In Part 1 of this series on organizing your kitchen, I offered 10 steps to organizing your kitchen cabinets, putting the focus on everyday dishes and glassware, barware, and vases and pitchers. If you followed at least the first seven of those steps, your cabinets are now so organized, it makes you happy every time you open their doors. .
Those same steps can be applied to organizing your more specialized kitchen storage areas. Read on for tips on organizing your pots and pans; your coffee, tea and baking supplies; your spices and oils; your cleaning supplies and your gadget-charging stations.
A Plan for Specific Kitchen Storage Stations .
In Part 1, I wrote about storing your everyday china and glassware close to the dishwasher to make it easier put it all away as you unload. You can apply that same idea to other kitchen storage areas. . Questions to ask yourself to help you get started:
What do I need first thing in the morning?
What do I need close at hand when cooking at the range?
Are all my baking needs close to where I roll out dough and mix batter?
Where are all my cookbooks and recipes?
Are my mobile phones and tablets cluttering up my counters when I charge them?
Are my kitchen cleaning supplies close at hand when I need them?
Ugh — what’s under my kitchen sink, and why is it there? Can I even recall what’s stashed way in the back behind the sink pipes?
How to Get Your Coffee and Tea Station in Shape .
To make it easy to get your caffeinated drinks brewing when you’re still bleary-eyed in the morning, set up a coffee and tea station. .
Put your coffee beans, tea bags, filters, bean grinder, sweeteners and mugs in a cabinet over or under your coffeemaker or teakettle. .
If you wish, go a step further and keep your usual breakfast needs, such as hot and cold cereals and your smoothie maker, there too. . Find pantry organizers
How to Organize Pots, Pans and Other Cookware .
Today’s fancy kitchen cabinets have all kinds of pullouts and inserts for baking sheets, pots, pans and lids, making it easy to store and find your cookware. .
Here’s how to organize pots and pans for those of us with simple cabinet doors and shelves. Stack all the long, flat pieces, like baking sheets and cutting boards, along the side of the cabinet. Nest your pans from large to small in a stack and do the same for your pots. As for those pesky lids, put them all together in a cake pan, an extra strainer or a mixing bowl in the area behind your pot and pan nests.
As you tackle these cabinets, you may find items like bread makers or panini makers, excess serveware or holiday items you may use once or twice a year. These things have not earned that valuable kitchen real estate. Pack them away in a closet, basement or garage or an attic. If you don’t love an item or honestly will never use it, put it in the donation box. .
Now, as author and organizational expert Emily Ley advises, if you’ve left any empty room in your cabinets, save it and let it breathe awhile. The right use will present itself eventually. . Take Ley’s 10-day simplification challenge
How to Organize Your Spices and Oils .
It would be dreamy to have a pullout spice rack like this one next to the range. If you’re still dreaming of kitchen storage like this, you can organize your spices in stand-alone storage racks or drawer organizers. .
Take the oils, spices, salt, pepper and other seasonings you use at the stove on a regular basis and corral them in something as simple as a shoebox that’s easy to grab when you’re ready to channel your inner Julia Child. Stash it in a cabinet next to the range. If you’re not psyched about the shoebox, cover it in vinyl paper or let your kids decorate it for you (mine just says “herbs” in permanent marker; I’m not that crafty!). . Find kitchen bins
How to Organize Your Baking Station Cabinet .
If you love to bake and want your supplies to be easy to find and use, create a station for your mixing bowls, spoons, sifters, ingredients, rolling pins and other baking supplies in a cabinet close to the surface where you roll out dough and use the mixer. Corral the usual baking ingredients into a box or canisters. If you have a set of pretty canisters that you like to look at, leave them on the counter close to your mixer and where you work on your baked goods. . Where to Stash the Stand Mixer
How to Organize Your Cookbooks and Recipe Boxes .
Remember that empty space that earlier I told you to save? If it’s near your baking area, use that space to keep your recipe library handy. If you have an open shelf or a glass-front cabinet, cookbooks and recipe boxes are wonderful items to display there.
