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Homes: Design tricks to add pizazz to your kitchen

Is your kitchen more than just a place to make meals? Is it the nerve center of the home? If so, it's important that every inch of this hub be efficient and beautiful, a welcoming oasis that gets the job done. Thankfully, you don't have to do a complete remodel to make your kitchen a success. Just try a few of these budget-friendly design tricks. Scripps Howard News Service

Make wise use of the space

Aside from cooking, what else would you like to be able to do in your kitchen? Is this a place you want guests to gather during parties? A spot for the family to watch television? Will you eat in this space every day? Would you like to include an area for a home office or craft workspace? Need some shelving to display collectibles or store cookbooks? Once you define what your kitchen needs to do, use a to-do list as a blueprint for configuring the space efficiently.

Freshen up

There are many ways to freshen the look of your kitchen that don't cost a fortune. How about new window treatments to perk up the room? Another low-cost, high-impact trick is to update the light fixtures. Hang a chandelier over the kitchen island or breakfast table, put task lighting under the cabinets or place a little lamp on the countertop to add character.

If your budget will allow, invest in new countertops, backsplash and cabinets. But if money is tight, change out the cabinet doors for a newer, more contemporary style. Or remove some of the doors altogether for a clean, open-shelf look. How about new hardware for the cabinet doors and drawers? You can also give existing cabinets a facelift with paint or glaze.

Rethink furnishings

Are the furnishings in your kitchen working well in the space? If not, reconfigure things a bit. For instance, go for plush upholstered armchairs for the breakfast table instead of the hard uncomfortable ones. Or make new or better use of a nook by moving in a loveseat to create a reading corner.

Homes: Design tricks to add pizazz to your kitchen 02/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 12, 2009 3:30am]
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