How Air Conditioning Has Effected Architecture And Its Benefits

Domestic air conditioning means that traditional architectural features such as wide eaves, deep porches, thick walls, high ceilings, attics, and cross ventilation are no longer needed to promote natural cooling. Also irrelevant is siting or landscaping a house that maximizes summer shade and breezes, since mechanical equipment is able to maintain perfect indoor conditions independent of design.

Domestic air conditioning is most prevalent and ubiquitous in developed Asian nations such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, especially in the latter two due to most of the population living in small high-rise flats . In this area, with soaring summer temperatures and a high standard of living, air conditioning is considered a necessity and not a luxury.

Cooling capacity requirement is dependent on the room size. Generally, room air conditioners have a cooling capacity range between 5500 Btu per hour and 14,000 Btu per hour. Cool Climate Air Conditioning Systems will give total control over the environment at the click of a remote control by providing the exact temperature you require all year round. The costs of running a new air conditioning system may well be considerably less than your existing heating system, providing you with comfort at exceptional value to you and your home. Cooling power figures should be regarded suspiciously. It is best to look at both the input power and the heat transfer figures.

Split air conditioning is now an affordable investment. Most split air conditioning now comes with a heat pump and it is a very energy efficient means of heating during the winter months as well as cooling in the summer months. Split-type air-conditioning system can provide thermal comfort in small and large rooms. Moreover, the solar air conditioning is a newer system where the energy used for processing comfortable air is derived from the collected sun's rays.

Inexpensive Ways to Give the Kitchen a Facelift

Home improvement can be an overwhelming task. The first room that may come to mind is the kitchen. This is the room where families bond over their day or friends come together to enjoy a hot cup of coffee. Even small, inexpensive changes can give the entire room a facelift and create an environment everyone in the family can enjoy.

Painting your kitchen is always the best way to begin your renovation. You can make your kitchen look fresh and new, all by changing the color of the walls. A new color will also provide a different background for your overall décor. Whether you change everything else, or changing nothing else at all, the entire theme of your kitchen will seem brand-new.

If you do not have the time to put into painting, or if you live in an apartment where it is not an option, you can still give your kitchen a new appearance. One possibility which you might like to consider is adding colorful adhesive paper or decals. Adhesive paper is available in a wide range of colors and designs, so you can create an entirely new theme for your kitchen. Whether your preference is for bright colors, gentle pastels, or a specific design, it can make your whole kitchen come alive.

Another nice option for inexpensive home improvement to your kitchen may come as a surprise. Simply changing the fixtures in your kitchen will give it a wonderful new look. One example is the hardware on your drawers and cabinets. These are easily changed with updated versions made from different materials and styles. Depending on your personal taste, there are lots of choices. You can use metals, ceramics, or even plastic. Whether your taste is for sophisticated and classic or modern, your kitchen can have a brand-new appearance.

Everything from your collection of cook books to your spices can be turned from functional to a part of your kitchen's décor. You can easily find inexpensive racks in plain wood, to paint or varnish to coordinate or contrast with the color of your kitchen. When the products you use on a regular basis add to the theme of your kitchen, it will make the room more inviting to your guests and family.

Home improvement does not need to be difficult or costly. Turning your kitchen into the "place to be" can occur even making the smallest changes.

Kitchen Remodeling - A Checklist for Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

Kitchen remodeling takes both time and money. A major remodel with top-of-the-line appliances and cabinets can easily run more than $100,000. As for time, allow at least four months for a remodeling job or, more realistically, six to eight months. It takes about two months for custom cabinet orders, more time for planning, order processing, shipping, demolition, installation, moving back into your kitchen and re-organization.

While it's tempting to get started as quickly as possible once you decide to remodel, it's better to catch your breath, do your homework and think through your plans because you don't have the time or money to make mistakes.

Start with the basics. Consider what the primary uses of the kitchen will be then collect ideas for enhancing your project. Put some initial thought into this prior to meeting with a contractor. Following is a checklist of items to consider when planning your kitchen remodel.

Determine the primary uses of your kitchen:

  • cooking
  • food storage
  • dining
  • equipment / utensil storage
  • specialized food preparation areas
  • waste disposal
  • laundry
  • secondary media center
  • message station
  • mini-office
  • hobby / craft center
  • entertaining
  • mudroom
  • traffic hub

Enhance your kitchen remodeling project:
  • Brainstorm with household members
  • Find ideas in model homes, showrooms, home shows, magazines, books and catalogs
  • Appliances - ovens, stoves, cook tops, refrigerators, dishwashers, range, microwaves, hoods, and exhaust fans
  • Cabinets - wood cabinets in oak, maple, cherry, hickory, pine, birch, metal, plastic, cabinet re-facing, kitchen storage items and kitchen islands
  • Countertops - stone, marble, quartz, granite, solid surface, wood, metal and Formica
  • Flooring - hardwood flooring, cork, bamboo, laminate, linoleum flooring, flooring installation, repair and refinishing floors
  • Lighting - light controls, chandeliers, fixtures, lamps, fluorescent lights, recessed and spot lighting
  • Sinks and Fixtures - kitchen faucets, stainless steel, brass, plastic and glass handles
  • Windows - skylight windows, double hung and single hung windows, casement and garden windows for growing herbs and plants
  • Select a design professional and/or contractor that meets your needs

The more details you can determine prior to your kitchen remodeling project the better. It will make your remodeling project more efficient and, thus, less expensive.

A Love Affair With Sparkles! The Chromatic Mosaic Tiles Collection

I've always loved sparkly things! Show me anything with glitter or sequins in it, on it - or even near it! - and I'm absolutely sold! Any excuse to add some sort of sparkle in my home and I'm first in line to check it out... I'm also constantly on the lookout for inspiration and new ideas for home interiors. So I got the best of both worlds when I came across the Chromatic Mosaic Tiles collection.

The bubbling chrome used in these Chromatic mosaic tiles is sealed in smooth, clear or coloured glass. It has a wonderful jewel-like quality and adds sparkle to any room in which these mosaics are placed. At any time of the day, you will see something different in these glass tiles, as the changing light highlights different tones and creates new reflections around the room. They will create a sense of light, brightening up any area and create a beautiful focal point in your kitchen or bathroom.

They look gorgeous in large blocks where you can really see all the different colours within the glass. If you're on a tighter budget or prefer a more subtle approach, they also look very effective as a simple border. If you're feeling particularly creative, why not take them from their webbed backing and create your own custom mosaic effect? You could try blending from one shade to another, have contrasting bands of colour going across the wall or create your own wavy shaped mosaic design. Why not try this idea: take the dark blue shades of Chromatic Azurite and create your own custom blend up to the more aqua and green tones of Chromatic Lagoon. I think it would look absolutely stunning in a shower or bath area!

My favourite in this Chromatic mosaics collection is Chromatic Purple Haze as it incorporates another love of mine - purple! Though equally delicious are the blues and greens of Chromatic Lagoon and the blues and purples of Chromatic Azurite; so evocative of the sparkles on the sun-drenched Mediterranean sea on a beautiful summer day!

With this glass mosaic tile range, you really do have everything. Including:

  • a choice of beautiful, deep and rich colours
  • glittery, sparkly, light-reflecting radiance
  • a custom style effect which will never rub off or fade
  • modern styling for your kitchen or bathroom

Be the envy of your neighbours and friends by choosing these glass mosaic tiles for your next home decorating project! Say "goodbye" to boring, flat-looking ceramic tiles and say "hello" to a wonderful, glittery, sparkling, depth of colour! Don't just take my word for how beautiful these mosaic tiles are. View this Chromatic Mosaic Tiles Gallery and see for yourself!

Amerock Kitchen Hardware

Amerock handles and knobs are some of the best hardware and most reasonably priced in the kitchen industry, especially if you choose the styles that are protected by Amerock's Guardian Lifetime Finish.

I have Amerock hardware throughout my home. As a testimonial, those handles and knobs have been in my home for over 8 years and not one is tarnished. Again, make sure to get handles or knobs with Amerock's Guardian Lifetime Finish guarantee. It's easy to keep the handles and knobs clean too. I just wash with warm water and a mild soap (like Dawn Dishwashing Liquid). The Dawn helps cut through the grease that's going to accumulate on your kitchen hardware too.

Top 10 Reasons to Choose Amerock Kitchen Hardware:

  • Durability
  • Affordability
  • Their handles and knobs just feel good to grip and have ample room for fingers.
  • They have literally thousands of handles and styles, plus dozens of finishes to choose from.
  • They have several appliance pulls to choose from if you need them.
  • Again, the Guardian Lifetime Finish - is guaranteed never to tarnish. Look for these handles if you plan on staying in your home a while and don't want to be replacing handles do to tarnishing.
  • All Amerock kitchen hardware is guaranteed to be free of defects.
  • They come with 8/32" x 1" screws for installation.
  • A few of their most popular styles of kitchen knobs have been developed into passage and privacy door knobs and levers for your home (Amerock Ensembles Collection).
  • Finally, the company has been around since 1929 and are part of the Newell Rubbermaid Company. They've been around a long time, and if you need to match handles and knobs that you get today with something you'll purchase or build in the future, they'll most likely have the same handle or knob, or a good match.
Amerock kitchen hardware has "lines". Allison is their cheapest hardware, but it's also not their best. You can find handles for a couple of bucks on up. They do have some pricey "lines" that can cost you $20 plus dollars per handle, but most of their hardware is reasonable.

How to Easily Pick out Handles or Knobs.

First, you should select a finish that you'd like to go with. For example, polished brass or oil rubbed bronze. Make sure it's something that will fit your decor.

