1. Rotate your mattress. Before you put on a fresh set of sheets, take an extra minute to rotate the mattress if you haven’t done so recently. Rotating your mattress every few months will help it wear more evenly and extend its life (and comfort).
3. Clean entryway floors. If winters are cold where you are, road salt and melting snow can mean entryway floors take a beating. Pick up clutter and give the floors a good mopping.
To keep floors looking their best between cleanings, stash a few old towels in a basket near the door to wipe up messes.
4. Keep sidewalks and entryways free of ice and snow (even while you’re away). Ice and snow can make walkways dangerous for visitors. Aim to shovel snow promptly, and sprinkle gravel, straw or wood chips to provide traction. Frequent, light shoveling is better than letting the snow build up. And if you plan to be out of town during an expected winter storm, hire someone to clear the sidewalk and front steps of your home while you’re away. Your neighbors and mail carrier will thank you.
Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend
5. Cook to stock up your freezer. A few hours of cooking on a weekend can produce major dividends if you focus your efforts on big-batch suppers that can be frozen and reheated later.
Knowing that you have homemade soup, stew, chili or casseroles in the freezer makes facing weeknight dinners much less stressful. Just add crusty bread and a simple salad and dinner will be ready in no time.
6. Organize bookshelves. Pull out volumes that you didn’t enjoy or are finished with and sell or donate them, leaving a bit of extra room on each shelf for new titles. And if you get distracted by beloved old books you had forgotten about, just roll with it. After all, there are few better places to spend a winter afternoon than in a comfortable chair with a good book.
7. Refresh your movie-watching zone. Winter is a good time to catch up on movies you missed in the theater or to binge-watch your favorite shows. So why not make your movie-watching zone as comfy and cozy as possible? Start by vacuuming the floors and upholstery (using a vacuum attachment) and by clearing away clutter. Next, assess your collection of movies and games, donating extras to charity. Finally, make sure there are plenty of comfortable pillows and throws and lighting that can be dimmed.
9. Check bathrooms for moisture, mildew and mold. It can be hard to give bathrooms enough ventilation when the house is closed up tight for winter.
Unfortunately, that buildup of moisture can lead to mildew or even harmful mold. Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning, paying special attention to grout, the ceiling and any other areas showing signs of excess moisture.
10. Clean the dryer vent (and check for blockages outside). Having the buildup of lint cleaned from your dryer vent at least once a year is essential to keeping your dryer working efficiently and preventing a potential dryer fire. In winter, snow can block the exterior vent, so take a walk outside your home to inspect the vent and remove snow or debris if needed.
11. Start planning for a spring or summer home sale. If you’re considering putting your home on the market this year, it’s a good idea to start the process now. Set a timetable, interview potential real estate agents and make a list of projects that need to get done to help your home show well.15 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent
12. Indulge in weekly fresh flowers. With Valentine’s Day happening this month, the markets will be filled with fresh flowers at good prices.
Treat your home to a bouquet of fresh-cut blooms once a week to add a little cheer — spring may still be a ways off, but that doesn’t mean your dining table can’t look like a garden in bloom!
You can opt for simple linear grooves, like the previous example, or a fun geometric shape like this charming fish scale pattern.
Embossed cabinet doors look especially great in a dark, glossy finish, with reflected light catching the pattern and making it pop.
2. Jewel tones. Speaking of dark colors, after so many years of white kitchens being the dominant look, we’re definitely finding that more and more people are now choosing to use rich, deep hues, with jewel tones being particularly popular.
Classic jewel tones like amethyst, sapphire and emerald introduce an unmissable dose of color to shake up the all-white mold. They feel sophisticated and timelessly luxurious, making them a safer long-term choice than, say, bright orange or trendy pink.
4. Mesh inserts. Glass door cabinets and open shelves continue to be popular ways to make a kitchen seem more open and airy, but many homeowners prefer to keep their storage a bit more discrete behind closed doors.
Metal mesh inserts are a great middle ground, giving a slight peek at what’s inside the cabinet but without putting your stored goods on full display.
I’ve used mesh inserts instead of glass on many recent projects. It works beautifully in both traditional homes and contemporary designs with some transitional flair, bringing a slight sense of old-world charm.
Consider using mesh inserts on the “upper-upper” cabinets in a tall space on a full pantry wall…
… or on a single cabinet at a specific station like a mixing center or coffee bar.
5. Metallics. For those homeowners who love the crisp, industrial appeal of steel, why stop at the appliances? Consider bringing that “chef’s kitchen” vibe to your entire set of cabinets.
Stainless steel door and drawer fronts give a cool, ready-to-work look to your cabinets, for serious home chefs or just fans of industrial-style kitchens.
You can opt for a more matte foil finish, like the previous example, or a highly reflective metallic version like this glam modern kitchen.
