Archive for the 'Kitchens' Category

Jun 29 2012

How to Decorate a Traditional Kitchen: Top Tips for Creating a Timeless Space

Published by under Kitchens

Traditional decorating may seem like a no-brainer, you just choose standard decorating items, right? The truth is that “standard” doesn’t exist. The fun thing about decorating is that today’s definition of traditional comes from a blend of stylistic approaches.

Standard and traditional are not synonymous- nor does the term “normal” or “average” have a place in the world of design. Because creating any style, whether traditional or not, takes an innate understanding of how to blend styles, it actually takes some savvy and innovation to create an effortless entertainment space. The traditional kitchen doesn’t mean that it’s easy to create- in fact creating a timeless space really involves blending the right elements of the past and the present and can take some time as well as an understanding of these tips!

Avoid Pieces that Define the Space 

In order to create a kitchen that can stand the test of time it is best to avoid furniture or decorating items that come from a certain time period or style. Instead, select just a few pieces and stay far away from sleek lines of contemporary or modern furniture or dining sets.

Crown molding can quickly add a traditional flair to any kitchen space, so be sure to add this when applicable. Being eclectic is the key to traditional- and while that may sound counterintuitive, in order create a space that blends well and won’t age too quickly you need a few quirky items that blend in with the more traditional ones.

Traditional Additions to Consider 

Breakfast Nooks

Adding bench seats or a breakfast nook can take any traditional kitchen space from cute to incredible. Having a built-in eating area makes the kitchen seems centered- anchored if you will- and the finality that comes with a custom breakfast nook will never go out of style.  Furthermore, it is always a huge selling point even if traditional may or may not be the preferred style of those who see it.

Knob Choices

Avoid linear hardware, and look for more inventive or one-of-a-kind pieces. Hand whittled, porcelain or antique, or even repurposed items can take a boring kitchen space into the realm of traditional customization. Even though stainless steel is in right now, consider using pops of color, bronze or white in a more traditional space.

Choose Appropriate Faucet and Hardware Finishes 

Farm sinks are no longer just for the farmhouse, and in fact, the sink in your kitchen can be the first tell-tale sign that you have either stayed in line with your traditional vein, or you have strayed too far outside of the box. Look for brushed nickel, bronze or dark espresso finishes when it comes to your sink hardware and faucet and stay away from over customized faucet that lean towards a particular style, i.e., trough faucets, modern restaurant style faucets, or something too elegant. Boxier faucets and simple knobs are going to give you much more room to blend eclectic elements than trying far too hard to make a statement.

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Jun 28 2012

Kitchen Crisis: 3 Simple Budget-Friendly Fixes for the Heart of Your Home

Published by under Kitchens

The kitchen is where life is experienced and memories are made, whether the scent of a freshly baked apple pie is wafting through your home or whether a frozen pizza is cooking in the oven- you don’t have to be a chef to realize how much of your time is spent in the “heart of the home”.

While it is the place where most people pony up to share a glass of wine of nibble on appetizers, it is also one of the most expensive rooms in your house to update. If you are on a budget but want to bring your kitchen into the modern day here are 3 simple fixes you can whip up without much investment at all!

Hardware Overhaul

Are you cabinets outdated or too simple? An easy and inexpensive way to update cabinets without the labor-intensive process of re-painting or the budget buster of customizing is simply to purchase new hardware. Depending on your home’s style- no matter if it is cottage or modern there are hundreds if not thousands of choices.

It is amazing how a simple change like hardware can take an otherwise boring cabinet front and give it some pizzazz. Be sure to choose hardware that is durable and easy to install. Most options are, with a simple screw backed design- but be sure that you choose something interesting enough to make a difference. 

Crown Molding Miracle

Another cheap but high impact way to update your kitchen on a budget is to purchase some crown molding. Depending on what type of cabinets you have- this works best with stock cabinets; you can take an otherwise boxy and unappealing cabinet and give it a customized look. Be sure to match the finish of your crown molding to the finish of the cabinets.