Next, choose a style or design, such as contemporary, casual, European, etc.

Then, you need to decide what size meets your needs. Most handles have 3" centers (from mid-hole to mid-hole). If you are replacing hardware, you will need to know what size you have now. You can use backplates to coverup holes if you need to, as well as use knobs in handle holes (i.e. have two knobs 2 3/4" apart if you can't find any 2 3/4" handles that you like).

Finally, choose what you like. What looks great to you and what feels right are what you should get. If you don't, you'll end up replacing your hardware and spending up to several hundred dollars and a lot time again!

You can purchase Amerock kitchen hardware from several sources online, like The Woodworkers Depot, or from your local hardware or home center.

Green House: Compost Collection Starts at Home

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that over eight percent of the waste generated per person per day could be recovered for composting. In addition, over twelve percent of the municipal solid waste in the United States is comprised of food scraps. This adds up to nearly 32 million tons per year. By starting at home, we can all do our part to collect compostable materials and help divert waste from our landfills.

In order for any collection program to be successful, it has to be simple. If it is easy to collect food scraps, then it is more likely to be embraced by each and every member of your family. There are a few easy steps which can help ensure your house is doing its part to make a difference.

Start by educating the members of your household. Let them know that by collecting food scraps separately from your trash, everyone is doing their part to help the environment and change the world. It can be a powerful message.

Be sure to use the correct compost collection bins. Depending upon the size of your family, you may be able to use a smaller organic collection bin. For larger households, a larger kitchen collection container can be used. Many sizes are available. Be sure to choose the one that is right for you. In addition, you can use a kitchen compost bin that has a vented lid (often available with charcoal filters) to help ensure a steady air flow for the bin but also to reduce any unwanted odors.

Be sure to place your kitchen compost bin somewhere central and somewhere that everyone will use it. Placing it under the kitchen sink is a good idea as this is usually a very central location in the kitchen and allows for plates and dishes to be rinsed immediately after food scraps are scraped into the organics bin.

Choosing a durable collection container is always a good idea. Due to the composition of food scraps, the bin could get heavy at times and the last thing you'll want to deal with is a broken handle causing a spill. Also, the bin should be easy to clean (a bin that is dishwasher safe is a good idea).

Transferring the food scraps from your kitchen collector bin into a larger container is going to be important as well. Placing an organics collection cart in the garage is a good start. By making sure the kitchen container is emptied on a regular basis into the cart, you'll go a long way to helping reduce odors and ensuring your kitchen bin is always ready to collect more items.

If your municipality does not offer curbside collection of organics materials, you can always look at starting composting in your backyard. The food scraps you collect will not only stay out of the landfill, they will go a long way toward providing your gardens with the very best organic material to ensure they flourish.

By taking the correct steps, you can go a long way toward beginning a compost collection program in your very own home. It's easier than you think and will help truly make a difference in the world.

Things to Know About Maple Kitchen Cabinets

The cabinetry has been dubbed the building blocks of kitchens not only for their great contribution to the overall look of the interior but also for the organization they lend the area for more functionality and efficiency. When it comes to buying the best cabinet collection, the wide variety of selection can pose as a great challenge. A household name in furniture and cabinetry is maple, and maple kitchen cabinets are a common sight in many kitchens. So if you are looking to buy a set for your remodeling project, this article tells you why maple cabinets are an excellent choice.

Aesthetics

What draws many homeowners to choosing maple kitchen cabinets is the intrinsic character of the wood that features elegant fine grains. This creates a coordinated look to all units and a smooth to touch surface. Because of the tight grains, this type of hardwood will look fabulous when painted. When finishes in its natural color, you can get a light to medium natural tone that helps achieve a sunny welcoming feel in the heart of homes. And because the wood material stains very well, you can also find luxurious dark choices including mahogany, cherry, walnut and others.

Design Flexibility

Because maple kitchen cabinets come in a very wide array of finishes, you can choose the best complementing color for whatever color scheme you are working on in your remodeling project. You can choose to have your cabinetry custom-made or bought ready to assemble. Light weight, this hardwood is easy to work with and is a popular material for RTA cabinets in various styles to match with different kitchen designs. Some of the most popular collections include: Cherry Maple Glaze, Bronze Cherry, Chocolate Mahogany, Cinnamon Glaze, Coffee Caramel, Classic Rope, Espresso Shaker, Ginger Shaker, New Yorker, Randolph Walnut, Signature Black, Spice Maple and White Shaker.

Durability and Strength

The cabinetry that you buy should hold up for many years; this makes the level of durability and strength an important shopping factor to take note of. Maple kitchen cabinets are popular not only for their aesthetic benefits but also for the premium quality that they come in. This hardwood is particularly good at maintaining its beauty even through exposure to moisture, dirt and grime, and the always changing temperature levels. So even through the everyday use and abuse and no matter how busy your kitchen might be, your cabinet collection will grace the area with exquisite warmth for many practical years.

Cost

Because maple is widely grown in America, the supply for timber is adequate to make the price for custom cabinetry material as well as RTA maple kitchen cabinets minimal and affordable for buyers. Light weight, shipping would not cost as much and will be a whole lot easier especially if you buy ready to assemble units which are flat-packed. You can even take advantage of free shipping for a minimum order. So if you are particular about the budget, this hardwood material is a good option to give you the best value for your remodeling money.

Cheap Kitchen Cabinets and Kitchen Solutions

The kitchen is the most essential faction in your house so it is very organic that you will try something diverse to make it awesome and good looking. Kitchen areas are more than just where you prepare your meals. so to make a cooking area more attractive it has become a trend to install kitchen area cabinets in the kitchen. The most needed cabinet is the cabinet made from maple. With the demand for cheaper building objects and the quick housing rumble a couple of years back, many cabinet producers begun looking outsiders for a way produce high quality kitchen cabinets at affordable prices. Since there is a huge demand for kitchen cabinets made from less expensive building objects the manufactures are also searching for that type of products.

While making cupboards you have to be aware about this point which means you have to make sure that your new racks don't disrupt the synchronization of appliances, kitchen cabinetry and the important look of your kitchen. Cast off metal cabinet will be good for this objective. If you are going to do prefacing it only doing some customization work in the front of your cabinets, the doors and, if compulsory, the fascias just behind them. Another exceptional means of saving money is to order ready to collect products. The kitchen cabinets of earlier days have layer area which would wrap the cabinet during damp or data compression.

It is a fact that there are some disadvantages connected with the buying of low cost kitchen cabinets. One of these unfavorable aspects is that manufacturers are limited to only a few finishes or styles. so you can't go for so many choices you have to satisfy with limited option available. if you buy RTA cabinet then you will get this only in discounted price. RTA cabinet requires more time to get assembled.

You have to put the required things in order while building the house. You must also think about being revolutionary. The most probable things that have to be changed is the themes which you wish to give to your house should be most modern and well up dated one. By the end of the day, you and your family will enjoy the home and the way of life that you have, but there will come a time when things get old and you should think of renovating. The renovation is mainly done to create a new soothing atmosphere in the house. If you are tired of the same look and want that positive aura in your home again, this is the time to renovate.

It is advised that to install discount kitchen cabinets rather than doing repair work. A variety of kitchen cabinets are available at reasonable price that too of good quality.This will impart a novel and eye-catching look to your kitchen which will really make you feel refreshed and relaxed while working in your kitchen. always buy kitchen cabinets from RTA stores.

Kitchen Decorating Ideas

More and more today, the kitchen is the most popular room in the house. No longer just the place where food is stored and prepared, it has become the focal point of home life. Kitchens used to be closed off from the rest of the house with walls and doors. Today, however, both in new houses and in remodeled older style homes, you can see into the kitchen from the living room, the family room, or both. Since the kitchen is constantly on view, kitchen decorating is an important part of home decor.

Some kitchens are treated as completely separate areas in plain view. Others are carefully decorated to blend in with adjoining spaces. In both cases, kitchen wall treatments are key to decorating this busy room. Paint continues to be a popular choice, but the range of "kitchen" colors has exploded. Cornflower blue, butter yellow, bright reds and lively greens are commonly used as a base for French country or Tuscan kitchen decorating themes. Wallpaper options run the gamut from contemporary designs to Americana. In addition, slate, saltillo and ceramic tiles once used exclusively on floors are being used on walls to add texture and visual interest.

Part of decorating a kitchen is creating an organized space. Whether you have a specific decorating theme or not, you'll want to give some thought to which kitchen accessories stay on the countertop and which are hidden in cupboards and drawers. Many cooks find a tall cylindrical container to hold frequently used cooking utensils keeps them from frantically rummaging through drawers. Appliances that get regular use, such as toasters and electric can openers are a good choice for countertop position, although most can be mounted under high cupboards.

Major appliance manufacturers recognize that their merchandise is a major visual element in any kitchen. Instead of just offering a choice between white, black, harvest gold or green, they produce an amazing range of "looks." From gleaming stainless steel, to retro 1950's look to standard white, you can choose refrigerators and stoves that blend with your kitchen decor. Some manufacturers can even help you match your appliances to your countertops for a seamless look.

As in any room in the house, it's the little touches that pull your kitchen's look together. Choose a "punch" color (usually contrasting to your walls) for window treatments and a throw rug. A tiled sink backsplash in this shade will add an extra bit of pizazz. Don't be afraid to add ornaments to the walls of your kitchen. Framed family photos, or even a collection of cookie cutters will add personality and warmth.

