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Category: Blog

Kitchen: 10 Steps To Going Contemporary

The appeal of a contemporary kitchen is often how clean it looks, and likewise how easy it is to keep clean. Gone are the heavily detailed wood cabinet doors and drawer fronts with their raised panels and crevices for dust (or worse) to get lodged in. Ogee shaped brackets and crown moldings are also a thing of the past when going contemporary.

Smooth, sleek surfaces and straight lines seem to dominate. The blank canvas of a contemporary kitchen allows for you to highlight a piece of fine artwork on an empty wall, a colorful bowl with fruit, or a vase with fresh flowers.

Here are 10 contemporary kitchen ideas that are trending right now.

Lacquered Cabinets
These are cabinets that have several coats of lacquer in pretty much any color you want. They are polished to a smooth finish.

Satin Nickel Hardware
Nickel is a sturdy metal with a finish that does not highlight fingerprints. Simple door and drawer pulls in nickel can add a modern twist to cabinets.

Quartz Countertops
While these counters have been gaining in popularity, they really play well with a contemporary theme. You can opt for the ones that do not pretend to look like granite. These are available in various colors and are quite strong and sanitary.

Sheet Glass Backsplashes
Glass tile has been a hot item for backsplashes the past few years. You can achieve a more contemporary look by using sheets of glass that don’t have grout lines. The monolithic sheets are available in different color tints. They reflect light well, opening up a space.

Cabinet Depth Appliances
While oversized appliances may be practical, they tend to break up the lines of a kitchen. Newer appliances are now available that are more compact and designed to sit flush with the cabinet face. A good example of this is the refrigerator drawers that fit snuggly into a base cabinet. These are ideal for beverages and produce.

Free Floating Vent Hoods
There are some very cool venting systems for over your range or cooktop available. These are not the ones that hang beneath a cabinet and jut out into the room. These are free floating, stainless steel, works of art that are meant to be noticed.

Integrated Sinks
Integrated sinks have come a long way from the heyday of synthetic solid surface countertops. These materials had some growing pains with the sinks being subject to developing vein-like cracks around the drains and garbage disposals. Integrated sinks in stainless steel or concrete counters tend to fair much better and with the same clean edges.

Wall Mounted Faucets
There is something very smart about having your faucet in the backsplash, rather than on the deck of your counter or sink. An especially nice feature is in the faucets that you can fold back against the wall when not in use.

Porcelain Tile Plank Floors
Porcelain planks are trending for both indoor and outdoor applications. They are available in earth tones and grays, and can have the look of wood. The tile is installed without the need for wide grouted joints. It is extremely durable, easy to clean, and has a modern look and feel.

LED Task Lighting
LED task lighting is more energy efficient and has a lower profile than incandescent or fluorescent fixtures. LED is available in thin strips that can be placed discreetly under cabinets, at toe-kicks, or even in drawers. They are great for over counter lighting and for mood or night lighting.

Choosing the Right Tile for Your Bath

One of the more pleasurable aspects of decorating or renovating a bathroom is choosing the type of tile for the room. Remember, tile is not only for the floor or the shower stall. Tile can be placed on backsplashes, vanity tops and tub decks. It comes in so many varieties that it can be a focal point of the bathroom.

What is Tile?
Tiles can be made out of almost anything, including wood and leather, but when it comes to bathroom tile people are referring to material that’s hard, esthetically pleasing and water-proof. Here are some different types of tile for the bath space:

Ceramic Tiles
These tiles are made of clay that is fired at high temperatures. Porcelain tile, also made of clay, is fired at even higher temperatures. Ceramic and porcelain tiles come in a great array of sizes, shapes and colors that can match the decor of just about any bathroom. The prices range from inexpensive to quite pricey. Ceramic tiles are easy to maintain, though the grout between them needs to be kept clean and sealed.

Tiles can be carved out of such natural stone as granite, marble, limestone, slate and travertine. The colors are usually neutral and give a bath space a luxurious look. Most stone is porous and needs to be sealed against staining. The homeowner also needs to make sure that the floor is sturdy enough to support the heavier tiles. Though regular stone is surprisingly affordable, rare specimens of stone can be very expensive.

People are surprised to hear that glass tiles can work in a bathroom, but certain types of glass are made to be both strong and beautiful. Glass tiles come in many colors. Popular colors for glass tile are blue or green, and they give a bathroom a shimmering, maritime feel because of the way the light falls into them. Glass tends to cost more than ceramic or even stone tile.

Though some people find metal off-putting, it is quite attractive if it’s used judiciously as an accent, a border or a backsplash. Stainless steel immediately brightens an area of the bathroom, but warmer colors such as those found in copper or bronze can be had. Metal scratches easily, so the homeowner should take note of this. They should also know that some tiles look like metal but only have a glazed metal finish. Metal can be very inexpensive, though handcrafted metal tiles can be more expensive than glass or stone.