How to Organize Your Devices and Where to Charge Them .
Phones, tablets and chargers aren’t necessarily cabinet clutterers, but they are kitchen counter clutterers. And having expensive electronics in a spot that could potentially get splattered by water or mashed potatoes is less than ideal. Many people are installing ventilated device drawers outfitted with an outlet for charging.
A cabinet in the kitchen, pantry or mudroom also can be a good home for portable electronic devices, as well as keys and small bags. Some plug-in chargers can service several devices through one outlet. . Browse stand-alone charging stations
How to Organize Your Kitchen Cleaning Supplies .
If you have limited kitchen space for storing cleaning supplies, prioritize the supplies you use to clean your counters and sink. These should be close at hand in the kitchen, as this is the most important space to keep hygienic. .
While this photo shows a a nice pullout, you can get the same effect with a couple of waterproof bins.
A caddy with a handle is a worthwhile investment: You won’t have to bend over far to grab the handle and bring your supplies where you want to use them. In the kitchen seen here, a caddy is built into the pullout hardware. .
And if you keep your supplies somewhere else, like in a mudroom, it’s easy to grab a caddy full of kitchen cleaning supplies and carry them into the kitchen all at once.
How to Organize the Area Under the Sink .
You’ve made some nice, pretty cabinets and worked up a sweat. You’ve got this. It’s time to tackle a toughie: that dreaded space under the sink. This one winds up the most jumbled in my house. Things that don’t belong there, like paint cans and old sponges that should never be used again, end up in there. Break this task into steps: . Assess. Think about what really belongs down here: dish soap, sink drainers, hand soap refills, an extra scrubber sponge, steel wool, perhaps extra paper towels. . Consider shelves. If you want some extra help, purchase an undersink shelf system like the one pictured here. If you reuse plastic bags, a grocery bag dispenser like the one seen here is a great idea.
Organize and restock. The little stuff needs to be corralled, or you’ll never find that dish drainer when you need it. I used a square glass vase from the florist that was going to waste to contain the drainers, sponges and scrubber brush. .
Stack trash bag boxes to one side and neatly organize extra paper towels on the other. The back of the cabinet is for less-used items, like dish and hand soap refills. The front of the cabinet is for dish soap and dishwasher detergent so they’re easy to access. .
By now you are probably getting so good at paring down, you may even wind up with room for that kitchen cleaning supplies caddy.
1. Doggone Good . Designers: John Ryan and Jensen Landers (interior design) and Jason Dorman (design consultant) of Marrokal Design & Remodeling Location: San Diego Size: 295 square feet (27 square meters), including a walk-in pantry and attached dining room . Homeowners’ request. A more open and inviting kitchen for entertaining and gathering. The project included knocking down a couple of walls and doorways for an airier feel. . Island idea. Customized pet-feeding station. The decision came about because the dog bowls always seemed to be in the way in their old kitchen. In addition to the food station, dog food, leashes, collars and other accessories are stored in the drawer above for easy access.
Designer secret. Give the feeding station its own matching backsplash. .
“The ledge on the opening is the same honed granite used on the island counter, and the backsplash is the same as the rest of the kitchen, which was a linear marble stack tile,” says designer Jensen Landers. . Island countertop: Honed granite in Thunder White, Daltile; perimeter countertop: honed quartz in Mercer Grey, Daltile; backsplash: Styx Arctic Blend marble, Soho Studio; wall paint: Agreeable Gray, Sherwin-Williams; floor tile: Taupe, 18 by 36 inches, Soho Studio . See more of this home | Find wall and floor tile
2. Double Impact . Designer:Emily Culley of Kitchen & Bath Galleries Location: Raleigh, North Carolina Size: 224 square feet (21 square meters); 16 by 14 feet . Homeowners’ request. Open the kitchen to an adjacent living room and freshen up the aesthetic and function. . Island Idea. Two countertop materials — honed bianco olinda marble and black walnut — allow the island “to feel more like a piece of furniture,” says designer Emily Culley. “This allows for a larger island without the need for a seam in the [stone] countertop.”
