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Upper Cabinets vs. Open Shelving in the Kitchen: Pros & Cons

Upper Cabinets vs. Open Shelving in the Kitchen: Pros & Cons

A traditional kitchen is filled with traditional cabinets, but modern homeowners are breaking the mold by mixing and matching these standard storage options with modern designs. While there are many benefits to sticking with upper cabinets in your local home, open shelving is quickly gaining speed as a popular trend that is transforming kitchens into more open, functional spaces.

However, like any choice you make during a kitchen remodel, both cabinet and storage designs have their advantages and challenges. At Kitchen Cabinet Kings, we’re here to help you understand all the pros and cons of traditional kitchen cabinets vs. open-shelf options so that you can make the choice that best brings your vision for a beautiful new kitchen to life.

Traditional Functionality with Standard Upper Cabinets

traditional upper cabinets
From minimalist shaker cabinets to fully customized solid-wood styles, there are beautiful and varied options out there for traditional kitchen cabinets. Upper cabinets are available in big-box stores, online retailers, and from custom-cabinet manufacturers, so it is easy to find a style that works well for the needs and look of your kitchen.

Pros

There’s a reason that upper cabinets are the standard in home kitchens. Functionality is their best feature, and they can deliver several benefits that make them the right choice for many home styles:

  • Storage: With the right configuration of upper cabinets, you can have plenty of space to store and hide away kitchen appliances and rarely used items for an uncluttered look.
  • Cohesion: When you have upper cabinets, you also get to choose the hardware, finish, and color to create cohesion with all of the other design elements of the room.
  • Style: Ideal for a minimalist or traditional aesthetic, upper cabinets are as beautiful as they are a functional kitchen staple.

Cons

With all the advantages of upper cabinets, it can be hard to find a downside. However, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind if you are designing your kitchen remodel around new upper cabinets:

  • Traditional upper cabinets take up a lot of space in the kitchen, which can make the room feel smaller or darker than it actually is.
  • The cost of upper cabinets can be a major expense, particularly if you want any customized features, sizes, or materials.

Open Shelving for Modern, Streamlined Beauty

kitchen with open shelving
From single shelves to tiered shelving on all walls of the kitchen, open shelving is making an impact in the world of kitchen design. This modern design element combines storage functionality with a unique look, although there are still several factors to keep in mind before transforming your old kitchen into a sleek, open-feel space.

Pros

The biggest advantage to open shelving is its ability to open up the entire feeling of the room. Unlike traditional upper cabinets, open shelves avoid breaking up the space with stark, solid fixtures and lend to an airy, fresh look in the kitchen. They are also ideal for keeping frequently used items handy for use, and they make the perfect spot for displaying beautiful décor pieces.

Cons

While open shelves can open up a small kitchen, they do have a downside. Before you embark on tearing out all of your existing upper cabinets, consider the fact that open shelves can add to:

  • A Busy Look: Seeing all of your kitchen items can be convenient, and a lack of upper cabinets can create an open-air appearance, but having your items on display can also contribute to a busy or cluttered look in the kitchen.
  • Lack of Privacy: Those chipped, outdated dishes, grimy appliances, and unattractive packaged food won’t have anywhere to hide with open shelves, so keep that in mind when deciding if you need the closed doors of standard cabinets.
  • Maintenance: With open shelving comes more exposure to the indoor air—which can lead to a much more frequent need for dusting and cleaning.

Combining the Best in Standard Cabinets and Open Shelving

kitchen with upper cabinets and open shelving
Understanding more about the benefits and drawbacks of open shelving vs. traditional cabinets can leave you wondering how to get the best of both worlds—without all of the downsides. Sometimes the best way to get the kitchen you want is by thinking outside of the box, and you can combine all of the things you love about both options by considering:

  • Skipping the upper cabinets and shelving altogether to stick with lower cabinets
  • Installing a single shelf above the backsplash or in a key area of the kitchen
  • Customizing the cabinet door fronts with frosted glass or glass grids
  • Adding upper cabinets in a floating, shallow, or extra-high design

Whether you use your kitchen day-in and day-out or you only cook to entertain guests, storage and style are two of the most important factors that you need to consider when planning the layout of your space. While both upper cabinets and open shelving are excellent choices in the home, taking your budget, needs, aesthetic, and kitchen layout into consideration is essential to end up with storage features that add to the beauty and functionality of this heavily used room of the house.

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Kitchen Remodel Compromises: What Do You Need to Consider?

Kitchen Remodel Compromises: What Do You Need to Consider?


Are you ready to take on the challenge of a kitchen remodel? While planning a renovation in this important room of the home is exciting, it can quickly become more than a little overwhelming. The first thing that you need to do is start getting clear about your “must haves” vs. your “wants” to ensure that you stay focused on your goals for a newly remodeled kitchen.

The key to a stress-free kitchen remodel is compromising—both with the ultimate fixtures you choose and with your budget. Whether you are going for a luxury kitchen remodel that tears the room down to the studs or simple updates that are cost-effective and high-impact, there are few things you have to consider when narrowing down all of the options that are available.

Functionality of the Kitchen Space

Above all, the kitchen is a functional room of the home. However, functionality can mean something different for every household! While some families might cook meals from scratch every day, others live on take-out and fine dining, and having a clear picture of how you are going to use the space can give you a better plan for moving forward with a remodel.

When looking at the usability factor in the kitchen, most spaces fall into one of two categories:

  • Everyday Use: If you have kids, spend a lot of time baking and cooking, or gather in the kitchen with your family every day, you will want to look at features that meet those needs. That means focusing on an efficient layout, large appliances, and flexible cooking and prep areas when designing your dream kitchen.
  • Entertaining & Events: If the kitchen in your home serves more as a showpiece than an everyday space, your remodeling needs will be different. Kitchens designed for entertaining and events tend to be spacious, with high-end features, luxury accents, and extra seating that makes it comfortable for a crowd.