What To Consider When Decorating Your Home

Home decor is all about transforming a living area into a personalized environment where you feel at ease and at home. Home decorating is an excellent way of taking an tired looking interior and transforming it into a sophisticated and elegant space. It is not only about creating the design space, arranging your house, adding color with paint and manual labor. It's about accenting the living space which makes home accents just as important, if not even more.

Decorating your house is something you can do with your own style. Decorating on a budget can be fun if you approach it creatively. Decorating room by room, and collecting a few pieces at a time makes decorating your home less stressful and takes the strain off your wallet. Decorating your home should be a fun experience when you use your home decor to reflect your style style and taste. This also make your life in your living space more enjoyable. Decorating is a wonderful, creative way to express some of your personal style and flare, as well as displaying personal styles of you fellow family members.

Be sure to have a strategy ahead of time, before you decide to begin a home decorating project, whether massive or little, it is a good idea to understand what is involved and to plan in detail how it will be executed. Before you begin decorating your house, you should imagine what exactly what you want visitors to experience once they walk into the living space. Most home interior design is varied in style, with a blend of traditional and contemporary furnishings, mixing new with the old. You should choose furniture that accommodate your family and arranging it in a way that coincide with the home decorating theme. Home decorating can involve a variety of different colors, fabrics, furniture, flooring and accessories. Once you researched such things as color and how it can be applied, room proportions and planning, you'll find yourself designing new creations for your home decorating.

Style comes from the heart and is a reflection of your character and preferences. Before you begin to decorate, keep in mind that hardly ever is a living space designed in the same style. Most home interior design is mixed in style, with a mix of traditional and contemporary furnishings.

Accessories, are usually not something that is easily duplicated exactly, thus, more than anything else, accessories personal style to a living area. Accessories add real life to your home. whether those accessories are candles or knick knacks, try accessories that show a interesting detail and stylish decor. By purchasing the most genuine accessories, you will be able to transform your home design to look like it was decorated by a interior design minus the high price that comes along with it. To accent your interior design display a variety of home accents like wooden sculptures, artwork and photos in frames.

Home decorating is often seen as a necessity however, it should be an fun experience. It is for the interest to anyone who wants their living space to look cozy. Decorating your home should be a rewarding experience and one that will last with you for many years to come.

4 Areas in a Kitchen Least Checked

Whether you're in a restaurant or at home, cleaning up is a real pain-in-the-nuts. Everyone loves cooking but nobody loves cleaning up. Cooking isn't just about knowing how to make the right hit on your guest's palate, it's also about the divine décor of it, the mess created from it, the clever resemblance and integration of materials, ingredients and equipments, the methods used to produce foods and so forth.

This guide is here to tell you: Check these places in the kitchen NOW, or face possible damage to your equipments, end-products or cutleries.

In commercial kitchens, giving none or your least attention to these areas could be signal bad quality food experience - Let alone producing exquisite cuisines to tantalize tastebuds of many. At home, these areas would simply just collect rust and rubbish - Not literally, but to a level where filthy is achieved.

Commercial & Home Kitchen - The Drain Filter

Every restaurant has a drain filter. Whether or not the head chef delegates this 'cleaning' job to any of his/her subordinates, it won't be known until the drain filter is checked. This drain filter collects almost all sorts of rubbish, and can be EXTREMELY filthy if not maintained of its hygiene. Drain filters' location vary from the size of the establishment to the mind of the interior designer - And it's best to brief each and every person working inside about it. Make it a weekly task.

Drain Filter Hygiene Solutions:

  1. In the kitchen's duty roaster, make a path for someone to clean the drain filter - And rotate them so that everyone gets a piece of it. Don't just let the apprentices' do the job: It's everyone's responsibility, ultimately the Head Chef.
  2. Wash the filter with hot water. If possible, soak them in soap. Clean them during non-restaurant hours (in between split shifts). Other than just doing Mise en place, get that done first.
  3. Tell everyone to throw wastages into the rubbish bin - From warm oil to bits of pasta pieces. Make sure your huge rubbish bin uses at least two 'durable' plastic bags to withstand the load.

Commercial Kitchen - Gaps in Between

Everyone hates gaps; but they are entirely necessary. Without gaps, pipes and wires can't pass, or there is no room for you to place your spatula into that little hole when you need to grab another ingredient placed on another table next to your hood. Not only table gaps, but also cabinet gaps, floor gaps between the floor and kitchen equipments, gaps in between bain maries, gaps between 1 cooker hood to another, etc.

Perform a health and hygiene check on your kitchen before you start your operations every fortnight. Prepare a checklist if you will, and make everyone do their job. These areas pose as one of the dirtiest yet 'invisible to the eyes' area(s).

Gaps in Between Solutions

  1. Create a checklist of all possible gaps in the kitchen, and run a routine check every fortnight to see if these gaps are greasy, dirty or contain little food ingredients like chicken pieces or dried pasta strands.
  2. Avoid having gaps at areas you do not need to, like worktop to worktop, cabinets in a storage facility, etc. Alternatively, (or if you cannot help it) you can use a cover for your table and make a hole for the wires to pass, then close the lid.
  3. Place everything in order - Have a place to put clean and dirty pans, a bin to put in cutleries, a place to easily grab kitchen knives or any other prep cutleries.

Commercial & Home Kitchen - The Fridge

It may sound common, but have you checked everything? In a kitchen, refrigerators are extremely important. A dirty fridge may reduce food quality before it's even prepared. In commercial kitchens, cold rooms/walk in chillers are also dirty. The problem is, walk in freezers are so cold (or maybe it's just magic) that bad smelling items (that expel liquid) are frozen before they have a chance to actually kill your nostrils.

Among the common areas of a Walk In Chiller are surrounding walls, racks, ceiling, fan filter, door and floor. At home, it's usually the bottom tray (collecting all sorts of dirt from above) and the freezer.

The Filthy Fridge Solutions

  1. In your kitchen hygiene checklist, do not just write fridge. Write fridge walls, trays, gaps, racks, fridge flooring, filter and fan. Also include arrange contents properly, wrap ingredients in plastic wrap, don't balance ingredients on top of another that you know cannot stand.
  2. Check to see if ingredients in the cold room have expired. Discard them if they are unusable. Alternatively, those with a longer lifespan (after expiry date and still going strong) can be used, but up to 2 days after thawing. Certain bacteria can still grow in -40C. Keep that in mind.
  3. Limit opening and closing of the fridge door. Opening it too many times in a day can create an unstable temperature in your fridge. Keep pre-prepared foods aside, raw foods aside and cooked foods in another side. At home, keep them in separate compartments.

For home use, keep food items in compartments which clearly states its AREA. For example, vegetables right to the bottom, meat higher above, dairy on the back part of the door, juices near the bottom, etc.

Commercial & Home Kitchen - Inside of Kitchen Equipments

Chefs should press on this issue more often than ever - The compartment of kitchen equipments like the oven, the cooker hood of the char-grill, bread proofer, and so forth collects little ingredients and liquid over time - And when not used frequently, (or even frequently), there will be a particular dirt inside them, like it or not. Serious cases would mean sticky oven doors (inside) covered with thick grease and hellishly bad burnt odour emitting from the char-grill.

Even at home, when we're preparing the barbecue or grill set, be sure to always clean its interior with a damp cloth and appropriate soap - Deal with what you make, as how you deal with what you cook (by eating them).

5 Great Home Improvement Projects That Will Save You Money Without Sacrificing Quality

Home improvement projects are a given when you own your own property. No matter the size, age or location of your home, at one point or another you're going to run into an issue that needs to be addressed. Some of these repairs and replacements are a necessity to have your home continue to run at it's best, while others are simply design and style desires.

Home improvement projects are a given when you own your own property. No matter the size, age or location of your home, at one point or another you're going to run into an issue that needs to be addressed. Some of these repairs and replacements are a necessity to have your home continue to run at it's best, while others are simply design and style desires.

Saving money is always a good thing, but you also want to think about the old saying, "you get what you pay for". Cutting costs can work for you, if done right. That's why it's always important to figure out all the details of your upcoming home improvement project to decide on exactly what you can do without. Also take into account a few different contractors. Don't go with one company just because their price is lower; balance cost and quality to have the best result.

  • Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Kitchen remodeling is one of the most popular home improvement projects across the nation. Many homeowners grow tired of their outdated cooking space, and look for something brand new in their kitchen. While a full kitchen remodeling project is the best way to get the custom kitchen you've always wanted, they come with a pretty hefty price tag. Cabinet refacing is a great way to give your kitchen a beautiful new look without emptying your entire savings account. Since your kitchen cabinets take up a good amount of the visual space in your cooking area, when you change them, you change the whole room. A skilled kitchen cabinet refacing contractor will be able to give your cabinets a great new feel in the color and style that matches exactly what you have in mind. Combined with brand new hardware, you have a fresh new kitchen at a small fraction of the price!

  • Paint Your Home's Trim

Getting tired of what you see every time you pull into your driveway. Many homeowners get tired of the same old look of the exterior of their home. While painting the entire outside of your home will most certainly change that, it's not always the best option. You may have vinyl or aluminum siding which can be a pain to paint, and not to mention quite costly, or maybe you can't justify spending the money simply because you want a new look. Well, trim painting is a great solution. You're looking at spending less than $1,000 for just about any home, which most can stomach. When you change the color of your trim you can really give your entire home an amazing new look, by simply introducing a new accent color. Many professional painting contractors will be able to show you computer generated images of your home with just about any color trim you're looking for. This means you can see exactly what you're going to get before a single brush stroke is laid down. You can change your home's exterior quickly and cheaply with a new coat of paint on your trim.