Other special features. Laser-cut marble backsplash and burnished brass hardware . Designer secret. Culley removed a cooktop previously in the island and added a slide-in range along the back wall with a custom hood above to create a beautiful focal point. “We [also] color-matched the house trim paint color to the cabinetry color to flow the space,” she says. . Faucet: Cassidy in Champagne Bronze, Delta; cabinets: in Frosty White and Navy colors, Crystal Cabinets; hardware: Browning Pulls, Atlas . See more of this kitchen
3. Nice Vise . Designers: Paulette Gambacorta of Bilotta Kitchens, Reza Nouranian of Reza Nouranian Design (interior designer) and Rich Granoff of Granoff Architects Location: Bedford, New York Size: 385 square feet (36 square meters) . Homeowners’ request. A casual barn feel in “keeping with the spirit of the horse farm property, complete with a brand-new horse barn adjacent to the house,” says designer Paulette Gambacorta. . Island idea. An old carpenter’s workbench, complete with vise. The homeowner bought it in an antiques store. Its origin is unknown.
Other special features. Light green cabinets (matched to Grassland by Sherwin-Williams) with a charcoal glaze on maple. Reclaimed-wood shelves on iron brackets in place of the upper cabinets. Marble countertops with a hand-cut edge detail to resemble the look of when the stone was first quarried. . Designer secret. “Because the existing window in the corner of the room was so much smaller than the new window, the interior designer decided to basically ignore the window and run the reclaimed-wood open shelving right across that window,” says Gambacorta. “Unconventional, yes, but brilliant.”
“Uh-oh” moment. “When the decision was made to use a 60-inch range (a monster!) on the 13-foot wall, and then the homeowner wanted an extra-large fridge to be on that same wall, it really didn’t leave much room for countertop space on either side of the range,” Gambacorta says. “Since they’re avid cooks, that was a must-have. So, a compromise was made to separate the fridge and the freezer. They cook mostly fresh foods on a daily basis and don’t use a freezer much at all. So, a paneled 30-inch all-refrigerator was placed on the range wall, and a separate 24-inch stainless all-freezer was placed in the pantry with open shelves, giving it the feel of an English larder. This room is totally open to the kitchen area.” . Cabinets: flush flat panel in custom green paint, Bilotta Collection; hardware: iron; builder: Doug Slater of D.A.S. Custom Builders; project photos: Peter Krupenye . See more of this kitchen
Homeowners’ request. A home reminiscent of an original homesteader’s log house, functional yet with a historic feel.
Rustic palette. Moss rock veneer. Soapstone countertops. Reclaimed-wood walls, structural beams, ceiling planks, floorboards and custom cabinets. “Embracing the concept of a log home, the entire interior is wood, either log or board,” project manager Tim Blazina of Yellowstone Traditions says. “All of the materials were reclaimed. The owner wanted every element of the home to have soul.”
Other special features. Custom range hood. The house was constructed with reclaimed hand-hewn timbers, standing dead-log beams and details, antique oak flooring and wormy chestnut cabinets.
Cabinet hardware: Montana Sash & Door; all decor provided by Peace Design; photography: Audrey Hall
2. Light and Airy Designer: Paul Bertelli of JLF & Associates Location: Big Sky, Montana Size: 304 square feet (28 square meters); 16 by 19 feet
Homeowners’ request. A bright, clean, functional and family-friendly kitchen featuring materials with depth and interest.
Rustic palette. Hand-hewn reclaimed-oak ceiling timbers. Stone wall portions. “The material palette uses the same reclaimed-oak material in different ways to soften the space and make it feel inviting,” designer Paul Bertelli says.
Other special features. Whitewashed oak plank floors. Natural-finish oak island table. Shiplap-style wall and cabinet detail. Waterfall-edge countertop peninsula.
