5 Things to Consider Before You Renovate Your Kitchen

For a lot of homeowners, any talk of renovations tends to begin with the kitchen. It’s a space that people tend to want to customize for their own needs and preferences, as well as a room known to increase a home’s resale value, often more than any other. Still, upgrading or remodeling a kitchen is a major project (and a costly one), which means it requires a great deal of careful planning.

To help get you started, here are five things it’s particularly important to think about before you renovate your kitchen.

Functionality

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When you set about planning a kitchen renovation, you’ll likely be inclined to think visually. You might wonder how to make more space, how to make appliances more attractive, what countertops you’d like, or even how to welcome in more natural light. These are all worthwhile considerations, but above all else your kitchen should be as functional as you need it to be. This means thinking about things like the following:

Appliances: When you consider appliances, don’t just think about what’s newest, what has the best reviews, or what looks most appealing to you. Think about how you cook, what you may have been missing in the past, and what might elevate how you use your kitchen. The right appliances can completely transform the space from a functionality standpoint.

Islands: An island is the ultimate functional addition to a kitchen. While it can also help the room to look more complete (and more interesting), installing an islandin your kitchen also comes with a range of benefits. It gives you extra storage, a place to prepare foods, and potentially a second sink and a makeshift bar counter.

Storage: Beyond the extra storage you might enjoy by way of cabinets or drawers built into an island, you should also think about how you might enhance the storage space in the kitchen as a whole. Whether this means creatively designed racks, deeper cabinets, a small pantry addition, or anything similar, it’s a change that will enhance the functionality and value of the kitchen.

These are just a few examples, but they should all be toward the top of the list of things you think about. The more functional your kitchen is, the more satisfied you’ll be with it (and the more value it will add).

The Latest Trends

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We’d actually suggest that it’s important not to make your kitchen too trendy, because in doing so you’ll almost guarantee that certain aspects of the design “go out of style” in time. Trends, by nature, come and go. That said, it’s still a good idea to look into the latest kitchen design trends for general inspiration. Right now, these include things like exposed plate racks, heated countertops, gold hardware, and fun light fixtures, to name a few. You don’t need to pay attention to all of them, but picking out a few trends and pairing them with your own ideas can make for a fresh, interesting, and lasting design.

Financing Options

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A full kitchen renovation can be quite expensive — often up to tens of thousands of dollars. And even if your contractors aren’t expecting full payment up front, this sort of sum demands some advance planning. For this reason, we’d suggest looking into what options you might have to pay off the bulk of the cost in a way that doesn’t directly set your bank account back. There are a few popular options of this sort to consider:

Home Improvement Loan:  Home improvement loans vary in structure, but essentially exist to serve this purpose. With such a loan — which you can obtain based on either home equity or, in some cases, credit rating — you can pay a lump sum for your renovation, and repay the lender over a period of many months. It’s a good way to get rid of the main burden of the renovation cost, so long as you can handle the repayment schedule.

Credit:  If you’ve built up good credit, and you have a credit card with a high limit, you may be able to take care of a significant portion of the renovation cost with a simple payment. If you have multiplecards like this (or you and a spouse each have one), you may be able to spread out the cost and take care of even more of it up front. Then it’s simply a matter of paying down your balance over time — though you have to be sure not to get yourself into a situation that will damage your credit rating.

High-Yield Savings:  Aside from loans and credit, a high-yield savings account can also be an interesting way to handle a renovation cost. You can use a high-yield savings calculatorto work out your potential savings based on the exact numbers and timelines online. However, the general idea is this: You deposit a sum into an account, agree to leave it for an exact period of time, and then withdraw it with significantly more interest than you’d get in an ordinary account. This means that if you put a sum of money away now for the length of time the renovation will take, you can withdraw an inflated sum when the project is done, helping to offset some of the costs.

Timeframe

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We just alluded to considering the timeline of a project with regard to savings arrangements. But in a more general sense, it’s also a good idea to get a feel for just how long a renovation like this might take. Some simpler projects (such as if you’re just replacing appliances or countertops) can be fairly efficient. But a more extensive remodeling of your kitchen might disrupt your home for an extended time. That’s not reason not to do it, but you’ll be happiest with the project if you know what you’re getting into when it comes to timeframe.