Your Remodeling Budget and Timeline

In the ideal world, you could create your dream kitchen without even thinking about your budget—but that isn’t the reality for the majority of homeowners. Remodeling the kitchen can quickly become very expensive, and it is easy to get carried away when putting together your vision for the space. Instead of getting lost in the world of overpriced kitchen gadgets and expensive touches, consider the cost of the upgrade vs. the value that you will get from the addition. The results of this comparison will be different for every homeowner, but you can start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Will investing in this improve my everyday life?
  • Will this product help solve common pet peeves in the space?
  • Will this upgrade make my house feel more like a home?
  • What is the return on investment for moving forward with this purchase?

Aesthetic Appeal and Design

The majority of your kitchen remodel planning should be focused on practical concerns and functionality, but that doesn’t mean that style isn’t also incredibly important in the kitchen! As another vital kitchen compromise, you will have to weigh the pros and cons of adding the various aesthetic elements that you want to see in the space. Remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to style, and investing in one or two statement pieces can be enough to make a big impact—without going overboard.

Remodeling any area of your home requires compromise, and the kitchen is no exception. From the style and finish of your cabinets to the appliances, stylish touches, and overall layout, what works for one home may not be the ideal choice for another. By weighing the different options and finding the right balance of cost, value, and taste, you can create the kitchen of your dreams—with timeless results that make your new kitchen your favorite room of the house.

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Announcing the Winner of the 2018 Kitchen Cabinet Kings Entrepreneur Scholarship

Announcing the Winner of the 2018 Kitchen Cabinet Kings Entrepreneur Scholarship

Nathan Everson

The winner of the 2018 Kitchen Cabinet Kings Entrepreneur Scholarship is Noah Covey from Harvard University.

The Kitchen Cabinet Kings Entrepreneur Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship awarded to one active college student who is committed to entrepreneurship. This year’s essay topic was, “How will cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology change the way companies do business?”

Here’s a snippet of what Noah had to say:

In California, there were races that flipped from one party to the other weeks after election day when absentee votes were fully counted. And there was possible election fraud discovered in North Carolina. It became clear to me that America needs a new, standardized, easily verifiable way to conduct elections. And blockchain is the perfect solution. Imagine having every vote added as a record to a block on a single, decentralized election blockchain. Changing the results would be impossible, and everyone would have equal access to those results.

Kitchen Cabinet Kings was founded by two entrepreneurs with a dream to disrupt the cabinet industry and today we’re fortunate to have thousands of satisfied customers throughout the country. We wanted to give back to fellow entrepreneurs and created a scholarship program to help young entrepreneurs combat the rising costs of tuition. This year, we are honored to award the 2018 Kitchen Cabinet Kings Entrepreneur Scholarship to Noah.

Thank you to everyone who applied for this year’s scholarship. Please check our scholarship page over the next few weeks for this year’s topic.

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12 Ways To Set Up Your Kitchen For Healthy Eating

12 Ways To Set Up Your Kitchen For Healthy Eating

Spring is in the air, you’re digging summer clothes out of storage, and it’s time to start planning vacations and fun outdoors—which means it is also the time of year that everyone starts thinking about healthy eating to stay looking and feeling their best for the good times ahead.

When you’re ready to make the move to new eating habits, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks for getting started off on the right foot by setting your kitchen space up for quick, healthy meals.

1. Organize Your Fridge and Pantry

It’s impossible to cook efficiently when you don’t even know where your salt shaker is! When you want to eat healthier, start by clearing out the old to make way for the new. Throw out any expired food items, condiments, and pantry staples first—then take stock of what you have left. If it matches your healthy lifestyle, organize it, and if not, consider donating to others in need.

2. Stock Up on Essentials Beforehand

Once you know what you are dealing with in your pantry and fridge, you’ll be able to make a list of the essentials you need for basic, healthy meals. That can save you a lot of time cooking and help you avoid giving into temptations like ordering takeout or heading out to your favorite restaurant instead of spending time making a homecooked meal.

3. Put Your Gardening Skills to Use

Whether you have a green thumb, or you’ve never set foot in a garden, it is easy and beneficial to make the time to start a mini herb garden in your home! Use windowsill pots, shelving, or mason jars to attractively display fresh herbs that can put a springtime burst of flavor into your healthy recipes.

4. Assess Your Storage Situation

Fresh food can go bad much quicker than processed food, so you need to have a plan in place to keep your produce and other essential items fresh. Clear and glass containers are popular, as well as vented storage containers for fruit and veggies—just make sure to wash all produce well beforehand and label your storage container with a date!

5. Set Up Your Appliances for Success

There are plenty of small appliances that can speed-up your healthy meal prep. However, simply having the appliances doesn’t mean you’ll use them! To get the most out of your mealtime, find key places in your kitchen that are easily accessible for the appliances you use most, or consider custom appliance cabinetry to give them their own space—without cluttering up your kitchen.

6. Focus on Beauty and Presentation

The appearance of food plays a major role in how appetizing it is, and you can bring a touch of elegance into your meals by presenting food in a way that you think is beautiful. You can also arrange fresh fruit and healthy snacks in attractive displays right on your table or counter to get a beautiful centerpiece and easy access to a quick bite!

7. Change-Up Your Dinner Dishes

It may seem simple, but sometimes just the visual of a full plate of food can make a big impact on you feeling satisfied with the meal—even if the portion sizes are smaller than what you’re used to. To make that a reality in your kitchen, swap your standard dishes with smaller-sized plates and bowls—this is also the perfect time to pick a new color or pattern that you love!

8. Keep Ready-to-Eat Snacks On-Hand

When planning out your meals for the week, make it a point to prep some easy, healthy snacks so they are ready to go on a moment’s notice. The next step—make an inventory list of what snacks you have on-hand (dry erase boards and chalkboards work great!), so you never have to stand in the kitchen hungry and frustrated.

