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Honestly, you don’t need much to have a fully functioning kitchen. In fact, plenty of people get along just fine with only a microwave to heat up their frozen dinners. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t outfit your kitchen with the best tools and equipment you can find — it just means your kitchen probably doesn’t need all the bells and whistles that kitchen designers, appliance makers and others try to sell you.

Best Kitchen Appliances

But how do you know what you don’t need? It doesn’t hurt to review the best of the best kitchen appliances out there — and it doesn’t hurt to buy a few of them if they truly will improve the functionality and appearance of your kitchen and home.

Bread Machine

Bread MachineImage Source: Flickr

Your oven can make bread, so why would you need a dedicated bread machine? As it turns out, bread has multiple steps and can take hours of hands-on time to prepare — which is why many people outsource it to their bread machines.

The best bread machines on the market transform bread and yeast into masterpieces. Top models mix, knead, prove and bake the dough, and they have programmable settings for different types of bread. If you can’t go a day without a fresh loaf, you might need to invest in a bread machine.

Rice Cooker

rice cooker applianceImage Source: Flickr

Rice can be the most infuriating part of any meal, mostly because it can be a mystery how it cooks. Some types of rice are ready in a few minutes while others need to stew for an hour or more to become more than al-dente. You’ll need to devote prime stovetop real estate to cook rice that long, and at the end you’ll need to scrub the rice pot.

However, you can avoid all the headaches and heartaches of cooking rice when you have a rice cooker. These gadgets have the exact right settings for different types of rice; they make getting whole grain into your meal incredibly easy.

Ice Maker

Ice MakerImage Source: Flickr

Americans go wild for ice; we put more of it in more of our beverages than any other nation — and that’s due to the long and profitable history of ice in North America. While most American households have a freezer that can produce ice, that ice typically isn’t the best quality or quantitative enough to sate Americans’ needs.

If you love ice and can’t get enough, you might want to invest in a dedicated ice maker. These machines come in many styles, from portable and countertop to undercounter to major commercial appliances, and the best are programmable, so you can achieve the exact size and texture of ice that you crave.

Wine Cooler

Wine CoolerImage Source: Flickr

Every educated wine drinker knows that their vintages need to be stored in a precise environment to retain the delicate flavors created by their vintners. The best wine coolers not only chill wine but also manage humidity, light, air purity and more to keep bottles in pristine condition. If you enjoy wine for more than just the antibodies, you need a high-quality wine cooler to keep your flavors safe.

Beer Dispenser

Beer DispenserImage Source: Flickr

Finally, beer aficionados have the opportunity to sample high-quality brews, like wine lovers have done for centuries. While most craft beer comes in bottles, beer fans agree that the flavors are best straight from the draught. Fortunately, you don’t need to journey to your favorite brewery for a cold one if you have a beer dispenser in your kitchen. Also called kegerators, these tools make it easy to tap a keg of beer — and keep it in good condition for longer than a frat party. The best beer dispensers chill kegs to the perfect drinking temp and allow for the perfect pour, which is what you might need if you only drink beer the right way.

Warming Drawer

warming drawerImage Source: Flickr

There is little more frustrating than preparing a meal and having different elements be ready at vastly different times. You don’t want to serve ice-cold mashed potatoes next to steaming hot turkey — and for that reason, you need a warming drawer. Warming drawers keep food warm, so you don’t need to stress about coordinating your cooking schedule perfectly. Often, warming drawers come as part of an advanced oven or range, so you might need to upgrade your larger appliances to gain access to this tool.

There are so many things you don’t need in your kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them or won’t take advantage of them. Whether you are redoing your kitchen or merely looking for ways to upgrade your cooking skill, these appliances aren’t for everybody — but they might be for you.

Featured Image Source: Pxhere

Flat Pack Furniture

Flat Pack Furniture

IKEA doesn’t have the most spotless reputation — though no major corporation does. There are plenty of reasons you might not enjoy shopping at the Swedish budget furniture store, and we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to. If you like the cost of its goods, the user-friendliness of its flat pack items and its minimalist Scandi style, but you don’t like IKEA itself, you have a handful of other options for affordable, flat pack furniture. IKEA isn’t everything. Here’s the best of the rest.

Kvell Home

Kvell means happy and proud, as you should about the furniture in your home — or so says Kvell Home, a furniture brand focused on simple, functional and attractive pieces. By far, Kvell excels in its storage options, such as the Kube, which looks swell in any space. Kvell also builds storage into other pieces, including its lounge chairs and ottomans, and many of its offerings are collapsible, so you can tuck them away in closets when you don’t need them.

