Archive for July, 2010

Jul 27 2010

Color Personalities: What Your Home May Say About You

Published by under Painting

Many people don’t realize just how important of a role color plays when decorating their homes.  Sure, most people know that warm colors are golden browns, yellows and reds, and that cool colors are green, blue, violet and pink shades.  But what does this all mean in the grand scheme of things?  Color speaks volumes, even about your own personality.  This article details a little about color, and the effect it can have on the appeal and atmosphere of a room.

It is a proven fact that colors affect emotions.  Red can brighten up someone who feels down, as can bright yellow.  Blue is soothing and comforting, and green often makes people feel wealthy.  How do the colors you use affect the way your home appeals to others?  Here are a few tips to let you know just what your home says about you:

Warm Colors

Red is vibrant and stimulating.  This includes stimulating the appetite, so depending on whether you are dieting red may be a good choice for the dining room.  Beware, too much red is overwhelming.  Whether you use various shades of red in the living room or dining room, temper it with calming colors that dominate the rest of the décor.

Yellow brings to mind sunshine, and is a cheery color.  This is a great color to use in the kitchen, as it offers warmth and a feeling of coziness.  You don’t have to use bright yellow; a softer shade will make a beautiful backdrop to a room.

Orange may sound like a horrible color to use in decorating, but when a soft shade is used it is actually inviting.  A muted shade of orange creates an appealing atmosphere that offers a welcoming feeling.  Orange is a friendly color that exudes happiness.

Cool Colors

Green is a color that helps bring the outdoors in, and is perfect for any room in the house.  Whether bold and vibrant of soft and muted, green is a peaceful color.  For the bed or bath, think of celery and seafoam shades of green, mixed with cream and sand tones.

Blue is the most soothing color of all, which is why it is frequently used in the bedroom.  Mixing shades of blue and green creates an inviting and calming atmosphere that makes any guest feel welcome.  Blue is also said to decrease appetite, so it may be a good choice for the dining room if you are trying to shed a few pounds!

Violet is a cool color that is useful when used to accent your home, but probably too overwhelming to use as a dominant color.  Choose accent rugs, throw pillows and other accessories with a slight splash of violet to add depth and interest.

In decorating your home, remember that most warm colors are welcoming, while cool colors offer a feeling of comfort.  There is nothing at all wrong with mixing shades from the warm and cool spectrum as long as they coordinate well.  Unless you are a very bold person who loves the extreme, avoid using large amounts of bold red, purple or black in decorating your home.  Strong colors like these will begin to wear on your nerves over time, as they can be distracting.  Use color to decorate your home not only with magnificent hues, but with a soothing or welcoming atmosphere as well!

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Jul 26 2010

Decorating Your Home in Country Cottage Style

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Country cottage decorating creates a look for your home that is easy, old-fashioned and uncomplicated.  If you love a look that leans toward charming and romantic and creates an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation, country cottage style is perfect.  This article offers tips and ideas for designing your home in a style that is totally inviting and warm. The colors that are most frequently used in this style of decorating are lighter shades of blue, yellow, rose and green.  Today, however, the look can look very modern and trendy if you choose to use bright red, green and yellow accents against a neutral sand or cream background.

Choose Your Color Palette First
Before you start choosing the furnishings, floors or accents you want to use, determine your color palette.  If you go with the pastel shades, you may want to use blue on the walls, a soft pale green or any other light color.  Should you decide to go with the bold colors, paint walls a sand or bisque hue.  Either way, choose a dominant color for the room, then work the furnishings and accents around this color.

Furnishings – Old, New, or Flea Market!
In the country cottage style of decorating, furnishings can be mixed and matched.  Your goal is to create a simple, uncomplicated look.  Worn furniture is perfect, whether it is truly worn or you have designed it to look that way by sanding edges to give it a worn effect.  Wicker and wrought iron are excellent choices, and wooden furniture should be of lighter shades, even distressed white.  Pieces can mix and match or you can paint all of the furnishings so they match.  Flea markets are a good place to find simple pieces at a bargain!