Either way, your cabinets will definitely stand out and bring a warm glow to your kitchen from sunrise to sunset.
Keep in mind, of course, that glossier finishes will show fingerprints more readily, so you’ll have to decide whether the look is worth the extra upkeep.
6. High gloss in dark tones. Metal isn’t the only finish that can bring a glossy sheen to a kitchen. Lacquered or lacquer-look cabinets are a powerful option, and many suppliers at every level now offer high-sheen cabinets. In a murky tone like a charcoal gray, the deep, mirror-like appearance becomes all the more noticeable.
7. Gray. Is gray the new white? It’s hard to say for sure, but for those who like a light and airy look but are tired of white, a sumptuous gray or gray-beige is the next best thing.
At first thought, you might expect gray to seem cold and off-putting. However, as you can see in these examples, a wide range of tones, from charcoal to clay to just-off-white, make an excellent complement to wood floors or shelves for a welcoming palette that feels anything but chilly.
8. Sliding doors. Barn-style doors on a sliding track have become a very popular choice for interior doors, both as a functional solution in tight spaces and as a style statement. Now they’re starting to pop up more and more in kitchen cabinets as a fun way to create a gallery-case look.
A sliding door on a set of uppers combines the appeal of open shelves with the tidiness of a classic door cabinet, and it works in farmhouse style kitchens and modern spaces alike. Plus, not having to swing a door open and shut will make your kitchen feel just a bit bigger, and it makes a world of difference when two cooks are in the kitchen.
9. Two-tone cabinets. Throughout this article you can find many examples of two-tone cabinets, which feature upper and lower cabinets in different colors. Here’s a twist that takes the idea to another level: using two-tone doors on individual cabinets. For example, this breezy kitchen uses a single row of wood drawer fronts on otherwise white cabinets to get just a little touch of natural interest and a fun personality.
This idea is a great one to consider for people who want to give cabinets a little update but not a complete overhaul. You can swap out a few drawers or doors and leave the remaining ones as is to get a unique mix.
Alternately, if you have wood cabinets and want to freshen up the look without completely removing the wood, consider having some of the door or drawer fronts painted while leaving some wood elements remaining, to get the best of both worlds.
10. Mixing modern and traditional styles. Speaking of not wanting to choose, many homeowners and renovators are deciding not to choose only modern or only traditional cabinets. Instead they’re using a mix of both to create spaces that are rich with inviting character while looking current and interesting.
This kitchen, for example, uses crisp white traditional drawer and door fronts on the lower cabinets and flat, glossy upper doors in a coordinating taupe-hued off-white for a disparate style that comes together beautifully.
While black is hardly new, we do find more and more clients being bold and asking to include some elements of black to bring a stately appeal to their kitchen, especially when used as part of a two-tone look.
Using black on the lower cabinets, or a pantry area, paired with black entry doors and even some modern black fixtures gives a room an effortless, fashionable look.
This article originally appeared on houzz.com
End-of-island storage, dual barn doors and in-drawer charging stations are among the stars of this year’s top kitchens
The trend toward kitchens featuring colored cabinets and islands is gaining steam, but the appreciation for the classic white-and-wood look is hardly on fumes. The most popular kitchens cover a mix of traditional, contemporary and rustic styles, but no matter the look, smart storage solutions and functional layouts were definite crowd pleasers. Counting down, here’s a look at the most popular kitchens uploaded in 2017, as measured by how many Houzz users saved them to their ideabooks.
10. Showcase your style. This white farmhouse kitchen in St. Louis scores extra points by leaving a section of cabinetry open to display dishware. This is a great spot to curate based on the seasons or to cycle through your various collections.
Faucet: Traditional pull-down in polished copper, Waterstone
9. High contrast. While white kitchens continue to resonate with home design fans, those with more contrast are gaining steam. This Pennsylvania kitchen caught a lot of eyes with a backsplash and stools that navigate between the charcoal gray island and the white cabinets.
Tile backsplash: Tundra gray marble polished, MSI Tile
7. Your barn door is open. This Michigan kitchen features two barn doors on a single sliding track. One of the doors slides open to reveal a walk-in pantry, while the other door leads to the living room. Therefore, if the homeowners want to hide a messy pantry or keep guests out of the kitchen, the solution is just a slide away.
6. End-of-island storage. Having a kitchen island with a bar refrigerator built right into it is a design decision that stands out from the pack. Since this picture was among the most saved images of the year, Houzzers seem to agree.
While the fridge here is full of adult beverages, it would also come in handy for juice boxes and other kid-friendly drinks, allowing the little ones to serve themselves.
5. Easy access. With a 2-year-old and a baby on the way, these homeowners wanted a stylish kitchen that was also practical. The cooktop is on the island so the parents can keep an eye on the little ones while cooking. Pullouts on both sides of the cooktop provide space for storing oils on one side and utensils on the other.