Things to Consider
Before buying tile, the homeowner has to know which tiles are rated for the floor and which tiles can be put on the walls. The two types can’t be interchanged. Floor tiles are tougher and heavier than wall tiles, and they should have a textured as opposed to glossy finish to reduce the risk of slipping. Because they can be unkind to the feet, especially on winter mornings, it’s a good idea to lay floor mats.

Most types of tile can be easily installed by a DIYer over a weekend. These include mosaic tiles, which are small tiles that are attached to a backing. Special tiles with irregular designs, shapes and sizes should be left to a professional tiler.

KITCHEN: Storage ideas and hacks to simplify your space

Having a small kitchen can be super frustrating, especially for people who like to cook. Even small space has a lot of potential, though. With these hacks for small apartments or houses, you can make the most out of the space you have and start to love your petite kitchen.

Maximize Your Cabinet Doors
The insides of cabinets can provide a lot of extra storage space. All you have to do is hang a cork board or a magnetic board on the inside of the cabinet door. Put up your shopping lists and small containers for holding items like spices, gum and other small items. You can also use chalkboard paint on the inside of your cabinets and use them for making lists – this may help keep your multiple lists off your refrigerator door, which will quickly make your kitchen look decluttered.

Store Your Knives Smartly
In a small kitchen, there’s usually a shortage of both drawer space and counter space. Since you’ll need your knives close by, especially if you cook a lot, you can’t exactly store them too far from the stove. Use the backsplash behind your stove to keep them within arm’s reach. Put up magnetic strip and then hang the knives (and other metal utensils) you use most frequently.

Take Advantage of an Empty Wall
It can be hard to notice the blank space you have in your kitchen, but unused areas can be converted into storage. If you have a wall or part of a wall that you’re not using, consider putting up shelves. Open shelves will give you extra room as well as easy access to your items. If you store your nicer dishes and appliances on them, you can brighten up the space, too. Even a tiny bit of space on either side of a window can be maximized with slim shelving.

Storing Your Pots and Pans
You’ve probably seen gorgeous copper pots and pans hanging from the ceiling in super fancy homes, but this featured isn’t just for the rich. You can get a scaled-down version and hang some of your frequently used pots and pans overhead. If you don’t want to put a fixture overhead, consider putting hooks on the ceiling of your cabinets and hanging them there.

Keep Bulk Foods in Smaller Containers
If you like to buy in bulk in order to save money, keep smaller portions of the foods in air-tight containers. Big boxes or bags of cereal, crackers and even dog food can be stashed away in a closet and only taken out to refill your containers. Plus, storing your food like this will keep it fresh for longer.

Get Rid of Your Table
If you need a surface to eat on but your kitchen table is taking up a majority of the space, consider having a folding table built into the wall. You can bring in a couple of folding chairs or slim stools for when you’re ready to dine-in, the fold it up out of the way when you’re finished.

Take a good look around your kitchen to find space that’s being unused. If you have tall cabinets and are only using the bottoms of them, consider hanging items. If you have wall space that’s blank, think of what you can put up to make your life easier. If you need extra help, talk to experts who renovate kitchens for a living.


10 Practical and Creative Bathroom Ideas

The bathroom is one of the most used rooms of the home where residents spend time bathing and grooming each day. The room should have a high level of appeal with its design and style to ensure that it stands out on the property. When you want to incorporate practical and creative bathroom ideas, there are a few important designs to use.

1. Subway Tiles
Subway tiles are sleek and modern for those who want to create a trendy space that looks urban. The tiles will enhance the design of the walls and will create an upscale environment that can feature a horizontal or herringbone pattern.

2. Wallpaper
Wallpaper is one of the most common home design trends that enhances the aesthetics of the room and determines its overall style. Consider using a bold print that includes oversized florals or chevron print on all four walls or on one accent wall in the room.

3. Pedestal Tubs
Make a statement by installing a pedestal tub, which will work as the focal point of the bathroom and incorporates a vintage touch that looks regal in the setting.

4. Marble Countertops
Marble countertops have replaced granite materials in bathrooms and will allow the space to look chic and contemporary. Install marble countertops, which will look beautiful with gold fixtures that are used on the cabinets or sink.

5. Reclaimed Wood
Add reclaimed wood to different areas, which can include on an accent wall or with the cabinets that are installed. The touch will create a rustic design that will incorporate extra warmth into the room for a cozy detail.

6. White Linens
Use fresh white linens in the bathroom to create a clean setting that feels more like a spa and will make it look professionally decorated. You can add a stack of white towels on one of the shelves or roll up white wash clothes to place in a wicker bin when storing the linens.

7. Sconces
The lighting that is used in bathrooms influences the style of the room and how comfortable it feels. Add sconces on each side of the mirror above the sink to create a balanced look that illuminates the setting.

8. Glass Door Knobs
Create a unique touch in the bathroom with glass knobs that are used on the doors, which will allow the room to look antique and classy. The glass knobs will add extra detail in the setting to ensure that you have all of your bases covered when it comes to designing the space.

9. Oversized Chandelier
Add a dramatic chandelier in the bathroom, which is an unconventional fixture that will make the bathroom feel cozy and can make the environment look upscale. The fixture will illuminate the room and will wrk as a classy detail that can be paired with rustic or antique furnishings.