Campaign

The brainchild of an ex-Apple engineer, Campaign not only revolutionizes the way flat pack furniture looks but also how owners use it. Other flat pack furniture is designed to remain put together, but Campaign goods are made for easy disassembly, too, and they can fit in their original packaging for future moves. This reduces waste, as you don’t have to ditch your old furniture and buy new whenever you relocate.

Floyd

Floyd started simple: with a clamp-on metal leg that transforms any flat surface into a table. Now, Floyd has real tables, beds, and shelving — but they remain closely reminiscent of that simple, sleek metal leg. Thanks in large part to the design’s simplicity, Floyd furniture remains easy to assemble and modify, regardless of your DIY-savvy or style.

Burrow

Burrow is the flat pack master of modular furniture, specifically sofas, chairs and ottomans. Even better, this company is devoted to being green, using sustainable wood, chemical-free fabrics and recycled cardboard packaging. Plus, the furniture is filled with nifty features, like hidden USB chargers and reversible cushions.

Hem

The only surviving member of failed E commerce site Fab, Hem is nestled comfortably between affordable mass-market furniture and spendy high design. If you are looking to upgrade from beat-up IKEA goods, Hem offers some attractive options — and you can customize your furniture online, before you buy.

String

String

If IKEA is a Swedish furniture goliath, String is Swedish David. That’s because String’s products are legally classified as art, or “applied art,” meaning they can provide function to your home. While String might be new to you, it has flourished in Sweden for more than 70 years, so there’s no reason to doubt its quality of materials and service. Because the furniture can be a bit more intricate than your typical flat pack, you might want to use a furniture assembly service, especially if you live in a city with smaller homes like Philly.

Normann Copenhagen

normann-copenhagenImage Source: Flickr

The goal of Normann Copenhagen is to give city-dwellers options for stylish furniture that they can take home and use immediately. Perhaps the most unique collection in this company’s shop is Ace, which includes eye-catchingly curved chairs, sofas and stools. Though these pieces are priced for the luxury market, they might be a worthwhile upgrade once you’ve grown tired of your dull IKEA design.

Habitat

HabitatImage Source: Flickr

In the U.K., Habitat is essentially as monumental as IKEA — but few people know this flat pack furniture brand stateside. In fact, Habitat is largely credited with breathing life into the flat pack market, calling it knock-down furniture at first. Habitat has an extensive catalogue that rivals IKEA’s, so if you can’t find exactly what you want from Sweden, you should try the U.K.

ScS

Image Source: Flickr

Sofa Carpet Specialists might not have a name that immediately screams “attractive, affordable flat pack furniture,” but that’s exactly what the brand does. Tables are perhaps their best flat pack offerings, with eye-catching dining room sets that don’t look like you assembled them yourself. Even better, ScS often has major sales, so you can score big if you don’t underestimate this little-known company.

Tylko

TylkoImage Source: Pixabay

Tylko is a Polish company that is highly specialized in the flat pack realm: It only does shelves. However, these shelves come in a variety of modular styles, and you can even modify their designs to suit your needs. You can even use an alternate reality app on your phone to generate an image of the shelf in your desired space, so you can be certain Tylko has exactly what you want.

Greycork

Called a “fresher, more stylish, better-quality version of IKEA,” Greycork started from a successful crowdfunding campaign and is steadily growing toward a furniture phenomenon. Despite having prices comparable to IKEA’s, Greycork has undeniably more attractive offerings, and the flat pack assembly remains as easy as ever.

Flat pack furniture is fashionable and fun, and it is more widely available than ever. IKEA isn’t your only option for convenient design; any of the above brands and manufacturers might even be a better bet.

New kitchen appliances are expensive, and as manufacturers add more bits and bobs to them — like fancy doors and smart connectivity — refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and other appliances are only getting higher in price. If you bought a house that has older appliances, you are probably champing at the bit to replace them with updated models, but if you can’t afford to buy them outright, you should probably wait.

Best Kitchen Appliance Tips

Until then, there are some things you can do to make your appliances look a bit better — and to help you afford replacements when the time comes. Here are the best kitchen appliance tips from experts:

An Appliance Warranty

First, before you do anything to your appliances, you should consider covering them with home appliance insurance — otherwise known as a home warranty. This protection will help you keep your appliances running while you save up to buy a new set. Even better, if one or more your appliances break down due to regular wear and tear, your warranty provider will help you replace them.