9. Practice Mindfulness with a No-Phone Zone

When we are in the moment during meals, it is much easier to eat slowly—savoring both the food and the company that you’re with. As part of your lifestyle change, make your kitchen a no-phone zone for all members of your family, and keep the focus on conversation and building bonds with family and friends.

10. Keep Treats Out of Sight and Out of Mind

You shouldn’t feel deprived when transitioning to a healthier eating style, but you also shouldn’t have to deal with delicious treats and snacks taunting you when you walk in the kitchen. Keep a few of your favorite treats on-hand if you’d like, but make sure that they are out of reach in a specific drawer or top shelf where you won’t see them every day.

11. Stock Your Space with New Recipes and Cookbooks

Just because you are eating healthy doesn’t mean that healthy eating has to be boring! You won’t have to live on baked chicken, rice, and lettuce to keep your dietary goals on track—instead, take this opportunity to make a few recipes you always wanted to try, pick up some new cookbooks, or take a cooking class to learn new, exciting techniques!

12. Bring Joy and Fun into Your Meal Routine

The best way to truly make a move towards healthy eating is to actually enjoy it by bringing more fun into your routine. Love music? Put in an undercabinet radio and add some of your favorite songs to your meal prep! Does humor get you through a tough day? Hang up some of your favorite comics on your fridge, or invite your family in for light conversation and laughs while you cook.

All it takes is a little bit of prep work and a fresh outlook to set up your kitchen up for a healthier lifestyle! With the number of options out there for healthy eating and DIY tricks to make the process easier, you might just find that you don’t even miss the snacks hidden up in the cabinet.

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Granite Countertop Buyer’s Guide – Everything You Need To Know

Granite Countertop Buyer’s Guide – Everything You Need To Know

There are countless decisions you need to make when planning a kitchen remodel—from selecting the right kitchen cabinets and sink features to the layout, color, and appliances you want in the room. One of the most important choices that you make is what type of countertops would work best in your kitchen, and granite counters have become a desirable, beautiful, and high-value option over recent years.

The skyrocketing popularity of granite has brought it to the forefront of the remodeling and design industry, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy process to find the right stone counters for your home! With the diversity and appeal of granite countertops, you need to know exactly what you are looking for when you begin to shop around for the perfect slab, and that comes from breaking down all of the must-know factors that you need to consider throughout the process.

Benefits of Choosing Granite Counters

When you walk into your kitchen, you want to be wowed by the impressive beauty of the space—after all, kitchen remodeling is a big expense, and you want to get the most out of your budget! Choosing granite countertops is one way to make a major impact on both the style and functionality of your kitchen.

As a natural stone material, granite is made up of at least 20% quartz, as well as other minerals such as mica and feldspar. This gives it an innate ability to hold-up to the heaviest wear and tear from a busy household, and there are a few key benefits that have helped granite counters climb to the top of the “must-have” list with kitchen remodeling.

Beautiful Color & Finish

Typically, the first thing that draws people to granite is its incredible color and the natural variation of its appearance. Whatever color scheme you are going for in the kitchen, you are likely to find a beautiful slab that matches your vision. Available in a rainbow of colors, depending on the unique composition, source, and quality of the stone, granite countertops can also be finished in a number of different ways to help you achieve the look that you want, including:

  • Polished
  • Brushed/Satin
  • Leather
  • Flamed/Thermal
  • Antique

Superior Durability

You can’t build a functional kitchen simply on style—the products and materials you choose also need to be able to withstand decades of heavy use, wear and tear, and cleaning. While granite is known for its beauty, it is also renowned for its extreme durability. This natural stone can withstand heat of up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit—so you can stop worrying about putting hot pans on your counters—and it is also resistant to scratches, water, and staining with proper care and sealing.

Minimal Upkeep Requirements

The kitchen in a home is used multiple times a day, which is bound to mean that you also spend a lot of your life cleaning up the space. Unlike some countertop materials that require special care and materials for cleaning, granite is overall an easy-to-maintain choice.

Routine care involves just a quick wipe-down with a soft cloth and warm water after use, and you can also buy cleaners that are made specifically for natural stone like granite. Your granite countertops will typically be sealed at installation, but you will still need to consider resealing every year or two to keep your counters looking like new.

The Factors that Determine Granite Countertop Cost

With all of the advantages of having granite counters in the kitchen, it might seem like it is the obvious choice for any homeowner! However, the quality and benefits of this stone come at a price, and cost is often the deciding factor in whether or not you’ll be able to afford to upgrade your home with this beautiful natural stone. Additionally, most suppliers require that you purchase a whole slab, even if you don’t need it, so you have to be highly strategic with your kitchen design so that you can get your money’s worth by incorporating as much of the slab as possible.

Granite countertops are available in a broad spectrum of price points, and there are many different factors that go into determining exactly what the slab of your dreams will end up costing you:

  • Color Differences: Color might not seem like it should have a big effect on price, but with granite, it certainly does! Natural-hue stones and earth tones are more common and generally available at a lower price point. However, granite comes in a rainbow of different hues, and rare colors, such as blue, are typically priced much higher. Some granite slabs also include semiprecious stones, which, while stunning in the kitchen, can really make the price go up.
  • Availability: Due to the fact that granite is a natural material and not man-made, it has to be mined from sources around the world. That means that events on the other side of the globe can easily have a big impact in how much you end up paying for your granite counters, and factors like seasonal restrictions and political unrest can make granite scarcer—and more expensive.
  • Mining Source: Granite can be found in locations all over the globe, but the majority of granite is mined in Brazil or India. Granite from India is affordable, dense, and available in large slabs. Brazilian granite is easier to come by and known for its beautiful appearance. Granite slabs that come from China, however, are more commonly dyed—so be careful when it comes to quality!
  • Stone Composition: The term “granite” refers to many different types of dense stones that rank on a 7 or 8 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness and are resistant to acids. Some types of granite contain high amounts of other minerals, such as iron, that can make up the majority of the stone. Other types of granite are close to another stone material, like marble, and could be classified under either name.