10. Floating Vanities
Floating vanities look modern and innovative while also freeing up extra space underneath the countertops where you can store extra baskets or bins for your towels and toiletries.

Counter Installs: How to Choose and Install Properly

Counters for kitchens are available in a variety of materials. Choosing the right material for your needs depends on several personal preferences. Durability, aesthetics, maintenance, and cost all have to be considered. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options available. 

The appeal of granite as a counter material is still going strong. It may well be the top choice for many homeowners and kitchen designers. Granite is a very hard surface. It is available in multiple colors and patterns. It wipes it clean easliy. It is one of the more costly surfaces. The longevity and durability of granite might offset the initial investment. Granite requires some routine maintenance. It is recommended that it be resealed once a year, depending on how much use it is subjected to.

Granite slabs are cut at a stone fabrication shop to match a template that your contractor or kitchen professional supplies. Seams have to be matched properly. The stone is best installed by a professional. It is glued in place onto a plywood base layer.

Manufactured stone counters are made from a combination of stone materials and binding polymers. Quartz is strong, stain resistant, heat resistant, anti-microbial, and virtually maintenance free. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns. Quartz is comparable to granite in terms of cost and installation.

If you are looking for a warm, farm house style look, wood is a great countertop material. Butcher block is strong and durable when sealed properly. Wood is generally less costly than stone and quartz, depending on the type of wood you choose. Teak and mahogany are water resistant and very handsome. Wood does need to be sealed to keep it free of bacteria and damage from water. You will have to sand and reseal it periodically, just as you would a hardwood floor.

You can purchase butcher block in specific lengths and attempt a DIY installation. Wood is easy to measure, cut, and install directly on top of base cabinets. You don’t need to worry about matching seams. Alternatively, your carpenter can install a wood counter rather quickly and accurately.

Laminate countertops have been around for decades, and are still a very popular material for a budget friendly installation. Laminates have come a long way in the last 30 years. They are better made with cleaner seams. The color, texture, pattern, and material options are endless. A particularly nice option is stainless steel laminate. You can achieve the sleek look of stainless without spending a small fortune on a custom metal counter. Laminates require little maintenance, other than wiping them down. Certain laminate materials are prone to reacting poorly to hot pots being placed on them.

Laminates are thin sheets that are cut and glued to plywood or pressed board cores. The core material is attached directly to the base cabinets. This is another installation project that you can try yourself.

The use of concrete as a counter material continues to grow in popularity. Concrete is a very versatile material that can be shaped and sized to pretty much any design configuration. Concrete is very strong, functional, and easy to maintain when sealed properly. You can choose different colors and aggregates for a distinctive personalized décor.

Making your own concrete countertop is super economical, though labor intensive and extremely heavy to lift into place. There are professionals who specialize in concrete counter fabrication and installation. It will cost you a little more, but the time saved is an enormous benefit.


Additional Considerations
In addition to the counter materials and installations mentioned above, there are other options available that you might also want to consider. Glass, recycled materials, marble, soapstone, ceramic tile, and custom stainless steel or zinc are all mentioning.

Five Inexpensive Personal Touches For Sprucing Up Your Bath Space

The bathroom may appear to be a little bland for a homeowner’s taste, and she may be thinking of ways to make it come alive. It is, after all, a very well used room of the house and should be just as appealing and comfortable as any other area. Some additions that might be made to this room or several bathrooms to give them a little more atmosphere and interest could include:

Plants will thrive in this moist area, especially if there is a window or two or strong lighting. Choose plants that match the theme chosen. For example, if it is a tropical theme, add palm-type house plants. If it is a rustic look, cactus or corn plants may be appropriate. During the holidays, Easter lilies or poinsettias will look perfectly at home in this small area. If real plants just are not possible, quality silk plants are also an option.

If small pieces of framed art are readily available, this can be the perfect place to display them. The art can be done by professional artists, local painters, or even by children or grandchildren. This can add so much color and appeal to the walls. Choose frames that match the decor. If it is very formal and traditional, carved wooden frames may be appropriate. More modern art would look best in plain black or white frames. Children’s artwork can be placed in clear acrylic frames and be easily switched out to the next “masterpiece.”

Spots of color can be added in many ways. Paint a small accent wall a bold color. Invest in new and bright shower curtains, throw rugs, wash cloths, and towels. Even scented soaps come in a variety of appealing shades. A simple step such as replacing the soap dish, lotion dispenser, and toothbrush holder may give a fresh new look to the room.

A great way to give this area a cozy feel is to add small shelves to the blank walls of this room. Display a variety of interesting collections such as antique perfume bottles, shells, and even Avon men’s cologne bottles. Use the open shelves to store pretty soap bottles, imported lotions, and aftershave sprays. Shelving above the toilet is a great place to store and display necessities such as fingernail polish, washcloths, quality shampoos and soaps, and bath and body sprays.