There are a few important caveats to this protection. First, you need to be diligent about maintaining your appliances. Though you might not like them much — and you might hope for them to break down sooner — your warranty won’t kick in if there is evidence of improper maintenance. Then, you need to contact your warranty provider to discuss your interest in updating your appliances in any of the following ways. Modifications to appliances might nullify your policy, so it is wise to check before you take any steps.

A Coat of Paint

Whenever you are dissatisfied with how something looks in your home, a fresh coat of paint should be your first idea for a fix. However, when it comes to appliances, not just any paint will do. You need a paint that will stick to the current finish of your appliances and will be able to resist the extreme temperatures your appliances often reach.

Fortunately, you have a few options, which include:

  • Appliance epoxy paint. You can brush or spray this on like normal paint, and you should find typical appliance colors (i.e. white, black, silver) available.
  • Typical spray paint covered with enamel gloss spray. This is a suitable solution if you want your appliances to be crazy colors that aren’t available in appliance paint. The top coat is mandatory to seal the paint.
  • Automotive paint. For just a bit more money, you can take your appliances to an automotive paint shop to have them pimp your kitchen set.

A Layer of Film

If paint will invalidate your warranty, there is another option available to you: film. Just as you might peel and stick tints on your car and home windows, you can apply a layer of vinyl to your appliances to give them an instant face-lift.

The most common film transforms your white or black appliances into stainless steel, but you can find more intriguing skins if you are willing to take a design risk. You can even replace the film on your appliances seasonally to refresh the look of your kitchen every few months. However, doing so might seriously cut into your savings for a brand-new set of appliances.

New Handles and Doors

Most appliances follow standards for their handles and door fronts, so it isn’t difficult to replace them with updated options. To accomplish this, you might start by contacting the appliance manufacturer, who can provide a list of panels that will fit your current models. If you are dissatisfied with these options, you can turn to companies that offer custom-order panels, which will provide you exactly what you want in style and color.

This is a good option if your appliances are only just outdated and unlikely to stop working within the next few years. It allows you to update the look of your appliances in a professional manner without affecting how they function.

Additional Features

If you don’t want to change your old, unwanted appliances that much, you can still do things to hide their appearance and add features you might need and use. For example, on any of your appliances that lack glass fronts (like your refrigerator or dishwasher) you might hang a whiteboard, a corkboard or even a pegboard, where you can make notes, post important documents or gain additional storage for kitchen utensils.

How your kitchen looks is only limited by your imagination. There are solutions for updating your appliances at every price point, so you should start thinking about how you want your kitchen to look and take steps to accomplish it today.

Bedroom Design Tips

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 35 percent of Americans are not getting a good night’s rest. If you’re in that large group, the environment in your bedroom could be a contributing factor to why you aren’t sleeping. Take a look around your bedroom. You may have insomnia inducing problems like an old mattress, the wrong wall color, or too much ambient light. Rectify these issues to give yourself a more peaceful slumber.

Paint the Walls Blue

bedroom design tipsImage Source: Flickr

Your bedroom walls could be overstimulating you before you go to bed. Warm colors add energy to a room, so if you’ve got yellow or pink bedroom walls, paint over them. Choose a muted blue, turquoise, or teal. Blue hues will create a soothing sleep environment, calming your mind down before you fall asleep.

Replace Your Mattress

Replace Your MattressImage Source: Pexels

Sleeping on an old mattress that doesn’t support your skeleton leads to joint pain and muscle aches. An uncomfortable mattress that’s harder or softer than you prefer could keep you up all night. If yours is more than a decade old, research mattress options like firmness and memory foam, and high-tech options like cooling surfaces. Get a mattress with a one- or two-month money-back guarantee, so you can test it out before you commit.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

The human body needs to cool down to sleep, and the perfect bedroom temperature is typically lower than 70 degrees. Program your thermostat to drop the temperature in the house a bit each night to help you sleep better. You may find your ideal sleeping temperature is a bit outside this typical range. Play with it until you find the perfect cooling level, and then set the thermostat.

