5 Kitchen Design Rules You Should Definitely Break in 2021

renovated kitchen

By Ana Durrani

The kitchen is a major focal point of a home—after all, it’s where meals are made to nourish your family, and where guests (when you can host them safely again) tend to gather, no matter how carefully you’ve arranged your living room. Because of that, the kitchen is a key selling point, which may intimidate some people from thinking outside the box when it comes to kitchen design.

But here’s the thing: Kitchen design experts say 2021 is not the year to hold back. You may appreciate your kitchen’s look now and think, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” But the new year represents hope and new beginnings unlike any other in recent memory. So when it comes to updating the heart of your home, allow yourself to get creative and break some rules.

Rule No. 1 to break: You must have bulky upper cabinets

What’s a kitchen without necessary storage space for all your glasses, mugs, and plates to live? Sure, you need a place to put all of your dinnerware, but there is such a thing as too much cabinetry. And eliminating cabinetry can actually significantly improve the look of your kitchen.

“The formulaic approach to kitchen storage includes upper-wall cabinets, but that’s one of my favorite design rules to break,” says Houston-based interior designer Nina Magon. “I like to eliminate the upper cabinets altogether; it makes the space feel larger.”

Getting rid of upper cabinets frees up wall space for something visually stunning like art or a full-slab backsplash that extends to the ceiling in a dramatic colorway, Magon adds. “It instantly elevates the aesthetic.”

But where will all your salad bowls and small appliances live?

Magon suggests maximizing storage in an island or base cabinets, where everything is easier to reach.

Rule No. 2 to break: The kitchen island must be stationary

While you might think islands need to be fixed to the floor with cabinets below, that design doesn’t always work in smaller kitchens.

“Look beyond traditional design to create spaces that are more flexible,” says Toronto-based interior designer Ashley Rumsey. “A mobile kitchen island with an open base ($164.99, Wayfair) allows the piece to be an active element that, when equipped with lockable casters, can move to meet your needs rather than simply serving as a storage component.”

Get Cooking! Mini Kitchen Makeovers

A floating island can serve as a homework station by day and food prep station at mealtime—the perfect multitasking piece for quarantine.

“To achieve this, bring in a bar-height table, clad with ultradurable surfacing like Silestone or Dekton by Cosentino, into the mix,” says Rumsey.

Rule No. 3 to break: Keep the kitchen all white

When redoing a kitchen, the first thing you might be thinking about is color scheme. White is always a popular and safe choice. But for designers like Magon, the all-white kitchen is often her first design rule to break, and she expects others to do so in 2021.

“I’m a big fan of a dark, moody kitchen and the combination of black and white,” Magon says. She says going dark with countertops (made of a high-gloss material like quartz or Dekton), cabinetry, or appliances brings a more luxurious look.

(We’re also in favor of cabinets in midnight blue or dark green.)

Rule No. 4 to break: Match all your kitchen finishes

Faucets, lighting fixtures, cabinet hardware, and appliances in the kitchen should all match, right? Wrong! Mixing these finishes is highly encouraged from here on out.

“Sticking to one finish may seem like the safe and easy route, but mixing metals can completely elevate a kitchen’s aesthetic,” says designer Lori Paranjape of Redo Home + Design in Nashville, TN.

One of Paranjape’s favorite combinations is a kitchen faucet in matte black ($390, Kohler) juxtaposed with a brass pot filler or brass cabinet hardware.

“The key to breaking this rule is installing a design element that brings the two metals together, such as a light fixture that incorporates both,” says Paranjape.

Rule No. 5 to break: Install lights just for function

Most people use lighting to illuminate their kitchen so they can see what they’re cooking, but accent lighting can also be used in this space to give it more visual interest.

“I love using vanity and picture lights above kitchen sinks and even above open shelving,” says Los Angeles–based interior designer Ryan Saghian. “It can really look fabulous in unexpected applications.”

He says his go-to lights lately have been the Watson sconce ($585, Arteriors) and Yasmin sconce ($675, Arteriors).

“These are so much nicer than a flush or can light, and can give a sophisticated feel,” Saghian explains.

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Get To Work! How To Make Your Home Office Space a Huge Selling Point

home office space

By: Lisa Marie Conklin

It’s been six months since many of us were last in the office, tapping away on our ergonomic keyboards and drawing on whiteboards in conference rooms during (gasp!) in-person meetings.

Since then, we’ve been forced to find a new path forward in our homes, to create feasible workspaces where there really are none. And frankly, the kitchen table just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Buyer demand for home office space has accelerated during the pandemic. In a realtor.com® survey conducted this summer, 63% of respondents indicated that they plan to buy a new home in light of their ability to work remotely. And, on average, listings featuring a home office command a 3.4% price premium and sell nine days faster than listings without one, according to realtor.com data.

“Showcasing a dedicated working area can help attract buyers to your property,” says Jennifer Smith, a real estate agent at Southern Dream Homes.

So, sellers, take note: If you have a home office, now’s the time to promote it. Here’s how to set up a space that will bring in the buyers and seal the deal.