Candles can add so much to the atmosphere in a bathroom. They can also help dispel odors and permeate the area with a variety of delicate scents. Try lilac, lavender, fresh linen, baby powder, or rose scents to make this room even more welcoming. During the holidays, use cinnamon, pine, pumpkin, or peppermint scents.

There are so many ways to add character and pizazz to this small room. Use imagination, ask for a talented friend’s assistance or call on expert interior decorators to assist. Whatever it is decided to add, this room will pop with innovative and unique touches. If there is a long line outside this door during the next family gathering, it may be that they want to enjoy all the special touches that have been added.

10 Steps to a More Organized Pantry

Oftentimes, we get so caught up in organizing the large spaces in our homes that smaller, equally as important spaces get forgotten. The pantry is one such place, and having an organized one makes a world of difference when it comes to cooking. By thoroughly organizing your pantry, you can not only keep things tidy, but you can also minimize food waste and extra spending by keeping close track of your inventory. If you are interested in having a more organized pantry, here are 10 steps to follow to get you on the right track.

Empty the pantry entirely.
Sometimes you must make things messier in order to properly organize. The pantry is no exception to this rule. Pull everything out from canned goods to boxes of cereal and put them on the kitchen table. Take this time to wipe down the shelves and floors in your pantry – why organize a dirty space?

Create a flow chart.
Write down where you want things to go, and why. Putting some effort into the flow of the pantry can end up helping in the long run with inventory and using things within their expiration dates. Group canned goods together for example; feel free to break it down further by grouping them in categories like “soups,” “vegetables,” and so on. The more specific you are, the better organized your pantry will be.

Corral the cans.
Invest in the sturdy containers designed to hold canned goods. They save valuable space in the pantry by stacking the cans in neat rows instead of just having large piles of canned goods everywhere. This will inevitably lead to a much cleaner, much more organized pantry space.

Obtain clear containers.
When storing items, it is best to keep them in dry, airtight containers that you can see through. Because humans are so good at ignoring sensory overload, looking into a pantry rife with labels can lead to not even realizing what you have in your stock – but if you use the clear containers, you’re forced to actually look at what is in them. This keeps you from overbuying items you already have and using what you’ve got before it goes bad.

Label all the containers.
Whether you have a fancy label maker or choose to do it by hand, label all of your containers with easy to read font. When everything has a proper place, it’s easier to keep up on the organization every time you go to put food away.

Add extra, moveable shelving.
Most of the time, pantries come standard with big, open shelves. Trimming down the openness and customizing the storage space can help with the flow and tidiness of the pantry and it can aid in helping you keep just the right amount of food in the house without having too much or too little.

Create an inventory list.
Make a reusable inventory list to hang on the inside of the pantry door. Chalkboards and dry erase boards are great for this because of how easily you can erase or add items on your list. This helps you keep track of the food in your house and when it comes time to make a grocery list for the week, you’ll know exactly what to get for your pantry.

Utilize every inch of pantry space available.
Add small baskets on the back of the door for your spices. Line the side walls with hooks for potholders, aprons, and towels. Put small appliances under the bottom shelf for convenient storage. Using every available space keeps everything in its place rather than having things strewn about haphazardly.

Move things forward.
As you use a spice, dry good, or oil make sure it stays in the front of the line so to speak. By keeping opened packages readily available for you to see, using already opened supplies will become habit instead of opening multiple packages of the same item.

Avoid having too much excess.
Having a stockpile of staple pantry items is great; having a hoard is not. Buying in bulk when things are on sale is often very tempting but unless you plan to actually use whatever you’re buying within a few weeks, try to limit how much of any one thing you store. Excess is always the enemy of organization and this holds incredibly true in the pantry as well.

The pantry is one of the most used places in the house so keeping it organized is of utmost importance. By following the steps above, you can create a tidy, organized pantry for yourself and enjoy the peace of mind it brings.


10 Bathroom Updates to budget for 2017

Bathrooms are one of the most used rooms of the home and significantly influence the value of residential properties. Many homeowners want to create a contemporary setting with updated features and decor that is used. For those who are planning on redesigning their bathroom, there are a few updates to budget for in 2017.

1. Dark Green Shades
More homeowners are incorporating dark green shades into their bathrooms, which are replacing blue shades that have commonly been used in past years. The green shades can be paired with beige or brown colors and will allow the room to feel warm and inviting.

2. Kit-Kat Tiles
Kit-kat tiles are replacing subway tiles in 2017 and are longer in their shape and size. The feature allows the bathroom to appear modern and sleek. They can be placed vertically or horizontally to make a statement and stand out in the shower or when used on the backsplash.

3. Terracotta
Terracotta tiles incorporate extra warmth into the room and include a natural matte finish that allows them to be used on walls. The tiles will replace cool and white features to create a cozy setting that is more welcoming.

4. Extra Storage Options
The functionality of the bathroom is crucial to creating a modern space that is updated. Add extra storage options that make everything within reach and keep clutter off of the countertops with built-in shelves and pull-out drawers that are used.

5. Metallics
Metallic designs continue to remain popular in 2017 and add a bit of style in the bathroom to allow the space to flow well with the rest of the home. Consider installing brass faucets or gold fixtures to add a high-end element that makes the room appear luxe.