  • Create A Good Relationship With a Local Handyman

These days who really has the time to be spending working around the house every weekend? Many homeowners are busy with children's activities, work, chores or simply relaxing, that they don't get to a majority of their minor home repair projects in a timely fashion. A skilled local handyman contractor will be able to complete all of your small repair, replacement and installation projects in a fraction of the time it would take your average do-it-yourselfer. Find a reliable and experienced handyman to work with and establish a great relationship. If a handyman contractor knows they have your business in the future they will be much more likely to give you discounts and better pricing on all of your home improvement needs. They will also be quite familiar with all of your home's inner workings, saving them time on projects that would normally take longer on a new home. This means on top of any repeat business discount you get, you will also save on the labor time charge.

  • Use Composite Flooring

Has the time come to replace your home's flooring? Whether it's a small section or your entire home, flooring projects can become expensive if you don't consider all of your options. Sure hardwood and tile floors are very aesthetically pleasing, but at a steep price. The same look can be had with composite flooring. With a feel and design which can mimic just about any material from stone to wood; composite flooring gives you the beauty you're looking for but at a price you can afford. A local flooring company or contractor should be able to provide you with samples of every type of composite flooring material. This means you'll be able to see exactly what goes with every room, giving you the peace of mind you deserve on your flooring project.

  • Have Your Gutters Cleaned Regularly

Sure your gutters are just little aluminum troughs attached to the top of your home, but they actually play a very important roll in protecting the rest of your home from the harmful effects of Mother Nature. Your gutter system safely routes water from your roof away from your home's vulnerable interior systems and foundation. When gutters fail you're sure to see roofing damage, wood rot and basement flooding. All of which aren't fun or cheap. The thing is many gutter problems are simply clogs. Leaves and debris collect in the gutters or downspout and prevent water from traveling their desired course. An experienced gutter cleaning contractor will be able to quickly un-clog any bad spots in your gutter system. This gets your gutters working like new and saves you the cost and headaches of major repair and replacement projects. Gutter systems also last much longer when they are cleaned on a regular basis.

These are just a few of the many ways to save on your home improvement projects without sacrificing on the quality of the job. When you take into account all of your options you will certainly find a solution which fits your budget and schedule. Just remember to compare a few quotes from local, reliable and trustworthy contractors before committing to a certain expert. You can use an online contractor referral site to find pre-screened contractors in your area, who provide absolutely free estimates on all of their services. Get started on your next project and use these cost saving tips to find a result you can afford.

This article was written by Aaron Klimchuk, the content manager for online home improvement resource BizziBid. This website provides it's visitors with information and tips on just about any residential or commercial home improvement project. They also match users with the most qualified home improvement contractors in their area.

Kitchen Furniture - There Are Options That Let You Show Off Your True Personality

Your home is your refuge; your nesting ground and it is defined by your tastes and designs. At least it should be. Some people think that customizing their home to reflect their personality is an expensive undertaking. While this can certainly be true, it is by no means an absolute.

Many families practically live in their kitchens, making it necessary to make sure that not only is there enough room, but also convey the feeling of closeness or perhaps family togetherness. Do not assume that since the kitchen is "the" gathering place that you cannot go ahead and make it "yours" also, which is an easy thing to do thanks to all the kitchen furniture selections that are available nowadays.

In other words, it is OK to let your personality come through when decorating the kitchen. Do not make the mistake of thinking that is meant as a biased remark, you know, women and kitchen. It is simply meant that if you spend a great deal of time there, then it just makes sense to let your personality influence the decorating through the different kitchen furniture options that you can purchase.

Ok, so what part of your personality are you going to include using kitchen furniture, perhaps the carefree and casual you, with a great pot rack where you can show off all of those gleaming copper bottom pots and pans? Plus, it would give you a fantastic spot to store them as well. Or perhaps that sensible, yet stylish side by including a kitchen hutch with both glass (for showing off your great collections) and closed cabinets (for storing practical items that you really don't want to leave out)? You could also get a buffet, which has a distinguished old fashioned appearance to add some classical style to your space while also providing you with a lovely spot to put on a nice spread for you, your family, and any guests that you might have over.

In addition to those kitchen furniture options, there are a slew more that you can pick from as well. Really, there are and for a stress free way to check them all out, simply hit the Internet for some online shopping. What makes it such a great option is the fact that you do not have to go anywhere to do it since all you need to do is sit right in front of your family's computer. Through online shopping, you will surely be able to figure out what part of your personality that you would like to convey. If you are having trouble you can always ask your family, but keep in mind their assessment could be brutal, so perhaps you should get them in the right mind set with a great meal first.

In the end, your personality can definitely show through in your kitchen courtesy of all the kitchen furniture options that are available. Both decorative and appealing to the eye, any of them would be a fantastic investment.

Rubbish Tips Around the Home - The Kitchen

Each year, every household in the UK gets rid of about one tonne of rubbish. From kitchen scraps and waste containers to old newspapers and tin cans, a myriad of items are thrown away by each-and-every-one of us.

Coping with all this rubbish is down to the humble dustbin, wheelie or household bin. But things have been complicated in recent years with the need to recycle, fortnightly collections and restrictions to the amount of waste some households in the country are permitted to throw away.

All this has made getting rid of household rubbish a complicated task. Having to use different bins for recycling, trying to avoid pests and smells, and keeping on top of the household waste can be a chore. But here are some tips to make dealing with your rubbish problems a whole load easier:

Kitchen

Perhaps the busiest rubbish receptacle in the house. Nearly everything gets chucked into the kitchen bin from food scraps to old cartons, tins and wrappers. One of the biggest problems with kitchen bins is the mess and smell they can produce. But there are simple ways to reduce this. Firstly, a good tight fitting lid is a must. This will prevent smells but the lid does pose other problems.

As we frequently cook in the kitchen, touching the bin is unhygienic - so rather than frequent hand-washing you should consider a pedal, swing-top or even a sensor bin. Sensor bins are fantastic as they open and shut automatically, sensing when you are near and raising the lid just in time.

Recycling

To make that task of separating different items into different receptacles consider buying recycling bins.

Many of these are colour coded so you can separate waste before you have to put it into the different recycling receptacles outside. And if you haven't room for several different bins - think about a double triple compartment recycling bin which are a convenient and space saving way of separating waste.

Bin deodorisers

All kitchen bins should be cleaned regular to prevent smells but a great way of ensuring your kitchen doesn't stink of rubbish is to use a bin deodoriser. Bin deodorizers ensure they smells fresh and clean - no matter what you have been throwing away.

Red Microwave - Beautify Your Kitchen in a Practical Way

If you'd like an attractive look for your kitchen, a red microwave oven and other colorful home equipments are a must. It is good to have a lively and a bit artistic design for your kitchen. After all, it is one of the rooms in your home where you always go to make your meals for the day. You may have probably spent most of your time in the kitchen preparing meals, most especially when you are a plain housewife whose 100% is targeted to providing the necessities of your family, so this equipment may be of great help to you.

As soon as you're on the lookout for a quick and simple way for your to kitchen look better, then a red microwave oven can be one of your primary choices. It is indeed a bit boring that you stick with the standard designs and hues of appliances in your kitchen as well as in the other rooms of your own home. Therefore it's a plus to cope up in the modern world and design your house with attractive and elegant kitchen equipments. After all, dwelling in a home with gorgeous design can, by some means, make your day and even encourage you to be productive for the rest of the day.

This may also be an amazing benefit on your part since it could actually help you cook and prepare the meals for your family in a lighter mood. Thus, if in case you have plans on buying such appliance then you must consider to buy those that have brilliant features to provide. Nevertheless, you can also choose a simple red microwave if you'll use it only to reheat foods or to cook instant foods like noodles and popcorn, which you'll eat while enjoying a film with your family. The whole point is that this equipment generally is a nice add-on to your kitchen, and it is also a very functional and useful kitchen equipment. Having a cool and welcoming ambiance in the kitchen can be a terrific contribution in making the perfect meal for your family.

Red microwaves are not usually sold in local appliance shops however you will find numerous models on-line from completely different manufacturers. The most popular manufacturers include Cook Magic, Magic Chef, and Emerson. Majority of microwave's energy varies between 700 W and 1100 W. Select one with not less than 900 W for best efficiency.

What type of features would you want your own microwave to have? Standard functions include reheat, cook, and defrost. There are a variety of extra options like automatic timer and defrosting which may be a bit handy in some instances and may even save you more time for some other tasks.

Magic Chef 900 W Red Microwave Oven (MCD990R) is very fascinating model that has some remarkable features specifically designed for cooking popcorn and frozen food. These pre-programmed functions can save a lot of time and energy, and make the total cooking procedure much simpler. At the moment this model is on the market for approximately $90.

On the other hand, Emerson Red Microwave 900 W is likely one of the most in-demand microwaves. It includes a collection of helpful functions like digital clock and one-touch cooking. Defrosting mode may be very fast and could be automated. In case you have kids you'll be very much pleased to see a security lock for children. One of many greatest advantages of this model is a big capacity, gorgeous look and huge functionality.

Tips to Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor living spaces with an outdoor kitchen area have become very popular and can expand the overall living area of your home significantly, so a properly designed outdoor kitchen is an essential part of the equation, and it's not so difficult that you have to bring in a professional to design it for you. A bit of thought and research goes a long way!

  1. Budget. Naturally, the first thing to decide on is your budget. Just as the kitchen and bathroom inside your home are the most expensive rooms in the house to design and build, the same can be said for an outdoor kitchen, so you want to get it just right first time around.