What You Need to Know Before You Start Shopping

While granite countertops can give your home a very specific look, the board scope of what is available with this material can leave you scrambling to stay on top of things when it is time to start shopping. Working with a professional contractor and designer is a smart choice to make sure that you are getting a slab of granite that will work for the needs of your project—without busting your budget.

When you’re ready to start checking out what’s available at a granite supplier near you, you’ll want to pay extra attention to:

  • Choosing a Color: If you have the name of a specific color of granite in mind, remember that these names aren’t universal! Suppliers and quarries can have different names for the same type of stone, so it is important to take a close look at the slab in person instead of purchasing it based on the name of its color alone.
  • Understanding the Language: Understanding the lingo of the industry is where a professional can really benefit you while shopping for granite countertops. Words that you are likely to hear include Japurana, which refers to a flowing pattern in the granite, and Giallo, which is Italian for a golden color.
  • Knowing the Dos and Don’ts: Purchasing a granite slab is a big investment, and you want to be fully prepared before taking the plunge! Before you contact your first supplier, make sure you understand what you should and should not do during the process:
  • DON’T go for dyed slabs—seek out stone that naturally showcases your preferred color.
  • DO get to know your supplier and the fabricator to make the shopping process easier
  • DON’T be afraid to ask questions! The more you know, the better the results will be.
  • DO get started choosing your slab early to work the whole piece into your design.
  • DON’T hesitate on buying—slabs are one-of-a-kind, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

There is no question that granite countertops can turn a simple kitchen into a show-stopping room of the house, and their impressive benefits can make them one of the best investments you make in your remodel! As long as you understand what you are looking for, how to navigate the ever-changing granite market, and take the time to make your decision, you can end up with beautiful and functional granite countertops that last for a lifetime.

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Exploring the Benefits of an Outdoor Kitchen

Exploring the Benefits of an Outdoor Kitchen


There are few experiences more enjoyable than spending time relaxing on your back patio with friends and family, but what if you could also be enjoying delicious food at the same time? With an outdoor kitchen addition, you can bring the joy of cooking to your backyard—while reaping a lot of other benefits along the way!

Whether you are dreaming of an ultra-modern kitchen space or a rustic outdoor kitchen with a wood-fired oven, the sky is the limit for what you can create with the innovative options on today’s market. If you have been going back and forth on the idea of adding an outdoor kitchen to your property, the following benefits might push you to take the leap in making this project a top priority this year:

  1. Extra Living Space – Putting an addition onto your home is a major commitment in time, money, and resources, but an outdoor kitchen gives you the space you need—without the big expense. By incorporating the outdoor space you already have and designing your new outdoor kitchen around your family’s needs, you can create a custom living area that has all the bells and whistles you’re looking for in a home addition.
  2. Space for Entertaining – Is there anything better than spending a summer day enjoying a backyard BBQ? Whether you regularly host family at your home or you love throwing parties for friends, the kitchen is always at the heart of the action. With an outdoor kitchen, you don’t have to slave away in a hot interior room while your guests spend time outside. Instead, you can be right in the middle of the action and make cooking meals an enjoyable experience.
  3. Pleasant Home Atmosphere – From cooking seafood to accidentally burning a roast in the oven or spilling ingredients onto the floor, cooking indoors can lead to a home environment that is odorous, cluttered, and messy. When food is prepped, cooked, and eaten outdoors, you save yourself the hassle of cleaning up chaos inside your home, which makes hosting gatherings that much easier on your entire family.
  4. Improved Property Value – When you make improvements to your home, you want to focus on projects that offer a high return on investment. Improving your backyard with an outdoor kitchen is a great way to add significant value to your home! When you enhance your new outdoor kitchen with beautiful kitchen cabinets, appliances, and stand-out fixtures, you’re going to add even more value, style, and appeal to potential home buyers down the road.
  5. Long-Term Energy Savings – There are many areas of your home that factor into high utility costs, but the kitchen is one of the biggest culprits. Not only does your oven and stovetop use energy resources, but you also need to deal with running an AC at full blast in the summer just to stay cool enough to cook! In an outdoor kitchen, you can avoid heating-up your home during the summer months by grilling and cooking outdoors—ultimately helping to lower your annual utility costs.
  6. More Money in Your Pocket – Energy savings isn’t the only way that having an outdoor kitchen puts money back in your pocket! Going out to restaurants and other forms of entertainment is a large expense for many households, but why spend money hitting the town when you have everything you need right at home? With the welcoming ambiance and convenience of an outdoor kitchen, you’ll find yourself making homecooked meals more often, which saves you money in the long run.
  7. Better-Tasting Food – One of the best parts about warm weather is the food that comes along with it, and nothing tastes better than food cooked on a grill, in a wood-fired oven, or over an open fire. Instead of waiting for those rare days where you get time to kick-back at a friend’s backyard gathering, you can enjoy the taste of grilled food whenever you want in your outdoor kitchen. As an added bonus, grilling food helps cut down on fat—helping you to stay healthier!

With all the benefits of an outdoor kitchen, it might be hard to find a reason not to jump right into planning the project! However, as with any home improvement project, you need to do your research on the right options for your needs. If you are interested in getting an outdoor home kitchen, start by finding a professional, reliable contractor. Once you have your construction team on-board, you can get down to work designing your ideal outdoor kitchen—leaving you plenty of time to enjoy relaxing, cooking, and eating out on your patio all summer long.

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Bathroom Measurement Guide: These are the Measurements You Need to Know!

Bathroom Measurement Guide: These are the Measurements You Need to Know!


Picturing your beautiful new bathroom and breaking out the sledgehammer to get down to demolition may sound like a good time, but you can’t have a successful bath remodel without first putting in the hard work with planning.