Hardware: Schaub & Co.
4. Natural selection. The heart of this Dallas kitchen is the island-breakfast bar, which features rich materials and a double waterfall structure. The raised breakfast bar is made of warm walnut, while the island top is white marble with gray veining. Homeowner and builder Chris Dauwe covered the space beneath the breakfast bar in reclaimed wood, sourced from a barn in North Carolina. Using natural-looking materials helped Dauwe achieve his goal of “a contemporary home with an industrial twist,” he says.
3. Keeping up with the classics. While colored cabinets and islands have been showing up more and more in kitchens, it’s still hard to deny the power of a classic white kitchen. This New York City kitchen, which features white Shaker cabinets, quartz countertops and a subway tile backsplash, is among the year’s most popular with Houzzers.
2. Finding the right mix. To choose the color of the island, one of the homeowner’s of this kitchen spent many hours on Houzz, sending photos of green, blue and gray cabinets to designer Christine Sheldon until the two finally landed on soft blues.
Once they narrowed the choices to three, Sheldon painted those colors on the cabinet surface and then had the colors tinted until she hit on just the right mix. The final paint color is a custom mix from Benjamin Moore.
1. Take charge. Designer Tracey Stephens was tasked with creating a retro-style kitchen that features vintage furniture and checkerboard floors for a New Jersey family of four. But the requirements of the technology age were not lost on the design. The kitchen includes a drawer with a built-in charger, complete with regular and USB outlets. “It’s so nice not to have all of those devices out and dealing with cords all the time,” homeowner Jody Suden says.
Drawer charging station: Docking Drawer 18
This article originally appears on houzz.com
Try these clever design moves to get more storage and create a roomier feel
A kitchen of any size can feel roomy if you know a few tricks. Sticking to white cabinets and walls is a good start, but there are many other ways to create extra room in your kitchen, or create the illusion of a bigger space than you have, all without sacrificing a sense of personality. Here are 12 of my favorite ways to balance storage, style and long sightlines to get a functional layout with a spacious vibe.
Using slimmer lower cabinets for one area has its advantages. It opens a bit more floor space, which can make a big difference in a tight kitchen. It also reduces your storage slightly, but often the backs of deep cabinets are hard to reach anyway, so the shallower cabinets can be just right for everyday items.
Using cabinet doors with touch-activated latches or integrated reach-in pulls reinforces the clean lines of your new kitchen, which subtly helps it appear bigger. It also gives you fewer little items to bump into or get caught on your clothing, so the space will feel easier to move in too.
This applies especially to stock cabinet lines, which include a limited number of size options.
If you don’t cook often, or frequently shop for fresh produce, try slimming down your fridge to 30 inches or even 28 inches and leaving more room open for other essentials.
Panel-ready appliances (usually fridges and dishwashers) are designed to be able to receive a door front of your choosing so they can blend into the look of your kitchen cabinets. The resulting look is more fluid, which creates an overall larger, airier appearance. It’s usually not an inexpensive upgrade, but it definitely creates a look of sophisticated luxury.
Using a mirror for the backsplash opens up the sightlines, making the room seem much bigger, especially from close up. For a smart, moodier effect, use a tinted glass so the reflection is more subtle.
A few open shelves on one wall will perfectly hold daily-use tableware, storage jars and bins, and cookbooks, and give the room a much more open feel. It can also give a beautiful window a little more space to breathe so the whole room feels less stuffed.
Use this cabinet to display attractive drinkware, or use frosted glass so you only get a faint peek at the mishmash of items stored within.
For a quick fix, add plug-in LED strip fixtures or battery-powered tap lights under the cabinets for extra brightness.
The minimum recommended width of a kitchen work aisle is 42 inches for a single cook and 48 inches for multiple cooks, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. A walkway should be at least 36 inches wide. In a small kitchen, it can be tough to accommodate a standard-size island, which typically measures 25 to 40 inches deep, and still have adequate space for aisles and walkways.
But there’s quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to the size and orientation of a kitchen island. It should be designed and placed to provide an additional surface without being in the way of crucial kitchen tasks. Many homeowners actually prefer a compact island because it allows for better flow — it’s easier to get around when moving from one area to another.
Of course, you don’t want to make the island so tiny that it’s no longer useful. The previous two islands are fairly skinny but still offer enough surface area to be useful for various kitchen tasks.
Bigger isn’t always better. If your kitchen is a bustling space, I think giving yourself wider work aisles and a smaller island is preferable to cramming in an oversize island in a way that leaves you with uncomfortably narrow aisles and walkways.
Your turn: How have you squeezed a tiny island into your kitchen? Post and share a photo in the Comments.