  2. Location. Look at your outdoor space and decide where is the best place to locate the kitchen area. Ideally, the kitchen should be under cover and on the sheltered side of the yard so that you can use it year round whatever the weather, and it needs to be close enough to the house to get access to water and electricity.

  3. Materials. Stainless steel looks fantastic and is an obvious choice for an outdoor kitchen as it will withstanding the elements well, however, it's also an expensive option. No need to fear. Concrete is a great choice for the countertop area - it's silky smooth so easy to clean, and it can be stained to match your decor. Concrete can also be tiled, in which case the finishes are limitless, or various natural stones can be used for the counter, such as granite. Think of the style of your home and pick something that will blend with that.

  4. Function. A functional kitchen is important. Get the basic essentials in, such as a sink, fridge and barbecue, and then think about the extras that you may want. Most outdoor kitchens will either be an L-shape or a simple straight line. You need to make sure there is a bit of counter space, and a great way to set it up is to have the kitchen work area on one side of the counter with a bar counter on the other side so that the chef can be part of the party when entertaining. If you opt for a concrete countertop, the sink can included in the mould, which is a great idea as there are no seams to collect germs or to leak. The same applies to a stainless steel unit.

  5. Layout. Something to remember when designing the layout of your outdoor kitchen is where the services (water and electricity) are coming from - it makes sense to have the sink and fridge located within a reasonable distance of these services. If you plan to have an electric barbecue, the same applies, but there is more flexibility in the location of a propane gas barbecue. Do you wish a built-in barbecue, do you want a mobile barbecue but that looks built-in or do you want your barbecue to be fully visible in all it's glory?

  6. Appliances. A fridge that is designed specifically for outdoor use is a must, and there are many to choose from, so whatever your budget and taste, you will be able to find one that fits all your requirements.

Anything else that is incorporated into your outdoor kitchen is an extra - get the basics in first and then see what else you have room for and add accordingly.

Kitchen Lighting - Designing For the Heart of the Home

The old quote still holds true for today - the kitchen is the heart of a home. Whether you're preparing a meal, sitting down to dinner or gathering with friends, everyone will like your kitchen best when you create the perfect ambience for any occasion with a well-designed kitchen lighting scheme. When laying out your clients kitchen lighting, create an attractive and flexible design by incorporating multiple light levels for the room. Start with ambient lighting for general lighting for the whole room, add in specific lighting for tasks, and then use decorative lighting accents for the final touch.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient home lighting creates overall brightness of your kitchen. In general, for comfortable light levels, a space requires 25 to 30 foot candles (a measurement of the intensity of light). Task lighting needs brighter lighting, approximately 50 to 75 foot candles. The size of the room will also affect the ambient lighting, requiring either brighter bulbs or additional fixtures as the space increases.

The ambient lighting should be bright enough to allow you to see into cabinets and drawers. Prevent a "scalloped" light effect when illuminating wall cabinets by keeping a minimum of 40 inches from the back wall to the center of a recessed light can. This distance gives minimal light scalloping on the front of a standard 12-inch cabinet depth.

Keep in mind that how bright your lighting appears will be affected by the color of the walls, as well as the finish on the cabinets and countertops. For instance, an all-white kitchen will need lower-intensity lighting than one with dark green walls and walnut-stained cabinetry. Also take into account the placement of windows and the doorways into other rooms, which will let in additional light sources.

Task Lighting

These days, kitchens are used for a wide variety of functions. Adding task lighting will highlight a specific area, making it more usable and flexible. Kitchen work areas, such as countertops, the sink and the stovetop, are easier to use with additional lighting. Eating areas, like the kitchen table or a breakfast bar, can be turned into a defined, intimate space within a larger room with well-placed lighting. Dark spaces in corners and beneath wall cabinets can easily be brightened with either under cabinet lighting or, with glass-fronted doors, within the cabinet itself.

Depending on the layout of the room and which areas you wish to highlight, a wide selection of task lighting options are available. Mini pendant lights can create both additional lighting and a design element when used for a countertop or kitchen island. Under cabinet lights make dark corners more usable throughout the kitchen, and usually function best when the fixture is pulled to the front of the cabinet edge, so the light is hitting the center of the countertop.

Creating variable task lighting with a dimmer switch is also effective, giving you the option of high light levels while working and a softer, warmer feel with the touch of a switch. This can be especially effective in smaller kitchens, where there isn't room for additional task lighting fixtures.

Decorative Lighting

Let your kitchen lighting be both functional and beautiful. Whether formal or casual, traditional or modern, an element of design can be added with an eye-catching, artistic fixture. A distinctive chandelier, colorful glass shades or a wrought iron fixture adds a designer flair and creates added interest to an otherwise ordinary room.

You may also wish to highlight the decorative architectural features of your kitchen design with lighting, such as a handmade tile backsplash, granite countertops or well-crafted cabinetry details. Kitchen lighting can also focus attention on items you wish to display, such as handmade pottery, a collection of blown glass or the paintings and photographs hung on the walls.

Color of Lighting

While deciding on the ambient, task and decorative lighting for your kitchen, remember the overall feel is also affected by the color of your lighting. For the kitchen, warm to neutral lighting (2,900-3,600 Kelvin ratings) is the best color temperature for general and task lighting, as well as for the presentation of food. Match the warm incandescent bulbs in recessed cans and pendants for a consistent look. Try to avoid mixing warm and cool lighting (3,600-5,500K), as this will create an unsettling visual effect instead of blending the room together as a whole.

No matter what the floor plan, every kitchen can benefit from well-designed lighting plan. The style, placement, amount and variety of lighting you choose will add interest and flexibility, creating the heart of your home and making it the room everyone will like the best.

Housewarming Gifts For Prosperity and Joy

Moving to a new home is a joyous event and is an important milestone in our lives. Traditionally, the proud new home owner will invite friends and relatives over for a housewarming party, in order to return the hospitality received in the past, and to show off the new house. When someone is a first time home owner, he/she may not have much household items. Friends and relatives usually congratulate the home owner with housewarming gifts that may be needed in setting up the new home. In addition, these gifts are often symbols of abundance and good luck, and are intended to bring prosperity and joy to the new home. This article provides some unique yet practical housewarming gift ideas.

1. Housewarming Gift Basket: This colonial house gift box is filled with gourmet snacks and household items that the new home owner can use. The recipients will be delighted to find items range from liquid hand soap, body and hand lotion, sweet smelling potpourri, scented jar candle, kitchen potholder and dish towel, combination screwdriver set, toothbrush and toothpaste kit to a small first aid kit. The recipients will also find gourmet butter toffee pretzels, French vanilla cocoas, caramel popcorn, and hard candy chocolate mints. Your recipients will appreciate your incredible thoughtfulness in sending them just what they need. Alternatively, you can send a Victorian house gift box filled with shortbread cookies, cheddar cheese stick, spinach artichoke dip, cheese twists, caramel filled chocolates, stuffed olives, Parmesan bread crisps and other treats. The gift box also contains an unique gift bag of chocolate mints with Welcome to your Home Sweet Home" message that will clearly deliver your best wishes.

2. Candles: Candles bring light, warmth, good scent and are symbols of light in life. Candles are very affordable, and have many styles and scents to choose from. It is not surprising that candles are popular housewarming gifts. For example, you can deliver the scent of home by sending a willow basket filled with pillar and votive candles with the scent of apple pie, oatmeal cookies, and strawberry potpourri. This gift also includes glass candle holder, glass votive holders and glass candle plates. Another great candle gift for housewarming is a crystal candle holder with ivory colored unscented taper candles. This crystal candle set can be placed on dining room table to create a wonderful atmosphere for special occasions.

3. Breakfast Gift Baskets: Traditional housewarming gift usually includes a loaf of bread to symbolize that no one in the new home will ever go hungry. However, a more elegant gift would be a breakfast gift basket that brings warmth and comfort. You can send a wicker basket packed with moist, rich pound cake, chocolate chip blondies, and brownies with walnuts. These scrumptious fresh baked goodies will sure deliver good taste. Alternatively, you can send an unique gift that includes necessary items for the kitchen: a large cutting board, hot pad, kitchen towels. Also included are Buttermilk pancake mix, Vermont Maple syrup, blueberry tea, drink mix and biscotti. Breakfast will be an event that everyone looks forward to in the new home.

4. New Home garden: Plants bring prosperity to a new home. This inexpensive container garden that blooms consists of easy-grow seeds, nutrients, soil in a decorative leak-resistant container that is used for its very own growing pot. The recipient just have to plant, water and let the plant grow in the container it came in. This very unique gift will be an unforgettable new home gift. This gift is great as a moving gift for friends and coworkers, or as a welcoming gift for new neighbors.

5. Gardening Gift: The new home owner will likely be busy in setting up his/her garden. You can send a gardening gift basket filled with needed tools and gourmet treats to make the work for the gardener more enjoyable. One such gift consists of a keepsake woodchip basket filled with a mini wooden bird house, a handy gardening cloth apron that holds matching hand tools (spade, rake and two different weed cutters), a soft foam garden knee pad and cloth floral gloves, a variety of five flowering seed packets for planting, and a mini ceramic garden sign with words of widom from the garden. The recipient can take a break and snack on goodies as chocolate mints, key lime white chocolate cookies, gourmet peanut butter pretzel nuggets, pistachios while she is reading the Blessings for Home and Health paperback book. Alternatively, you can send a gardening gift tote that came with a lovely inspirational book entitled Wisdom from the Garden, she can take time out from her gardening to enjoy the treats inside this tote! She will find lemon shortbread cookies, creamy dill cheese spread, Parmesan sticks, barbecue sliced almonds, lemon tea, mint tea, and lemon sours. She will also find gardening notepad with pen, gardening gloves with rawhide palms, pruning sheers, digging spades, branch snippers, and Spritzer bottle.