Professional Assistance

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Finally, you should also consider the idea of professional assistance — not with construction (for which you’re presumably already planning to rely on professionals), but with design. Even if you feel like you have a stylish eye, and you’re confident you can pull off the project, there can be benefits to hiring an interior designer.

For one thing, a designer can help you save money on a renovation. People in this position tend to pay discounted prices for materials, and can also help you avoid expensive mistakes you might unwittingly make on your own. Additionally, a professional eye might simply spot something you don’t. Even if you have impeccable taste, a clear idea of what you want, and a good feel for your space, people in this role are professionals for a reason. An interior designer will make it all the more likely that you end up with the dream kitchen you envision.

Written for the exclusive use of feelswarm.com

By Alice Ray

10 Unique Home Inventions You Didn’t Know You Wanted

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Ever think of a problem or small inconvenience in your home that you wish you could resolve? There is a high probability that something has already been invented to solve whatever issue is bothering you.

Here are ten of the most unique and popular home inventions that you never even knew you needed.

Port Solar Charger

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Port is a compact portable battery that charges your phone using solar energy. All you need to do is attach it to any window in the house, car, or plane with a special suction cup. You may check yourself how convenient it is.

Portable Toaster

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There actually is a concept of a knife that could be heated enough to toast a slice of bread. You could take this time-saving, easy-to-clean gadget anywhere and not spend a ton on toast in hotels.

Shaving Pedestal

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Such a simple concept to step up your shaving game. Get one of these shaving pedestals and kiss the crouching and back strain goodbye!

Ironing Board Mirror

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Now your ironing board can be conveniently on hand without actually being on display. Plus, you can immediately check out your wrinkle-free outfit in the mirror right after you’re done!

Heated Countertops

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These ultra-slim warming mats adhere directly under your countertop overhang, taking away the cold feel of granite, marble or quartz. Plugging directly into an outlet inside your cabinetry, this invention is practically invisible and will give your kitchen a warming touch, pun intended.

Water Walker & Spa

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Whether you are a fitness guru or a health-conscious person, you are going to love this aqua treadmill. Water Walker & Spa has a striking similarity with a modern bathtub and comes with a moving surface at the bottom for walking or even running.

Portable Keyboard for Your Smartphone

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For the moments when you don’t want to haul out your laptop, this portable keyboard is extremely convenient for typing out emails on your phone, surfing the net or even for sending those long text messages.

Knife That Melts Butter

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Few things are as heartbreaking as watching your toast rip as you struggle to spread a cold piece of butter on it. Thankfully, with this warming butter knife, your butter will soften as it spreads. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “spreading butter is no longer a pain.”

A Vacuum That Empties Itself

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Even the most high-end models of robotic vacuums require users to manually clean them out after each session—a process that can be both messy and time-consuming. Not so with iRobot’s new Roomba i7+ which empties itself. Talk about luxury!

Fogless Mirror

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Previously available only in spas or luxury hotels, the luxury of a fog-free mirror can be yours to enjoy in your own master bathroom. With a WarmlyYours fogless mirror as part of the home, you will no longer have to wipe mirrors after warm showers and leave streaks on them as a result.

Which of these home inventions is your favorite?

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Top 11 Kitchen Trends for Fall 2020

Much like in the fashion or music industry, trends in home design are constantly changing. Whether or not you like to stay up to date with the latest styles, it can still be fun to know what new things to expect in the near future.

According to some of the top designers and architects, here are 11 kitchen trends that you will see take off in Fall 2020.

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KITCHEN PLATE RACKS

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Vintage plate racks are coming back in a big way. Whether displayed on countertops or mounted on walls, they add a ton of soul to a space and give you an actual place to store and display your dishware instead of hiding it away in a cupboard.

STEEL HOODS

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There seems to be a surge in custom kitchen hoods that steer away from traditional stainless steel or basic painted wood. “We’ve been implementing steel and plasterwork into our designs more and more,” says Janice Barta of Barta Interiors, “and we are loving how these are becoming a focal point and conversation piece for our kitchens.”

DOGGIE CANTINAS

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Areas specifically designed for feeding man’s best friend are becoming the latest pet-focused trend. Using alcoves under your kitchen cabinets to house dog bowls and food, as well as treats and leashes, will leave your kitchen space (and floor) tidier.