That starts with measuring out your bathroom and deciding on exactly what you want in your new space and how you are going to fit your upgraded fixtures and features into your existing floor plan.

While measuring your bathroom for a remodel may sound simple at first, the process is in-depth and meticulous to avoid running into big problems when it’s time to really get down to construction. If you are hiring a professional for your bathroom remodel, they’ll take care of the nitty-gritty when it comes to measurements, but whether you are a DIYer or you’re giving full control of the renovation to a contractor, having an accurate floor plan with precise measurements is a smart decision.

How Do I Measure My Bathroom before a Remodel?

We’ve all heard the phrase measure twice, cut once. Whether you are building something out of wood or planning a major bathroom remodel, the same sentiment applies—you need to know exactly how and what to measure to make the rest of the process go smoothly.

As you might suspect, it is best to leave the final measurements for your bath remodel to your professional contractor. However, if you are taking on a DIY-remodel, take a look at our how to measure your bathroom guide first. In addition, you’re going to want to follow a few basic steps to get the starting measurements that you need to create a bathroom floor plan:

  1. Measure the overall room to put together a detailed diagram of the space.
  2. Label and measure doors and windows, while also marking the direction they open on the floor plan. For reference, doors should be at least 32″ wide—or 34″ in an accessible bath space.
  3. Identify and measure unmovable obstructions, fixed features, or anything you’re keeping in the new bathroom space. If you are replacing your bathroom cabinets, don’t include the existing cabinets in your measurements.
  4. Measure the height of the ceiling in a few different areas to get an accurate picture of the space—International Residential Code (IRC) mandates that bathroom ceilings be at least 6′ 8″ where fixtures are present.
  5. Check your measurements! Double-checking your measurements is as important as measuring in the first place, so take your time to avoid hassle down the road.

What are the Standard Measurements of Bathroom Fixtures?

Every bathroom is unique when it comes to size, layout, and design. While historic homes may have tiny bath spaces where streamlined efficiency is key, other properties feature luxurious bathrooms that have all the room needed for opulent, oversized fixtures.

Whatever your situation may be, it helps to start the remodeling process with a general idea of what the measurements are for must-have bath fixtures. Not only will this give you a starting point when choosing a tub, shower, or accessories for the room, but it will help you get a better idea of the overall cost for remodeling the space.

Bathtubs


What’s a bathroom without a bathtub? From soaking in a warm bath after a long day to having a convenient option for bathing the kids, most families want at least one bathtub in their homes. Here’s a quick break-down of some of the options that you have for upgrading to a new tub:

  • Standard apron-front bathtubs are generally 60 inches long and 30-32 inches wide, with a depth that ranges from 14-20+ inches.
  • Drop in tubs are typically the same size as a standard tub with a front wall that can be finished with tile or another creative material.
  • Japanese-style soaking tubs are shorter and deeper than the standard bath—making them ideal for a luxurious small bathroom upgrade.

The style of tub that you choose will determine the best placement for your new bath feature. If you already have a bathtub installed, you can save money by upgrading to a new tub with the same dimensions. Whatever the style, you should have the bathtub controls placed 33″ from the floor for convenience.

Showers


Showers are a sleek, modern addition to a bathroom, especially if you are installing a barrier-free shower or a full enclosure with customized details. To make sure that your new shower is easy to install and will meet the needs of your home, there are a few important measurements to keep in mind:

  • Shower Base: The minimum requirement for a shower base is 1,024 square inches, or a 32″ by 32″ space. If you have the room, aim for at least 36″ by 36″.
  • Shower Threshold: Barrier-free showers are becoming a popular option for both accessible bathrooms and spaces where a seamless aesthetic is desired. If you do have a curb/threshold on your new shower, it should be 3-4″ high and 4-6″ wide.

Toilets and Sinks


Even in a powder room or half-bath, you still need a couple of basic features to make the space a functional bathroom—namely, a toilet and a sink!

As the two top must-haves in a bathroom, you want to leave enough space to not only get the stylish fixtures you want, but also to ensure that you can comfortably use your bathroom.

  • Toilets: At the bare minimum, you need a 30″ wide by 54″ long space for a toilet installation, but it is typical to have a space that is at least 36″ wide by 60″ long. The IRC requires a minimum of 21 inches of clear space in front of a toilet. Elongated toilets extend an additional 2-3 inches, so take that into account! While codes require a minimum of 15 inches of clearance from the center of the toilet to the wall or other obstacles, try to accommodate at least 20 inches of space.
  • Sinks: Whether you choose a single or double sink depends on how much room you have available in your layout. The minimum space for a single sink is 30″ (double sinks require at least 60″), but 36-48″ is a more standard measurement (72″ for a double sink installation).

Other Must-Know Bath Measurements


Once you know where your tub, shower, sink, and toilet are going, you can start measuring for other elements that you want to have in your new bathroom! There are several features that can enhance the functionality and style of a bath—as long as you plan ahead to make room for the improvements.

  • Medicine Cabinets: Your bathroom medicine cabinet needs to have at least 4-5 inches in overall depth, with interior shelving no smaller than 3 ½ inches. Prebuilt medicine cabinets are standard-built at about 18″ wide by 30″ tall.
  • Glass Shower Enclosures: The ideal height of your shower enclosure depends on the style of your shower system and the look you’re going for in the room, but the glass should extend at least 76 inches above the floor.
  • Towel Bars: There’s no hard-and-fast rule about measuring the height of towel bars, but you will typically mount them between 36-42 inches above the floor along a horizontal centerline. If you have tall family members or large towels, you can raise them to a height of 48-50 inches.
  • Lighting: Lighting in the bathroom is highly personal, but standard options include 24″ length fluorescent tube lights, or a minimum of 12″ diameter incandescent round lights.
  • Toilet Paper Dispensers: You’ll want to install the toilet paper dispenser 8-12″ from the front of the toilet bowl and 26″ off of the floors for an easy reach.

