Easy Kitchen Updates

The kitchen may be the hardest-working room in the house, so it runs the risk of looking overworked. Give your kitchen fresh appeal with these quick and easy updates, including solutions for your windows, floor, pantry, and more!

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Freestanding Pantry Ideas

Short on storage and space? No worries. These stylish go-anywhere pantry designs house everything from baking pans and cooking staples to party supplies -- exactly where you need them most. As a bonus, many of these units are transportable so they can travel with you when you move.

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One-of-a-Kind Backsplashes

In a hardworking kitchen, a backsplash is an ideal opportunity to add a little personality. See how pretty materials and unique installations can bring a fresh face to your kitchen.

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Drab to Fab Makeover

See how a basic kitchen received a fresh face on an affordable remodeling budget.

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Guide to Cabinetry

From Better Homes and Gardens, ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden plus recipes and entertaining ideas.

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Countertop Ideas

Countertops are big part of your kitchen. Consider these up-and-coming materials to make a statement in your space.

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Subway Tile Backsplashes

When it comes to a classic backsplash, nothing beats the traditional subway tile. Subway tiles make cleaning up kitchen messes a quick and easy task, plus the variety to choose from seems almost infinite. One thing is for sure, subway tile will never go out of style.

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Popular in Kitchens

Island Kitchen Lighting

Lighting above your kitchen island adds practical task lighting as well as a decorative touch to a hardworking room.

A variety of lighting is important to any space, but in a kitchen, the lighting above an island is crucial for performing detailed tasks. Incorporate layers of light to include general, accent, and task lighting. A kitchen with good general lighting also needs additional lights above the island, and this task lighting -- often in the form of pendants over the island -- will round out your kitchen lighting plan.

Proportion

When deciding how many pendants to hang above an island, follow the Rule of Three. This rule states balance is created by repeating an element three times. Above an island, three pendant lights create a more balanced space than two or four, though the deciding factor in following The Rule of Three is always proportion. In a kitchen with a small island and oversize pendant lights, two pendants would provide enough illumination and three would overwhelm the space.

Height

Choose pendants that complement the style of your kitchen without being exact matches to other fixtures in the room. Next, decide how far above the island the lights should hang. The size of the pendant, how much light it sheds onto the surface, and the height of members of your family will all affect how high to hang the lights. On average, a pendant light should be 30 inches above the countertop. For taller people, hang your pendant lights higher than 30 inches from the countertop to raise them above eye level, as pendant lights should never impede a person's view of someone or something on the other side of the island.

If your island has an incorporated cooktop, consider the heat coming off the cooktop and how the lights will affect the person who does the cooking. When in doubt, raise the pendants another 3-6 inches to reduce the heat the lights sustain as well as the affect they have on the cook.

In addition to height and proportion, consider adding dimmers to the lighting above your island. Dimmers allow flexibility, enabling you to change the mood for prep, dining, and cleanup. For example, having pendant lighting on a dimmer is multifunctional, creating good general light when needed or softer, more ambient light when lightbulbs are dimmed down.

When planning kitchen lighting, avoid making these three common mistakes:

1. Not having enough light.

As we all get older, we need more light to see properly. This can be as simple as increasing the wattage or adding more lights to work areas.

2. Not having the right kinds of light.

The right light will minimize glare, render color accurately, and create an inviting atmosphere.

3. Not having enough light controls.

This includes things such as window shadings to control natural light as well as dimmers for lightbulbs.

Overall, there is no exact science to kitchen island lighting since much of the decisions depend on you and your kitchen, but if you follow these general guidelines, you will be able to create a high-quality lighting plan in your kitchen.

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