6. Industrial Details
One of the most modern elements of the new year are industrial details with concrete floors or walls that can be used. The gritty design of the material is available in tiles to ensure that it transforms the setting and hides scuffs or marks that develop.

7. Custom Bathroom Tiles
More homeowners want to have a bathroom in their home that is unique with its design, which makes custom bathroom tiles in demand to create a customized environment that is specific to your home’s style. Artisanal tiles will create a high level of visual appeal and can be paired with a featured stone.

8. Wood
Timber is a common material that will be incorporated into bathrooms in the coming year to incorporate a bit of warmth into the space, which can be used in unique ways. Consider adding it to the sink or on the walls to impress your guests.

9. Large Tiles
Oversized tiles are an up and coming trend that reduce the amount of grout lines that are present and enhance the space of the bathroom.

10. Pink Elements
Touches of pink are unexpected and break a few rules when it comes to interior design for those who want to have a bit of fun. Add hot pink towels in a dark room or various shades of blush with the art that is on display.

10 Kitchen Updates to Budget for 2017

December is the ideal time of year to start putting together a list of projects that need to be completed around the house next year. This includes working up a realistic budget. It takes a little research, but it can be fun.

It seems that our kitchens often make the top of the list for updating. Let’s explore a few of the things you can do to freshen up your kitchen in 2017.

Reface your Cabinets
Refacing your cabinets is one of the most dramatic things you can do to update your kitchen. It can be as simple as repainting with a new color or staining them. Or, you could completely change out the doors and drawer fronts to give a more contemporary or a more classic look. Inserting glass in doors can lighten up the room.

Switch out Hardware
An easy kitchen upgrade is changing out your door and drawer hardware. The available options are endless, and many are quite affordable. Make a bold statement with some of the new designer series of hardware. Kitchen and bath showrooms are good places to get some ideas.

New Countertops
If your countertops are delaminating or are stained, you might want to consider changing the material out. Granite is still the number one kitchen counter material. It is certainly durable, though not without its drawbacks. You might want to look into countertops that are made from a blend of quartz and other raw materials. These are hard, non-porous, stain resistant, impact resistant, and easy to clean. They also come in a variety of colors. Think about changing the color scheme.

Refurbish Existing Countertops
Stone countertops can benefit from resealing. White water spots can be removed with a paste of baking soda and water. After the stone has been cleaned and allowed to dry, apply a fresh coat of sealer to give new life to the stone.

Lightly sand down your wood countertops and reseal them to protect them.

Replace or Repair your Backsplash
Dress up your kitchen by changing out the backsplash. Bling it out with tinted glass or metallic tiles. Perhaps add a blackboard backsplash in a particular area that would be fun for the whole family.

If you want to keep your ceramic tile backsplash, consider having it re-grouted and cleaned to freshen up the kitchen.

Opt for Stainless Steel Appliances
Do you have white or black appliances? Stainless steel is so popular now that just about every appliance company offers a stainless steel finish option. The prices are more competitive now. Stainless steel appliances will brighten up your kitchen instantly.

Replace your Faucet
Kitchen faucets don’t last forever. They do need to be replaced or repaired at some point. Faucets are becoming smarter and have more functionality. There are hands-free faucets, and faucets with extensions that make filling pots easier. Modernize your sink with a new faucet.

Reconfigure Cabinet Interiors
Storage needs are always changing. You may find that you need taller shelf space to store a stand mixer or a blender. You may also want to be able to reach things more easily. There are companies that specialize in remodeling cabinet and closet interiors to better meet your storage needs. They can install pull-out shelves to help you find what you are looking for without having to bend down and empty out the cabinet.

Upgrade your Lighting
With the recent switch from standard incandescent light bulbs to the more efficient LED and CF bulbs, now is the time to upgrade your light fixtures. Visit a show room and see how well a kitchen can be lit with newer and more efficient fixtures.

Add Trim and Molding
If your door and window trim is pretty standard builder’s quality, consider changing it out to something with more definition to give the room a more finished appearance. Adding crown molding above cabinets can bring the whole room together by framing everything like you would a piece of art.

Start planning your 2017 updates now and have fun with it! It often helps to have a vision board of things you really like. Make use of magazines and product brochures to collect your ideas.


Tasteful Decorating for the Holidays for your Bathroom and Kitchen

Kitchens and bathrooms are two rooms that are often overlooked when it comes to decorating for the holidays. That doesn’t mean that they should be neglected. Your kitchen and bathroom are two places where your holiday guests will eventually end up, so if you enjoy decorating for the holidays, here are some tasteful decorating tips for those rooms. 

Unused Space
You can utilize standard holiday décor in your kitchen and bath that you would normally use in your family room and entryway. A large, simple, clear glass jar or vase filled with holiday ornaments, pine cones, and lights will make a big impact in a corner that is rarely used. 

Lighting Considerations
If you use holiday lighting, keep it away from sinks and other sources of water for safety reasons. If in doubt, battery powered LED lights work awesome and last a long time using standard batteries. If you go with white LED lights, buy the “warm white” ones or you will end up with a blue-white hue that is cold and uninviting.

