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Interior Design and Decorating – The How To

After the hassles of a nine-to-five job, it’s nice to come home to a place that lets you get rid of all those negative and undue tensions. The home is a space that is sole witness to your family’s bonding moments and celebrations of special occasions. It is where you rest, dine, and find your loved ones at the end of the day.

It’s no surprise why almost everybody is interested in interior design. After all, making memories will be much more enjoyable when you have a nice background for all these unrepeatable moments. Due to the overwhelmingly numerous design ideas to choose from, most people however, get quite wary of the job. They often think they should hire a professional to do the entire task for them. If you happen to be one of these people, then here are some decorating tips that will leave you wondering why it took you so long to start your home makeover!

Firstly, every endeavor reaps benefits from doing some research at the very start. So grab all the lifestyle and home-making magazines you can find and start browsing through them. Look at all the pictures of houses and rooms that you think are really impressive. Once you select these photos, try to discover the underlying patterns. It could be that out of all the pictures you’ve seen, you happen to have a penchant for nautical-inspired themes. Or among all the rooms that you like, the common ground is that it should be something quaintly Victorian. Having established this, you are now one step closer to singling out your dream theme!

Now, it is really, really important that you employ one single theme for a room. Don’t get all experimental and match Country with Tropical influences, if you want to avoid having confused house guests. For the kitchen area, a great choice would be something Tuscan. The French country design is also quite in demand. However, matching these two themes may give your kitchen that haphazard look. Don’t even think about it. If you get bored with a particular theme, you can always put away items from a specific theme and swap them for other pieces. For instance, changing the living room from a Cowboy theme to an Asian means you have to tuck away all those antlers and leather furnishings for a start.

Another tip would be to reduce the décor hoarding. If you love impulse buying, make sure you don’t make it too obvious by cramming all those home décor items in the living room for everybody to see! Remember that themes should be constant in a specific space and add-on’s that don’t quite belong should be left on the shelf. If you really think a particular ornament is too unique to pass up, exchange this for one item in your living room instead of simply putting it there. That way, you won’t have too much going on in one corner of the room.

One last thing, be sure you’re happy with the choices you make. Ok, so those magazine lay-outs are to die for, but is it what you really want to come home to? And although most would argue that a safe paint job is the best bet, indulge in a room in rich vibrant red! There’s nothing wrong with giving in to your ultimate fantasies once in a while. Besides, if you have to sell it or transfer to another house someday, the problem is a piece of cake when you have a can of paint!

The Recipe for a Good Kitchen Design

This weekend my partner and I began to shop for a new kitchen for our family home. Like many homes, I’m sure, our lives and daily activities largely revolve around this one room – hence why such thought was put in to purchasing a new one!

Despite seeing some sunshine, moonlight and good times, our current 1970s style kitchen is unlikely to boogie without a much needed hip-replacement… or new cabinetry at least!

As an avid cook, I really do demand a lot from my kitchen, so I thought I might share some thoughts about what I believe a good kitchen should entail, and gain valuable feedback, before I decide to splurge a vast sum of cash on a new one.

First and foremost, my kitchen has to be practical and considerately designed to cater for my laziness when cooking. Unfortunately, if the Rosemary and Thyme aren’t easily to hand when roasting a chicken on a Sunday, I tend to go without. I like to have all of my equipment, herbs and seasonings within arm’s reach – much like a garden shed, in that respect. A revolving spice rack, useful revolving storage compartments and neatly organised cabinetry therefore greatly appeals to me.

As a father with a young child, I also need it to be hard-wearing. Really hard-wearing in fact. Although it pains me to say, I’ve learned that if you want your kitchen to be a room that the whole family can enjoy, you can’t be too finicky about it. My daughter loves to help her mum bake cakes and brownies; our current kitchen carpet is a testament to that! So having cabinetry that’s easy to clean, and preferably slam-proof, is almost essential.

