Design & Planning Kitchen


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April, 2010

From space-saving designs to the latest in sophisticated style, our design tips are made with you and your dream kitchen in mind.

Designer 411

Designer 411

I seem to enjoy more traditional styles, but I fell in love with a few contemporary accessories-can I mix and match?

Absolutely! In fact, it is recommended to blur the lines of the design styles, since the contrast will bring out the natural beauty inherent in the objects. Knowing your design style will help you to find products that you may enjoy, or to help design professionals know your tastes, however you should add anything to your rooms that will make you enjoy the room. That may mean adding a faucet into your traditional bathroom, or adding a very traditional, detailed, antique piece of furniture to your contemporary room. If you love it and it makes you feel good, there are no rules stopping you from adding these elements to your design.

When choosing products or getting design ideas, where can I find inspiration?

Let life inspire you! Treat the planning process like you are visiting an art museum or gallery. Peruse magazines and see what photos or products "jump off the canvas" for you. To minimize budgets and maximize time, go online for ideas. Try sites that provide you with photos and ideas. And don't forget specialty stores and showrooms.

Outside the home decorating and design arena, there are many sources for ideas. Movies, which are larger than life, can be a great inspiration and take you into places you may never be able to visit. Or just try something new-a new restaurant, a new culture-you never know where your next inspiration for your design will come from. By being aware of your surroundings, you'll soon learn your likes and dislikes, which will help you to begin making choices for your products and design.

What is an easy way to quickly update the look of a kitchen or bath?

There are many ways to quickly and easily update your spaces while adding your own personality and individuality. Painting is a wonderful way to give a room an instant update. Even if you've never done it before, it is easy to learn and easy to repair if you mess up! Plus, it doesn't cost you more to paint your room one color or another and it's relatively inexpensive to do. Remember to choose a color that is going to inspire you and make you happy, as well as freshen up your space and take you in the direction that you want.

Many people ask how they can achieve a look that is pulled together. You can achieve this look not only through painted color, but also by choosing towels, bathmats, faucets and accessories that coordinate to create a more cohesive look. All of these items are readily available, can be relatively inexpensive, and can reinforce the message you are creating with the paint.

How do you determine or create a focal point?

Have you ever been in a room that was so busy or haphazard that you didn't know where to look? Most spaces benefit greatly by having a focal point since it draws your eyes to an area and anchors the space. A focal point can be many different things, whether it's painting one wall a different color than the other three walls, or maybe it's a bold piece of art, or a uniquely different faucet. Sometimes, it means a different surface on that wall-maybe tile on the wall, or textured wallpaper. There are many ways to determine how to approach creating a focal point, but it is important to determine this at the start of a project so that the rest of the design flows around the focal point in the room and doesn't compete for attention.

What decorative elements do you choose first?

Start with your most restrictive element. There are endless options in paint colors, but there may not be as many options for countertops, towels, or shower curtains-so start in an area like that. Then, look to the colors in those elements to see what inspires you and turns you on. Pick complementary colors to pull together the space. Metals are very neutral and can be used with any color-but have in mind what you want out of them, whether you want something clean or warm. Then, reinforce that metal finish everywhere-soap dishes, shower curtain rings, faucets and showerheads.

Should the master bath carry the same theme as the master bedroom?

These rooms do not need to be exactly the same theme. In fact, using the same colors or wallpaper is really boring! However, they should be connected or related. A good idea is to choose one color from the master bedroom and use it in the master bath-even as a secondary or tertiary color. Make it different, unique and interesting.

What can I do to update my rooms frequently?

If you are someone who likes to frequently update your rooms, neutral walls with colorful accessories are the best way to forge ahead. Since neutrals are always going to be in style, are so accepting of colors, and come in various tones, you can accessorize with different colored towels, bathmats, artwork, shower curtains, or anything that might be on your countertop or vanity top. These can all be changed easily within a few minutes-much less time than it takes to paint a wall. There's nothing wrong with having a different set of towels and accessories for spring, summer, fall and winter. Or even more if you want!

How can I make a small room look larger?

Clear glass is a great way to make a small bathroom seem larger since it expands the visual surfaces. In addition, choose a monochromatic color scheme with walls and other building materials so that you do not break up the visual plane and show where one thing ends and something else starts. With one color it makes the surface look never-ending and expansive.

If the bathroom does not have a window, incorporate a frameless mirror. Adding a mirror is like adding a window. In addition, if you do have a window, position a mirror opposite the window. The light coming in will reflect off the mirror and throughout the room adding another "window." Frameless mirrors are in right now, and help expand the visual plane and add to the illusion of space.

Finally, paint your ceiling to elongate the surface area by not demonstrating a start and stop. However, since vertical surfaces and horizontal surfaces read differently, you will need to cut the paint color of the wall paint by ΒΌ so that it will read the same on the ceiling.

I want to add some color to my kitchen countertops, but I don't want to clutter them with just any decorative items-any ideas?

Although a beautiful jar of pasta or olive oil on the counter may be what you've seen in magazines, if it doesn't inspire you, it's just clutter. Instead, find objects that are a reflection of you. If you love the beach, perhaps a jar filled with sand, shells or colorful pebbles would inspire you. Or perhaps converting a favorite family photo to black and white with a colorful coordinating frame will make you smile each day. Since your home tells a story about you, just be sure that everything that you add to your room has meaning and will make you enjoy your space and make it uniquely yours.

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