COLORFUL WINDOW FRAMES

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An easy way to bring in a pop of color without committing to a big dramatic statement is a painted window frame.

HEATED COUNTERTOPS

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Yes, you read that correctly. A trend that has been on the rise is warming the countertop overhang area, specifically on cold granite and quartz. Countertop warming mats can be adhered underneath the area where you frequently lean, giving your family some high-end comfort and luxury.

UNIQUE BACKSPLASH DESIGNS

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Subway tiles are slowly losing their time in the spotlight people are moving on to larger slabs of tiles and tiles with various textures or patterns. Neutral patterns with natural texture is another option for those looking for a classic look.

GOLD HARDWARE

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A more sophisticated version of the bright brass hardware that was popular in the late twentieth century, today’s modern gold hardware is a bit more muted and often has a matte finish.

KITCHEN LADDERS

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‘Ladders are having a resurgence, making a striking and practical addition to traditional style kitchens.’ explains Jamie Blake, the Founder of Blakes London. The use of ladders is especially popular in properties where rooms that wouldn’t traditionally have been used as a kitchen are re-purposed.

FUN LIGHT FIXTURES

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Not a big fan of recessed lighting and what to add more personality and character to your kitchen ceiling? Small light fixtures are doing the job in a stylish yet functional way! Incandescent light bulbs can add a soft, decorative touch to your kitchen.

ASH CABINETRY

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Homes & Gardens says to expect to see the resurrection of warm, paler woods used for cabinets, such as a subtle grained ash. Elle Decor notes something similar. They indicate the rise in warm finishes, such as light wood, soft, neutral countertops and tumbled stone floors.

CUSTOM STORAGE SOLUTIONS

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Smart storage is very much essential for keeping kitchen clutter at bay and making the most out of the space that you have. Creative storage solutions such as pull-out pantries, shelving above windows, drawers in the kitchen island and built-in pot racks continue to be popular.

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13 Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating Your House

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Most people understand how much time and money goes into a home renovation. What might seem like a minor hiccup during the process may end up costing you thousands of dollars later.

Below are some of the biggest mistakes people have made when building or renovating a home. Read this before you renovate!

Mistake#1: Choosing the lowest estimate

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One of the first steps in hiring professional help is collecting estimates from a handful of reputable contractors. Once the quotes finally come in, it can be tempting to go with the lowest one to try and save some money. However, that low cost is usually low for a reason. You may be cutting corners or missing out on some important services that are worth the extra expense.

Mistake #2: Purchasing your appliances at the end

Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

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One of the biggest kitchen renovation mistakes is choosing your appliances last. It may be more fun to plan the cabinet layout and countertops first, but always choose your major appliances first and then build the plan around those dimensions. You’ll be disappointed if you order cabinets and then find out that you only have room for a 24-inch-wide oven.

Mistake #3: Prioritizing the interior first 

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It’s natural to want to start with the fun stuff, but ensure the house is sound before you begin interior work. That means focusing on the siding, gutters, roof and retaining walls. You need a solid shell and it doesn’t make sense to rush the work or to skimp.

Mistake #4: Forgetting Your Kitchen Workflow

Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

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When planning your remodel, remember your kitchen’s busiest areas: the sink, stove, and refrigerator. Make sure these areas and appliances are in an efficient location that is relevant to one another. Many designers refer to this as the kitchen “work triangle”.

Mistake #5: Buying Without Trying

Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

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Requesting samples is an absolute must before you order anything, particularly if you’re shopping online. Seeing samples in-store helps, but ideally you need to see your chosen finishes at home. Even textures can appear quite different depending on the surrounding colours and lighting.

Mistake #6: Too Much Open Shelving

Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

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Open shelving is gorgeous. But be honest with yourself: Do you want every novelty mug and bottle of generic-brand ketchup on display? Sometimes practicality is more important than ambiance.

Mistake #7: Choosing Cabinets Based on Price Not Quality

Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

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It’s true that cabinets are the most expensive component of your remodel. Remember that they need to withstand daily wear and tear and inexpensive cabinets will affect the overall appearance of your kitchen remodel.