The Perfect Fabrics
Pattern and fabric consistency play an important role in country cottage décor.  Stripes, florals, checks and solids all work well together, as long as you follow the chosen color palette.  Natural fabrics such as cotton, chenille and chintz add depth and interest to the room.  Lots of throw pillows for the bed in various color-coordinated patterns are essential in creating a charming, relaxed atmosphere for the room.

Accessories – Think Outside the Box
When it comes to the accessories you want to use for country cottage decorating, use your imagination!  Use an old antique trunk as an end table, or reuse draperies you have had stored for a decade as a kitchen tablecloth.  Cracked pitchers filled with greenery add a nice touch.  Anything you truly love that is simple and uncomplicated will work perfectly.  Flea market finds, old things you have had stored, and reproductions help you create a home that reflects your personality, and feels so comfortable and welcoming that guests will never want to leave. If you think country cottage style decorating sounds like a dream, do a little browsing online.  You will find plenty of examples of just how beautiful, yet simple, this style of décor really is – and how easy it is to create the look for your own home.

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Jul 19 2010

Decorate Your Home in a Monochromatic Color Scheme

To some, monochromatic may sound dull or boring.  When done right, you can decorate your living room or any other room of your home using a monochromatic theme for a stunning effect!  If you think this style of decorating is bland and lifeless, this article will offer tips and ideas that help you create a room with depth and appeal.  White or beige isn’t the only color that gets used in this popular style of decorating.

You can, and should, use any color at all to create rooms that are full of personality and interest.  Save the bold reds, purples or emerald greens for rooms where you do not spend large stretches of time, as these colors can become overwhelming.

The Secret Lies in the Colors

 

When creating a monochromatic look, you want to use 3 different shades of the same color.  For example, if you want to use brown tones then a light beige, deep amber and chocolate brown will make for a stunning look, as will shades of peach and terracotta.  You want one color to dominate, preferably the medium tone.  As an example, paint the walls light beige, choose a sofa and love seat that contains strong amber tones, and accent baseboards with chocolate brown.  Amber should be the strongest color in the room.

Choosing Patterns and Adding Texture

 

The secret to adding depth and interest in a monochromatic decorating theme is in the patterns and textures you intermingle.  Bold stripes and geometric patterns are perfect in this style, as long as the strongest colors in the pattern are from the three that you have chosen.  Combine silky fabrics with nubby ones for the most appeal.  You may want to use silky curtains that offer sheen, along with nubby textured accent rugs.  Tapestries are also great for adding rich texture.

To add further appeal, consider painting a bold stripe of color around the room.  For example, on a light beige wall you may want to use an 18” wide stripe of chocolate brown about halfway up the wall around the entire room.  This visually extends the room and livens up the walls a bit.

Accessories Add a Punch of Color

 

While you do want to keep furniture, walls and floors restrained to the three colors you have chosen, you can add punches of vibrant color in pictures and other smaller accessories.  If you go with the beige/amber/chocolate theme, consider pictures that contain a bright splash of red or yellow.  Set a bowl filled with red apples and bananas in the center of the coffee table, or create a floral arrangement that contains these colors.  Large pillar or square shaped candles in these shades help to add even more small accents around the room.

Just remember to keep the larger details of the room to the basic three colors, and then add pop with splashes of color in the smaller details.  Choose one single color to dominate the room, and you will have spaces that are beautiful, unique and appealing to all who enter your home.

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Jul 19 2010

How to Transform the Look of Your Living Room

Whether your living room is too small, too large, too bland or too congested, you can easily change its look!  You may believe that you have a tiny area and therefore it is destined to appear small and congested.  Alternatively your living area may be spacious – a bit TOO spacious.  Maybe your living room looks cluttered and messy or plain, lacking any interest.  No matter what your biggest problem might be, there are some easy solutions.  This article offers tips and ideas for making your living room one that you love, and one that your family and guests love as well.

Make a Tiny Room Look Bigger

 

If you have a living room that is small, there are several things you can do to make it appear larger.  First, paint the walls and ceiling a light color.  A light color will make the ceiling appear higher, creating a spacious feeling.  Consider furnishings that include light shades as well, such as pale blue, beige, tan and other light hues.  Shy away from dark colored woods like mahogany, and opt for natural woods or pine finishes.

