What's the most important room in the house? Many would argue it's the kitchen. The smell of brewing coffee, apple pie or sizzling steak makes us crave the delicious treat. Guests always end up in the kitchen during parties, no matter how inviting the other rooms. Families make meals and memories in the kitchen. It's the center of our homes.
But when the kitchen becomes a cluttered mess, it's hard to navigate through and preparing meals becomes a huge chore. Remodeling the kitchen is a great idea but can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
So here are five ideas to spruce up your kitchen without calling in the Property Brothers:
*Under-Cabinet LED Tape Lighting
LED lighting is here to stay, and has made the old incandescent bulb go the way of the cassette tape. Unlike some of the previous versions of under-cabinet lighting, LED tape lighting won't melt your chocolate chips. Nor will the lights burn out. LED tape lighting won't hum, either, like its fluorescent predecessor. The base is hidden away in a cabinet, and the tape may run in the pantry, along the sides, as well as under the cabinets. It's wonderful to have task lighting while reading a recipe, making lunches, chopping veggies or sauteeing food.
*Pullout Drawers Under Cabinets and in Pantry
One sure way to keep your kitchen organized is by having pullout drawers in the pantry and in the base cabinets. Keep pots and pans in one drawer, and food storage containers in another. For baking sheets, muffin pans, tall platters and trays, pick up an inexpensive divider. Having a place to put these items -- and showing everyone in the family where each item goes -- helps immeasurably with putting items away (and being able to find them next time). No money for built-in drawers? Go to The Container Store, Home Depot or the like for wire drawers or cabinet organizers.
*Spice Drawer Tray
A simple plastic tray that holds rows of jars of spices is an amazing addition to any kitchen. While it does occupy a drawer, it's worth it. Open it up, and you have rows and rows of spices. They come in a variety of shapes and designs, depending on your drawer and spice collection size. Pick a drawer near the stove and refrigerator to economize your motion while cooking.
*Double- or Triple-Level Lazy Susan
Has your corner cabinet become the black hole of kitchen stuff? You know you have that colander extra Tupperware somewhere, but it seems to have disappeared. Corner cabinets are deep and spacious, and they tend to fill up. A built-in two- or three-tier Lazy Susan can make all the difference; important items are just a spin away. They are round, rotating shelves, which are ideal for a corner cabinet, whether at base or up high.
*Cut the Countertop Clutter
Every time I clear the counters, someone comes along and puts stuff on them. It's as though they can't stand to have open space. But the kitchen clutter battle wages on. If you choose, it's OK to leave some items you use frequently such as the coffee maker, mixer, blender, toaster and slow cooker. Many people dutifully put these away each time, but if you use them two or three times a week or more, perhaps it makes more sense to leave them on the counter -- if you have space.