Lastly, colour plays an essential role in the kitchen design and is a great tool for altering the mood. The kitchen is the first place we all visit in the morning and the first place we retreat to when finishing work in the evenings. For that reason, the colour needs to be bold, energising and able to lighten spirits even in the gloomy wintry days. I find brightly painted walls or cabinets ought to do the trick.

So with a combination of practical – anti-slam – bold coloured cabinetry, hard-wearing surfaces, useful rotating storage and quality spot lighting, I think I may have finally sussed the uncertainty of what makes a good kitchen. Now all that’s left is to pay for it.

Kitchen Design Tips & Updates – Space Requirements & Recommendations

Kitchen design can be as simple as a straight countertop with minimalist appliances, or as sophisticated as multiple sinks, dishwashers, cooktops & ovens in islands, under islands, over islands and more. Wine coolers can fit in the space of a dishwasher or be as tall as a pantry. Sinks can be troughs to be filled with ice to cool bottles, little for an entertainment center, double or triple bowls and an infinite variety of materials. Materials vary enormously, you can go green with countertops made of compressed recycled paper, clear glass, concrete, granite, limestone or the old standbys. Even within materials, such as granite, prices vary enormously depending on the exact stone chosen, and you can find some very reasonable and beautiful stone if you look around. There’s an infinite world of possibilities in the kitchen.

First we can start with some design basics. How much room do I need for a kitchen? Well, that depends on what you want in it. At it’s most mini, you could fit a kitchen into a space 5′-4″ x 7′-5″, but there wouldn’t be much beyond some very small appliances without a dishwasher. Let’s look at some standard appliance and fixtures size ranges.

  • Sinks: sinks come in many sizes, depths, materials and prices.  You can get them as narrow as 11″ wide, but you probably want to plan at least a 30″ – 36″ cabinet, which can accommodate a wide range of standard size kitchen sinks from 25″ to 33″ in a variety of styles (drop-in, undercounter, or exposed front cut out).  You will also need to decide if you like a single, double or triple basin sink, as that will impact available sizes. There is also the option of putting the sink in an island, or putting an entertainment sink or trough sink in a secondary location.  
  • Dishwashers: dishwashers are pretty easy because they are pretty standard at 24″.  
  • Cooking: again we have multiple choices, but sizes are a little easier.  You have a choice of a free-standing or slide-in, in which the unit fits in between two cabinets, which is generally 30″ wide; a cooktop with separate ovens, (either below or in a separate cabinet), which comes standard in 30″ or 36″ sizes and fit into that size cabinet (although you can get professional style rangetops up to 48″); or a professional style range made by companies such as Viking, Wolfe or GE Monogram which range from 24″ all the way up to 60″, and require significant ventilation. If you choose a separate oven in some kind of wall oven arrangement, standard oven widths are generally 27″ and 30″, although they can be found up to 36″.  
  • Refrigerators: Choices, choices! Refrigerators are kind of two basic style decisions. Do you want one which is shallow (around 2′) and is known as built-in or counter-depth, or do you want the slightly deeper traditional style where some of refrigerator sides are exposed. The shallower built-in’s generally come in 36″, 42″ & 48″, while the deeper styles can be found just below 30″ wide and up.  
  • Faucets: Kitchen faucets, besides an almost infinite variety of styles, materials and colors, also have evolved. Faucets are now available just to fill the pots on your stove, have a choice of pull-out sprayer heads or separate sprayer, single or multiple handles, they are available with remote two button controls for a prep sink which allows for a quick sink rinse or a more complete cleansing flow, and can fit any decor from ultra modern to renaissance.

How much countertop is enough? According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) a total of 158 inches (13′-2″) of countertop frontage (not in corners) is needed to accommodate all kitchen uses. Try to allow a continuous section of countertop of at least 36 inches wide by 24 inches deep next to your primary work area.  The NKBA recommends that you allow at least a 15 inch countertop area next to your oven and on the handle side of your refrigerator.  