Wherever possible set furniture against the walls to open up as much floor space as you can.  Remove any clutter, and steer clear of knick-knacks and other small accessories that make a room look congested and cluttered.  To add color to the walls without taking away any visual space, use no more than one large accent per wall, preferably something brightly colored that will help light up the room.  Leave windows bare if you can but if not use light-weight fabrics or sheers.

Cozy up a Large Room

 

Perhaps you have the opposite problem – your living room is way too big!  This often makes a room appear a bit cold, making it feel as though it is lacking in personality.  To make this room look more intimate and appealing, use rich, dark colors such as burgundy, navy and green.  Browns, gold tones and autumn colors will work as well.  While you don’t have to paint every wall a dark color, consider painting two opposing walls a rich shade as a contrast to the other walls.  If you have a high beamed or cathedral ceiling, consider painting it a darker tone as well.  This will visually bring the ceiling down.

When the room is too spacious, you want to draw it in.  This can be accomplished by moving furnishings away from the wall, and creating smaller, more intimate settings.  Arrange a sofa and chairs around a coffee table, where sitting arrangements will have you facing those who are visiting.  This adds a personal, intimate feel to the room.  Keep furnishings and accessories to scale – you want to use large, bulky furniture, large plants, and other décor that is of substantial size.  Decorate the walls with large prints as well.

Remember, in any room too many accessories and accents can look junky, no matter how small or large the room might be.  For smaller rooms, keep accents bright and sunny.  In larger living rooms, use a variety of patterns and prints such as stripes, geometrics and florals that coordinate with the room’s main color.  They will add dimension and depth to the room, helping to diminish the cold atmosphere.

Combine these ideas with a few of your own creative thoughts and enjoy rooms that are filled with style and personality!

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Jul 19 2010

Add a Touch of the Wild West to Your Kitchen

Published by under Kitchens

Whether you live on a ranch or in the middle of the city, western style décor offers plenty of color and charm.  If you are ready to make a change in your kitchen and dining areas and want to add some spice, this is the perfect way to achieve your new look.  This article offers tips and ideas for transforming your kitchen in to a western-themed ponderosa, where the entire family, as well as your guests, will enjoy relaxing in the warm, welcoming ambiance.

Western décor is colorful, often incorporating rich, warm colors such as brown, red and blue.  A western flair offers rooms that are colorful, fun and packed with visual appeal.

 

Use Plenty of Wood and Iron

 

Adding that home-on-the-range look to your kitchen requires plenty of wood and iron.  Wrought iron accents are perfect for this type of décor, as is copper.  Your kitchen table may be of a rough-hewn unfinished wood, or even an old wagon wheel topped with glass.  Consider hanging a wrought-iron pot rack or a baker’s rack constructed of worn wood and punched tin.  Top your table with a runner made of a western-themed fabric.

Add Interest to Counter Tops

 

Add colorful touches to counter tops with cookie jars, canisters, and other knick-knacks decorated in a western theme.  Dish cloths and dish towels can also be decorated with a western design.  Wrought iron candle holders are great, as are terra cotta colored pots filled with herbs and other greenery.

You may want to consider a central theme, such as cowboy boots, cowboy hats or even horses.  You can find planters that are designed in the shape of a cowboy boot, and horseshoes make great napkin holders.  Hang horseshoes and other iron accents on the walls – the more the better!  Blending copper accessories in with the iron also makes for a unique look.

Add Color to the Walls

 

When it comes to your walls, think rustic colors.  You may want to paint a single wall, or paint them all.  Terra cotta colored paint is great for western décor, as is an amber shade of brown.  You may even want to run a boldly colored wall paper border around the top of the walls to add further pizzazz.

For the windows use fabrics that are solid colored or patterned in a western theme or consider using wooden shutters.  The trick is to put your own creative ideas to work!  Focus either on all that is western, or narrow your décor choices down to one particular theme such as cowboy boots.  Your aim is to make your kitchen and dining areas look as though they came straight out of the west.

There are no rules, so have fun!  You can find many accents and accessories that are made of worn wood and wrought iron at flea markets and garage sales.  Consider putting wood beams on the ceiling to further add to the appeal.  You can find lots more ideas by looking through magazines, or even browsing the internet.  Remember, fill the room with plenty of rich color for a look that is anything but bland.