Also if you have a dining space off of the kitchen, use some of your extra crown molding to install a chair rail. This not only defines the dining space super cheap, it also adds an air of elegance to any eat-in kitchen space. 

Peel-and Stick Tile

If you’ve never considered peel and stick tile to cover up your outdated vinyl flooring now is the time to do so. Peel and stick tile has come a long way and can fool even the most savvy of designers. You can choose anything from marble to slate finishes, and even choose to grout between the tiles, creating a finished ceramic tile or marble look. This is an especially great trick if you have children, and don’t want to invest in brand new floors only to have them get scuffed up mere weeks later. Visit your local home decorating store or home improvement store and take a gander at the options. Super easy to install, even a layman can install them. Most kitchen spaces only cost about $50 to tile, and it makes a huge difference!

So even for those of us that have to watch the bottom line with an almost religious devotion, these 3 tips and tricks can take your outdated kitchen and make it pop for under couple hundred dollars. You can even do it for less if you keep your eye out for great deals!

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Mar 19 2012

The Tuscan Style Kitchen Offers Old-World Charm and a Taste of Italy

Published by under Kitchens

Nothing is quite as relaxing and intimate as a Tuscan style kitchen.  The look is warm and inviting, rich and filled with natural elements.  Whether you are building a new home or simply want to give new life to an older kitchen, you will find this decor theme beautiful and comfortable.

Many families spend more time in the kitchen than they do in the family or living room.  For this reason, you want your kitchen to be as relaxing and appealing as possible.  The tips below will help bring a taste ofItalyto your kitchen.

Earthy colors – the basis of all things Tuscan

The colors typically found in a Tuscan themed custom kitchen include those found in nature.  Olive green, terra cotta, chocolate brown and of course wine shades, since grape vines and wine bottles are essential in this style of decorating.

You can use any variation of these colors depending on your preferences; just remember that the colors should closely mimic those you find outdoors, perhaps even in a vineyard.

Furnishings are rustic and solid

Wrought iron and rough-hewn wood are typically found in the Tuscan kitchen; the look is old and elegant.  A heavy rustic wood table decorated with a Tuscan inspired tablecloth is warm and inviting.

If your kitchen is large enough, consider an antique wood pie safe or an old wooden table as a center island used for chopping and other tasks.

Wrought iron is an essential element of the Tuscan style kitchen.  Chandeliers, wine racks, even a wrought iron pot holder hanging from the ceiling add charm and old-world atmosphere.

As far as cabinetry goes, consider glass front doors or no doors at all.  This will allow you to add decor and color to the room through spices and oils, ceramic dishes, colorful plates and all of those goodies you normally keep behind closed doors.  This look is what makes the Tuscan kitchen so rich and appealing.

Stone, pottery and other essentials

To achieve the most authentic look in a Tuscan kitchen, consider stone floors or stone-like ceramic tiles.  Clay pottery, bronze, wrought iron and other natural elements bring the look to life, and add further to the natural appeal of a Tuscan themed kitchen.

Wrought iron drawer handles add additional depth to the look.  Terra cotta pots filled with natural herbs like basil, rosemary and oregano are essential for an authentic Italian kitchen.

Spice up the walls

The wall decor is central to the Tuscan style kitchen.  Wrought iron accents, wine and grape prints, even hammered copper pots and pans hang on the walls, lending to the intimate atmosphere and ambiance of the room.  This is clearly a room that is well used.

Wrought iron candle sconces are a nice touch as well; consider hanging them on both sides of a beautifully crafted vineyard scene.

Soft, ambient lighting is another essential in the Tuscan kitchen.  Try to avoid bright fluorescent lights, opting for a warm glow that offers an intimate feeling to the room.

Bringing a bit ofItalyto your kitchen isn’t hard; look through magazines and online for more ideas that will help you transform your kitchen in to a show place.  For a warm, inviting atmosphere that draws everyone to the kitchen, nothing beats Tuscan decor.