When talking about storage,  the NKBA recommends a total shelf/drawer frontage of 1400 inches for a small kitchen (less then 150sf), 1700 inches for a medium kitchen (151 to 350sf) and 2000 inches for a large kitchen (over 350sf). What does this mean? Does this mean that I need over 100′ of shelves for a little kitchen? Well, yes, but, each drawer or each individual shelf should be counted towards the total. So if you have a 24″ wide cabinet, 30″ high with 3 shelves, you already have 6′ of shelving. And if there were a 24″ base cabinet with 4 drawers, there’s another 8′, so this one 24″ area of your kitchen already has 14′ of shelving.  

What is “the work triangle”? The work triangle represents the three major work stations of the kitchen: the cooking area, the refrigerator and the sink. Measuring from the center of each, the maximum total length of the triangle should not be greater then 26 feet with the maximum leg no greater then 9 feet and the minimum not less then 4 feet. At 3D Home Decorator, there are actually 9ft and 4ft arrows that you can place in your floor plans to test distances.  

Eating areas are not limited to tables! Islands can accommodate eating areas, cooking areas, washing up areas, or just prep areas. A typical kitchen counter is 34 inches to 36 inches high. A table is typically 30 inches high. So in planning kitchen eating areas, part of an island eating area can be dropped to table height or a table can be built as an extension of an island, left at counter height with stools, or raised to 42 inches for a high countertop eating area, which is often used to hide the work surface of the counter behind it when viewed from the rest of the room.  

How much space is ideal between a table and the wall? The NKBA  (National Kitchen & Bath Assoc.) recommends a minimum of 32 inches if no traffic needs to pass. 36 inches will let someone squeeze by, and 44 inches will let a person walk by. If a wheelchair needs to pass, allow 60 inches.  

It is best to vent your stove to the outside if possible, but there are recirculating fans which will draw odors from the air if outside venting is not available Do not put cooking surfaces under operable windows. If you are lucky enough to have an operable window above countertop height in your kitchen, place your sink under it instead of your stove. You can put a microwave with a fan combination over your stove, either exhausting to the outside, or recirculating the air.  

Do not waste your kitchen corners. Upper cabinets can be decorative open shelving or have a two part door which opens both sides of the cabinets. Blind base cabinets can have lazy susans, which rotate for access, or base cabinets can have shelves which pull out, swing to the side and allow deeper shelves to be pulled out into accessible locations. While it is the hardest to access, the least expensive solution is just to have deep shelves or a simple lazy-susan (the rotating shelves). If you have an L shaped kitchen or island with a peninsula setup, doors can be placed on both sides for accessibility.  

Don’t forget the space between the upper and lower cabinets. If you have more then enough countertop, the space between the upper and lower cabinets  (even in the corners) can have tambour doors (rollup doors) which can hide appliances or the space can be filled with open wine racks, leaving half the countertop exposed for the usual purposes.

 Cabinets come in all sizes. Base cabinets come in every width from 3 inches up, and depths from 12 inches to 24 inches and larger, so they can fill all kinds of needs. 9 inch and 12 inch base pullouts for soda bottles and cans are wonderful and efficient for filling in narrower spaces. There are  base cabinets with pullouts for garbage and/or recycling, or with shelves that lift up for a Kitchenaid Mixmaster type of appliance. A 12 inch deep cabinet at the end of an island can be used for cookbooks or designed for wine storage. Don’t forget full height pantries, which can have shelves, roll-out drawers, door attachments for spices or other specialty storage. Both lower and upper cabinets can be decoratively open for wine, books, glassware, and more. An 18″ or 24″ base could have a small wine or soda refrigerator built in. There are 6″ high drawer cabinets or open shelves which can fit under your upper cabinets to provide storage for smaller items.  Base cabinets too can have glass doors and fancy faces, which can be used to display special dishes.  With storage at a premium, kitchen cabinets have become very clever about offering maximum efficiency in minimum space.