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Jul 19 2010

How to Perk Up Your Home on a Budget

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Are you one of those people who are so tight that you squeak when you walk?  Frugal is a good thing, but you may still find yourself yearning for a more beautiful home.  Your budget may force you to be frugal, or you may simply choose to live well within your means.  Either way, you can really spruce up your home without spending an exorbitant amount of money.

This article offers some easy ideas that you can use right now to transform those dull, bland rooms into spaces that offer atmosphere and appeal!

Start with the Floors

It may sound simple, but often carpets that are soiled and floors that are badly stained take away from the beauty of your home.  If your carpets are dirty, the colors don’t shine through.  Clean them yourself, or have a professional do it for you.  Frequently, you will find that there are beautiful wooden floors underneath the carpet, especially in older homes, so pulling the carpet up may be something you want to consider.

Tile or linoleum floors in the kitchen or bathroom can accumulate grime, grease and wax.  This is easily solved, and your floors will shine like new again.  Products that contain trisodium phosphate, such as automatic dishwasher detergent, are perfect for stripping the old wax and grime.  Just mix two tablespoons with two gallons of warm water, and put some elbow grease into it!  This mixture won’t bubble, but you will need to rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.

Painting Makes Everything Better

 

A coat of fresh paint makes any room shine.  The amazing thing about paint is that you can use it almost anywhere – on walls, furniture, floors or glass.  If you have a room that needs a little extra ‘pop’, consider painting those bland walls a dramatic color.  You can paint a single wall for a unique look.  Simply use a color from your upholstery.  You will be amazed how adding a large area of one of the primary colors to your décor will help accentuate these colors when found in small patterns scattered around the room!

If your furniture is worn out and you don’t have the money to purchase new, paint it!  Give the surfaces a light sanding, and paint the furniture any color you like.  If you like an antique or shabby chic look, sand the corners and edges lightly after painting.

Accessorize!

 

Accessories have the ability to pull the entire look together, or add a burst of style and color without costing a great deal of money.  To dress up your living room, consider boldly patterned throw pillows for the couch and colorful prints for the walls.  Throws not only keep you warm, they’re also great for tossing over worn spots on a sofa, or as a large focal point when hung alone on a wall.

Add a few colorful candles and some fresh flowers, and your home will feel like new again – even though you didn’t bust your budget.  Some simple cleaning, paint and a few new accessories will have you feeling good about your home’s appearance!

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Jul 19 2010

Create a Romantic Victorian-Style Bedroom

Victorian style furnishings and décor are a touch on the feminine side, and oh-so romantic.  Are you ready to trade your modern bedroom, or perhaps one that just needs a little something to make it come alive, for one that offers a romantic, antique look?  You can easily make the changes yourself, and transform your bedroom into one that is relaxing, beautiful and perfect for those nights when you just want to cuddle up with that special someone.

The Perfect Bed

 

In Victorian style décor, you want a bed that is constructed of wood but one that includes intricate details.  Wrought iron or brass also work well and add a romantic ambiance.  Instead of blending into the background, a Victorian bed should be a bit on the showy side.  Period type quilts that look as though they were crafted in the 1800’s are a perfect topping, but you can use any materials that are frilly or flouncy.  Canopies, drapes and fluffy pillows outlined in ribbon and flourishes finish off the look.

Include the Perfect Furnishings

 

Tables are a must in the Victorian style of decorating, but not just any old table.  Nightstands are often square and to put it bluntly, lacking in style.  In this type of décor, you want round nightstands topped with marble or made of wicker or bamboo.  A delicate skirting that flows to the floor adds further to the feminine appeal.  You can often find tables like these in a local junk store or at flea markets.

Dressers and chests of drawers are typically made from dark woods such as mahogany, and are adorned with intricate carvings.  Embellishments may include fancy brass drawer pulls or intricately carved wooden pulls.  If you can find an antique looking dresser topped with a round tilting mirror, all the better!