Use Temporary Hanging Accessories
Take advantage of removable hooks and suction cups that allow you to hang decorations on walls, windows, and mirrors. Use one on any surface to hang a wreath or other wall décor. Temporary hooks and hangers are secure and won’t damage your walls or other surfaces. 

Use Vertical Space
If you are low on counter space, utilize the vertical space to make the most of your holiday displays. Platters, cake stands, and candle holders can be stacked to create tiered a holiday display. Secure any stacked items and keep them far enough away from the edge of the surface where little hands can find them. These tiered surfaces also allow you to use your deserts, like cookies and cupcakes, as décor. Just decorate them with colored sprinkles or icing that coordinates with your décor.

Look Up
Space above eye level is easy to forget, but is a great place to decorate. The top of your kitchen cabinets, over windows, and chandeliers can be great places to decorate. Hang ornaments or pine cones from a chandelier with fishing line, drape garland around the top of kitchen cabinets, and hang a lighted garland around the top of the bathroom mirror.

If you have children, or child visitors, there are many child-friendly décor items for the kitchen and bath. For a children’s bathroom, consider toilet seat covers adorned with holiday characters, coordinating shower curtains, and hand towels. These safe items will delight children and don’t create a hazard for small children.

You can use similar ideas in the kitchen with children in mind by decorating with character-themed kitchen towels, window curtains, table cloths, and plush character decorations. Use rubber underneath table cloths to prevent children from pulling them off the table and spilling food and drink.

Decor Makes a Home Inviting
Kitchens and bathrooms should not be forgotten during the holiday season. Your home will look and feel more inviting and warm, creating an atmosphere that is comfortable and relaxing. Try to think outside the box and keep children and safety in mind when decorating in these rooms.

Deep-Clean Your Bathroom – Six Steps to Cleanliness

Bathrooms aren’t usually the most sanitary rooms in a home. The bathroom is a haven for germs and bacteria, and not just because it’s a room where the toilet is located. Bathrooms are often damp, and dampness is where bugs, bacteria, and sometimes fungi get comfortable enough to make a home in these spaces. Homeowners can prevent bathrooms from being any dirtier than necessary by deep cleaning on occasion. In six simple steps, homeowners can feel much more comfortable with the sanitary state of even the dirtiest bathroom.

Clean the Shower Head
It’s one place homeowners forget to clean regularly. The best way to ensure the shower head in any bathroom is clean is to fill a plastic bag with vinegar. Place the bag over the head of the shower, and use a tie to keep it in place. Overnight is the ideal time to allow the head to soak for ample cleanliness before allowing it to rinse itself with running water.

Clean the Shower Curtains
Many people simply throw curtain liners away and replace them. It’s a nice concept, but what about that shower curtain? It might not be the thing that gets wet and covered in mildew, but it does require cleaning. Simply place it, along with the curtain liner, in the washing machine for one cycle with two to three old towels. The towels are to scrub the curtains as they wash. Hang the curtain back up to dry. Now it’s free of bacteria, mildew, and shower filth.

Clean the Faucets
So many people forget the clean the faucet. It’s best to do this daily with disinfecting wipes easily throw away after each use. This prevents bacteria from forming on the faucet in addition to any germs spread by hands turning water on and off between washings.

Clean the Sink Drain
Studies show this is one of the dirtiest places in the house, and it needs a good cleaning. Pour white vinegar down the drain. Wait a few moments before flushing it out with hot water. This kills bacteria living in there. Since many people wash their hands here after using the bathroom, spending time outdoors, and doing a number of other things, it’s filled with a variety of bacteria.

Clean the Grout
Some people ignore this step, but it’s crucial homeowners understand why this is dangerous. Grout doesn’t get a good deep clean with a mop. It’s porous. Homeowners need to use straight bleach every few months to clean this. The bleach works as a killing agent to annihilate any bacteria growing in the damp porous grout. It’s imperative homeowners keep the windows open as well as the fan on. It’s also imperative to rinse the grout once it’s clean.

Clean the Toilet Brush
There’s no real trick to cleaning a toilet. It needs to be scrubbed with cleaner, possibly with a damp pumice stone to fight any stubborn stains. What’s important to remember is the toilet brush. Most people forget that it’s covered in the grime, filth, bacteria, and feces it cleaned off the toilet moments before. Homeowners put it back in its carrier without a second thought. It should be replaced every few months, but it needs a good cleaning after each use. Put the brush between the toilet bowl and seat, close the seat, and douse the brush with bleach, wait, and then pour water on it before storing it.

Deep cleaning the bathroom is a dirty job, but someone needs to do it. The ideal time to deep clean is every other month or so to prevent bacteria from taking over. It’s a dirty room, but that doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way.

Smart Tips for Making Your Small Kitchen Functional

Kitchens are the hub of every home, and small kitchens seem to pose more problems than solutions. Just because a kitchen is small in space doesn’t mean it’s small in style or functionality. When a homeowner learns the proper way to maximize space, small kitchens become more functional, and the size no longer matters as much. Even when there’s little storage space and/or counter space, small kitchens don’t have to frustrate homeowners.