Designer secret. “To take full advantage of the views at the kitchen sink, we eliminated the upper cabinets and provided ample storage in the lower cabinetry layout,” Bertelli says.
Pendant lights: Holly Hunt; glass shelf brackets: Sugatsune; range hood: Wolf
3. Sophisticated and Symmetrical Designer: Laura Sullivan of ID.ology Interiors & Design Location: Asheville, North Carolina Size: 266 square feet (25 square meters); 19 by 14 feet
Homeowners’ request. A large, open kitchen ideal for entertaining, with lots of light, a built-in booth, a large center island, a beverage center and a symmetrical design.
Rustic palette. Leathered-granite countertops. Wood beams and floors. Stone fireplace in nearby living room.
Other special features. Shiplap backsplash. Molded walnut stools. Pop-up vent hood on island range for unobstructed views.
Designer secret. “Clean, symmetrical lines and understanding that the exterior beauty was a highlighted element that we were designing around,” designer Laura Sullivan says.
“Uh-oh” moment. “We went back and forth a couple of times on whether to paint the booth Peppercorn [by Sherwin-Williams] or white,” Sullivan says. “We ended repainting darker for more of a wow factor.”
Wall and cabinet paint: Extra White, Sherwin-Williams; trim and booth paint: Peppercorn, Sherwin-Williams; stools: Organic Modernism; pendants: Lamps Plus; designer-builder: Living Stone Design + Build
When prepping your home for sale, one of the most important tasks is giving your walls a fresh coat of paint. The standard advice from most real estate professionals is to keep them neutral with shades of white. But as a home stager and an interior designer, I prefer to take a more stylish approach. .
Remember, the overall goal of home staging is to make each room feel fresh, inviting and neutral enough so that prospective buyers can imagine themselves living there. That doesn’t have to translate, however, to bland, boring and devoid of style. Sometimes white can work, but a greater concern is making sure the room doesn’t look too stark. These elegant, crowd-pleasing neutral paint colors can help you stage your home to perfection.
As you consider these choices, keep in mind that to present your home in the right light, you’ll want to select a neutral paint color that coordinates with your furnishings and finishes. The following warm or dark neutrals can add style and while maintaining a mainstream look. . Gorgeous ‘Greige’
Gray has been the new white for years now. But not all grays are created equal. “Greige,” a pale gray with a beige undertone, is one of the most versatile colors for staging. Essentially a pale taupe, greige is a cool, sophisticated hue that can elegantly complement and add depth to a mostly white room. It’s great in both large and smaller spaces. . Wall paint: Elephant’s Breath No. 229, Farrow & Ball
In this room, this go-to paint color for home stagers adds subtle contrast to the mostly white and beige palette. If the walls here were painted white, the space would have a starker look with less personality. . Wall paint: Kestrel White SW-7516, Sherwin-Williams; also try Mega Greige, Sherwin-Williams
Bird’s Egg Blue
I always refer to this type of blue as a grown-up turquoise. A warm medium blue with sunny undertones, bird’s egg blue is an elegant choice for living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms, particularly when the rest of the room is white, beige or gray. . Wall paint: Pale Powder, Farrow & Ball
A pale serene turquoise works well with both traditional and modern decor to create a soothing feeling in this room. This calm environment can have a positive emotional effect on potential buyers and allow them to appreciate the beauty of the space. .