Accessories Make the Room

 

Some decorating styles require a minimum of accessories; with Victorian décor, the beautiful accessories that you add complete the room and add dimension.  Consider including period style art for the walls.  Baroque and brushed brass frames are perfect, and add to the elegant appeal.  Place old-style vases around the room and fill them with fresh flowers.  Old or antique figurines, china and other Victorian style collectibles fill the room with character.

For the floors, oriental rugs and wicker mats are perfect.  Place a large oval rug at the foot of the bed, or two smaller rugs, one at each side.  Wood floors work well with Victorian decorating, but if you have carpeting the accent rugs will pull the look together.  Window treatments should be elaborate as well; velvet or brocade can be used to dress the windows, while a lace sheer can line the underside.  Delicate florals, braids, and lace all work to make the windows an intricate part of the room.

You can definitely see that the Victorian style of decorating is not for those who prefer simple, basic lines!  If you love rooms that offer the atmosphere of years gone by, touched with a little romance, Victorian décor will make the bedroom your favorite room in the house.

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Jul 16 2010

Infusing Your Personality in the Décor of Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Unfortunately, many people design their homes based on popular trends and magazine pictures.  Sure, the room is beautiful, but is it comfortable and inviting to you?  Does it suit your unique personality?  Or does the room seem almost foreign, because there is none of your personality displayed in the accents and furnishings you use?  It’s important that you decorate your home according to your particular likes and interests.  This article offers a few ideas to help you create rooms that are exciting, appealing – and totally yours!

Determine What You Like
Think about your interests, your favorite colors, even the music you enjoy most.  Are your favorite colors blue and gold?  Maybe you like black and white.  Whatever colors you love most, base your décor around those shades.  Use them in your furniture, the accents on your walls, and in paint preferences.  If you love country music, you probably love country décor as well.  If rap or hip-hop is your style, you may want décor that is funky and off-beat that includes bright, almost shocking colors.

If you are a modern, contemporary type of person, you most likely won’t feel comfortable with rooms that are decorated in a style that is too elegant or country themed.  You most likely prefer spaces that are simple, basic and uncluttered.  Clean lines and basic colors make you feel most at home.

What are Your Hobbies?
Do you collect nautical-themed accessories, porcelain dolls or teapots?  Include your hobbies in your decorating style.  Create a corner of the room that is specifically dedicated to your collection.  Consider using nautical prints for the walls.  If you collect certain items at flea markets, garage sales or online, put them on display!  Curio cabinets with a glass front or wood shelves you build yourself are great for displaying those special items you love.

Are You a Romantic, or the Sensible Type?
Are you one of those people who are extremely sensitive, or do the downturns in life roll off easily?  Your home should reflect your personality type.  Those who are romantics often love cozy, intimate spaces that are surrounded by things that hold a special meaning.  Photos, accessories and other accent items that have been given to you by those you love add intimacy.  If you are the type who is carefree and simply rolls with the punches, you may enjoy things that simply offer visual appeal, but don’t necessarily have a special meaning.  Abstract art and geometric patterns may appeal most to you.

The point is, don’t decorate your home in a style that you think will please others.  It’s your home, so decorate it in a way that makes you happy and comfortable!  If you love flowers, herbs and other plants, fill your home up with them.  If wild colors and bold patterns appeal to you, use them!  What makes you different is what makes you special.  Your home should be the same – a reflection of YOU.

You may be someone who has a variety of interests.  An eclectic look is often the most appealing, and best of all, it is never boring.  Mix different styles of décor according to what you love, and make your home one that welcomes you at the end of the day, offering you relaxing, peaceful surroundings.

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Jul 16 2010

Transform Your Large Room into Cozy Space

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Large, spacious rooms are what many homeowners desire, but they can often appear cold and unwelcoming.  It’s wonderful to have plenty of room so that everyone can relax and guests don’t feel crowded, but you want to provide an atmosphere of warmth and welcoming spaces.  This article offers several tips for bringing those expansive rooms down to size a bit, creating spaces that are appealing to the eye and offer a sense of intimacy.

One thing to remember, you want to avoid adding lots of small accents and trinkets to fill up the room; this will only make it appear cluttered and messy.