6. Congratulations Gift Basket: You can send a congratulations gift basket for the housewarming party. The gift consists of a star embossed metal ice bucket filled with a bottle of sparkling white grape juice, decadent chocolates, cookies, truffles, English almond toffee and more. The silvery ice bucket adds a touch of class to the festivities and can be put to use after the party.

7. Coffee Gift Basket: The ideal housewarming gift for coffee lover is a coffee gift basket. Filled with chocolate chip cookies, chocolate drizzles biscotti, cappuccio caramels, gourmet coffee, a nostalgic coffee mug, chocolate covered almonds, and creamy coffee candies, the hand painted solid wood gift container can be used long after the gourmet treats are gone. This unique gift is a terrific way to send your sincerest wishes.

8. Tea Gift Basket: Similarly, the perfect gift for tea lovers is a tea gift basket. This Zen-inspired collection includes a chai tea sampler, green tea chocolates, delicate biscuits, inspiring ginger sweets and more in a ceramic planter complete with natural river stones. Alternatively, you can send a floral paperboard tea pot filled with goodies, including teapot shaped sugar cookies, a mini honey bear and assorted teas with a wooden honey dipper. Honey represents sweetness in life. This thoughtful gift delivers your best wishes to the recipient for a sweet and peaceful life in the new house.

9. Kitchen Essentials: This collection of kitchen items will be a delightful welcome when received. It comes overflowing with gourmet teas, chocolate chip cookies, gourmet white yogurt dipped pretzels, Peanut Delight nut mixture, individually wrapped chocolate truffles, box of milk chocolate caramel hearts, fancy Kernels caramel popcorn all hand packed in a coco basket. Also included is a few fun mini kitchen tools, such as a wooden rolling pin, metal whisk and wooden utensils with a cloth tote bag that holds everything.

In summary, housewarming gifts deliver symbols of a prosperous and joyful life in the new home. Popular housewarming gifts include housewarming gift basket, candles, breakfast gift baskets, gardening gift, congratulations gift basket, and container garden. These gifts not only provide useful items for the new home owner, but deliver our best wishes for the new home owner.

Choosing the Best Refrigerator For Your Kitchen

There are some major points to consider before making your final decision as to which refrigerator you are going to buy for your kitchen. As it is a costly major appliance you need to make sure that once you have made your final decision that you will not regret the decision in a few months time.

Before you leave to go shopping for a fridge you need to measure the space where you intend fitting the refrigerator. Once you start shopping for one make sure that the size is okay to fit into your kitchen or the space where you intend keeping the fridge. Next check out the shelving.Is it the wire racks or solid shelves? I prefer solid shelves as they are easier to clean and a plus point is that when you mess on one of the solid ones it stays on that shelf and does not drip all the way down to the bottom of the fridge, never mind if it drips on other foodstuffs on below shelves you will be cleaning from now till Sunday. Also consider plastic shelves or glass shelves.I prefer the glass ones as you can see immediately if they are dirty and they are much easier to clean and they look better and allows you to see everything in your fridge at one glance as opposed to shelves which you cannot see through and where you physically have to move up and down to find stuff.

Another point to consider is the height of the handle. Too low means your toddler is going to be inside the fridge at the first opportunity.Also check whether the handles are easier to install child safety gadgets on to prevent small kids from accessing.Also if you have small children try and get a refrigerator fitted with an alarm that sounds when the door has been open too long. Apart from this helping in energy consumption where your fridge needs more energy to maintain its temperature it will also alert you to the fact that little hands are in the fridge and most probably getting up to mischief.

Depending on how much time you have on your hands for defrosting try and get a self defrost fridge. This however does not guarantee that you will not have to manually defrost but you will need to defrost less often than a fridge which does not self defrost.

It is also very important to ensure that the outside of the fridge itself does not have many grooves which are difficult to clean and which will collect dirt over time and then just look plain ugly. I know you can probably use a toothbrush to clean out the grooves but the problem is the scratches you can make while doing this.So the best is to really try and avoid buying a fridge which will require a lot of groove cleaning. No matter how great and arty it looks when you buy it it is likely not to remain that way for very long and just end up being a headache.

Other things to consider are where the egg holder is situated. Make sure it is in an enclosed space where it cannot be bumped easily.You have to break a few eggs on the floor to realise the smell that stays there for ever and a day, never mind the wastage. Also make sure that the instructions on temperature control are easy to use and manipulate. If you live in an area or country with a big temperature range between the seasons then you would need to regulate your fridge temperature accordingly. Also make sure this temperature regulator is fairly out of the way, easy for you to access but more difficult for children to fiddle with.

Enquire about the ease with which you can access spare parts for your fridge. I had a beautiful fridge that spent years in complete darkness because we could never find a globe to put in it for the light. If possible I would suggest asking for some spare globes just in case they decide to discontinue production.Also enquire about technical support and the guarantee period.

Concerning the guarantee period please make sure that technicians would come to your home to fix up whatever is wrong.You do not want to be without a fridge while they take yours away and then take forever to fix it up.The best thing is to find out if your fridge would be replaced should something go wrong with your one.And also how long it would take to replace.I have a car radio which is under guarantee which broke and I was told it would have to be shipped overseas and I could only expect it back after two months.To avoid this get everything in writing so you are completely covered if anything goes wrong.

And last but not least make sure that the legs are adjustable and preferably wheels.This makes it easy to move around should you wish to clean behind the fridge which you do have to as the temperature and darkness behind a fridge attracts many insects and others.Having adjustable legs ensure that should you move you would be able to adjust according to the new floor surface.Again the adjustable legs are things which you should try and get a few spares to keep just in case.

Access the web and check out all the different choices available to you. If you are considering online and cannot physically check out the item for all the points which you might consider important then you should check out home tips and reviews by other users on the web.

How To Decorate Your Kitchen On A Shoestring Budget

Kitchen's can be one of the most expensive rooms in the house to remodel and decorate. However, there is a way to do this without spending tons of money. You can decorate your kitchen on a shoestring budget!

With patience, persistence, and a little time, there is one place to find decorative items for mere pennies. Where is this "magic" place? Yard sales! Granted, this will take much more effort than walking into a "Kirkland's? or "Country Treasues's" store at the local mall, but the money spent will be so much less. Plus, some really interesting and unique pieces will be added to your house.

It is amazing what items can be found at yard sales that will go with any kitchen décor under the sun. If you love a country style kitchen, search for baskets, pitchers, and pottery. These items can be placed above cabinets, as centerpieces for the kitchen table, or filled with fresh fruit or wildflowers and then placed on the counter.

If you love the retro style kitchen, yard sales are fantastic shopping spots. It is easy to find many kitchen items from the 1960's-1970's in good condition. While some are excellent collectible pieces, others can be purchased for sheer fun! Some cool pieces to look for old breadboxes, canister sets, and wall clocks.

If you your taste runs back to the 1940's era, finding vintage pieces could be a bit more of a challenge. However, once items are found, they turn out to be well worth the time it took to hunt for them! Kitchens from the 1940's call for vintage linens, which can be used as tablecloths or displayed by hanging from the store. Some of the lines have bright colors and designs which add warmth and cheer to any home's kitchen décor. Since some of these old tablecloths are really collectible items and can be quite expensive if purchased in an antique shop, finding one at local yard sale for mere pennies would be fantastic!

When it comes to the modern and contemporary style, most yard sales offer almost new items. If you check out the yard sales in the pricey area of your city or town, you can likely find some expensive items at cheap prices.

At times, antique and collectible decorative items can be found at yard sales as well. If you are one who prefers collecting items such as certain types of china, vintage linens, or a hutch, it might help to do some research on the subject. This will help you spot a great piece.

Who knew decorating a kitchen in your home could be done so cheaply? Why not start checking out those yard sales today?

Copyright 2006 Monique Hawkins

Vintage Kitchen Collectibles Help Warm Up Today's Commercial Style Kitchens

Even though folks are spending less time in the kitchen, interestingly enough, there is a renewed interest in acquiring vintage cookware, baking dishes, range sets and other kitchen items. It seems that people are falling in love with kitchen treasures of the past. And surprisingly though "stay at home" moms rarely identify with homemaker's of yesterday, they still like to be surrounded by some of grandma's kitchen accessories. In fact women (and men) who work outside the home , also enjoy having some of nana's kitchenwares sitting atop granite counters or alongside stainless steel appliances, computers, T.V.'s. and microwaves. Although it is trendy to build kitchens which have an industrial edge, it is also popular to soften the look by mixing vintage style with a contemporary look.

Of course "housewives" of the caliber of your grandmother's or certainly great grandmother's generation are indeed becoming an extinct breed, their "tools of the trade" (kitchenwares) appear to be "living on" in homes everywhere. And while Home Economics Departments which once offered important foundation courses such as the fundamentals of cooking and baking are almost extinct, vintage kitchenwares are still very popular. This is a curious observation since now-a-days , staying home for a "fresh home cooked meal" means popping into the microwave yesterday's container of Lo Mein or a frozen "home-style package of Macaroni and Cheese.

So what's all the fuss about buying kitchen collectibles that will hardly be used? That is the point, they are for show, not for use. Homeowners like these objects because they are charming and bring back fond memories. Of course there are indeed seasoned collectors who really belong in a different category. They are obsessed with their collections and are always buying more and more kitchen collectibles of a particular type. The casual buyer may buy a few vintage kitchen wares for decoration.