Mistake #8: Working without a permit

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If you have a contractor, he or she will likely get any necessary building permits. However, to make sure there are no issues later, you should check with your county or local municipal building department to determine whether a permit is needed for your specific project. Unpermitted projects are often torn down. If you ever sell your home, the resale value or the actual sale itself may be affected.

Mistake #9: Installing Flooring Before Anything Else

Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

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Installing your floor toward the beginning of the renovation is a major mistake, according to Dave Murphy, National Technical Director at N-Hance Wood Refinishing. “With large items coming in and out of the house and increased foot traffic,” he says, “it’s best the wear and tear and scratches are made to the existing floor rather than the new one.”

Mistake #10: Mismatched features in your bathroom

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A simple rule to follow when mixing finishes: don’t mix more than two types of metals, woods or tiles. You don’t want your washroom to look more like a sample room than the spa-tacular space that you deserve.

Mistake #11: Choosing granite or quartz for your countertops

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There is nothing wrong with choosing stone as your countertop selection, but many homeowners who love the look of granite or quartz don’t realize that the surface is very cold to lean on. Avoid being unhappy with the cold by adding a countertop heating mat under the overhang where you commonly sit. 

Mistake #12: Replacing windows


“If they’re original to the house and are in half-decent shape, older windows can and should be resuscitated,” advises renovation consultant, Brian Irving. “Anyone claiming that you will earn your money back in energy savings by installing replacement windows is either misinformed or looking for your money himself.”

Mistake #13: Placing a Dishwasher Far from the Sink

Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

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Planning the layout of your kitchen can save you a lot of headaches. It’s a hassle if the dishwasher is too far from the sink and may also mean a lot of wet floors when carrying dishes across the room.

Can you think of any other kitchen renovation mistakes to avoid? Share them with us on Instagram or Facebook!

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10 Ways to Make Working from Home More Enjoyable

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As times change and workplace settings shift, more and more people have been able to enjoy the flexibility of working from home. While there are many benefits of spending the workday from the comfort of your own house, there can be times when it gets frustrating or tiring.

Below are 10 suggestions to help increase productivity, make you feel happier and bring you some extra comfort on your “WFH” days.

Take your office anywhere in the house.

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A sturdy, wooden bed tray is ideal for everyday use, especially if you enjoy working in different areas of the house. Have your food, drinks, or laptop with you at the comfort of your bed or couch as you work from home. 

Spruce up your desk with new décor.

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You won’t mind getting work done when you’re in a space that you love. Declutter your desk area and swap out your old items for a new lamp, fresh greenery and some new bold picture frames.

Splurge on a better coffee machine.

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Treat yourself to that espresso machine you’ve been eyeing forever. Something that you know will get used every morning is worth the extra money. Check out this list of the 10 Best Coffee Machines.

Move your work area near a window.

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Natural light will do wonders for your mood and will allow you to call it quits at a reasonable hour.

Invest in a second monitor.

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If you know that you will continue to have the flexibility of working from home going forward, consider adding a second monitor alongside your laptop. Check out the insane benefits of dual monitors here.

Warm the surface you lean on all day.

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If you work from your granite countertop or you have a desk made of stone, you’ve likely noticed how uncomfortably cold the surface is on your wrist and forearms. A thin adhesive warming mat that goes under the counter will make your workday much more cozy and warm.

Schedule legitimate stretch breaks.

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Unlike at the office where you have to look professional, working from home allows you to wear comfy clothes and no shoes, so take advantage of it! Schedule a time everyday where you can pull out the yoga mat, stretch out your muscles and take time to decompress your mind.

Increase productivity with some high-end headphones.

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If you have other family members in the house or you get constantly distracted by random noise, a good pair of sound-canceling headphones is your solution. You will be so happy to disconnect from the chaos around you and focus solely on the task at hand.

Consider buying a height adjustable workstation.

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When you’re in an office setting, you are much more likely to stand up and walk around more often than when you’re home. Standing desks have many long-term benefits such as weight loss, reduced back pain and improved mental health.

Light more candles.

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Set the ambiance and atmosphere of your working space by lighting a seasonal candle every morning. Why not take advantage of being at home since you are likely not allowed to light candles when you’re at the office?

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