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Mar 05 2012

Spruce Up Your Kitchen With 1940’s Vintage Appeal

Published by under Kitchens

Nothing is quite as inviting and comfortable as a 1940’s style retro kitchen.  The look is quite easy to achieve, and the blend of all things vintage and modern makes for an appearance that is original and appealing.  The warmth such a room exudes makes for a kitchen and dining area that is comfortable, relaxing, and beautiful; the perfect blend of modern and old-time charm.

Choosing the right colors is essential

The colors from the 1940’s style kitchen are what make it so recognizable today in magazines, books and other media.  Crimson red, white, yellow and “jadeite” or a gray-toned blue are the colors that were most often used in these homey kitchen of the past.

Be aware that not just any shade of blue will work with the 1940’s look; there are dozens of colors today that would be called “blue”, but what you are looking for here is a Slate or Midnight blue, a shade that is a bit more muted than some of the colors you will find today.

Furnishings for the retro kitchen

For the dining table, a vintage style dinette or wooden style table complete with enamel top are perfect.  Cabinetry may be wood that is painted white, off-white or cream; glass knobs add further to the retro appeal.

Other furnishings you may want to consider for the dining room are a square, an oval or rectangular retro diner table; many of these have chrome-plated deco legs, much like you find at many old-time diners even today.

If you cannot afford a vintage style dinette set, cover the table you currently have with a vintage table cloth.

Add color with accents and gadgets

Since the basic colors of 1940’s vintage style decorating revolve around white or off-white, count on accessories, rugs and other gadgets to add a splash of color.

Consider open cabinets, so that you can display old dishes or other colorful collectibles.  If you collect jadeite dishes, put them on display.

Red kitchenware gadgets are perfect for adding vibrant color.  Vintage linens add texture and color; consider a fruit theme if you need more color.  Place a fruit bowl in the center of the table, and consider metal wall hangings embellished with fruit designs.

The curtains you choose for the windows can have a further impact on the finished look of the kitchen.  If you cannot find vintage curtains, make them yourself using dish towels or even a table cloth that blends with the colors you have chosen.

Old-fashioned canisters, bread boxes, toasters – most of the old appliances which you need to bring the look together can be found at antique malls.  Check garage sales and flea markets as well – you never know when you will find a treasure that is perfect for your vintage kitchen!

While you may think that your appliances will clash because of their modern look, this actually makes the whole combination even more appealing.  If you have the budget and simply want to re-do the entire room including appliances, look for those that have a retro look or chrome finish.

In today’s modern and busy world, it’s often comforting to come home after a hard day to a home that takes you back in time.  Get started on your 1940’s vintage style kitchen today!

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Feb 03 2012

Easy and Affordable Kitchen Decorating Tips

While you probably thought your kitchen decor was beautiful when you first designed it, after a few years it begins to get a bit old and dull; you’re ready for a change, but you don’t have the money for a complete remodeling job.  In this article, you will discover some great tips for transforming your kitchen without draining your budget.

Brighten up the kitchen and create an airy look for summer

Summer is just around the corner, and you want a kitchen that is fresh, light and appealing.  To achieve an open, bright look place mirrors on the walls in your dining room to reflect the light from the windows.  Place the mirrors directly across the room from windows or in a corner on the wall adjacent to the wall with a window for the most reflected light.

Rearrange the kitchen furniture to create a “summer arrangement”.  You could move the furniture into a diagonal pattern; take a leaf out of the table to create more space, even remove dark colored or heavily patterned table runners and chair pads, replacing them with bright colored cotton fabrics for an airy effect.

Freshen up the walls

Painting the walls is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to change the look of a room.  In the kitchen, bright colors offer a cheerful atmosphere.  While you may like white, try light shades of apricot, sage green or butter yellow.

Texturing techniques can add drama, and are easy to do.  Learn how to sponge, rag roll or feather dust a wall to create intricate patterns that are much like textured wall paper or stucco walls.