Add Floating Shelves
It’s more cost-effective to add floating shelves to empty spaces than actual cabinets, and many homeowners appreciate this chic look. Not only is it sophisticated, it’s functional. It allows homeowners more space to store aesthetically pleasing dishes and glassware, and it doesn’t cost a fortune.

Convert Baseboards
Most homes feature several inches of space beneath cabinets with nothing but a baseboard covering them. One idea to maximize space and functionality in a small kitchen is for homeowners to turn those empty spaces into drawers. It’s a DIY project for some, but it might require the help of a handyman for others. Either way, the space can be used for baking pans, pizza pans, or seasonal dishes that only make an appearance a few months out of the year.

Customized Cabinets
Every house has a few cabinets that aren’t used often. They’re too big for anything homeowners need to store. They don’t offer shelving for smaller items. They’re used up by only a few small kitchen items. It happens all the time, but many homeowners choose to fix this problem by installing custom cabinets. Every homeowner has a chance to create a cabinet system that works based on personal preference. Whether it’s a small cabinet designed specifically for spices or a big corner cabinet with a lazy Susan to maximize every corner, custom cabinet choices are endless.

Rolling Islands
Small kitchens typically don’t feature islands. They’re too big, and the space is too small. If a homeowner has a place to store a rolling island, however, it’s the perfect addition to any small space. Not only does it have storage capabilities, it also allows homeowners to bring it out when additional counter space is needed. When it’s no longer needed, the island is easily rolled back into a pantry or storage closet.

Maximize Odd Spaces
Some homes feature odd layouts where there’s a little extra room for additional items in between things like the fridge and the wall. A custom rolling pantry that pulls out is perfect for a space like this. It allows homeowners to pull things out as they are needed, as well as ensure they can store things without making the kitchen look more cluttered.

Small spaces have the potential to become big on space and style, but homeowners can’t always see that without a little help from the professionals. Sometimes it takes touring a kitchen showroom to see how upscale custom items and designs enhance spaces that seem hopeless to homeowners. Size matters, but not nearly as much as homeowners imagine when it comes to the kitchen.

How to Make Your Bathroom a Spa Oasis

The bathroom is one of the most private and used rooms in your home.  We think everyone’s bathroom should be a place to unwind, refresh and RELAX. Whether you are a bath soaker or shower steamer, everyone deserves a spa-like experience in their bathroom. The good news is you don’t have to undergo a huge renovation to get a more tranquil “feel” in your bathroom.

Below are some tips and tricks to transform your bathroom into a spa oasis without spending a fortune or going through a full renovation.

Color Matters
Trading bright and bold colors for blue/green/gray hues is a simple update that creates a more relaxing and low stress environment in your bathroom. It is a scientific fact that cool colors are more calming to our eyes and brains. You can easily apply this concept to paint and towel color choices, but you should also keep color in mind when deciding on flooring and tile in your bathroom.

Add Décor
You can spruce up your bathroom with plants; vases and greenery can really improve the look of your bathroom. Adding storage with a linen cabinet is a great way to keep your bathroom clean and organized. You can also add extra seating in your bathroom or create the perfect makeup counter for yourself, fully equipped with a beautiful mirror, great vanity/countertop and timeless stool/chair. The possibilities are endless when adding décor, storage and organization and they all scream “high end” as if you were at the spa.

Switch your Showerhead
Whether you like a lot of pressure or you enjoy a smooth trickle, there are a variety of options when looking to update your shower. Swapping out your old showerhead for a modernized showerhead is a simple way to bring the spa to your bathroom every morning. The possibilities are endless when looking for a new showerhead. You can get an oversized, a handheld, or add additional showerheads. Updating your shower head isn’t the only way you can bring the spa to your own bathroom. An open layout can help the flow of your bathroom and make it feel bigger; the easiest way to achieve this is a glass door shower. Glass door showers are timeless and can improve the look of your entire bathroom.

Soak, Soak, Soak
Nothing says spa quite like unwinding in the bathtub. The bathtub is typically where our eyes are drawn when we first walk into a bathroom. There are various options when looking at tubs such as a classic clawfoot, or a modern free standing tub. The bathtub that you choose immediately adds style to your bathroom. For extra relaxation, don’t forget your candles and bathtub caddy tray!

Creating a spa oasis in your own home bathroom can be as easy as making a few updates! Paying attention to color ensures that you will maintain a calm and serene feeling in your bathroom. Adding simple and timeless décor and organization can give your bathroom a high-end feel while keeping it clean and pleasing to the eye. Updating your shower allows you to create an experience as unique as you are every time you shower.  Having a stylish and functional bathtub is the last check on your checklist to creating your own oasis!

5 Space Saving Tips for Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the workhorse of the house. Not only does it entertain, but it also cooks, cleans, and houses a multitude of appliances both small and large. When it comes to storing the tools needed to perform all these tasks, space can get tight. That’s why you should take advantage of every inch you have.