Measuring your bathroom for a remodel is arguably the most essential first step in the process. After all, you don’t know what you can do with the space until you know exactly what you’re working with!

Whether you take on the measuring and remodeling yourself or work with an experienced bathroom contractor, taking your time to get the measuring done right sets the stage for results that exceed your expectations.

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Refrigerator and Range Buying Guide

Refrigerator and Range Buying Guide

When you think of the perfect, updated kitchen there are many things that come to mind—from the type of flooring in the room to the wall color and cabinet design. However, you can’t forget about the appliances! Out of all of the appliances that you’ll choose to update your kitchen space, the refrigerator and range are at the heart of creating a functional and stylish room in your house.

Like any big purchasing decision, it can quickly become overwhelming with the sheer number of options available on the appliance market, and you can start narrowing down your choices by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How much space is available in the room?
  • Do I want a built-in look or a simple installation?
  • What finishes go best with the current style of the room?
  • How energy efficient are the new appliances?
  • What features are “must-have” items for the family?

Although you might be purchasing new appliances for a complete kitchen remodel or simply because your current fridge or range is no longer functional, choosing a new, updated appliance is an exciting way to enhance your kitchen’s style while increasing the functionality of the room.

Refrigerators


You can’t have a kitchen without a refrigerator, making this one of the first appliances you need to consider when planning a remodel of the space! Traditional fridges are often small in size and basic in design, but there are many options available for modern appliances that can take your kitchen experience to the next level. However, like all major purchasing decisions, you need to do your research before committing to a style that will be in your home for the next several years—or decades!

Cost and Purchasing Budget

The size of your kitchen plays a big role in the type of refrigerator that will work best for your space, but you also need to consider your budget. As one of the most expensive appliances in the kitchen, modern fridges can come with a wide range of features, finishes, and designs that all play into the purchasing price. For example, you may be able to get a small, white, top-freezer model for as little as $300-400, but a high-tech, French-door style refrigerator could run you $2,500 or more.

Style and Design

Refrigerators are all designed for the same basic purpose—keeping your food cold, fresh, and ready to use! However, there are many different designs and styles when it comes to purchasing a fridge for the home, and the most common options include:

  • Top-Mounted Freezer: Economical and known as the “standard” style for refrigerators, an appliance with the freezer located at the top of the unit is a smart design for those with a tight budget, small family, or minimal space in the room. Although they are at the bottom end of the price range, they do offer the lowest interior capacity and can be inconvenient to use.
  • Side-by-Side Style: Refrigerators in a side-by-side style are the most popular models on the market today, and they are highly convenient for accessing both the fridge and freezer of the unit. While the interior space is greater than a top-freezer design, the sections are narrower—which can lead to limited space for larger fridge or freezer items.
  • Bottom-Mounted Freezer: Bottom-mounted freezer models have the same general space capacity of a top-mounted freezer style, but their benefit comes in their convenience. With the freezer on the bottom, the pull-out drawer style makes it easier to access items, and a higher fridge space allows your most-used foods to be at eye level.
  • French-Style Doors: A French door refrigerator combines the bottom-freezer design with the side-by-side fridge capacity—making them a top choice that has soared in popularity over the last several years. The opposing half doors of the fridge section require less clearance to open and offer greater interior space, while the bottom-mounted freezer retains a pull-out drawer and easy access to frozen goods.

Additional Features

Opening style, cost, and size aren’t the only features that make up the perfect refrigerator for the home! With advancements in technology and the changing needs of modern homeowners, refrigerator choices continue to expand with several additional features, including:

  • Finish: From traditional white to modern stainless or a bright pop of bold color, there are many different finishes available to perfectly complement your existing kitchen décor.
  • Filters: Having a water filter on your refrigerator is a must-have item for many families, and cold, fresh water at your disposal offers both convenience and energy-saving benefits.
  • Configuration: Nearly all refrigerators come with adjustable shelving, but higher-end models take that to a new level with greater customization options, spill-proof shelves, and more.
  • High-Tech Controls: Temperature controls set top-end fridges apart from more-economical models by offering precise humidity and temperature options for crispers and drawers.
  • Efficiency: Energy efficiency continues to be a big factor in appliance purchasing, and it’s wise to look for a model with an ENERGY STAR rating to save on your annual utility costs.

Kitchen Ranges


Next to a refrigerator, the range in your kitchen is an essential part of making the space fully functional and easy to use. However, that doesn’t mean that ranges are a one-size-fits-all appliance! Consider the following factors before making a choice in what option is ideal for the needs of your household.

Size and Style

Did you know that ranges come in a variety of sizes? Knowing exactly which size you need for the space in your kitchen is essential before you start picking out the additional features that you want in a range. Although most residential ranges are 30-inches wide, higher-end options can be more than 36-inches in width.

You also need to consider the basic style of the range that you want for your home, and your options include:

  • Freestanding: As the most-common range style, freestanding ranges have finished sides that allow for you to put them wherever they fit best in the room.
  • Slide-In: Slide-in ranges offer a semi-built-in appearance with unfinished sides that are ideal for spaces surrounded by cabinetry.
  • Drop-In: For a truly built-in look, drop-in models are a perfect choice, as this type of range sits behind the cabinet baseboard for a unified kitchen aesthetic.

Fuel Type

Size and style are basic decisions that you’ll need to make when purchasing a range, but don’t forget to look at the fuel type that is required by your home! Ranges come in both gas and electric models, and most homeowners are not willing to spend the extra money to change the fuel set-up in their kitchen. However, both fuel types have their pros and cons, so it pays to do your research when deciding whether you are going to stick with the standard option available in your household.