Thankfully there are a lot of kitchen collectibles still around because back in the late thirties and throughout the forties so many manufacturers launched new products such as pots and pans, small and large appliances and housewares. Remember, although today we take for granted so many of these gadgets and housewares, back in the day they were hot news. And manufacturers wanted to spread the word so they developed huge advertising programs to get the attention of "housewives". Companies flooded the market with free recipe booklets, samples and even in house demonstrations of cookware and utensils.

Luckily, for collectors and others, there are still plenty of grandma's favorite kitchenwares stuffed away in closets, attics, basements and garages which make their way into shops, tag sales and auctions. . There is no need to panic, despite the fact that women are spending less time in the kitchen cooking and serving their families meals from scratch, there are plenty of vintage goodies still out there. In fact there are also plenty of buyers of these relics as well.

While homeowners buy kitchen collectibles for show, professional chefs are also buying these items. Seasoned cooks who know their way around restaurant kitchens are actually using these items. Vintage mixers, ricers, utensils and gadgets are favored by many chefs who can count on their durability and reliability.

Are kitchen collectibles going to be a thing of the past? Will current day imported products hold up so that they might be passed onto to our children? The older kitchen wares, rolling pins, crocks, bowls, range sets etc have been around for decades and continue to do the job quite well. There still is plenty of quality vintage housewares fortunately still in circulation. As far as the newer gadgets and imported wares... some have their doubts as to whether these products will stand the test of time.

Kitchen Organizing Ideas

An organized kitchen can sometimes seem like an impossible dream. It is the heart and soul of the home and one of the busiest rooms in the house. This makes it one of the hardest rooms to keep organized and tidy but there are a few things you can do to stay on top of the chaos.

1. Clear your counters

It is tempting to keep items like toasters, mixers and crock pots on the counter when you use them often. It is much, much better to find a handy cupboard and put them away. Once you put things on the counters it attracts more items and before you know it you have no counter space left for cooking. Keep items on your counter to a bare minimum. On my counter I have a pestle and mortar, tea, coffee and sugar jars and that is all. It gives me heaps of space to prepare meals and is easy to keep clean and hygienic because I can wipe down the entire counter several times a day without having to move everything off it first.

2. Have a system for dishes

Some people have a dishwasher and others wash their dishes in the sink. The important thing is there is a system in place so that the dishes are done. Dirty dishes in the sink is the quickest way to make your kitchen look disorganized and unattractive. I wash dishes by hand and usually keep the sink full of hot, soapy water so I can wash up as I go. If you have a dishwasher all you need to do is make sure you empty it of clean dishes in the morning so you can place all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher during the day.

3. Clear out your refrigerator

A good tip is to clear your refrigerator every week the day before your garbage is collected. Throw out all your leftovers and anything past the used by date. Wipe down the shelves and doors and check what you need to replace. If you can do your weekly shop either that day or the next so much the better. It is a great feeling to be able to place your groceries straight into a clean refrigerator. You can also save money by using up all the fruit and vegetables in the crisper before they expire. On the day you clean your refrigerator use up all the remaining fruit and vegetables by making soup, a stew, fruit pie or muffins. You can always freeze the excess and use them at a later date.

4. Sort your pantry

There is nothing more annoying than random packets of food shoved into a pantry. It looks terrible, makes it harder to find what you need and can cost you money when you are unable to find what you are looking for. The easiest way to avoid this is to ban packaging from your pantry. Have a container for each and every item you need to store and use it. The most important thing to look for with storage containers is that they stack neatly on top of each other to make the most of your space. Then label each with what it contains and use it exclusively for that item. When you run out of something the empty packet will help you to see at a glance what you need to buy. I use trays or containers without lids to sort and store all my sauces, herbs and spices, meal base packets, oils and vinegars. This makes it very easy to find what I need. I also have a tray for spreads and a tray for beverages such as tea, coffee and cocoa. If I am using a variety of herbs and spices I can take out the entire container and place it on my counter while I am cooking. Similarly at breakfast it is easy to take out the entire tray of spreads and place on the table. When clearing away it takes just seconds to pick the tray up and replace in the pantry.

5. Plastic tubs are your friends

Forget trying to stack your plastic containers neatly in the cupboard. Have you ever noticed that by the next day all your hard work has been destroyed by somebody rifling through the dishes looking for a container. Plastic tubs that fit on your shelves are perfect for keeping control of all your containers. You can pull out the entire tub to look for a container and then put it back on the shelf. It makes it easier to find lids and increases the storage space in your cupboard. When the tub becomes too disorganized you can sort it in under two minutes by taking the tub out and rearranging. A lot easier than trying to rearrange a cupboard full of loose plastic containers. You can also use tubs to keep your cleaning supplies together, your recipe books, shopping bags and anything else you need to store in the kitchen.

It might take a little bit of effort to get your kitchen organized the first time but by implementing the strategies in this article you will find it becomes much easier to keep control of your kitchen clutter. It is worth it to have an inviting place to cook, talk and eat with your family and friends.

5 Sure Fire Ways to Get Organized and Master Your Muck

Getting organized is on the top of the wish list for many people this year. This is one indication that, as a society, many of us are unconsciously and slowly realizing that having space and free time is often far more important than acquiring more possessions. Every object in our life requires energy to maintain, requires space from our environment. If you feel like one of my clients who stated, "my possessions are possessing me", it might be prudent for you to take the time to learn new habits and clear the muck your life.

The facts are clear and the pay-off is immense. In one study alone by the National Soap and Detergent Association, getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home. About 80% of the clutter in your home is a result of disorganization, not lack of space. When you consistently remove clutter and control your papers, you receive huge rewards. You end up with more time, confidence, and the freedom to do what you love and unless you are among the few, housework is not high on our list of favorite pastimes!

1. Set up permanent donation boxes in your home for unwanted items. This is the one of the easiest ways to begin clearing your life of unnecessary objects. Find a few medium sized boxes and place one in each of these areas, your bedroom, kitchen, home office and main living area.

Break yourself into your new habit of letting go right away by touring each room with box in hand and placing everything you find that you no longer use, don't like or that reminds you of 'not so good' memories. Once you have toured each room, leave the box by the doorway of each room. As you use the space during the next week, keep your eye open for any objects that no longer fit in your life.

At the end of your first day of general clearing, take everything that you have collected to your local charitable organization. This will provide the energy that you need to sustain the habit. Adding space to your home will give you a big surge of unexpected energy! Find out where the closest donation station is to your home and make it a habit to drive past when you are out running other errands.

Realize that you can become adept at letting go. It is truly an addictive habit once you feel the pleasure of more space and less obligations to possessions. Begin to practice this new skill. As you go about your life and come upon something that you no longer need, take it immediately to your donation box. Once you feel how good open space feels, it becomes much easier to let your excess go. Consider it a 'pay it forward' exercise. Realize that each item you donate helps others exponentially in many different ways.

Consider this, you decide to let go of an unwanted vase. You never liked it when it came into your life but you kept it for years because Aunt Agnes gave it to you as a wedding present. So you finally decide to let it go and place it into the donation box and donate it to your local charity.

Energy Shift One: The vase arrives and it goes onto a shelf at that charity's thrift store. Before it hits the resale market, a few employees who might not otherwise have a job, have been paid to receive it, label it and place it on the shelf. This is instant monetary energy that you gave back to the world. They would not have a job if folks like you did not provide donations for them to process.

Energy Shift Two: someone visits the store and repurchases your vase. Because of their limited budget, they might not have been able to afford your vase at regular department stores. You have brought new energy into this person's life by providing something affordable to brighten up their living conditions.

Energy Shift Three: Depending on your chosen charity, the money received from the sale of your vase is again turned back around and used to feed the hungry or rehabilitate workers.

Energy Shift Four: You now have more time to spend with your kids because you have fewer items to dust and clean. You might also end up with more fun money because you no longer buy extra tchotchkes to fill your space. Less is indeed worth more.

All of these benefits resulted from your decision to let go of the vase that cluttered up your countertop and collected dust. I am fairly certain that if Aunt Agnes fully understood this process, she would appreciate her gift benefiting such a large community.

As the "donate box" becomes a permanent part of your life, you will happily and easily clear at least one box of old possessions every month! After all, it is a fairly painless way to give back your good to the world.

2. Organize Your Home Office Space Just like a well-organized kitchen; your home office should have all tools within easy reach of the desk. Set up a zone for office supplies and make sure they are not spread throughout the house. Keep your technology close at hand so you do not have to get and down or leave the room to complete a task.

Make sure that your desk is large enough to accommodate all of the new technology that you own. The day of the 6-foot desk is gone because we now need space for our computer, printer/ fax machine (hopefully both in one unit), telephone, cell phone, iPod and more. If you have a separate hard-drive unit, keep it below the desk. A hard drive on top of the desk generally takes up too much space.

The ideal desk setup is an L shape, or, if you have serious business at hand, a U shape is even better. This will allow you to contain all of your equipment and still have open space for the old-fashion pen and paper. The organizing rule of thumb is to have at least 60% of your desk free, clear and open for business. If this is not the case in your home office, you have some work to do.

3. Optimize your storage space by creating separate zones to contain each specific type of item.

Many of my clients call upon me because they feel that they do not have enough space in their home and they feel crowded by their possessions. From my viewpoint as a Professional Organizer the reality is that they are simply not using the space on hand to its best advantage.

