Small Kitchens

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Tips and Advice

Are you blessed with a small kitchen? Fear not, whether you have a galley in a high-rise or a small space in a suburban cape, these decorating ideas will help you visually expand the look of your kitchen.

Tiny kitchens can feel claustrophobic when cabinets are towering overhead. Many cooks can’t reach what’s in them and the overall feeling is boxy and closed in. Get organized and trade the top cupboards for open storage. Consider shelving, pot racks and magnetic knife or spice holders instead. Your kitchen will look more spacious and serve up display space for your favorite dishes, shiny pots and pans, or artwork.

Because your kitchen may be short on interesting architectural details, it’s up to you to add the all-important style via compelling countertop surfaces, cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting and color. One tip: Using the same color and style of fixtures and cabinet pulls can help unify a look.

One of the easiest ways to visually expand a kitchen is to incorporate glass. Try a glass counter or tabletop, tile, door cabinets or kitchen doors that lead to the outside world or to the next room. Mirrors, in a backsplash also lighten up the look.

A small kitchen requires a combination of task and atmospheric lighting. To counteract the bluish cast of fluorescent lighting and add drama, install pendant lights in the eating area, incandescent lighting underneath upper cabinets and incandescent spot lighting above cabinetry.

Flooring in a small kitchen is so important. Linoleum in a checkerboard pattern can be really eye-catching and relatively inexpensive. Since square footage is small, you may be able to afford a beautiful tumbled marble.

The color of walls, appliances, counters, stools — even the dishtowels — can change the atmosphere and perceived size of the kitchen. Pastels or light colors, with good doses of white, reflect light and draw the eye up, making ceilings appear higher. Bold colorations can be very effective in smaller kitchens.

Rather than using tricks to visually enlarge the space, consider embracing your kitchen as-is. Instead of going light or sleek, opt for country cozy.

Decorating With Listellos

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Bathroom, Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Tile and Natural Stone, Tips and Advice

You may know what a medallion is when it comes to flooring and kitchen design, but what is a listello?

Listellos are ornamental tiles designed to create a distinctive look. By using differing shapes, colors, textures and materials within a series of tile work you can create any number of different accents. A limitless variety of tiles can be used including travertine, granite, marble, slate, glass, and porcelain.

Often, listellos are used as stair risers, living room flooring borders, and wall caps for powder rooms or entryways. Listellos are perfect for the transitional space between multi-level granite countertops on a kitchen island or bar area. They add color across the stovetop backsplash and under-cabinet areas of the kitchen.

Kitchen and bathroom decoration is the number one equity builder in a home. Listellos can dramatically change the most uninteresting tile layout into a design statement. Listello borders provide a center of interest and much-needed emphasis, the level of which is determined by the scale, color and design.

When selecting a color scheme, consider the amount of emphasis you are going for. If a dominant emphasis is your goal, high contrasting colors within the same space could be ideal. Alternatively, if a more subtle emphasis is desired, try matching the listellos to the surrounding tile or choosing muted tones. Saturation, or color intensity, can give the illusion of depth. A warm color or light tone will seem to project while a cool color or dark tone will appear to recede. Decide on the effect you would like to create and match other colors in the room to this decision. Start with something monochromatic, or all one color, and see what looks best.

When it comes to enhancing your home’s tile work, installing listellos is a great way to go. We have a great selection of listellos in the store. Please stop by the showroom to see how we can help.

Reader Question – Organized Pantries

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Family, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

Q. It doesn’t matter how many times I reorganize and label my pantry shelves. The pantry is always a disaster. Do you have any advice on how to keep a pantry looking tidy?

A. Pantries are notorious for being a disorganized mess despite our best efforts to keep them clean. Unlike a bedroom closet or a nightstand drawer, the pantry is used by all members of the family. Husbands and kids can wreak havoc on our best attempts to have a “Martha” looking pantry. That said, here are some tips to help sort out the chaos.

In your kitchen cabinet or pantry, use S hooks to hold an inventory list — so you know what you have, as well as how much you paid per unit, for the sake of future comparison shopping. The hooks can also keep other necessities handy: scissors and a box cutter for opening packages, a funnel for decanting liquids, and a scoop for dry goods.

Retrieving a jar of honey from the back of a crowded pantry can be awkward. For a simple fix, gather the small items you store on the shelf onto a spare baking tray, then treat it like a drawer, carefully sliding it in and out for easy access. The pan will also catch drips, speeding cleanup.

