Summer Kitchen Decorating

Summer comes with blooming flowers, sunshine and a laid-back feeling. This feeling doesn’t have to exist only outside, bring it indoors to the kitchen with a few simple decorating choices.

Fresh flowers help brighten up any room and bring a little bit of the outdoors inside. Whether they’re from the garden or store they will be sure to add a pop of color in the kitchen. Use them as a decorative piece on the table or the island.

Colorful plates, bowls and glasses can be a fun way to celebrate summer and are great for all those summer BBQs. A patterned or colorful pitcher is also great in the summer for serving lemonade or iced tea.

Tableware can also be used just for decoration. In kitchens with open shelving or glass cabinet doors, colorful plates can add a little pop of color or hang a few on the walls. The pitcher could also be used as a quirky flower vase in the kitchen.

Think bold and colorful when decorating for summer. The kitchen doesn’t have to look the same year round.

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Budgeting a Kitchen Upgrade

Kitchen upgrades can increase the asking price of a house when selling. However, these upgrades can cause homeowners to spend a huge chunk of money, especially if they don’t have a plan. Creating and staying within a budget can be difficult, but it is possible with a few steps.

Homeowners should set a budget based on the increase in value they believe they can get when they sell. Spending a ridiculous amount on an upscale kitchen in a middle-class neighborhood probably won’t reap a positive return.

From there, the costs should be broken down into percentages. Labor usually makes up between 20 to 35 percent of the budget costs. Then break up the costs based on the priorities. For example, the appliances may be in decent shape, but new cupboards and countertops may be in desperate need of an upgrade. It is also recommended to set aside about 20 percent of the budget for unexpected costs such as water damage.

Homeowners should also have a plan for how they are going to go about paying for the upgrade. Many people need to borrow money to finance a kitchen upgrade and they have multiple options for doing so. They can take out a home equity loan, a personal loan, refinance, or borrow against a retirement plan. It depends on the state of their finances and what will work best for them.

One detail that can get overlooked when doing a kitchen upgrade is the cost of not having a kitchen for a period of time. Homeowners will have to eat out or rely on take-out while the kitchen is being worked on, depending on what projects they are doing. This should be worked into the main budget as well.

Don’t just set a budget and then forget about it. Keep checking purchases and quotes against it. The easiest way to do this is to put it in a spreadsheet. This will help homeowners stay on track.

Big Ideas for Small Kitchens

Small kitchens can be hard to decorate without making the room feel cluttered. However, smaller kitchens cost less to makeover and small projects can make a dramatic impact.

Backsplashes

To make a dramatic statement without painting the walls or cupboards, try adding a backsplash. There are a variety of styles, patterns and colors to fit any kitchen. They are also easy to wipe clean if food particles get on them while washing dishes or cooking.

Color

Go bold in the kitchen with a bright color. This can be achieved by painting an accent wall or colorful kitchen decorations such as rugs, decorative dishware, towels, and wall hangings.

Bold Patterns

If the kitchen has a window above the sink, find a window covering with a colorful, bold print. This focal point could be used to draw color inspiration for other decorations in the kitchen. Or, find a patterned wallpaper to put in the kitchen. This is a great way to bring color into a plain, white kitchen.

Open Shelving

A kitchen trend that has caught on recently is open shelves and cabinets for displaying interesting dishes or fun containers. This idea is better suited to those who like to keep their storage areas really tidy. Textured or colorful baskets or bins can be used for organization while bringing in a decorative element as well. Colorful dishes could be put on display as too.

Smaller kitchens are a good place to go bold, whether it be with color or patterns. Pieces that are both decorative and functional work well, so they aren’t just taking up much needed space.

Save Energy in the Kitchen

The kitchen can be a major cause of the energy bill skyrocketing. There are ways to save energy, even when using the most common kitchen appliances.

To make refrigerator usage as efficient as possible, set the temperature to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, make sure there is ample space between it and other surfaces, especially the stove and oven. Keeping the freezer packed full, but leaving more space in the fridge better allows for cold air circulation.

When using the stove top, try to schedule cooking during off-peak hours. Cooking with pots that are the correct size for the burners also helps to not use excess energy.

Don’t let oven heat go to waste when baking. During the last few minutes, turn the oven off and allow the food to cook in the residual heat. Take advantage of the oven light, and check on the food through the window instead of opening the door. This will cut down drastically on energy loss. When you’re finished baking, leave the oven door open a bit to let the warm air help heat the kitchen especially during the cooler days of fall and winter. The best time to let the oven self-clean is right after cooking so the oven won’t have to reheat itself just for cleaning.

