Kitchen Islands

Islands are becoming more popular than ever in kitchens. However, kitchen islands have disadvantages along with their many advantages. Space is often a factor in deciding whether or not an island is a good fit for a kitchen.

Islands offer many perks, a major one being added counter space. With coffee makers, juicers and other appliances taking over the kitchen, counter space is at a premium. Kitchen islands give an extra area to locate all those gadgets. Storage is also a big bonus when installing a kitchen island. They can have cupboards, drawers or both, almost doubling storage space. Some islands incorporate sinks or stove tops into the design for those who enjoy cooking a lot. This is also a great way to be able to cook while still being a part of the conversation with guests.

Add barstools or chairs to an island and turn it into an informal dining area, or a place for kids to have after-school snacks. Having extra seating is always a plus.

If the kitchen needs change from time to time, a freestanding or movable kitchen island could be the way to go. Sometimes more floor space than counter space is needed and the island can be rolled out of the way.

For smaller kitchens, islands hinder productivity instead of improving it. They can take up too much floor space and make maneuvering around the kitchen a problem. Expense is another downside to installing a kitchen island. Already have a kitchen island but it’s not looking it’s best? Contact Refinish First to give it an update.


Refinishing Outdoor Tile

Ceramic tile can be used outside, although it is not the first choice of many. It is highly water absorbent, giving it a low frost resistance. It is also more likely to become worn and chip easily. Refinish First can fix and refinish ceramic tiles that haven’t held up well to outside temperature changes.

Ceramic tiles usually carry a Porcelain Enamel Institute or PEI rating of 0 to 3, but can go up to a 5. These ratings indicate where the tile should be used depending on the level of foot traffic that certain area experiences.

  • Class 0: used where no foot traffic is anticipated; should only be used on walls for decoration such as backsplashes.
  • Class 1: used primarily for master bathroom floors where it is anticipated shoes will not be worn.
  • Class 2: used in main bathroom areas and bedrooms where slippers or soft-soled shoes will be present.
  • Class 3: used in light to moderate traffic areas; any area of the house, except heavy traffic areas such as the entry way and kitchen.
  • Class 4: used in areas where abrasive or dirt could be tracked; good for residential entry ways, kitchens, balconies and countertops.
  • Class 5: used in the heaviest traffic areas; suggested for residential, commercial and institutional flooring.

Because many types of ceramic tile have a relatively high water absorption rating, damage is to be expected over time. Refinish First can fix chips in tile and re-grout everything to make it look like new. They offer three standard, solid colors along with more than 30 stone accent finishes. Refinish First can also create almost any custom color desired.

Old, worn down tile is just days away from looking brand new with Refinish First. Contact them for a free estimate.

Beauty Product Storage Ideas

Beauty products can take up a lot of room in the bathroom and just look messy. However, there are some unique ways to store and display these so they not only look pretty, but are also functional.

Perfume can be displayed on a spice rack or cake stand for easy access and a decorative piece. Fill a flower vase or mason jar with beads or coffee beans and stick makeup brushes in it. Coffee beans will fill the room with a delicious aroma and it will be easier to find the correct brush. If counter space is limited, try putting makeup and brushes into an old pencil case or a utensil tray in a drawer.

A magazine rack could be a great place to house curling irons and straighteners to avoid a tangled mess. Other options include hooks or a hanging shoe organizer. If multiple hair product bottles adorn the counter, try putting them in a wine rack. Makeup palettes can also be organized in a desk file organizer.

Digging around to find a certain shade of eye shadow can be frustrating but they will be much easier to sort through if they are on display. Attaching magnets to makeup compacts and sticking them to a decorative metal board hung on a wall frees up some counter space while adding a unique embellishment. Magnetic strips also work great for pesky bobby pins.

There are many creative uses for everyday items that can help transform the bathroom from a messy disaster to an organized oasis. Share some of your unique bathroom decorating on our Facebook page or on our Pinterest page.

Decorating the Guest Bathroom

Guest bathrooms can be pretty plain. Instead of throwing some mismatched towels on the towel racks and a dollar store soap bottle on the counter, try some different decorating ideas to make them feel more welcome.

The first step in freshening up the guest bathroom and making guests feel welcome is to deep clean it. Get rid of rust and grime that can build up on surfaces and faucets. If the bathroom is in need of a surface update, whether it be the counters, bathtub or shower, Refinish First can help make them look like new.

If the storage cupboard isn’t being fully utilized, take the door off and make it open shelving. Then add soaps, towels and other amenities on the shelves or quaint stands or trays like in a hotel bathroom. Another option is to make a nice tray for the counter or back of the toilet if the cupboard is in use. Have loofahs, toothpaste and other small items they may have forgotten to pack available.

Switching out boring beige or white walls for a brighter color can really change the mood. Add stencils or wall decals for some visual interest. Bright colors can wake up a room and add to the décor without too much effort.

Fluffy towels are an easy way to make the bathroom feel luxurious and make guests appreciative when they step out of the shower. Pair this with aromatherapy candles for a little spa experience.