In this large bedroom with textiles in shades of white, the pale turquoise creates a stylistic feature of the angled ceilings and beams while still giving the room a peaceful color palette. . Wall paint: Woodlawn Blue, HC-147, Benjamin Moore; also try Lulworth Blue No. 89, Farrow & Ball, or Gossamer Blue 2123-40, Benjamin Moore
A darker color can also be a surprising neutral. Many people might be hesitant to use a dark paint color, thinking it will make the room look smaller or darker. A dark color can, however, add depth on an accent wall. In a dark room it can conceal any shadows and replace an overall dark feeling with a serene and stylish one.Charcoal, a deep gray, is a perfect dark neutral that can raise the style factor in a room as well as add a refreshing cool tone that complements beige and orange wood hues. Adding subdued drama, it works well in light-filled rooms or on an accent wall, especially in smaller rooms or on walls where you want to feature an architectural element.For a stylish contrast, coordinate charcoal walls with accessories and furniture in lighter colors, such as whites and pale beiges.Wall paint: Kendall Charcoal HC-166, Benjamin Moore
In this double-height living room, the cool character of the charcoal accent wall tones down the warm honey tones of the wood and brown sofa. It also gives the room a crisp modern feeling, coordinates with the clean, contemporary architectural lines and features the soaring ceiling, which is no doubt one of the selling points of this home. . Accent wall paint: Stormy Sky 1616, Benjamin Moore; also try Peppercorn SW-7674, Sherwin-Williams
Let the sunshine in with a little golden yellow on your walls or fixed elements such as cabinets. This photo shows how a cheerful yellow can add warmth to a mostly white kitchen; it works well with white or stainless steel appliances. . Cabinet paint: Castilian Gold, Pratt & Lambert
In other rooms, such as a cozy bedroom or living room, this color’s sunny disposition can add a layer of charm to an otherwise blah color palette. It’s especially helpful in rooms that have low light, no view, or architectural features that cast dark shadows. The golden hues help eliminate a darker feeling and can distract from a bleak view. .
Look for a yellow that has a slight wheat or creamy undertone and that isn’t overly bright or garish. A mellow yellow coordinates with most wood hues, earth tones, blues and pastel colors. . Wall paint: Traditional Yellow 170, Benjamin Moore; also tryRay of Light CSP-910 or Beacon Hill Damask HC-2, both Benjamin Moore
Navy blue is an excellent paint color to add sophistication, drama and a feeling of refined maturity to a room. Similar to charcoal gray, navy works well in a light-filled room or on a featured accent wall, particularly in smaller rooms or walls with architectural details like a fireplace. .
Coordinate navy with contrasting pale hues like whites, silver or beiges. . Wall paint: Stunning 826, Benjamin Moore
As seen in this beautiful bedroom, a navy accent wall gives an ordinary room a more designed and notable look. The dark wall not only creates a dramatic backdrop to the simple wood bed and white accessories, it also adds visual depth to that part of the room. This is a clever design trick to help a room feel a bit larger or appropriately functional to a prospective buyer. . Wall paint: Hale Navy HC-154, Benjamin Moore; also tryIndigo Ink HDC-CL-26A, Behr, or Commodore 6524, Sherwin-Williams
If your walls are already a shade of white and adding a new color isn’t in your comfort zone, look to neutral creamy whites to give the room a warm and refreshing look. .
Creamy white has an undertone of pale beige or greige, without being too yellow. The added warmth can give a stark room a welcoming glow without adding color. . Wall paint: Elmira White HC-84, Benjamin Moore
Pair your creamy white walls with a whiter color on the trim, ceiling and fixtures. The ivory-toned walls in this bathroom, for example, create a subtle contrast between the cooler white of the bathtub and surround. The effect in this rustic bathroom is a soft glow — something a paler or cooler white wouldn’t do. . Wall paint: Muskoka Trail 974, Benjamin Moore; also try Linen White 912 or Glacier White AC-40, both Benjamin Moore; ceiling paint: White Dove, Benjamin Moore
The subtle differences between quartzite and quartz seem to befuddle everyone from design-savvy clients to industry experts. Some people even use the names interchangeably, which is a huge mistake because it only adds to the confusion. Each material has its pros and cons, so educating yourself on the facts is important, especially if you are considering either of these beauties for your home improvement project. A quartz versus quartzite showdown is well overdue, so let’s dive in.
Quartz, or engineered quartz, is manmade. It’s composed of roughly 90 percent ground quartz (the actual mineral), with the remaining 10 percent being a mixed cocktail of resins, polymers and pigments that varies by manufacturer.
