interior design and successful application of it. They are such terrific tools because eyes are the ears of the interior design symphony. They possess the ability to look upon any element of design and transmit information to your brain concerning the colors indicated in the design, textures, layout, and whether or not the overall effect is pleasing. If you can master the ability of viewing a particular setting or scenario and delving from it the key elements of its visual success, you are enormous steps forward in your journey of learning interior design.

Find an example of a design setting that is pleasant or pleasing to you. This can be located in a book, magazine, or even in real-life. Close your eyes. Now open them. What do you look at first? The first item that your eyes focused upon is considered to be your focal point. In television discussions or magazine articles it is sometimes wrongfully alluded to that there is one appointed (by the designer, of course!) focal point. This is simply untrue. For every person that views the room, that person offers a unique perspective. One person might gaze intently at the fireplace due to the warmth and secure nature of that design element. Another might focus upon the sofa. Yet another person might elevate towards the remote control (ha!). The point is, is that the focal point of a room is the area of the room that demands your attention upon arrival in it and generally you base your placement of activities that take place in that room on the location the that focal point. This is the reason why so much strategic planning is normally based on the focal points of a room when designing the creative outlay of the room. This is why your fundamental understanding of the focal points of a room is dramatically instrumental in learning interior design.

It is true that certain architectural elements of a room demand more attention then others. I think that this is one of the reasons that many people misunderstand the concept of focal points. Throughout your journey of learning interior design, you will come to understand the importance of balancing the understanding of architecture focal points, and living ones. Certain people are naturally going to elevate towards different activities and objects in a room. This is why a basic understanding of both the human element and the architectural one are a keystone to successful interior design.

Once you have a basic to medium understanding of focal points and placement of items in and around those places, the other key feature of learning interior design is visual representation of objects. Color, texture, and shape are the fundamentals in this category. When you view an object, the way that the light is reflected off of it onto your eyes is commonly known as color. Texture is the way that the object feels to you visually. Shape is the basic makeup of the object reflected visually. The correct combination of these characteristics results in a visually harmonious atmosphere. Lets imagine a few terms you hear when associated with design. Gaudy always pops into mind. A space with bold color representation, an overkill interjection of texture, and the overuse of modern or untraditional shape forms are all factors that would encompass that title. Simple would generally refer to the use of light, neutral color schemes in combination with small interjections of light texture and straight lined shapes. Simple, in my opinion is the basic ingredient to a successful recipe of design. Begin simply and build to your comfort level of complexity. This will not be an area that will flow naturally with you when you begin learning interior design. It will more then likely become an understanding that you will develop over time and exposure to different aspects of design.

To wind things up, the road to learning interior design is filled with information and visual perspectives that will open both your eyes and your mind to an entirely different world. Observation is the key to better understanding this world. Open your eyes and begin the adventure!

Article Source: Interior Design Guide

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Getting The Classic French Style In Your Home

Are you looking to get the classic French style in your home, well don’t worry you don’t have to speak French to get the style. It’s not hard to get the style, just take a look at the following directions.

Used, worn, imperfect but beautifully architectural elements and accessories are what French country style is about. They don’t have to have sleek lines, fine china or grey, white, and black colors. They have chunky wood tables, flowers, brightly patterned couches, curtains and pillows styled after the look of Provence, which borders the Mediterranean Sea.

If you’re looking to grasp the French look, you should look for things like cracked wood beams, curved panels, hand-carved decorations and raw material flooring and walls, like stone or bricks. Uneven plaster walls or raw distressed wood can also give you the French Country atmosphere.

In the style having a spider crack in the paint or slight discoloration of the paint just adds character. So don’t fret about fixing all those imperfections.

Some architectural features are shutters for your windows, narrow deeply cut window sills, and striped fabric awnings over windows which prevents the heat from escaping.

But if you just want a little bit of French flare to your house without too much change to you’re walls and floors. You can look for rustic furniture, oversized rectangle or round wooding dining room tables with a dull waxed or natural finish. Dining room chairs have a ladderback style or vertical slats to it.

If you’re looking to get chairs or random tables you should look for curved or boast carved designs in the woodwork. Also, large armoires go well with the theme, giving you a place to store dishes, linens clothes or whatever you desire.

The next step would be to adorn your house with fabrics and accessories. You should use toile material, a gauzy linen or cotton, in white, cream or yellow with bright contrasting colors. You can choose themes like monkeys, eighteenth century courting scenes and Chinese patterns which are dominate French designs.

Also look for large, thickly woven baskets, chunky clay or old metal pitchers, iron garden shelving units, and Chinese pottery all fit in with the French theme. Which means you can get ceramic plates, tiles, tablecloths and curtains that have either roosters, sunflowers, lavender or beetles. You can save some money if you get these at flea markets and antique stores.

The final touches would be flowers. Fresh flowers would be ideal, flowers such as lavender, geraniums and sunflowers are great to give you the French country style you’re looking for.

You can put the flowers in copper pots, window boxes, glass vases or old pitchers. You should use a variety of colors and make the arrangements not too simple or stylized. Another country French look is natural grasses.

It doesn’t matter if you want to go all out or just change a few things in your house to achieve the French country look. You can use any of these idea to get a little of Provence country into you’re house.

About The Author

David Johnson is a successful freelance author that writes regularly for . His articles have also been featured on related sites such as and

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5 Steps To Finding The Interior Designer Inside You

Since it's the easiest way of self-expression, there is an interior designer inside every person waiting to come out. We like our home to express "us" and it usually does. We connect with people and the world within the safety of our own space, expressing who we are and how we want to live our lives. We also make changes in our homes to express the change in our lives. We can make it more comfortable, more stylish or whatever we like. Here are the five steps to get to the interior designer inside you and to express yourself better:

1. Get rid of the things that you haven't used in the last year. There is no point in keeping these things, taking up space. Find them a new home where they will have a use. These can be clothes, books or even some unnecessary decorative things that have no other use than gathering dust.

2. Evaluate yourself and find your style. Are you into comfort and easy maintenance or are you a creative person who would like your home to reflect new projects, relationships or maybe careers? Whatever it is create a clear idea of yourself and determine the specific style that will make you feel comfortable. The key is being as specific as you can be. You can cut some pictures out of magazines or you can draw the picture in your mind. You must make a list of the qualities that you want to have in your home, find your inspiration.

3. Ask other people. Ask other people where they got their ideas, where they shop for those beautiful things in their homes. If you let them know that you admire their ability at interior designing, they will be happy to help you with your own. You can also ask for help; ask your friends to help you to clean out the garage and build your new studio or ask what they think about your new idea. Explain to them how you imagine your home in detail, show them the pictures you cut from the magazines and ask their opinions. They will get as excited as you and will be willing to help you with your dream home.

4. Be confident that you will be successful in this adventure. Realize that there is no way you can fail with it since you already have the concept inside you and you are just trying to get it out. There is no doubt that you will succeed and enjoy the results. Reconsider your ideas, compare them, look at the pictures and get rid of the ones you are not comfortable with and decide what you really want. You will feel it when you make the right decision.

5. Start applying your decisions. Once you decide what you really want, now it's time to realize it, take action. You don't have to do it all at once. Buy that sofa for example that you decided would look very good in your living room. Next month you can change the shades or buy that coffee table you have been wanting to have for ages but thought it wouldn't go with your furniture. Step by step you will reach your dream home that will express your style.

Article Source: Interior Design Guide

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