The kitchen is the hub of the home, and more often than not, we feel a need to remodel or at least upgrade the look of the room. With that in mind, let's explore ways to make it a comfortable, efficient, fun place to work and eat. After all, it is one of the most used areas of the home. Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, Scripps Howard News Service
Green. Have you heard that word much lately? It has taken on a new meaning. It's not just a color, it's practically a way of life. So how does that affect your kitchen design? Let's start with recycling. Trash and recycling receptacles are a necessary part of kitchen design, and they should be incorporated into the kitchen-cabinet design rather than being someplace out in the open or tucked away in the pantry or closet. There should be separate receptacles for garbage, cans and bottles, and paper and cardboard. Ideally, these containers should be pullout spaces within the design of the cabinets.
Let's talk about how to incorporate this green idea in the kitchen design. The easiest way is to retrofit the bins into existing kitchen cabinets. These pullout attachments are available at do-it-yourself home-improvement stores.
Whether you are remodeling or starting fresh, be sure to include deep cabinet drawers or a pullout shelf for items such as pots and pans and small appliances. Having the small appliances hidden away while not in use helps keep the kitchen neat and organized. And it is easier to get to these items with pullout shelves instead of having to dig for them or having to pull them out from standard cupboards or shelves.
Sometimes small, inexpensive changes are all that is necessary for freshening up the kitchen. Replacing the hardware on cabinets can give a new look with very little expense. The varieties and choices are almost inexhaustible, and you can do it yourself, saving you even more money. The next step up would be replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Here again, you might be able to do this yourself, but if you can't, the cost is still low because you aren't replacing the entire cabinets, only the facades.
Hiring a professional kitchen designer to work with is your best bet. Be sure to use a professional who sees things the way you do so he can get you the finished kitchen you will most enjoy, and one that fits your needs.
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, is author of "Mystery of Color."