Burner Styles

The burners on your range can make or break the enjoyment and cooking convenience that you get with the model that you choose, and there are several factors to consider when deciding what is right for you. The more options you choose, the more the price will increase, so keep this in mind when researching the choices available for range burners, including:

  • Style: Electric coil burners are one of the hardest features to keep clean, while streamlined, glass-top models offer effortless upkeep. Induction burners are also a desirable feature thanks to their easy-to-clean ceramic design, but they will cost you more upfront.
  • Quantity: A standard range comes with four main burners, but for a bit extra, you can get additional burners that offer greater options, including warming burners and bridge burners.
  • Power: Quick heating and even cooking are the top goals with range burners, but you can expect to spend more on a model that offers greater power with precision cooking ability.

Additional Features

Once you have narrowed-down the basics of what you are looking for in a kitchen range, it is time to start considering other high-tech options that are available on the market today. In addition to size, fuel type, and burner configuration, you will also have the choice of:

  • Convection Cooking: Although you’ll spend a few hundred extra dollars to get a convection oven, it may be worth it! This high-end feature allows for improved heat distribution, lower cook times, and more consistent results.
  • Multiple Ovens: If you have a large family, selecting a range with multiple ovens could save you a lot of hassle. Instead of the standard below-oven drawer seen in economy models, this type of range includes a slim, upper oven that is ideal for baked goods, pizzas, and more.
  • Convenient Add-Ons: From porcelain-coated racks to large viewing windows, interior lighting, and precision temperature controls, there are many up-sell features available in modern ranges. The key to a successful purchase is going in with a clear idea of exactly what you need—and what you can live without.

Your kitchen’s refrigerator and range play a major role in the overall functionality of the heart of your family’s home, and with the options available today, the choices are endless for finding the perfect, custom appliance that offers beauty and value!

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Modern, Transitional, Contemporary… What does Your Kitchen Style Mean?

Modern, Transitional, Contemporary… What does Your Kitchen Style Mean?

Whether you live in a historic property or modern construction, the style of your home is highly personal, and that’s never truer than when you consider the kitchen.

As the heart of your family’s home, your kitchen sets the stage for interior ambiance, style, and comfort. You want to know that you are choosing a kitchen style that perfectly complements the rest of your home and results in the atmosphere that you’re looking for—the first step is understanding exactly what the different kitchen style terms mean.

When planning a kitchen remodel, you’ll see words like “transitional”, “modern”, and “contemporary” everywhere, but do you really know what each style entails? Get a jumpstart on designing your perfect kitchen remodel by digging deeper into how the various styles can bring your vision for a beautiful, functional space to life.

Modern Kitchens


“Modern” is one of the most common terms used to describe kitchen designs, but many people use this term interchangeably with other styles and lose the unique beauty that makes a modern kitchen, well, modern!

While the term “modern” may lead you to think of the latest and greatest in new, kitchen design trends, it actually refers to an early- to mid-20th century style—most popular in the 1950s and 60s. It also has its roots in Germany’s Bauhaus school of design which places form over function.

The open, airy feel of the floor plan allows for the natural beauty of the elements to shine through—without ornamentation—and it differs from a contemporary style with its lack of patterns, textures, and layered accents.

Cabinets

Flat-panel cabinets, also called slab-door cabinets are the signature touch in a modern kitchen. Typically seen with a frameless design, the doors of modern cabinets overlay the cabinet boxes for an ultra-streamlined aesthetic.

Wood cabinets are popular, as long as you avoid extra detail, raised panels, and added moldings. Many modern kitchens also limit wall cabinets or opt for lift-up doors to highlight the horizontal focus of the room.

Countertops

The modern kitchen is a no-fuss, no-clutter space, and that is brought to life with a monochromatic, smooth countertop. Natural materials are still at the top of the list for a modern kitchen counter, with the most popular options being:

  • Wood Countertops
  • Paper Composite
  • Soapstone
  • Concrete
  • Stainless Steel

Accents

The key to any kitchen design is in the small details, even in a modern kitchen where there is a distinct lack of “extras” or eclectic décor. Above all, there is a consistency of accents in a modern kitchen, and industrial elements work beautifully with the overall vibe of the room.

When designing your new kitchen, consider:

  • Color: There are no hard-and-fast rules for the color that you should choose in your modern kitchen. Typically, muted tones and shiny metal are popular, but nobody said that you can’t add a pop of bolder color to the space to bring character to the room!
  • Texture: Strong horizontal lines reign supreme in modern spaces! Accented by the lack of other ornamental elements in the room, bold horizontal design features in your cabinets, hardware, island, and countertops make the space stand out.
  • Hardware: C-channel hardware is the most common style with this kitchen design, but any hardware that is sleek and simple will add to a modern space. For an ultra-modern look, consider upgrading to hardware that runs the full length of your cabinets!
  • Appliances: Bulky is out and sleek, slim lines are in! Stackable, built-in, and compartmental appliances are also at the top of the must-have list in a modern kitchen, and these allow you to have more appliances without sacrificing on functional space.

Transitional Kitchens


According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), transitional kitchens are the most popular style with homeowners—and it’s easy to see why! More flexible than a traditional or contemporary kitchen, transitional spaces blend the two styles. This makes them ideal for couples with differing opinions on style or for those homeowners who have eclectic design tastes.