Did you know the dishwasher uses 33 percent less hot water than washing dishes by hand? Also, only running the dishwasher when it is at capacity will significantly lower the energy bill. During the cycle, turn it off before the drying cycle begins and open the door, allowing the dishes to air dry for even further energy conservation.

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.

Mini Kitchen Makeovers

Sometimes we need a little change in our lives. Why not start with your home décor. Not all change has to be big, grand or expensive. Sometimes mini makeovers can help spruce up our living spaces, like the kitchen, without breaking the bank.

Add a little pop of color, maybe coordinating with the season, to your chair cushions. All you need is some fabric and a staple gun. Changing up the chair cushions at your kitchen table, island, bar or maybe all three can be a simple way to brighten up the kitchen or celebrate a certain holiday.

Organizing your storage areas like pantry and cupboards can create a less chaotic environment by getting rid of the clutter. Invest in a couple Lazy Susans and tin can racks and find a spot for everything. You’ll feel a lot better without the mess and it will be easier to find everything you need.

Have any old pictures hanging out around the house you wouldn’t mind getting rid of? Use the frame to make a gallery wall. Paint them with some latex paint and put knick knacks inside them like decorative plates or teacups. It’s an inexpensive way to add a visual element to an otherwise boring wall.

If you have too many cookbooks and nowhere to put them, add some shelves to a bare wall to save on counter space. You can also add fresh flowers and cute figurines on the shelves. It can double as storage and decoration.

Add some color to boring, plain window shades. Window shades serve an important purpose, but they don’t have to be unstylish. Use some paint and create a cute pattern on the shades in your kitchen windows.

Get a stylish rack to put your spices on. They will be easier for you to search through and grab while cooking. Put your spatulas, wooden spoons and whisks in a cute, cheap vase on the kitchen counter. They will also be easier to grab while adding a cute touch to the kitchen area.

Rugs have long been a fix for adding life into a boring space. Put one in the kitchen to guard the floor from spills and damage, but to also add a colorful, fun element to the kitchen. If you’re worried about cleaning it, try a flat weave or indoor-outdoor rug.

Show off those expensive and pretty pots and pans by hanging them on a rack. If you have the room to spare on a bare wall, use a simple rod like those used for curtains and add some S hooks to it. This can create a restaurant feel and open up some room in those crowded cupboards.

Use open shelving and put dishes on display. Why buy all those plates and bowls with the pretty pattern if they’re going to sit in the cupboard? Using open shelving can create an open and airy vibe in the kitchen.

Make a window treatment with leftover fabric and a tension rod for the window above the kitchen sink. You still get the natural light, but add a cute, decorative detail.

You can create a whole new space with small changes. Try a few of the ideas above to brighten, organize or show off your kitchen. Or try refinishing your countertops and sink for a whole new look. Contact Refinish First if you’re wanting to create a new kitchen style.

Lighting Your Kitchen

There are many options when lighting a kitchen. Some designers say that the best way to light a kitchen involves multiple types of lighting blended together. These are task, ambient, accent and decorative lighting. Successfully incorporating all of these into the kitchen creates a unique area, great for both working and entertaining.

Using a single overhead ceiling light can end up overpowering the whole space and creating a massive glare. It is one-tone and not very effective. Task lighting is important when cooking and preparing food, but if placed wrong it can ruin the overall efficiency and create shadows. Placing task lighting underneath overhead cabinets, over an island and even in the pantry will create bright, focused lighting in the areas where it is most needed.

Putting lighting under overhead cabinets can also double as ambient lighting with the addition of a dimmer switch. Ambient lighting is frequently overlooked while designing kitchens. It is more useful during entertaining and creates a warm feeling. When the kitchen is used as more of an entertaining space, this type of lighting becomes even more important. Ambient lighting fixtures come in many forms such as ceiling fixtures, pendants hanging over an island and adjustable track lighting.

Like ambient lighting, the accent lighting layer is often overlooked and is becoming increasing important because of the changing functions of the kitchen. It is used to highlight and bring attention to artwork and details like backsplashes. Track lighting, up-lighters, directional eyeball lights and wall sconces can be used as accent fixtures.

Decorative lighting can be expensive, but brings its own element to the kitchen. The scale of the fixture compared to the size of the kitchen is important when picking out a decorative lighting piece. Chandeliers and hanging pendants are some of the decorative lighting options. When choosing, remember to check that the fixture has enough opacity to effectively hide the light bulb.

To make sure all of these layers work together, dimmers can help with coordination. By putting each layer on a dimmer, the entire mood of the room can quickly and easily be changed. There are also preset options for different times of the day.

Effectively placing these layers together creates a warm and stimulating environment for cooking or entertaining. These fixtures and layers will be sure to show off all the hard work put into the kitchen design.