Use canisters to hold dry goods such as flour and sugar, and label them with their contents. Small items, such as teabags, dried fruit or bouillon, should go into small plastic bins or baskets. If you are so inspired you can buy baskets or colored bins, or you can simply find plastic containers.

Put spices on a lazy Susan on a shelf or a wall-mounted rack on the inside of your pantry door.

Group like items together: pastas, rice and lentils on one shelf; canned vegetables on another, keeping all the cans of crushed tomatoes, black beans and so on in a row (newer ones in back).

Put all your dried goods in glass or clear containers. Label them. This will not only get rid of clutter but it will also make your pantry look pretty.

If you follow those few simple guidelines and make an effort to tidy up the pantry on a weekly basis it won’t become a disaster zone.


Reader Question of the Week – Kitchen BackSplash

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Kitchen and Bath, Reader Question

We recently received this question from one of our readers:

I have golden oak cabinets and almond counter tops, what type and color of back splash would you recommend to give my kitchen a more updated look?
There are a few things to consider when planning a backsplash so start with asking yourself these questions:
1. Do you want the tile to blend or contrast with the other items in the kitchen?
2. How much room do you have? If you plan to keep an existing backsplash that’s part of the countertop, this limits the amount of space you have to work with.
3. Do you want the backsplash to be practical or a design element in your kitchen?
4. What colors do you want to add or pull out from your existing decor? Do you want to add a warm or cool color palette?
After you’ve answered these questions, consider glass tiles or large format tiles to give you an updated look.
If you still aren’t sure and need a visual, check out our virtual room designer. You can try on different looks here, to get an idea if you like large or small tiles, contrasting colors or tiles that blend.
Please let us know if you have any other questions!


Trend Spotting: Wood for the Dining Table

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath

Wood in the dining room is nothing new. Wood dining tables are the standard for most homes for their durability and beauty. Other wood furniture in the dining room can included a buffet or sideboard or china cabinet. Wood floors are a great flooring option for the dining room because you don’t have to worry about stains or spills. But today we’re going to talk about wood on the table, specifically wood plates and cutlery.

Have you seen this trend on blogs, shelter magazines or your favorite retailer? Wood plates, chargers and even cutlery is showing up on the table. As an alternate to disposable plastic or paper plates that can clog landfills if they aren’t recyclable, wood can be used more than once and is a considered a green product because it will biodegrade unlike plastic.

Wood used as serving dishes is nothing new. Wooden bread plates and salad bowls have been used for generations. Wood serving pieces like tongs and salad servers have also been around for years as have wooden chop sticks. Wood handles on other serving pieces and knives are nothing new. Wood place settings are just following in a long line of using wood on the table.

Wood chargers can be placed under traditional ceramic or porcelain place setting. Wood plates can add a natural touch and are beautiful on their own or when mixed with ceramic, glass or porcelain pieces. Wood cutlery, which is sometimes made from bamboo, can be used everyday but should not be placed in the dishwasher; rather it should be hand washed.

Floor To Ceiling Storage in the Kitchen

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Kitchen and Bath

Every design evolves over the years and decades. Kitchen design is continually evolving as trends and styles come in and out of fashion. For many years soffits between the top of the upper cabinets and ceiling were popular design elements in kitchens. Unless there is a venting issue, most kitchen design today does away with soffits, replacing them with additional storage.

The number of kitchen cabinet options has grown over the years. Yes there are still standard heights for upper and lower cabinets but upper cabinets can now have two levels. The height of lower cabinets is more standard to accommodate a counter work surface. Upper cabinet heights can vary to accommodate different ceiling heights as well as storage needs.

This kitchen shows that you can put storage from the floor to the ceiling, even in a kitchen with a small footprint. Cabinets above the standard row of upper cabinets can be used to store less often used items. A stylish footstool can be used to reach these tall cabinets. Keeping the cabinets light like the tile floor helps the room feel light and airy, rather than overwhelmed by cabinetry.

Kitchen islands are another place for additional storage in the kitchen. Drawers and cupboards in a kitchen island provide more places to store kitchen essentials. Heavier items like big pots and slow cookers can be stored below the island. Peninsulas are also perfect for adding more storage if an island doesn’t work in your layout.

No matter your kitchen’s size, maximize storage by going from floor to ceiling with your cabinets.

Kitchen Multi-Tasker: The Island

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath

How did we ever live without kitchen islands? They help create the perfect triangular work pattern in a kitchen which cuts down on steps and can speed up the cooking process. Extra counter space and storage are both winners in making any kitchen more functional. Kitchen islands can be built in or moveable; both work to increase the functionality of any kitchen.