Be mindful when converting a room into a home office

If you don’t have an official home office, you might be frantically looking around your house, wondering which room could be converted into a workspace. But before you go all in swapping out guest beds for built-in desks and bookshelves, know this: While buyers are looking for home office space, bedrooms still take priority, according to real estate agent Susan Bozinovic of Century 21 Town & Country. And you could inadvertently turn off buyers if one of your three bedrooms suddenly works only as a home office.

Instead, look for opportunities to create dual-purpose spaces. After all, you’re probably not entertaining many guests during the pandemic (we hope), so now’s a great time to create a combination guest room and office. Remove the bed, and replace it with a sleeper sofa or love seat.

“This will result in less visual clutter while you’re working in the room, but allow it to easily be transformed back to a bedroom for guests,” says Smith.

Choose a free-standing desk to fit the space without overwhelming it. Or consider a wall-mounted desk as an alternative.

“They can be installed in virtually any room of a home and can be easily put away when not in use,” says Smith.

And don’t forget to update the closet.

“Maximize your closet space with shelves and containers to store office and bedroom supplies, while also making the space available to store your guests’ belongings,” recommends Smith.

Short on bedrooms? Try carving out space in another area such as the dining room. Keep the dining table, but remove the buffet or remove the leaves in the table and extra chairs to make room for a chair and desk.

“As a seller, you are not erasing the dining room, but signaling to the buyer that the room can be repurposed further to suit an office,” says Bozinovic.

Pick a quiet area

The noisy central hub of any home is hardly conducive to productivity, so setting up a workspace in the kitchen or the TV room isn’t likely to woo buyers. If you currently don’t have a designated home office, consider the location when staging one.

“It’s best to choose a room with adequate space that’s far from the main living spaces and not frequented by family members or guests,” Smith advises.

Transform an unused area into a workspace

Take a look around at the underused areas in your home, and you can probably find a place to carve out a workspace buyers will covet. If you have a finished, walkout basement, you can turn that into a comfy and private workspace. The area underneath the staircase or the dead space at the top of a staircase, or even an alcove, makes a compact office.

If you have no choice but to set up a home office in the main area of the house, present it in the most appealing way possible.

“Separate the work area from the rest of the room with portable dividers such as a curtain, a folding screen, partition wall, or even tall houseplants,” says Smith.

Keep the area tidy, and neatly bundle up computer and extension cords. Illuminate a poorly lit zone with a small desk lamp.

Flaunt connectivity

If you have access to dependable and fast internet, flaunt it. Buyers are looking to make sure there are enough outlets, ways to minimize cords, and locations for wall-mounted routers, Bozinovic says.

Also critically important is the quality of the Wi-Fi. Buyers want dependable and fast internet with ample bandwidth to be productive at home.

Stage your home office as you would the rest of your house

If you already have a dedicated home office, the time-honored advice of staging—beginning with a clean and clutter-free space, void of personal objects—stands true. If needed, invest in fashionable, functional office storage options like wall shelves or a filing cabinet, Smith says.

“For decorating and design, it’s best to keep colors neutral and avoid bright paint or busy patterns on the walls,” she adds.

But the office shouldn’t be too bland. Create ambiance with pops of color in office essentials such as an area rug, houseplants in pretty pots, or fresh flowers. If blinds are the only window covering, consider buying some curtains or drapes to add warmth. Be sure to raise blinds, draw the curtains to the side to allow natural light, and feature a lovely view if you have one.

The desk should be featured prominently in the room, Bozinovic says. After all, it is the main component. Facing the desk to the entrance looks more dramatic, hides background clutter, and enhances the room’s purpose—all while offering a welcoming atmosphere.

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7 Important Home Repairs to Do Right After Moving Out

home improvement

By Daniel Bortz

Congratulations: You’re moving out, and on to your next home! Now all you have to do is pack up your things and skedaddle, right?

Not so fast. If you’re still trying to sell your current home, you’ll want to make sure it looks its best, which means you might have to make a few repairs. And there’s no better time to do this than after you’ve removed all your boxes and furnishings since this means you’ve got plenty of space to get the job done right (and with minimal mess).

Granted, you might have already made some upgrades during the early stages of sales prep … but moving out means you could uncover a whole lot more. And trust us, buyers will notice!

Of course, if you’ve already sold your home, you’re off the hook … but if not, it will behoove you to do these seven upgrades after moving out. Don’t worry, they’re fairly easy, and they’ll make a big difference helping you find a buyer who’ll pay top dollar.

1. Patch holes in walls

Seeing walls with holes—even small holes left by nails—is an immediate turnoff to home buyers, says Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design at The Home Depot. But you don’t have to repaint your entire house to have your home looking fresh again. A little spackling, followed by spot painting—a cinch if you’ve kept some original paint—will do the trick. (If you don’t have any leftover paint, peel a dollar-size piece from the wall and bring it to the paint store so they can match the color for you.)

If you have only a few holes and scratches, you can fill them with spackling compound, which is sold in small quantifrecities. For a greater number of gashes or holes, use joint compound, which is sold in quarts or 5-gallon buckets.

