Top 10 Kitchen Improvements, Upgrades and Enhancements Top 10 Kitchen Improvements, Upgrades and Enhancements

What cook doesn’t dream of their ideal kitchen where the right pan is always at arms reach, where spices send up fresh aromas from crystal containers, where there’s plenty of room for all to congregate in an air that remains pleasantly cozy. If this is your dream, or something like it, you may be inspired to improve your current kitchen one step at a time. Consider the following enhancements to improve your kitchen space.

How’s your back? Are you tired of bending low to that jam-packed cabinet where every pot and pan is placed just so—but you need the one on the bottom in the back? Storing pots and pans is actually an easy upgrade that is as affordable as it is convenient. Pot racks come in many styles and can accommodate many collections of cooking vessels. This is also a terrific space saver when cabinet space is dear. A simple wrought iron pot hanger will suffice for most kitchens. Even if your pots and pans are a mix and match array—hanging them will make for a charming accent that is most functional.

Since improvement number one was such a good bargain, perhaps you might spend a bit more on improvement two. Appliance upgrade is not cheap by any stretch. However, outside of the chef, they are the life of the kitchen. They cook, bake, refrigerate, freeze, microwave, brew and toast—and those are just the basics. With the wide array of colors, styles and sizes available today, you can find appliances to suit your needs. They will certainly make life in the kitchen more pleasant and convenient.

Lack of adequate counter space is a frequent complaint for many. Once you arrange the toaster, coffee maker, toaster oven, canister set, utensil holder, bread box, answering machine and cookie jar—there just isn’t enough room to chop vegetables for homemade soup or roll out pizza dough. Often, you find cooking clutter finding its way to the kitchen table leaving precious space to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the paper. The answer, of course, is to install an island topped with a butchers block. Sure, if you can fit more counters along unused walls, that is helpful too. An island can also double as extra storage space, wine rack, cookbook holder, etc…

As storage is the operative words for many kitchens, consider installing a pantry. A walk-in pantry is ideal (the bigger the better), but even something the size of a powder room will do. Even a closet will provide the kind of space you need to store food stuffs and other items. Traditional pantries allow you to keep your kitchen clutter-free. The heavy mixer you only lug out for holiday baking can easily be stored out of your way in a pantry. Grocery shopping will be a breeze as you inventory your organized pantry shelves.

A pantry might allow you to practically store kitchen items, but sometimes you want to show items off. Like your pottery, glassware or vintage salt and pepper shaker collection. In this case, consider enhancing the kitchen with a high (close the ceiling) shelf that spans the whole kitchen. Baskets, teapots, antique plates, Beanie Babies—whatever—can be handsomely displayed, yet kept well out of the cook’s way.

Next, if you’ve been squinting at your recipe file under that single light fixture from 1979—it may be time to give new lighting features their day in the sun. This is great enhancement that pairs function with style. From the Williamsburg wall sconces on the wall, to the spotlights installed under the cabinets, you can employ attractive lighting features everywhere you need them. Top off you kitchen table with a great hanging light fixture replicated from your favorite design era.

Of course, you can hardly top off a table you can’t stand. Most of us have been stuck with the wrong table at some point in our kitchen careers. It’s either too big, too small, needs to be refinished or is totally out of style. Again, a vast array of tables will make choosing one the most difficult part of this upgrade. From a long French provincial table that offers quaint rustic elegance to a small breakfast nook set painted in a folk design, you can add a new table and change the entire feel of the kitchen.

Installing new cabinetry can drastically improve the look and function of the kitchen. You can replace existing cabinets with ones that suit your needs; you can install cabinets where there were none before. If your cabinets suffice but bore you, consider taking off the doors and fitting them with glass panels. This will allow you to show off the china you spent months deciding on and it will also make a small kitchen appear larger. Even something as simple as changing the cabinet knobs or pulls will enhance your kitchen’s look with a great new style.

Once you’ve done all this work, it’s time to look down. Not at your feet—at the floor. Yes—where milk spills and crumbs scatter. Choose flooring that you can maintain—all else is secondary in the kitchen. Function before beauty when it comes to the kitchen floor—but with all the styles available today—even lovely parquet tiles can be the right choice for your kitchen, because there’s nothing wrong with having function and beauty—both!

Finally, once you’ve got new appliances, a new floor and all the other great features, you can simply ice the cake with a stylish look that ties it all together. This decorative renovation might involve new shades for the kitchen, a different color paint for the walls, a set of vintage posters of Paris cafes to highlight the eating area. Often a theme can be a great way to give the kitchen new character. From 1950s chrome to contemporary stainless steel—you can find everything from potholders to napkin rings to help emphasize your kitchen’s hip new look.

These, of course, are only the top ten upgrades. You can always count higher; throw out the kitchen sink (add a new one), install a plant window…Like everything, cost will impact what upgrades you can manage in one year. But at the heart of all this work, consider your enjoyment of a room you practically live in and all the added investment these great new features add to your home.

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