Fresh flowers are another great way to bring life to any room. They exude a fresh floral aroma and add a touch of nature. Change types of flowers with the seasons or match them to the existing decorations.

Make sure not to crowd the space with too many decorative items, a few small things can transform a room. Start with the basics and make sure the shower surfaces and countertops are in good shape. From there, find a little inspiration and have fun creating a B & B style guest bathroom.

A Spa-Like Experience

The first step in turning an ordinary bathroom into a spa-like experience is to deep clean and de-clutter. A clean, clutter free room provides an open, refreshing feeling even before additional changes are completed. Start by organizing everything into drawers, cupboards, baskets or whatever fits best in the space. After organizing comes deep cleaning. Mildew can be a health hazard as well as an unpleasant sight. Getting rid of mildew and hard water stains can greatly improve the look and feel of the bathroom. If the tub or shower is beyond repair, refinishing them can make them look brand new again.

For a spa-like bathroom, a shower-tub combination is a great option when a quick shower often fits the schedule best but a long soak in the bubble bath is sometimes needed. A claw foot tub can be the ultimate for relaxation. These can be refinished to look like new and look especially great in an older style or country home.

A shower-head with good pressure is a must-have. There are even shower heads that mimic the feeling of falling rain. Choose one to match your personality or select one with a variety of settings to match changing moods.

If splurging is in the budget, heated floors in the bathroom can take away the chill during the colder months. Sometimes there is nothing worse than getting out of a warm shower or bath only to step onto a cold floor.

Lighting can dramatically impact the mood of a room. Consider installing lighting with a dimmer switch or turn off the lights completely and use scented candles to set the mood. They not only bring a soft, flickering light, but also soothing smells to enhance the relaxation factor. Reed diffusers are also another option for bringing relaxing aromas into the bathroom. With a wide variety of essential oil fragrances, it’s easy to find one to suit every mood.

Music is a common tool used to unwind and is often heard in spas. Create a playlist to be used only in the bathroom spa or invest in a stereo. This can be comprised of lyrical songs, classical music or relaxing noises such as a babbling brook.

The spa experience doesn’t have to end when stepping out of the tub or shower. Afterward, dry off with a plush towel before slipping into a thick robe.

Refinishing Cultured Marble

Cultured marble is a low cost alternative to provide a marbled look and can be created in many shapes and sizes but has its limitations. The top coat on cultured marble is a tinted, cast polymer with plastic gel layered on top to recreate the shine of genuine marble. This gel coat can easily become cracked and discolored over time. It can also be burned if it comes into contact with heat for an extended period. In addition, abrasive cleaning products will quickly damage cultured marble.

If any of these issues sound familiar and you find yourself unhappy with a cultured marble countertop, Refinish First can resurface cultured marble countertops and showers. They can repair the chips, cracks and burns that happen over time. Not only will the new surface look great but the entire process takes less than a week.

Refinishing can dramatically update countertops and made them look brand new. Refinish First can create almost any color or a stone look is also available with many different color and texture options.

If that cultured marble countertop is looking outdated, has lost its shine or has become worn and cracked, call Refinish First to get a free estimate.

Organizing the Kitchen

When smaller kitchens lack a pantry, it can be a pain trying to fit cooking utensils and food into the limited amount of cupboard space available. Organizing a small space like this is crucial to getting the most out of it.

To start the process, clear everything out of the cupboards. Any pot, pan, baking dish or container that hasn’t been used in the last month or longer should be put on a top shelf or somewhere not as easily accessible. Because they don’t get used as often, having them readily available is unnecessary.

Spices can sit unused and forgotten in the cupboard for years. If the last recipe that called for a certain spice was used more than a couple years ago, it’s probably safe to throw it out. Unused spices can make it a huge mess trying to dig through the cupboard and find the right one. Spice racks can help open up cupboard space as well if there is counter space to spare.

Consolidate grains, flours and sugars if there happen to be multiple bags of each sitting around. Some of these could be put into plastic or decorative containers. This makes them easier to stack in the cupboard or display as a decoration on the counter.

Coffee cups seem to accumulate and multiply more than any other dish. If they’ve taken over more than one shelf, it might be time to cut down on the collection. Hang some of the most-used favorites on hooks as a decorative element and also an easy access point.

Plastic to-go containers are often thrown into a cupboard without care. This can make it difficult to find the right lids when you need them. Match up the containers with their lids. If a lid or container is missing from a set, get rid of it.   Then stack them by size before putting them back into the cupboard.

Decide where to put everything in relation to how it will get used. Separate items into different zones of the kitchen. In the food preparation zone, put knives, cutting boards, mixers, blenders, etc. This should be next to an open counter space, where all of the mixing and chopping will occur. Keep pots and pans in the cooking zone, next to the oven. In the dish/dishwashing zone, everyday dishes and utensils should be stored. Everything used for eating meals on a regular basis like napkins, salt and pepper shakers, serving bowls should be stored in the eating zone closest to the kitchen table.

The main idea of organizing kitchen cabinets is to bring what is most used to the forefront for accessibility. Reorganizing the whole kitchen can seem like a daunting task, but taking it step by step and having a plan of attack can help.