The Kitchen Zone



Simple Steps for a Stylish, Sensible Kitchen

(ARA) - No matter what room you plan to entertain guests in, it seems that everyone ends up in the kitchen. Kitchens are the community center of your home where people meet, eat and socialize. Kitchens are one of the most used rooms in a home, which is why it is crucial for kitchens to be visually appealing, functional and enjoyable.

However, if you're like most homeowners, busy schedules and tight budgets keep providing excuses to put off updating your kitchen. Here are some quick and inexpensive solutions to make updating your kitchen a simple day or weekend project this summer from celebrity designer Vern Yip, from TLC's "Trading Spaces."

Realize the Restrictive Elements

When updating a kitchen, you'll find endless options in paint colors, but there may not be as many options for countertops, flooring, cabinetry or decorations -- so start with these restrictive elements. Vern recommends choosing new countertops as an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of your kitchen. By choosing a new laminate or other surface, countertops are a perfect starting point to drive the rest of your kitchen design choices, as well as create a durable, hardworking surface that will increase the beauty and functionality of the kitchen.

Once the restrictive items are chosen, look to the colors in those elements to see what inspires you and turns you on. Pick complementary paint colors to create a cohesive statement. Additionally, don't think that paint is only for the walls; out-dated cabinets can easily be updated with a fresh coat of paint. Finally, continue to coordinate colors and metal tones throughout the room. Metals are a good choice since they are very neutral and can be used with any color, but be sure to reinforce that metal finish everywhere -- faucets, lighting fixtures, cabinet hardware and accessories.

Create Storage to Avoid Clutter

Don't leave too much out on the counter. Since insufficient storage is a problem for many kitchens, people tend to clutter countertops, making the space seem cramped and uncomfortable. Look for other storage solutions, such as countertop organizational systems, or find ways to organize your pantry and cupboards to accommodate more items. The rule is, have out only what you need and find a way to organize and put away the rest.

Finish Your Look with Coordinating Finishes

According to Vern, coordinating the finish throughout a room is a great way to pull it together. First, focus on your appliances. If you have the ability, purchase the same color appliance. Different finishes make your kitchen look disjointed. Next, update your faucet with a new, sleek style in a hot new finish, such as copper, wrought iron or stainless steel. Be sure not to stop there -- change your drawer pulls, knobs, accessories and even your framed artwork. Not everything needs to be exactly the same metal finish, but be sure the tonal colors are relatively the same hue. Vern offers a variety of tips for updating with metals at

Lighten Up

Lighting is an important element in the kitchen, yet a place homeowners make the biggest mistakes. Most kitchens are equipped with fluorescent lighting fixtures, which give off an unattractive blue tint to people, food and surroundings. Try adding halogen lights to your space, since they give the closest approximation to daylight and make everything sharper, clearer and cleaner in your kitchen.

For more style solutions from Vern Yip and Moen Incorporated, visit, where in addition to a wealth of design tips and trends, you'll have the opportunity to sign up to win great prizes. Sign up for At Home: Simple Style Solutions, a free eMagazine and you are eligible for a weekly giveaway of Vern Yip prize packages or enter the Moen Show Us Your Style contest, where by submitting the "before" and "after" photos of your kitchen or bathroom, you could win a Grand prize of $5000 and an in-home consultation with Vern.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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