Designer Kitchens, Real-World Prices

Make your kitchen look like the pages of a magazine with these simple -- and affordable -- ideas. Whether you love bold color or understated style, we have a budget-friendly look you'll love.

Becky Mollenkamp


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citrus blossoms dinnerware
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Color It Cheerful

    Bring spring into your dining room with the cheerful Citrus Blossom dinnerware set. This set features vibrant florals on a white background for a fresh tabletop display.

    -- Show family and friends that a new season has arrived by changing your place settings. This set's floral design and bright colors are a sure sign that spring has arrived.

    -- Make a change, but don't break the bank. Pick a new set of dinnerware that coordinates with your existing set. This is not only budget-savvy but it will stretch your dinnerware to accommodate guests at warm-weather celebrations.

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Make Your Farmhouse Fabulous

    A country kitchen can be both comfortable and chic when you choose the right table and chairs. This furniture mixes wood and black-painted finishes for a look of easy elegance. The round, ladder-back chairs are a classic country choice.

    -- Lighten the mood (and give your family more options) by mixing chairs with bench seating.
    -- Balance the heaviness of darker furniture with bright and basic white dishes.
    -- A handpicked bouquet is a simple centerpiece. Choose a vase that's tall enough for people to see around.

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Set a Pretty Table

    Making your table look like a million bucks shouldn't cost a fortune. The hand-painted scrollwork design on this dinnerware gives it a high-end look, but the pieces are actually inexpensive stoneware perfect for everyday use.

    -- For extra punch, the painted design continues on the inside of the bowls and cups.
    -- Placing several runners widthwise across the table frames the place settings beautifully.
    -- Pair colorfully patterned dishes with clear drinking glasses to simplify the setting.

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Go for the Gold

    Impress your guests with warm golden dinnerware that looks as pricey as it is pretty. Truth is, the embossed scrollwork pieces are from the Better Homes and Gardens Collection, available at Walmart, and cost less than $10 a setting.

    -- The warm, orange-gold tones look even richer when paired with an olive tablecloth and napkins.
    -- For a memorable setting, stack same-color dinnerware and place a contrasting napkin between the dishes.
    -- Stoneware is dishwasher/microwave safe and durable, a smart choice for families with children.

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Simplify Your Scheme

    Designers love a white, monochromatic color scheme. Bring the look home in a realistic way by choosing durable dinnerware and casual window treatments, like this crisp white cafe curtain and valance with lacy edges.

    -- To keep basic white from being boring, choose dishes with a fun pattern, like this embossed scrollwork design.
    -- When your dinnerware matches your decor, create a countertop display embellished with simple artwork.
    -- Turn other pieces into stunning wall part by arranging them on a floating shelf.

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Multitask in the Kitchen

    When an eat-in kitchen is a home's only dining space, it needs to be family friendly but also nice enough for grown-up dinner parties. Solve that dilemma with the Pedestal Table from the Better Homes and Gardens Collection, available at Walmart. Its cushioned seats and durable finish are practical for kids, while its curvy lines and dark color are pretty for guests.

    -- If your kitchen has a bar, choose chairs similar to the table's for coordinated style.
    -- Matching seat cushions to the wall color gives the kitchen a finished, designer look.
    -- Skip area rugs in an eat-in kitchen. Hard-surface floors look elegant and are easier to clean.

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Give Your Table Style

    For the ultimate in versatility, choose dinnerware that can be dressed up or down. These dishes with hand-painted fruit designs are perfect for an elegant, formal dinner when paired with rich-colored linens, but they are equally suited to a casual breakfast if served alone or with basic white napkins.

    -- Have fun with your dinnerware by choosing pieces with unexpected touches, like these scalloped rims.
    -- Turn your runner widthwise and top it with a slim-fold napkin under the dishes for a magazine-worthy look.
    -- For a simplified version of this look, pair a few pieces of patterned dinnerware with coordinating solid dishes.

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Coordinate in the Kitchen

    Introducing color to the kitchen is easy when you start with a bold fabric, like this red, green, and gold check valance. Find a window treatment or tablecloth you love and choose dishes that feature coordinating colors. If you're already happy you're your dinnerware, pick fun fabrics to match it.

    -- Partnering patterned dishes with patterned fabrics works great as long as the pieces share the same colors.
    -- A countertop display of dishes can add color to the kitchen. Mix in planted herbs for more color and warmth.
    -- For a designer look on a budget, choose affordable window treatments with decorative touches, like a curved hem or tassel trim.

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