Use Multiple Furniture Groupings
Consider dividing the room up in to several groupings that can be used for specific purposes.  Have an area designated for watching television, one for playing games and another for entertaining guests.  This will help fill up the room with larger pieces that are in scale with the space, and will make the area seem more inviting.  In the kitchen, consider a lounging area in addition to the actual cooking area and dining set.

If you work from home, consider placing your home office in a corner of the living room to further break up a wide open space.

Keep Accessories in Scale with the Room
Colorful accessories will add depth and dimension to the room, but keep them in scale.  Plants, whether real or artificial, should be good sized.  Use large prints and tapestries on the walls that complement the shades of your décor.  Dinky floral arrangements won’t work in a large room; use large, richly colored vases filled with dramatic flowers and greenery.

Color Plays a Crucial Role
Vast spaces can be made visually smaller by using rich, deep colors on the walls, ceiling, and floor as well as in furniture patterns.  If you have a high ceiling, consider painting it a darker hue that blends with the room.  Taupe, autumn colors, burgundy, blue and deep greens are rich colors that will add visual appeal and interest.

If you decide to use wallpaper, make sure to stick with bold patterns in large prints.  Avoid small patterns with intricate details, and stick to rich choices that complement or contrast with the other colors of the room.

Other things that can be done to bring an expansive room down to size are moving the furniture away from the walls and using large area rugs in order to arrange a furniture grouping in a specific area.  You may also want to consider built-in furniture; something like an entertainment center or book shelves in a corner of the room or flanking a fireplace help use up space while encouraging a cozier feel.  These provide use as well as taking up additional wall space making the room appear smaller.

Spacious rooms are wonderful, especially if you have a large family or do a lot of entertaining, but they tend to look somewhat blank.  Put a few of these ideas to use, and you will soon have rooms that are welcoming, warm and cozy – beautiful rooms that invite guests to relax and stay a while.

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Jul 16 2010

Open Up a Small Kitchen For a Spacious Look

Published by under Kitchens

If your kitchen is on the small side, there have probably been many times you wished it was a bit more spacious.  While it’s impossible to add square footage to the room without building on to your kitchen, you can make it appear much larger!  When a room looks more spacious, it feels that way as well.  This article offers tips and ideas on how to visually open up your kitchen so that it appears spacious and airy.

Clear it Off
Clutter makes any room look smaller.  If your counter tops are filled with gadgets, jars, small appliances, plants, candles and other things, clear them off!  You will be amazed at how one small change such as removing the clutter from your counter tops will change the look of the room.

Let the Sun Shine In!
Another small change you can make that will make a dramatic difference is to let natural light shine in.  If your kitchen and dining room windows are covered with dark wood shutters or heavy fabrics, make a switch to light colored shades or mini blinds.  These allow you to completely open up the window when you choose, and offer privacy after dark.  If you must use a valance or curtain, choose bright, sunny colors.

Expand the Perimeter of the Room with Light Colored Walls
Most people know that dark colors minimize while light colors expand.  For your small kitchen walls, choose colors that are light, such as cream, pale yellow or white.  Dark colors will only make the room look smaller, while light colors add appeal and make the room look much larger than it actually is.

Floors should be light as well.  Natural wood without dark stain is best for making your kitchen appear larger; if you choose stone, linoleum or tile keep the shades light as well.

Cabinetry Makes a Difference
If your cabinets are dark, consider sanding them down and staining or painting a lighter shade.  This is much less expensive than buying new cabinets, and will transform the look of the room!  You may also want to consider clear glass panels in cabinet doors to further open up the room.

When it comes to small kitchens, keep busy patterns to a minimum.  Intricate floral wallpaper or boldly patterned tablecloths, curtains and other accessories tend to make a room look even smaller.  Keep lines simple and basic.  A solid colored tablecloth should be used if you choose to use one at all, or a light colored runner works as well.  Adding interesting bursts of color through a simple centerpiece or wall hangings is enough to liven up the room a bit without making it look smaller.

When it comes to appliances, white or stainless steel is best.  Stainless steel is reflective, which works much like a mirror to make the room look larger.  The secret to opening up any small space is to keep simple, uncluttered lines and use light color!  Put some of these ideas to work in your kitchen, and you will find that it looks and feels like you have twice as much room.

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