Bring the outdoors inside with plants

Real or silk, plants add life to any room.  Sit live or silk plants in window sills in ceramic or copper planters; hang a larger plant from the ceiling to dress up a bare corner.  If you have an open area above your kitchen cabinets, arrange several plants of various sizes for an appealing look.

Rugs – the solution to a variety of problems

Do your floors lack color?  Are they worn in areas where traffic is heavy?  A new floor can cost a great deal of money, but rugs can give your kitchen a whole new look and add color and warmth to a room.

If you have a country kitchen, add brightly colored sunflower rugs in high traffic areas or in front of the sink.  Bold, bright patterns work well in a modern kitchen. For a bistro-style or French country kitchen, large oriental rugs make a dramatic impact.  Today, you can find rugs in any style, shape, size or color to suit your decorating needs – and they’re great for covering up worn areas, burn marks and more!

Look around to see what might work for you.  There are lots of simple ideas you can find in home decorating magazines, on television, even online.  Sometimes the best ideas come when you’re just browsing around with nothing specific in mind.

Put these ideas to work in your kitchen – you will be amazed at how much appeal you can add to your kitchen with a minimum of money or effort.

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Aug 02 2011

Create Your Dream Kitchen on a Shoestring Budget

Published by under Kitchens

Remodeling a kitchen is one of the most expensive projects you can take on in your home.  In fact, having a professional complete the renovations can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 or more, depending on what you have done.

You can do much of the renovation yourself and save a bundle of money.  For about 1/2 or less of what you would pay a professional, there are some things you can do that will give your kitchen a whole new look, and greatly add to the value of your home.

In the sink area

A tile backsplash adds color and pizzazz to your kitchen, and pullout faucets offer a modern look while making your sink more functional.

For about $4 per square foot, tile can brighten the room and add interest.  Consider a checkerboard pattern or alternating colors that lend to the decor of the room.  Also keep in mind that tiles do not have to match counter tops; a contrasting look is interesting and adds depth.  You can find floral and abstract patterned tiles, even tiles with fruit motifs.

A pullout faucet can be purchased for around $250, and offers a variety of looks, from traditional to sleek and contemporary.  Not only can you find chrome finishes, today’s pullout faucets are available in brushed stainless steel and copper as well.

The look of new cabinets

Having cabinets built is one of the most expensive aspects of remodeling your kitchen, but you can reface or refinish them yourself if the structure is still good for about 1/2 the price of new cabinetry.

If you decide to refinish your cabinets, this will require stripping the finish and then staining or painting the surface.  For re-facing, you will need to remove cabinet and door fronts and replace them with matching veneers.  Changing the hardware on your drawers and cabinets will also give them an updated new look.

Jazz up the walls

Bland colored walls are becoming a thing of the past.  One of the quickest and most affordable ways to give your kitchen a new look is to paint, stencil or wallpaper the walls using vibrant colors and appealing designs.

Instead of a white or off-white wall, consider bold colors such as green, blue and rustic red.  Soft yellow is nice if you have a small kitchen that needs a bright color; trim out the walls in contrasting or complementary colors to really set off the walls.  Stenciling and sponging techniques allow you to give the walls texture and added design.

Update appliances

Sure, a new refrigerator or stove is expensive – but you don’t have to buy a new one if the one you have now still works well.

If your appliances look a bit outdated or don’t really blend well with your new decor, consider painting them with appliance paint.  You can also buy new panels to put on your appliances so that they blend with your cabinets and lend to the new look of your kitchen.

As you can see, you don’t have to spend a fortune to create your dream kitchen!  Update the windows with new window treatments; consider a porcelain or stainless steel sink.  There are dozens of budget-friendly ways you can transform the look of your kitchen.

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Jul 28 2011

Kitchen Decorating: Designing a Retro or Vintage Style Kitchen

While some decorating themes go out of style, many come back in with a vengeance!  Today, a retro 1950’s style kitchen is back and better than ever.  Known for a clean look and bright colors, the look brings to mind those old diners like those featured in the television show Happy Days and the movie American Graffiti.  If you are looking to give your kitchen a vintage look, the tips and ideas below will help.