2. Add a fresh coat of paint to rooms that are outdated or painted in loud colors

Love that plum paint color you chose for your master bedroom? Home buyers might not! The good news is, painting a room is an easy, low-cost project you can do yourself. Selecting the right hue, though, is crucial.

“Neutral colors are generally the safest choice, as they blend with many different decor styles,” says Hunter Macfarlane, Lowe’s project expert. “Gray is a popular color to paint a room before selling, as it gives the walls depth while still tying furniture and other decor items together.”

Moreover, “a fresh coat of paint never hurt resale value,” Fishburne says.

3. Replace old outlet wall plates

This is another quick and budget-friendly way to make a space feel cleaner and updated, Macfarlane says. Proceed with caution, however: Old wall plates can be a fire hazard if they’re cracked or damaged in any way. If you suspect there’s an issue, hire an electrician to replace the wall plates for you.

4. Clean carpeting

Dirty and dingy carpets are huge eyesores, which is why David Pekel, chief executive officer at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, recommends that homeowners give their house’s carpeting a good cleaning after moving out. You can amp up your vacuum with rug-cleaning products such as powders, foam sprays, and liquid shampoos available at grocery and hardware stores. For stained areas, use a bristled brush to work the cleaning solution into the carpet before allowing it to dry and then vacuuming up.

To remove embedded dirt, you may need to use a powerful industrial-style carpet-cleaning machine, like a Rug Doctor, which sprays hot water with a detergent over the carpet and extracts it with a high-powered vacuum. Industrial carpet cleaners have more washing and sucking power than most consumer carpet cleaners, but they’re expensive to buy—about $400 to $700—so it’s more economical to rent one from a hardware store for about $25 to $30 per day.

5. Clean hardwood floors

Many home buyers swoon over hardwood floors. So if you have them, make sure they’re glistening after you move out.

“Wood is probably the easiest floor covering to keep clean, but you have to use the right cleaning products,” says Brett Miller, vice president of education and certification for the National Wood Flooring Association in St. Louis.

Most wood floor installers or manufacturers recommend cleaners that contain isopropyl alcohol, which dries quickly, and are available at home supply stores. To make your own solution, simply add a capful of white vinegar to a gallon of water, which will help dissolve grease and grime on the floor but won’t strip the finish. To remove shoe scuffs, rub marks with a tennis ball, which cleans without scratching the finish.

Under no circumstances should you use a steam mop, Miller warns.

“Steam is horrible for wood floors. It opens the pores in woods and damages the finish, causing irreversible damage to any wood floor,” he says. Here’s more on how to clean hardwood floors.

6. Replace or refresh old hardware

Swapping out old cabinet and door hardware is a simple, low-cost project you can tackle in a day that will make your home more visually appealing. All you need is a screwdriver and a free afternoon. Want to save some money? Keep your existing hardware and give it a makeover with spray paint—a few light coats can breathe new life and personality into rusty old knobs and pulls.

7. Improve the look and functionality of your master bathroom

A full bathroom remodel is expensive; on average, it costs $10,344, according to HomeAdvisor. Just a few changes to your master bathroom, though, can make it one of the most stylish rooms in your house.

Simple touch-ups, like regrouting and recaulking bathroom tile, will make the room look newer. In addition, swapping out inefficient toilets, faucets, and showerheads for products that aid in water conservation can add real appeal to prospective homebuyers who are looking to lower their water footprint (and lower their water bill!). A low-flow toilet, for example, uses 20% less water than a standard toilet, and water-saving showerheads can help families save almost 3,000 gallons of water a year.

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Bathrooms of Wonder: How to Turn Your Powder Room Into a (Gorgeous) Power Room

By: Cicely Wedgeworth

Once, it was the room that no one would show in movies or even mention in polite company—but these days, a fabulous bathroom is a prime home feature, and for many proud owners, the subject of major bragging rights. They’re luxurious! They’re high-tech functional! They’re beautiful! Plus—and here’s the real point—today’s HGTV-savvy homeowners know that upgrading their bathroom is likely to impress buyers and boost home valuations.

“Bathroom remodels now rival kitchens in popularity,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at home renovation site Houzz, which released its 2015 U.S. Bathroom Remodeling Survey in March. The survey polled nearly 3,200 Houzz users who are in the midst of planning or have recently completed a bathroom remodel.

“The bathroom is reinforcing its place as an important room in a home,” says Francesc Zamora Mola, co-author of the recently released “150 Best New Bathroom Ideas.” But unlike the increasingly public kitchen, Zamora notes, the bathroom has evolved into a private haven—a tranquil space for relaxation and self-indulgence.

Zamora fills us in on the top trends in bathrooms and how to incorporate them in your home.

bathrooms minimalist palette

A spa experience in your home

“Bathrooms are getaways that have the power of revitalizing and soothing body and soul,” Zamora writes.

To create the feel of a spa, keep the design and features minimal, use a neutral color palette, and make sure there’s lots of natural light, he advises.

Also, avoid clutter. After all, “an elegant and relaxed bathroom needs a little space.”

See More Here

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