What you need (and don’t need) to set up your kitchen

Cooking at home is the most effective way to minimize your food budget. Almost every meal you cook at home will be less expensive (and often quicker) than a similar meal out on the town. Doing it consistently will not only save you money consistently, but it’ll build up your skills in the kitchen.

The only problem? The setup cost is usually quite stiff. You do need quite a number of items. Fortunately, you don’t need quite as much as you think, and most of the stuff you do need is cheap. Here’s the equipment I’d get for a basic kitchen.

An oven and stove top and a refrigerator These are the basic appliances you’ll need to even attempt cooking at home. Without them, this article is moot. If your apartment/home comes with them, just use the ones already there until they wear out. If you must buy new, buy durable. Do the research, check out Consumer Reports, and follow their recommendations.

Basic flatware and eating dishes Don’t sweat this a bit. Go to your local department store and go for the low-end stuff for now. Later on, if you want to “upgrade” to something “classy” (meaning spending far more for essentially the same functionality of an item), go for it. Just don’t waste your money right out of the chute on hundreds of dollars of flatware.

A cutting board Get the cheapest one possible – probably a rectangular chunk of plastic for a buck or two. The entire purpose is to keep your knife from damaging your countertop.

A vegetable peeler This is one of the very few kitchen “gadgets” that’s worth its salt. Although you can peel potatoes, zucchini, squash, and so forth with a knife, a vegetable peeler is incredibly efficient at its task. You can use a knife and/or a box grater in place of this item, but it’s very inexpensive (any old one will do) and the efficiency it adds to many food preparations (especially in a vegetable-heavy diet) is immense.

Image by chatelaine

 

How to fix up your kitchen on a cheap price!

Replace the sink: $75
These days you can buy a nice sink for under 100 bucks. The stainless steel and acrylic (some look just like white porcelain) are the cheapest, while real porcelain may be out of your range.

Refinish your kitchen cabinets: $100
This means either sanding them down and restaining them, or just painting them in a semigloss or glossy latex paint. For a bold change, ditch the white and try a pale blue, a coral red, or even glossy black for a modern look. All you need is sandpaper, paint, and equal parts elbow grease and patience.

Fix your kitchen under $500!

Fix your kitchen under $500!

Make your own fabulous hardware: $1 a piece
If the hardware you want is out of your range, transform the stuff that’s in it. “One woman wanted brass switch plates in her kitchen but they were $8.00 each, and she needed 27 of them and she couldn’t justify paying all that,” explains Paul Ryan, host of Kitchen Renovations on the DIY Network. “So, we got her metal switch plates for 47 cents each, and some shiny Krylon brass paint.” So instead of spending $216 on switch plates, she spent $22 for the switch plates and a can of paint. The savings: almost $200.

Buy inexpensive under-cabinet lighting: $50
If you can’t afford new lighting, consider lighting you can attach under the cabinets, suggests certified kitchen designer Judy Scott, an associate for Home Depot.. Ikea sells a number of affordable types and sizes — like the Grundtal ($49) and the Didoder (just $39) — that plug into wall outlets instead of the electrical wiring in your kitchen.

 

Image from: www.houzz.com

Elements of a Transitional Kitchen Style

This versatile style lets you blend old and new elements, personalize — feel free to get quirky! — and defy what’s faddish — all while retaining marketability.

Transitional style is coming into its own as a favorite kitchen design. In a recent survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, transitional design moved into the No. 1 spot for the first time, edging out the long-time champ, traditional.

This versatile style lets you blend old and new elements, personalize — feel free to get quirky! — and defy what’s faddish — all while retaining marketability.

This versatile style lets you blend old and new elements, personalize — feel free to get quirky! — and defy what’s faddish — all while retaining marketability.

The reason? Transitional style has universal appeal — it takes a trend-defying approach to design that’s cozy, elegant, and ensures a great return on your investment.

These Arizona homeowners made all the right transitional-style moves when they remodeled their kitchen:

  • Anchored their scheme by painting their oak cabinets white.
  • Moved to a neutral palette by painting walls tan.
  • Mixed rustic and contemporary by adding a brick tile backsplash over sleek polished black granite countertops.
  • Brought in the warmth of wood with a black walnut island countertop.

A balanced blend of black, white, metal, and wood tones creates a textural depth that’s serene, yet never boring. The mix works great with minimal detailing — there’s a distinct absence of elaborate moldings and trim. Wood kitchen flooring is a favorite element that always feels warm and homey.

Unusual materials are fine, especially if they’re in keeping with the principles of no-regrets kitchen design, including simple detailing and subtle colors. These concrete countertops are handmade, but they have the one-of-a-kind look of a stone slab — adding an artisan’s touch is a favorite element of transitional style. This remodeled kitchen adds a sky-blue ceiling for a color pop. With transitional design as the foundation, changing paint colors is an easy way to alter your kitchenscape.

Transitional style adapts easily to its surroundings. It’s modern, classic, and comfortable all at once. You might say this remodeled Oregon kitchen is contemporary, but blink once and you’ll see warm wood floors, wood countertops, open cottagey shelves, and timeless white cabinets with universal appeal.

image from: http://thisbendablelife.com/2013/04/23/the-kitchen-reveal/

 

Refurbishing Tips for Your Kitchen Cabinets

One of the main attractions in the kitchen is the cabinets, particularly those installed on the wall. The kitchen cabinets serve varied purposes. Beyond being a storage area for food, utensils, plates and other food containers, they also serve as display area for valuable items such as ceramic plates, cups and teapots as well as silverware. This being the case, it is of utmost importance to install an attractive cabinet made from sturdy materials.

If you wish to further beautify your existing kitchen cabinets, you can easily refurbish them without spending much. The trick is to simply change the doors instead of removing the entire structure.

Keep in mind that as long you have a sturdy frame for your cabinets, there’s no need to change it entirely. You need to only enhance or change the doors to make the structure look brand new again. Just be sure to align them properly and check that they open and close correctly.

If you want to use an entirely solid wood cabinet door or combine wood with glass, ensure that you paint them well to achieve that smooth and glossy look. Solid wood is best to use to attain that upscale look without the high price tag. Its other advantage is the fact that it can resist water. [Continue Reading…]

A Smart Way To Store Knives

In our last post, we looked at an innovative and efficient way to store and label spices. Now, we’ll look at another brilliant way to store and display your kitchen knives!

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If cooking is your passion, you see every meal an opera, and every dish a masterpiece in the making. Thus, the maestro needs the tools of his artistry ready and within reach as he slices, dices, juliennes, and chops his way to success. Storing knives in a cupboard used to work for your grandparents and great-grandparents, but this method just won’t do for you, oh no.

Instead of drawers or even wooden blocks, why not install a magnetic strip on your kitchen wall to store and display your knives? Not only will you be able to keep these knives accessible, you will also have an interesting display that makes for instant art. This style of storage will also let you tell at a glance whether your knives need sharpening and maintenance. Make sure your magnetic strip has a strong grip on your knives for safety, and you’re all set.

photo credit: saebaryo via photopin cc