The difference between the two translates to discrepancies in form and function. Quartzite and quartz both offer durability. In fact, each outperforms granite in terms of hardness. However, you will definitely want to consider the factors that follow before you decide on your new kitchen or bathroom countertops. (Can you guess which material our firm selected for this kitchen? Hint: Our client wanted to go au naturale.)
Meanwhile, quartz attempts to replicate those distinct characteristics, such as veining. Technology is always advancing, and engineered materials are getting harder to distinguish from the real deal. But because quartz is produced in a controlled manner on a large scale, at some point patterns emerge and repetition happens.
In addition to hardness, most people are concerned with whether a stone will resist heat and staining over time, especially if you’re talking about an enthusiastic entertainer or a bustling family with young children.
Quartzite wins in terms of heat resistance, making it a prime candidate for kitchens. (No worries if you happen to set that hot pan down for a moment on the counter next to your stove.)
On the other hand, the density of quartz makes it more able to combat stains than its fully organic counterpart. Which means you can opt for solid white quartz in the kitchen and won’t need to fret over any of those inevitable messes and spills.
A case can be made for either material, so it is helpful to think through the way you envision yourself using and maintaining the space to determine your highest priority. Our clients loved the pretty look and high performance of Taj Mahal quartzite in their kitchen so much that they carried it into their butler’s pantry wet bar, shown here.
Etching is not staining. It’s almost like an added layer of patina that shows up in high-traffic areas or under certain lighting. For example, etching can appear as discoloration that looks like dark water spots next to your sink even after the droplets have dried. Lucky for us, neither quartz nor quartzite are prone to etching, so both have become a popular choice for bathroom vanities. Judging by this gorgeous dark quartz countertop installation, it’s not hard to see why.
Again, quartz was used throughout this bathroom as both the vanity top and the tub deck. Splash it everywhere (literally), and ease your mind. No etching here.
As far as scratches are concerned, remember those beautiful veins and the broad range of colors quartzite offers? Those features can be super helpful in disguising imperfections. And at the end of the day, quartzite is indeed more scratch-resistant than quartz. This lovely island from Aria Stone Gallery has us ready to dig right in.
The more uniform surface of quartz can make any abnormality (like a deep scratch) stand out. But, since it’s unlikely that items like hairbrushes would be hard enough to cause any noticeable damage, it was a safe, serene and soothing choice here.
So, what do you think? Are you a fan of quartzite or quartz? Perhaps the examples that follow will sway you one way or the other. These specialty applications demonstrate that you can think outside the “countertop” box and use these versatile materials in lots of surprising ways. For instance, the entire wall in this stunning bathroom is covered with Blue Macaubas quartzite. Wow!
Did you know that quartz and quartzite can also be used to create fireplace surrounds? This living room features a quartz surround, and the way it blends so effortlessly with the other architectural details of the space is the epitome of understated elegance.
For something really extraordinary, hang a stone slab as artwork. (You’ll need a wall that can support the weight.) A natural stone, like the quartzite shown above, makes for a bold statement with its unique veining and uncommon colors. But if you’re aiming for a more modernist, abstract piece, manmade quartz would work too.
Finally, even after you’ve done your research, it’s always a good idea to consult your designer or the professionals at your local stone supplier showroom. They know all the nitty-gritty details and can help you decide which material is most appropriate for your unique lifestyle and home.
Pros and Cons Recap
Pros: Durable; can come in solid colors for a more uniform look; very stain resistant; not prone to etching
Cons: Because it’s an engineered product, sometimes pattern repetition occurs; not as heat resistant or scratch resistant as quartzite
Pros: Durable; because it’s a natural stone, there is infinite variation in color and pattern (no two slabs are the same); very heat resistant; not prone to etching; more scratch resistant than quartz
February is a time of year to indulge in home comforts like cooking big-batch meals, reading in the afternoon and watching movies with the family. Here are a dozen ideas to add to your to-do list this month, from the necessary (clearing sidewalks of snow and ice, say) to the just-for-fun (treating yourself to weekly flowers). .
Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less
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).
2. Pack up a bag of old sheets and towels to donate. If you bought new sheets or towels during January white sales, make some room by letting go of an old set or two. Homeless shelters and some churches will accept donations of bedding and towels in good condition, and animal shelters are often in need of towels. Really worn linens can be cut up and used as rags or dropped in a textile recycling bin.Get It Done: Clean Out the Linen Closet
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.
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.
8. Boost warmth. Stay toasty and save on energy bills by blocking drafty doors with door sweeps or door snakes and warming up with rugs, throws and duvets. For even more energy savings, shut doors to unused rooms, move furniture away from heating vents and close the chimney flue when it’s not in use.
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.
Maintenance and Extras to Budget for This Month
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 .
If you’re looking to update your kitchen style for the new year with something different, you might consider reworking your cabinets. These new cabinet ideas will likely be showing up more in 2018, but I’m betting you’ll be seeing them around for years to come.
1. Embossed fronts. While we might think of modern style cabinets as having minimalist flat-front doors and drawers, many companies now are producing fun versions with embossed patterns, adding a sense of texture and personality while still maintaining a modern sensibility.
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.
3. Blue. For those who want a little color in the kitchen but not such a radiant tone as jewel purples, a soft, friendly blue is another timeless choice. But lately, we’ve had more clients looking for this hue than ever before.
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…
For those who find that steel looks a bit too cold, there are also many effects inspired by gold, brass or bronze. These can be created with foil finishes and other techniques that provide a metallic gleam for a Midas touch kitchen look.
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.
11. Black. Finally, let’s end on bold black: the ultimate punctuation mark in interior design. While black can seem gothic and harsh, when used to dress a wall of kitchen cabinets, and balanced with a few elements of crisp white, stark black makes for a sophisticated statement.
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.
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.
8. Pretty and practical. For designer Sarah St. Amand’s own kitchen in Toronto, she selected a stunning quartz for the countertops and backsplash. “I knew I wanted to mimic marble, but marble isn’t the best choice for busy people and families in their kitchens because it’s porous and stains easily.” The quartz she selected gives her the best of both worlds.
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.
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.
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.
1. Consider shallow cabinets. Here’s some outside-the-box thinking: Not all of your lower cabinets must be the standard 24-inch depth. Most cabinet lines (even stock cabinets from big box stores) also come in a 12- or 15-inch depth usually used for upper cabinets.
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.
2. Reduce your hardware. It’s a no-brainer that eliminating counter clutter is important for keeping a kitchen looking open and breezy, but you can take this a step further by removing the hardware.
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.
3. Rethink the double sink. Clients often request a double sink — sometimes before anything else. Large double sinks have their uses, but if you’re willing to compromise and choose a single sink (or even a one-and-a-half sink with a slim second bowl), it can open up better storage options and more unbroken counter space.
This applies especially to stock cabinet lines, which include a limited number of size options.
If your sink is centered on the window, without a ton of room on either side, this can create a “dead zone” next to it that can’t accommodate anything. Using a smaller cabinet for the sink frees up room on either side, which can open up new options for adjacent cabinets.
For example, switching from a 36-inch sink cabinet (for a double sink) to a 24-inch cabinet (for a single sink) frees up 6 inches on both sides. This can turn 6 inches of adjacent space into 12 inches, which is enough for a usable cabinet.
If you don’t think you’ll use that second sink bowl frequently, it’s worth exploring what else that space could be used for.
4. Choose a compact dishwasher. Most standard dishwashers come in a 24-inch width, but compact or “condo-sized” dishwashers in an 18-inch width are growing in popularity.
Saving that 6 inches can give you a bigger cabinet elsewhere. Naturally, a smaller washer also fills up faster, which means you can run a full load more often instead of waiting a day between washes or running the machine while only half full. For smaller households this can be a perfect option.
