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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Kitchen Lighting Layout

Use these tips to help you integrate a beautiful and practical lighting layout into your kitchen.

Too often, kitchens are equipped with only a single light fixture, and even in small kitchens, one fixture is rarely enough to supply adequate light. However, before picking out pretty pendants or a cool chandelier, take time to create a plan that ensures all areas of your kitchen are well lighted. A professional lighting expert can do this step for you -- or save money by creating one on your own.

Whether you are starting the space from scratch or adding new fixtures to an existing kitchen, draw a layout of the floor plan, complete with cabinets and appliances, and map out the placement of four layers of light.

1. Ambient lighting casts a soft glow that bounces off the ceiling and walls to create overall light that makes the kitchen feel inviting. Choose ceiling fixtures and bulbs that provide diffused light rather than pointed light. Recessed lights are most commonly used for this purpose; in general, you can plan for one recessed can every 4-6 square feet.

2. Task lighting provides bright, focused lighting for preparing meals, washing dishes, and other kitchen chores. Plan to have one of these lights cast between head height and the sink, island, desk, and other work surfaces. Recessed spotlights and floodlights are perfect for task lighting.

3. Accent lighting is designed to highlight specific features, such as artwork or architectural details. Track lighting with directional spotlights makes it easy to shine light exactly where you want it.

4. Decorative lighting, such as chandeliers and wall sconces, are beautiful fixtures that cast light but have the primary purpose of adding decorative detail to the room.

Save on energy costs by investing in dimmer switches for your new lights. Using separate switches for each light layer creates maximum flexibility and newer switches include timers and electronic sensors for automatic control. Be sure to plan for light switches at each entry point to the kitchen, which will affect cabinet and appliance placement.

If you can't afford all of lighting in your plan at the time of construction, consider installing the junction boxes anyway so you can add fixtures as budget allows.

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