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 Q&A: Universal Design Kitchens

We recommend sources of information for designing a universally accessible kitchen

Q: After helping my 89-year-old mother navigate kitchens and bathrooms that are no longer user-friendly, I realized the need for addressing housing concerns of the elderly. While my husband and I are still relatively young, we want to either build a home or renovate our home with our future needs in mind. Can you point me to sources for such information?

A: The kind of home design you are referring to is generally known as "universal design," which the Center for Universal Design defines as "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."

Extensive information can be downloaded at the center's Web site at www.design.ncsu.edu/cud. The site lists many links, including a universal design publications list, resources for floor plans, McGraw Hill's "Universal Design Handbook", the National Association of Home Builders' Directory of Accessible Building Products, and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department's publication "Residential Remodeling and Universal Design: Making Homes More Comfortable and Accessible".

Other sources include the American Association of Retired Persons {www.aarp.org/life/homedesign) and books such as Building for a Lifetime: The Design and Construction of Fully Accessible Homes (Taunton Press; 1994), The Accessible Home: Updating Your Home for Changing Physical Needs ( Creative Publishing International; 2003), and The Accessible Housing Design File (Wiley; 1991).

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