5. Put your fridge on a diet. Speaking of saving inches, choosing a slimmer refrigerator can really open up your kitchen as well. Clients usually want the largest fridge they can fit, but these large 36-inches-and-up models often end up full of clutter or simply remain half empty.
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.
6. Use panel appliances. Not prepared to choose compact appliances? You can still get a much lighter look.
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.
8. Use shelf uppers. In a small kitchen, removing all the upper cabinets may not be a practical option, but you can always use as much or as little as you like to house just your most attractive everyday items.
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.
You don’t even have to fully commit to shelf uppers. Try simply removing the doors from a cabinet to simulate this breezy look. You can always put the doors back on later if you want to.
9. Add glass door cabinets. Here’s another way to lighten your uppers, but without actually changing your storage. Switch out typical solid cabinet fronts to doors with glass inserts to make the look much airier.
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.
10. Install cabinet lighting. The importance of good lighting cannot be stressed enough, and in kitchens especially the lighting is often insufficient, coming just from ceiling fixtures in the center of the room. Add lighting under, above and even inside the cabinets to make the room feel much brighter and bigger, as the dark shadows around the cabinets would otherwise visually shrink the space.
For a quick fix, add plug-in LED strip fixtures or battery-powered tap lights under the cabinets for extra brightness.
11. Use a short backsplash. So you’ve carefully configured your storage, and now you’ve got some beautiful open wall space. To make that wall look 10 feet tall (even if it’s only 8), try using a short, minimal backsplash in a color that blends with the wall. The lack of an obvious dividing line between where the tile stops and the plain wall starts keeps the planes of the wall looking taller, so your open space looks positively vast.
Alternatively, if you have the budget, you can take tile all the way to the ceiling or use a chic slab backsplash for a truly unbroken appearance.
Try a stainless steel backsplash to present a subtle sheen that almost acts like a mirror (as discussed above), giving the room a sense of depth and echoing the finishes of steel appliances or fixtures.
12. Unwrap your hood. You may not want to eliminate any true upper cabinets, but the partial cabinets that wrap around a hood fan usually have little function other than hiding ductwork. Choose a beautiful range hood that is meant to be seen, and let it create a little visual break from the upper cabinets. Even this small bit of depth can make a kitchen feel less claustrophobic.
Islands are workhorses in the kitchen. They offer an additional surface area, apart from the perimeter counter tops, that can be used for food prep, serving or as a place to perch and hang out with family and friends. Those with space-challenged kitchens often think there’s no way they can squeeze in an island, but you’d be surprised at just how compact you can go.
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. .
It’s important to think about the function of your island. Do you need additional storage space at the base of the island? Can it be open, such as the island above, or do you need closed storage? If it’s going to be an open shelf, think about what you will store there, as it will take center stage in your kitchen. Whatever is stored there could become a grease and dust collector unless it gets frequent use. .
Or perhaps you need an island that serves as an in-kitchen hangout spot. Sure, you’re not going to serve a multicourse meal on an island like the one pictured here, but it’s the right size for a couple of people to sit, visit and enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. If you plan to set a stool or stools around the island, consider placing them so that the person seated doesn’t get in the way of the cook. .
Clearly, a narrow island is not going to be able to house a sink or a cooktop, but it can still be useful as a landing area when taking items out of the refrigerator or oven. In fact, for safety’s sake, if your kitchen lacks a surface next to your range or cooktop, you may want to add a small island nearby so that you have a place to set hot things without having to walk too far.
An island needn’t be a fixed piece of cabinetry. This cool industrial-style kitchen features a free-standing cart as its island. Think about adding wheels so that you can move the island around the space as needed. Just be sure you can lock the wheels to keep your island from wandering off.
Size your island to best fit the geometry of your space. If your kitchen is long and narrow, then you’ll want a long and narrow island. However, if your kitchen is more square-shaped, such as the one shown here, then an island that is similarly shaped will fit and function better.
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.