Hang Room Darkening Curtains

dark color bedroomImage Source: Pexels

You need to lower the lights about an hour before you go to sleep. Dim the lamps and turn off overhead lights to cue your body in that it’s time to sleep. In your bedroom, install room darkening curtains. Street lamps, traffic, and lights on at the neighbors filter through your windows and disrupt the dark you need to start resting. Pull those curtains to create a dark environment. Don’t ruin it by staring at your phone screen or watching TV while in bed.

Add Scents That Soothe

sleepingImage Source: Pixabay

Aromatherapy may help you calm down and drop into slumber. Some of the most effective scents are jasmine, lavender, sandalwood, and chamomile. Get a reed diff user that you can keep on your bedside table to infuse your room with these soothing scents. Consider sachets of dried petals scented with your favorite of these options under your pillow, too. You can also get essential oils and dab them on a tissue, which you then put inside your pillowcase.

Poor sleep quality affects your ability to concentrate, your mood, and your health. When you suffer from insomnia, now is the time to dig into the problem. Discover if your bedroom environment is contributing to your lack of sleep and take the right steps to design a bedroom better for sleep.

Kitchen is the central place of your home where you spend quality time of your day, so why not make it more modern, glamorous and inviting. Adding glass kitchen cabinets renders that wow factor to the cooking space you have always dreamed of. They allow you to display your expensive china, while saving you the hassle of searching every cabinet to find a crucial piece of tableware. They also make the room appear more spacious and artful. Adding glass cabinets does not mean you have to replace the old ones. Redesign your existing shelves into glamorous glass cabinets by inserting glass doors.

Glass Kitchen Cabinets Ideas

When adding glass to your cabinets, take into account the following two things. First is the type of glass you need to use; each glass serves a different purpose. From clear and translucent to opaque, textured, grooved glass look, the market teems with all sorts of designs to complement your kitchen cabinet style. Clear glass kitchen cabinets show off items inside making them inappropriate for cereal boxes, canned products and other less attractive items you want to hide.

They are perfect for showcasing expensive and delicate china, wine glasses and champagne flutes etc. Frosted glass kitchen cabinets are suitable if you don’t want to highlight the items. They not conceal the stuff inside the cabinets to a large extent, but also give a glamorous look to the door. Textured glass cabinets paired with cool marble surfaces add visual texture to your kitchen and make every day dishes standout like display pieces. Second factor to be considered when introducing glass cabinets to your kitchen is the location. If you have kids in the house, it’s better not to add glass doors on lower cabinets.

Now let’s discover the various options that will assist you in choosing the right glass door cabinets for your kitchen.

1 – Textured Glass Kitchen Cabinets

Textured Glass Kitchen Cabinets

Image via BHG

There are different types of ornamental glasses available in the market. These include ribbed glass, glass with air pockets to create a textured look, frosted glass and etched glass etc. Decorative glass cabinets not only display all flatware and china, but also add visual texture to the kitchen.

2 – Frameless Glass-Front Cabinets

Frameless Glass-Front Cabinets

Image via Houzz

Frameless glass front cabinets have a whole front sheet of glass for the entire cabinet with decorative hinges. The lack of hardware gives an airy and light feel to the kitchen.

3 – Glass-Front Cabinets With Paint At The Back

Glass-Front Cabinets With Paint

Image via Houzz

For those who love a trace of color in their kitchen, these glass front cabinets with a hint of mint at the back are a perfect option. Adding a little color to your kitchen makes it appear more alive. You can also add other colors that go with your kitchen scheme.

4 – Sliding Glass Cabinet Doors

Sliding glass cabinet

Image via Decoist

Two sheets of sliding glass drilled in hardware or finger-pull cut through the glass slide back and forth on a recessed track. More popular in the 70’s, it is back in fashion again.

5 – Smart Glass Cabinets For Compact Kitchen

Smart glass cabinets

Image via Decoist

Glass cabinets are the perfect solution for a compact kitchen. While the wood makes the kitchen look solid and crowded, glass adds an entirely different feel by making it appear airy and spacious in addition to giving it a touch of sparkle.

6 – Stained Glass Kitchen Cabinets

Stained Glass Kitchen Cabinets

Image via Miserv

Stained glass cabinets provide a customized look to your kitchen. Use stained glass door cabinets with interior cabinet lighting to enhance the look of the glass. The warm glow of the light through the stained glass will add a hint of gloss to the kitchen.

7 – Glass Cabinets On The Kitchen Floor

Glass Cabinets On The Kitchen Floor

Image via Homesthetics

These are ideal for people who don’t have small kids or canines in their homes. Though not very practical, glass cabinets look beautiful on the floor giving your kitchen a distinctive appearance.