By mixing the cozy, inviting atmosphere of a traditional kitchen with the clean lines and simplicity of the contemporary style, transitional kitchens have several key elements that make them a stand-out choice for a remodeling design:

  • Cabinets: Crisp. Simple. That’s the best way to describe transitional kitchen cabinets, which are generally panel-style wood with modest hardware. Dark cabinets can work in the space to highlight the neutral color tones, and you’ll want to go for a streamlined style that is just short of the starkness of modern cabinets.
  • Countertops: Natural materials carry over from modern design to also remain at the top for transitional kitchens. However, in this kitchen style, you can have a bit more freedom with color, pattern, and texture. Granite is the most popular option, with marble, limestone, and quartz also near the top of the list—just make sure to keep your counter edges simple to avoid overdoing the ornamentation in the space!
  • Color Tones: If you are dreaming about bold, stand-out colors in the kitchen, transitional styling may not be the right choice for you. If, on the other hand, you love the Zen beauty of neutral tones, you’ll be in heaven in a transitional kitchen! Beige, gray, and taupe are the most common colors in this type of space, but the key is to layer the neutrals and textures for a warm, clean, monochromatic look.
  • Accents: The theme of simple design elements carries through to the smallest details of a transitional kitchen. Avoid ornate lighting and overdone accents—instead, focus on eliminating clutter and highlighting texture. Stone or glass tile backsplashes are ideal for this style, and you can also bring texture in with upholstery, patterned rugs, and contrast of organic and man-made materials.

Contemporary Kitchens


Geometric forms and functions are the key element to a contemporary kitchen—accented by sleek, clean lines and a wide range of high-tech features. A contemporary kitchen is focused on the “design of right now”, and it is the most on-trend option for homeowners at the cutting-edge of interior style.

Cabinets

A seamless layout is the goal when choosing the cabinets for a contemporary space. Traditional cabinets and Victorian cabinets can both works well in this type of kitchen, and choosing a slab-front style can add to the cohesive, streamlined look of the room. Accent your new cabinets with simple hardware (stainless, brushed nickel, and chrome are all great choices) or throw in some under-cabinet lighting for the perfect finishing touch.

Design Elements

The defining feature of a contemporary kitchen is its focus on geometric patterns and elements. Linear congruence is important in this style of kitchen, and you’ll want to take a “big picture” approach when laying out your cabinets and counters, backsplash and tile, and other design elements of the space. Other important accents to consider include:

  • Standard materials used in a surprising way—like concrete or glass countertops!
  • Layered design elements with a heavy hand in pattern and texture
  • Natural, eco-friendly elements, including travertine, wood, glass, and granite
  • Backsplashes made of glass tile, stone, or ceramic
  • Features designed to highlight your own personality and style

Appliances

An industrial look goes well with a contemporary aesthetic, and stainless steel appliances are a smart choice to bring your vision to life. Whatever finish you choose for your appliances, if you truly want a contemporary kitchen, you need technology.

Futuristic appliances that feature lighted control panels, built-in installation, and high-performance functions add the perfect technological touch to any state-of-the-art space.

Every home deserves a great kitchen, and finding the perfect style for you depends on your personal taste. What do you hope to get out of the room? What is the style of the rest of your home? Whether you want a warm place for hosting family or a hi-tech kitchen with the latest and greatest appliances, there is a kitchen style out there for everyone—you can even mix and match to create your own unique vision!

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How to Get Streak-Free Kitchen and Bathroom Windows

How to Get Streak-Free Kitchen and Bathroom Windows

Are you tired of staring at streaks and smudges in your home windows? The kitchen and bathroom windows are often the biggest culprits when it comes to unsightly glass, and you can spend countless hours washing windows only to be left with streaky results that take away from the look of the room.

While it may seem like a minor annoyance, dirty windows can have a big effect on the overall appeal of these essential rooms of the house, but we have the answer to your troubles! By following a few simple tips and tricks of the trade, you can get seamless, stunning windows in your kitchen or bathroom—saving you time on maintenance and making your home look clean, bright, and polished.

Break-Out the Vacuum

clean windows with vaccuum cleaner
You might not initially think of the vacuum as an essential window-cleaning tool, but vacuuming is an important step for maximizing the results of cleaning your windows. Grime, insects, and spider webs can accumulate in the window tracks and sills, which can then streak across the glass while you try and clean. To avoid the mess, just use your vacuum to clean off all of the edges, nooks, and crannies of your windows before beginning—just don’t forget to vacuum all of the dust off from around the blinds as well!

Use the Right Tool for the Job

clean windows with newspaper
Once the heavy debris is cleaned away, you can get down to the real task of making your windows gleam. That requires the proper equipment, which luckily, is easy to come by for the average homeowner. In addition to a bucket of hot water, you’ll also want to have the following tools on hand:

  • Squeegees: There’s a reason that pros use squeegees to clean windows! Squeegees remove the soapy water left from scrubbing without leaving a streaky mess behind.
  • Eyeglass Cleaning Cloths: If you don’t have a few eyeglass cleaning cloths lying around, they are available at local pharmacies, and they are ideal for removing spots and smudges on the glass.
  • Telescopic Dusters: If you have extremely tall windows in your home, a microfiber telescoping duster is a must. Just spritz it with water, and you can easily wipe away foggy buildup and debris off the tallest windows without needing a ladder.
  • Newspapers: Most of us have heard of using newspapers for a streak-free window shine. While cleaning with a newspaper does work, you should avoid using them if the surrounding walls, trim, or window inserts are white—as dark smudges from the ink can be left on light-colored surfaces.

Check for Streaking after Cleaning

check for streaks after cleaning windows
Now that you have finished cleaning the frames, sills, and glass of the windows, it’s time to see how well you accomplished the task! To know if you missed a streak or smudge, try cleaning and drying the outside of the window with a horizontal motion and the inside of the window with a vertical motion. That way, you’ll be able to tell exactly where your missed spots are on the glass.

Don’t Forget About the Drapes & Screens!

clean your drapery
Window screens and drapery are notorious for trapping dust and debris, but they are also well known for being difficult to keep clean. Include these features in your regular window cleaning schedule to cut down on allergens in the home and to keep your interior looking its best. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down screens, and throw your drapery into the dryer to eliminate lingering dust bunnies.

It is the smallest details that make a house feel like a home, and there’s nothing better than having beautiful sunshine streaming into your interior through clean, streak-free windows. Whether your kitchen windows are covered in cooking grime or your bath windows are smudged from top to bottom, having the right tools for the task and taking your time to do a thorough cleaning can make all the difference in the look of your home windows.

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