When items are spread throughout the house, it becomes difficult to see that there are actually duplicates of everything. There are very few items, scissors excluded, where keeping more than one on hand is advantageous.

Contain collections of 'like' items in plastic bins. Take for instance; store 'Things That Bind' like staples and paper clips together in one bin, batteries in another. All tape, glue and sticky substances could be stored in a 'Things That Stick' bin. Use baskets to serve as quick and easy drawers in deep spaces. Use pre-made plastic drawer bins for instant cabinets within cabinets.

4. Keep your mail and papers in action stored vertically and off of the kitchen counter. Harris Interactive reports that 23 percent of adults say they pay bills late (and incur fees) because they lose them. This is just the tip of the iceberg when your papers overtake your everyday life.

The largest source of conflict that I witness in homes is between spouses and revolves around papers on the kitchen counter. The spouse that is not in charge of retrieving or organizing the mail does not understand the phenomena of the daily deluge. Mail arrives without fail, come rain, sleet, hail or snow and, if left to it's own devices, will often turn into piles on the counter. 62 billion pieces of junk mail are produced each year (an average of 41 pounds per household)? And 44% of this junk mail goes directly into our landfills unopened! You can stop your junk mail deluge and help the environment by employing companies like http://www.41pounds.org.

Another way to curb your pile situation is to create a vertical place to keep your papers until needed. I personally recommend the metal vertical stepper files available at office supply stores or small vertical file boxes without lids. I recommend containers without lids in this instance because closed lids block the swift flow of papers into the system. They also run the hazard of turning this box top into a piling zone.

To keep total control of your papers in action, use these categories: calls to make, bills to pay, current projects, upcoming events, waiting for response or whatever other types of action you need to do with your papers.

5. Take Control and Tame Your Paper File Drawers
When you learn how to master your papers, you gain more control and the pieces of your life come together much more effortlessly.

Set aside a day to sort through your old files and eliminate papers that are no longer relevant to your life or work. An entire day might seem like a big sacrifice but it will pay off in spades.

If you want to go easy on yourself during this process, consider using the Freedom Filer paper file system to get started. The inventor of this system spent 6 years creating this paper management process. It helps you eliminate your old papers when they are no longer needed. The time it takes you to do your taxes will be dramatically reduced because it also keeps your important tax-related papers itemized for easy and accurate tax accounting.

As you gain control and implement only one of these steps, it will become much easier to manifest your life around your joys and passions. Completing only one of the above tips and you will be motivated to do much more. Clearing can become habit forming once you feel the relief and energy shift in your home and your life. When you are not constantly distracted by muck, chaos and clutter, you will more easily be able to add more space to your life and reach for your dreams!

Deodorize and Detoxify Your Home and Furniture With Green Cleaning Products

Natural cleaning products are used to clean, deodorize and disinfect which have natural substances as their active ingredients. These products are less damaging to the environment and safer for human and also for animals or your pets, unlike the household cleaning products.

These household cleaning products contains a toxic chemical ingredients which are eventually contact the air, water and soil where they can cause a significant and irreparable harm to animals, plants ,drinking water and food supplies. This can be a really big problem. So try to use natural cleaning products to avoid those problems.

What else can you do? Dispose of hazardous household cleaning products responsibly. For information on proper disposal in your area, contact your local or state department of solid waste disposal or household hazardous waste. But if your community doesn't have a household hazardous waste collection program, encourage your community leaders to organize one.

If you want to save more money in cleaning your home and furniture's try to make homemade cleaning products. It's very simple and easy to do. Here are some examples of ingredients using baking soda: All-purpose cleaner: Place 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water and shake well. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) neutralizes acid, softens fabrics, as well as deodorizes, cleans and polishes metals and plastics.

Another natural ingredient is vinegar. Vinegar removes mildew, grease, and wax; deodorizes; cleans windows, brick, and stone. Some ingredients using vinegar: Air freshener: Place shallow plates of vinegar in rooms to absorb odors; sprinkle ½ cup borax in the bottom of trash cans or diaper pails to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold that cause odors.

You can also make a toilet bowl cleaner: Mix ¼ cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar pour into toilet, let set for 5 minutes, then scrub with brush. My father had tried it last September he accidentally mixed baking soda into a cup of vinegar while cooking then he placed it on a container.

While my father was cooking, my mother asks for the muriatic acid to clean the toilet bowl. My father had mistakenly gave the container of mixed baking soda and vinegar, my father remember that container but it's too late my mother had already used it and it is effective. Start on that day until now my mother still using that ingredient. They both learned to use homemade natural cleaning products and also to save more money. It's too easy making homemade cleaning products, simple and affordable unlike using household cleaning products which are expensive and dangerous cause of its toxic ingredients.

Homemade cleaning products you have in your kitchen: vinegar, lemon juice, salt, baking soda and others. Lemon juice is another natural substance that can be used to clean your home. It cleans and shines brass and copper. Lemon juice can be mixed with vinegar and or baking soda to make cleaning pastes. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section.

Use the lemon to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains. Mix 1 cup olive oil with ½ cup lemon juice and you have a furniture polish for your hardwood furniture. You can use salt in cleaning your accessories like silver. I had always used salt in cleaning my accessories. You just need to boil water then pour the salt and your silver accessories for 5 minutes. Try it at your home and see to believe that a salt can make your silvers clean and shine like new sold.

The World of Hansgrohe - Luxury Bath and Kitchen Accessories

The modern bathroom is no longer treated with diffidence and indifference. For decades and generations of bathroom users, this has always remained as a place of least interest when it came to matters of interior decor and style statements.

The bathroom was designated in a house or apartment and then simply assembled with all its essential components to be used for convenience and need. However, things have taken a turn for change in modern times. There is a special interest in the design and arrangement of a bathroom as much as its decor and style statement.

Hansgrohe

This is one of the best manufacturers of bathroom and kitchen accessories in the United Kingdom. They have the largest collection of designer fittings that are always a part of every modern home where looks and comfort rule. The company has given a new definition to the type of decor you may choose for your bathroom and kitchen.

Hansgrohe Showers

The Hansgrohe shower systems and their facilities have turned the act of bathing in UK from a matter of necessity to a luxury habit. There are luxury showers that have multiple water ejection facility, which makes it an entirely new experience to take a shower. This is aimed at providing relaxation with a complete massage system of water discharge and effective shower experience for a bath at the same time. This will completely fulfill your requirement like a Jacuzzi dip.

Hansgrohe Mixer Taps

There are mixer taps for the kitchen as well as for the bathroom. The use of mixer taps is especially helpful in modern kitchens and bathrooms as they facilitate a combination of hot and cold water for use. You do not need to mix them from separate taps yourself. The pipes are fitted in a way with the design of the tap that enables a mix of the water from both ends before they reach your hands.

The use of kitchen mixer taps is very popular in modern houses where work is considered the most important and significant of all. The cold climate of UK makes it even more important that mixer taps be installed in both kitchens and bathrooms. There are plenty of designs for luxury baths and stylishly functional kitchens, which are in huge demand by modern homeowners. The functionality aspects of these products are extremely useful and vital in modern lifestyles. Moreover, the factor that makes the Hansgrohe ranges of products an obvious choice for many is its wide range under each category

Take Your Kitchen to the Country

Tired of the ultra-modern black and white and chrome of your kitchen? Have you gone beyond the desire for sleek minimalism and long for the comfort of a warm and cozy country kitchen? Many of us spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so comfort is right up there with convenience. Here are some ways to create that feeling of warmth in your kitchen.

Let's start from the bottom up. You may want to cover the existing linoleum with one of the many laminate hardwood floorings that are available at building supply superstores. Snap-and-glue or lock-together flooring pieces are fairly inexpensive, don't require a sub floor underneath for installation, and are extremely durable -- a good move if you have children or pets. Wood comes in many different shades, so pick one that will work well with your choice of cupboards and countertop.

So let's think about cupboards. Bring home some earth-colored paint swatches and see what strikes your comfort zone. Try an antique olive green, light mocha or honey. Before painting, wash your cupboards clean of grease and grime, then lightly scuff them with sandpaper and wipe down again to remove loose dust. Mix your chosen paint color half and half with glaze. Apply with a 1-4" paintbrush, then take a rag made from an old cotton t-shirt and lightly rub the painted area with the rag to give an antiqued texture to the cupboards. Paint the trim in a solid color without the glaze to add contrast. When choosing doorknobs, try copper or wrought iron to create an aged look.

Now for the countertop. Buying countertops can be expensive, especially if you require a custom size or have your heart set on granite. One inexpensive way to resurface the countertop is with ceramic tile, which comes in a variety of colors and sizes. 12 x12 is a good size for countertops, or try smaller Mexican tiles with bright colored designs for the backsplash. After you lay the tiles, grout the seams. Charcoal grout seems to compliment most tile and always looks clean. Finish with two-inch wood trim in a color like red oak for added warmth.

Finally, choose a warm color to paint the kitchen walls. Shades of brown -- such as desert sand, rice cake, or light coffee -- add warmth to the room and don't compete with the color of the cupboards. If the room is large enough, one wall could be painted with a darker or brighter color.

With all the basics in place, add decorative finishing touches, such as aged copper pots and pans hanging from a rack above the stove to wicker baskets or antique cooking utensils picked up at garage sales. A pottery or glass water pitcher filled with fresh flowers is a lovely addition.

If you have an eat-in kitchen, a wooden hutch or antique baker's rack is the perfect setting for your aunt's tea cozy and your collection of cookbooks. Now fill your country kitchen with the aroma of cinnamon buns made from Grandma's recipe... and enjoy.

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