8 – Painted Glass Kitchen Cabinets

Frameless-painted-glass-cabinets

Image via Decoist

Painted glass cabinet doors are frameless with back-painted glass to offer a wonderful glossy look to the kitchen.

9 – Peninsula Glass Cabinets

Peninsula Glass Cabinets

Image via Homedit

Peninsula cabinets are found in areas that divide the cooking space and an adjacent space like the dining room. They are accessible on three sides and adding glass-front peninsula cabinets to the kitchen give it a more open feeling.

10 – Muntins On Glass Cabinets

Muntins On Glass Cabinets

Image via Traditional Home

Muntins are timber or metal moldings that hold individual frames of glass or serve for decorative purposes over an entire sheet of glass. They work well to enhance the look of your glass kitchen cabinets, thereby combining style with functionality.

11 – Lighting Options for Glass Kitchen Cabinets

lighted-glass-kitchen-cabinets

Image via Interiordesign

Install interior cabinet lighting to highlight your collections of silverware and dinner sets of crystal and porcelain. The lights will not only augment everything on display, but would also add extra sparkle to the glass doors.

12 – Picture Window Glass Cabinets

Window Glass Cabinets

Image via Houzz

For kitchens with more windows and less wall space, picture window glass cabinets are ideal. You place the glass cabinet on top of the window with no rear panel for the cabinet. It not only brings more sunlight into the kitchen, but also beauty the backyard. Also, make sure the window geometry aligns with the cabinet design.

13 – Adding Glass Cabinets Above Upper Cabinets

Glass Cabinets Above Upper Cabinets

Image via Miserv

Adding glass cabinets above the upper kitchen cabinets allow you to exhibit your beloved items. Moreover, it gives you the opportunity to utilize the usually wasted space of your kitchen.

14 – Combing Glass Cabinets With Wooden Cabinets

wooden and glass cabinets

Image via Pixabay

To break the heaviness of all the wooden cabinetry going all the way up to the ceiling, we can use a few glass cabinets. The glass will add glamour to the kitchen, break the monotony and give a feeling of openness.

To transform your kitchen into an exciting cooking space, here are some more kitchen design ideas.

Featured Image: Flickr

Shared Bathroom

If you live with roommates or a partner or spouse, rather than alone, you understand that coordinating space in the shared bathroom can sometimes be tricky. You have to tell people when you shower, or you may have to wait to shower, you need to take turns brushing your teeth, you need separate places for towels and shampoo, and so forth. One thing that can help are vanities with sinks for two. This way you can both use sinks at the same time, for brushing teeth, putting on makeup, grooming, and looking in the mirror.

There are other tricks too. For example, you can coordinate regular shower times, or even better if one of you showers in the morning and one in the evening. You can get separate hooks for towels, and a hanger for the shower head to store toiletries. A bathroom vanity with extra storage space will allow you and your partner or roommate to have ample space for both of your things, and double vanities usually have this extra essential space.

double vanity bathroom

Having plenty of your own space can ease tension and lend itself to cooperation. While intimacy and friendship are very important, so is time and space to yourself. Be sure to schedule both time together and time apart. You can take walks, read books, or pick up a hobby such as gardening with your dog. This can help to clear your mind and lead to good communication.

Keep your space clean and tidy, too. A clean bathroom is not only visually appealing but also more pleasant to be in. With extra foot traffic, it can be all too easy to allow the space to become cluttered or unclean. Perhaps you’d like to set up a chore chart or divvy up cleaning responsibilities for different rooms to different people. For example, if one of you doesn’t like cleaning the kitchen but the other one does, and the same for the bathroom, you could split the rooms that way.

Now that you have extra space, you can spend time together watching TV, playing board games, and doing other forms of recreation! You can feel good about the space you live in and feel that there is enough room for the both or all of you. Having enough space will improve the quality of your time together.

bathroom design

If your bathroom is large enough for a vanity with two sinks, you might want to consider getting one. They add a luxurious and spacious look to any bathroom, and come in all kinds of styles. Whether you are looking for something contemporary, more traditional, or even rustic, you have a wide range of choices.

The bathroom does not have to be a place of conflict, contention, annoyance, or frustration. You can get ready for the day and night side by side with plenty of space to change your jewelry, wash your hands, brush your teeth, dry your hair, and so forth.

Images by Pixabay