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Simple Ways to Update Kitchen

Up until a week ago, I had essentially retired from cooking altogether. My husband would come home from work, look at my meal, then walk to the refrigerator and fix something else for himself. Not too encouraging or validating. So I just stopped cooking altogether. But regardless whether I used my kitchen as a place to prepare food, it always remained a bit of a hub for the home. So whether you use your kitchen in the traditional fashion or not, I thought it time to pass along some easy and affordable tips on what you can do to spice up this area of your home.

First off you want it to be efficient and beautiful at the same time - a welcoming oasis that is fully functional. As luck would have it, you don't have to suffer through a complete remodeling project to turn yours from drab to "hot". So let's get down to the point:

    Make Wise Use of the Space
  • Decide what else you want your kitchen to achieve for you
  • Do guests gather here during parties?
  • Do you watch TV from this space?
  • Do you eat in the kitchen every day?
  • Could you use a home office, craft space, bill paying space?
  • Need more shelving?
  • Want to display collectibles or store cookbooks?
  • Use your to-do list as a checklist for reconfiguring the space.
    Freshen Up the Space
  • Consider putting in new window treatments.
  • Add a valance if you don't already have one.
  • Update the lighting - chandeliers over the kitchen island or breakfast table anyone?
  • Add task lighting under cabinets.
  • Add small decorative lamp on the counter.
  • Change out your countertops, backsplash and cabinets.
  • If on a tight budget, just change out the hardware.
  • Paint or re-stain and glaze the existing cabinets if they are in good condition.
  • Or remove some of the doors altogether for that open-shelf look.
    Rethink Your Furnishings
  • Replace tired, uncomfortable breakfast chairs with comfy benches or arm chairs.
  • Replace or upgrade your bar stools. My daughter took two of my old bar chairs and replaced the fabric for an instant transformation for her apartment.
  • Swap furniture from other rooms and you'll feel like you just bought new furniture.
  • Change out your lamps, books, pottery, baskets for ones from other rooms.
Taking Design Cues from Nature

It's amazing how much of a role fashion plays in voicing the state of our economy and our mood as a nation. It also forecasts our ambitions. Look around and you'll see that today's designs are much more simplified adaptations of past exuberance. Whereas before colors and presentations were bold and daring, now they are understated and vastly reduced, just as our spending has been pulled back and our conservative natures have surfaced.

You've heard the saying "Less is more" and that is the philosophy of the day, both in fashion and in interior design. For that matter, that is the philosophy in just about everything these days. Now is not the time to appear overdone, whether you're talking about your body or your home. We're seeing a return to nature and natural products and colors - because in nature we find comfort and feelings of safety.

But it's not just today. History shows us that great design that is executed with great refinement, restraint, balance and harmony is timeless. It never disappoints us. Don't make your interiors look like great peaks and valleys, with disjointed unkempt chaos everywhere. You'll find it very hard to be at peace in such an environment. During uncertain times, strive to come home to an environment that reflects warmth and hospitality, orderliness and calm. Don't make decisions based on the economy or your apprehensions. Make your decisions based on the flow of nature.

Nature does have its bold side too, I'll grant you. For instance: brilliant sunrises or sunsets, an approaching storm, the colors of a peacock in full display, a cool, quiet pool of water reflecting the sun. Everything in nature has a purpose and a place. Seek to find this harmony in your life, your home, your relationships.

Looking Forward to Spring's Trends

Nature remains the constant theme for this spring. The color palette includes fresh blues, saucy pinks and upbeat yellows and lots of clean whites. Patterns can be playful or romantic. It's a time for renewing our spirits yet maintaining the spirit of calmness and harmony and balance. Since fewer families will be moving this year, the emphasis turns to giving the present abode a new look, a cheerfulness and the look of hope. Here are some trends you might consider:

  • Add more cheerful colors.
  • Express your personality.
  • Experiment with some of the new floral motifs.
  • Add yellow dishes, fabrics and accents to cheer you each morning.
  • Mix up your patterns: stripes and floral motifs, large and small patterns.
  • White will remain a dominant color: crisp and pure or with vanilla tinges.
  • Pull together a grouping of snowy vases filled with white blooms and put on a textured runner down your table.
  • Take down the dark drapes and replace with white cotton or silk or sheers. Let the light pour in.
  • Go for black and white trendy motifs or white on white.
  • Look around for old items you can update with a new look or new color.
  • Bring in a hand-painted floral chest or create one yourself.
  • Get ready for outdoor living and eating as the warmer days are on their way.
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About the Author

Barbara Jennings is author of 14 decorating books/ebooks: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Staging Portfolio Secrets, Staging Luxurious Homes, Getting Paid: Financial Strategies for Home Stagers, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Secret Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!, and Wall Groupings!


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