Consider these space saving tips so your kitchen can effectively dish out the work you demand from it.

1. Pull-out drawers
When most people think storage the first thing that comes to mind is bigger or more cabinets. While that’s not a bad idea, there’s also a better one.

Many people don’t realize that standard cabinets with fixed drawers contain a lot of wasted space, especially when it comes to space below the counter top.

Take advantage of all your cabinets’ space by installing sliding drawers and baskets. These pull out so you can store (and reach) items in the far rear of the cabinet without having to move anything aside.

2. Lazy Susans
For cabinets hanging above the counter, utilize Lazy Susans. These turntables are especially handy in corners, where cabinets are deeper and sometimes difficult to reach.

3. Baskets & Bins
Not everything needs to be hidden away behind a cabinet door. Some items that are frequently accessed — like phone chargers, notepads, pens, or the like — are best stored in bins or baskets.

If your kitchen is fitted with a breakfast bar, consider installing small sliding bins underneath the bar, where they’ll be out of the way but easily accessible.

4. Functional storage
Aside from adding more cabinets, integrating functional storage pieces into your kitchen is a great way to save space. Islands are kitchen essentials and can be fitted with drawers and bins.

Even better, rolling islands (aka kitchen carts or workstations) are an excellent for smaller kitchens. They provide mobile counter top space (some are fitted with butcher block tops and can serve as mobile cutting boards) as well as shelves underneath for storing things like cookbooks, cutting boards, dishcloths, or other items.

Bonus: When you’re hosting, a kitchen cart can be decked out with cheese, appetizers, or drinks and rolled wherever the party is!

5. Multipurpose tools
Nothing saves space like downsizing but there’s no need to worry about getting rid of essential tools in the process. Many of today’s kitchen tools and appliances have been redesigned to have multiple uses.

Consider cutting boards with built-in, pop-out colanders, or small food processors that can do anything from chop to whip to grind meat. Or invest in a good stand mixer, a tool that has an almost endless number of attachments, making it good for mixing batter, making pasta, and grating cheese, among other things.

Other more old-fashioned tools, like cast iron pans, help save space because they’re good for the stove top as well as the oven or grill, cutting down on having separate pans for sautéing, baking, and roasting.

When you put these tips to work you’ll be surprised at how much more spacious — and effective — your kitchen can be

6 Brilliant Tips to Organize and Declutter Your Bathroom

The bathroom is the space where most of us begin and end our days. We shower in there in the mornings and get ready, and that experience sets the tone for the hours that lay ahead. We brush our teeth and wash our faces in the evening, preparing for a good night’s sound sleep. It makes sense then, that our bathroom should be a place of calm serenity.

Read on for six simple tips to transform your bathroom.

1. Think Neutral
There are amazing, wildly patterned, bright colored shower curtains, rugs and towels on the market. While these styles might be tempting, they could be overwhelming, especially in a smaller bathroom.

Consider using mostly neutral tones with a few pops of color. This will help create a serene, calming room which naturally lends to a sense of order and organization.

2. Make it Uniform
When possible, make things match. Using uniform refillable bottles for shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion will cut down on visual stimuli and make the bathroom appear and feel more orderly.

A bathroom with three mismatched towels hanging in it will seem much more cluttered than one with three towels of the same color or pattern. Invest in matching bath towels, hand towels, and face cloths.

3. Give Everything a Home
Items that you don’t use that often should be kept out of sight in the medicine cabinet, under the sink, or in drawers.

Things you use every-day should be accessible. Make these items part of your bathroom decor by storing Q-tips and cottons balls in attractive jars and corralling toiletries with a pretty tray.

4. Organize Hidden Spaces
Keep like items together. For instance, dedicate one large drawer to your hair dryer, flat iron, brush, and styling products. When things are easy to find, you save time and experience more order psychologically.

Reduce clutter by getting rid of stuff you don’t use. When in doubt, throw it out. The chances are unlikely that you’ll miss something that you never use anyway.

5. Utilize Vertical Space
If you don’t have space in the bathroom to spread out, spread up. Get creative with towel bars and shelving to maximize your space. Over the toilet organizers can be a great way to add storage without making the room feel like it’s closing in on you.

6. Keep it Clean
Cleanliness is the mother of order. It doesn’t take long for things to get out of hand–a towel gets tossed on the floor, the toothpaste lid isn’t returned to the tube, and the hairspray gets left out on the counter. Before you know it, the bathroom feels like it’s in total disarray. Nip these enemies of organization in the bud by setting aside five minutes every-day to tidy up and a half hour every week to deep clean.

Life is chaotic, but the bathroom doesn’t have to be. Give these tips a try and see if maintaining an orderly, peaceful bathroom helps to set the tone for orderly, peaceful days and nights.


The Bath & Kitchen Showplace
Bath & Kitchen Showplace offers everything you need for your bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects. We offer more than 50 years of experience to help our customers in the Austin, Dallas and Arlington areas find the best plumbing and fixture products for every budget. Please browse our site and let us know how we can help you.