Larger kitchens may have islands that accommodate ranges and even sinks in addition to prep space and storage below. These large islands can also provide seating in the kitchen for casual meals and keeping the chef company.

Smaller kitchens like the one pictured here do not have the floor space for a grand island. Older kitchens may not have built in islands. To address this lack, a moveable or non-permanent island can be purchased from a home store and placed in the center of the room. These islands can sometimes feel more like furniture than cabinetry. Some islands are open on the bottom with a shelf below the work surface. Others, like this one, may have both closed and open storage. Choosing or painting an island the same color as the cabinets and using the same material for the work surface as the counters can make the island look like it belongs.

Very small kitchens with virtually no footprint are best served by an island on wheels that can be pushed aside when not in use. This will free up the floor space for better traffic flow and make the room appear larger.

Decorating a Breakfast Nook

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

If you are lucky enough to have a nook or small space off your kitchen for a eat-in dining area you’ll want to take full advantage it. Decorating a breakfast nook or corner is very similar to decorating a dining room. Given the small footprint and the fact that the nook is adjoined to the kitchen make the breakfast nook easy to decorate.

If your breakfast nook opens onto your kitchen, use the same paint and flooring as you do in the kitchen to make the two areas feel part of the same room. If you want to call more attention to the breakfast space, you can paint the walls a different color or add window treatments to draw the eye. An area rug under the table can make the space feel more its own.

A table and chairs are a must for the breakfast nook. You can do a smaller table and fewer chairs than you would in the dining room. Use a bistro table for two or a simple round table that can seat four if you have the room.

Like the dining room, you’ll want to have good lighting over the table for dining and other activities like homework or bill paying. A pendant light or simple chandelier can make the space feel more special.

If you have the room in the nook, use one wall to add a buffet or hutch for additional kitchen storage. Artwork or a mirror can finish off the space, giving it the same polished design as your dining room.

Not Your Typical Kitchen Ideas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Kitchen and Bath

So many of today’s big design trends are all about personalization of spaces. For most people, gone are the days when you had one style for your entire home that could easily be labeled as Traditional or Modern. Today’s interior design and decorating is more about a mix of styles. You may be Farmhouse with a touch of Contemporary or Traditional but with a Global or Ethnic edge. Kitchen designs should also reflect your own quirks.

Let’s look at the designs of this kitchen. This isn’t your standard builder kitchen design. In fact, most of what we can see is anything but typical. Colored cabinets in a pale blue are the foundation of this kitchen’s unique style. Having only lower cabinets opens up the space above the counter. Rod storage allows you to keep spices and cooking implements off the counter.

The counter and sink are not your standard granite and double sink. Instead this kitchen has wood countertops and a pair of round sinks. The sinks are under mounted, which is a big trend right now. The single gooseneck faucet can easily reach both sinks. Round sinks are more typical in a bathroom than in a kitchen.

The backsplash is a grid of square tiles in warm neutral beige. The color adds a bit of warmth to complement the wood of the countertop and the grid pattern feels modern. The simple square tiles are a break from traditional subway tiles or the popular mosaic tiles seen in many current kitchen designs.

Kid Friendly Kitchen Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood, Kitchen and Bath, Tile and Natural Stone, Tips and Advice

Kids and pets can be harder on our homes than the adults in some cases. Spilled juice on the carpet, sticky handprints on the walls, crayon art on anything but paper. Durable and safe products are a must for homes with small children. This is especially true when it comes to flooring. Today we’re focusing on kid friendly kitchen floor options that are durable but also safe for little feet.

If you have babies and toddlers, you’ll want to provide them with crawling and walking surfaces that are friendly to little knees and feet. Spending time in the kitchen while mom cooks means they’ll be toddling around underfoot. Stone and tile floors are very hard and can be cold if you don’t have in floor heating. The grout and uneven surface of stone floors make them not the top choice for kid friendly kitchen floors.

Hardwood is a better option, especially with in-floor heat. Hardwood and laminate flooring is not as hard as ceramic tile or stone so it will be easier on little knees. It has no grout lines and a smooth surface that makes it easier to clean up spills and dirt.

Linoleum, marmoleum and cork are other kid friendly options because they feel softer underfoot. Ultra hard surfaces like stone and tile can lead to more breakage if something is dropped—a nightmare if you have little fingers picking things up off the floor.

Kid friendly floors are easy on the feet and easy to keep clean. Talk with your flooring retailer about the best flooring option for your kitchen and your kids.