First things first

Before you get down to the details, your retro style kitchen should be open, bright and airy so you want to avoid clutter.  Remove those things you do not use on a regular basis, and put the knick-knacks away.

Instead of wooden cabinet doors, replace them with glass fronts so that you can put your old or vintage dishes on display.  A checkerboard pattern on the floor designed with black and white tiles is appealing and adds to the retro look.  Consider adding a mezzanine so that one area of your kitchen is elevated, complete with two or three steps for easy access to that level.

The dining room is plain and simple

The dining furnishings used in a 1950’s setting are simple and often crafted of vinyl, Formica and chrome.  If you have a bar area suitable for eating, add red vinyl stools for sitting.  A Formica topped table flanked with vinyl seating and chrome tube legs adds further authenticity to the look.  The look is modern and clean.  If you want to cover the table with a tablecloth, vinyl in a checked red and white pattern or solid color adds to the look.  Top with a white vase filled with red and white flowers, and an old-style chrome napkin holder.

Appliances may be hard to find, but don’t despair

Finding those appliances that were actually made in the 1950’s may prove a difficult task, and it would be especially hard to find them in condition to work and that you can depend upon.

There are plenty of vintage-style pieces you can find that were made in recent years but designed to look like those from the 50’s.  To really accomplish the retro look, find stoves and refrigerators in bright colors such as red or yellow.

Decorate the walls to complete the look

For the walls, nothing is better for achieving a retro 1950’s look than a chalkboard, complete with the menu for the day.  Old tin signs add further to the appeal; find some large black and white photographs or prints and frame them in black or chrome.

Accessorize your kitchen with a vintage inspired toaster, blender and canister set.  Display clear milk shake glasses in your cabinets, along with a few clear glass coffee mugs on a hanging rack.  If you have the money, go all the way and invest in a juke box!

Always keep in mind that black, white and red are the basic colors when it comes to giving your kitchen a 1950’s retro look.  Have fun with it!

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Jul 16 2011

Bring a Touch of Europe to Your Home with a Bistro-Style Kitchen

Published by under Kitchens

If you love the look and ambiance which a European bistro or cafe has to offer, you can incorporate the look in your own kitchen.  The atmosphere is sophisticated while warm and exquisite.  If you’re tired of the current decor in your kitchen and dining room, these tips and ideas will help you create a whole new look that will have guests clamoring to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine.

Select the base colors first

Before you begin purchasing any furniture, textiles or accents, decide what colors you will use.  Buttery yellow, soft tan, and orange and red hues are typically found in a bistro setting, along with black wrought iron accents and furnishings.  Wine tones also work well, as you may decide to use wine bottles, grapevines and grapes in the decor.

For the walls, consider a dusty tan or soft yellow.  These colors are delicate and add to the ambient atmosphere.  Since they are lighter in tone, they will also help prevent the room from looking too dark or small.

Choose seating next

The next biggest feature in the room besides the wall color is your furniture.  Bistro style seating will add further to the appeal of the room; think wood or wrought iron in black or white.  Most bistro style sets are designed on a smaller scale.  A round table that seats two to four people offers an authentic look.  Of course you will want to take the size of your dining room in to account when making this decision.

Add depth to the walls

There are many ways you can go when it comes to the walls in your bistro kitchen.  Generally speaking, you will find artwork depicting wine, cheese, grapes and grapevines; any type of canvas artwork or tin/metal signs with food or coffee work well in this environment.

You may want to consider a small wrought iron wine rack that hangs on the wall; chalkboards offering up the day’s menu also offers an authentic touch.

Accents pull the look together

To finish off the look, consider candleholders, lamps and fruit baskets.  A small table lamp with a dark toned, beaded lampshade adds a romantic, soft look to the room.

Design a beautiful centerpiece for the table by using a basket or glass bowl in an amber shade.  Add plenty of real or artificial fruit which include plenty of plump grapes gracefully spilling out over the edge.

Baskets filled with fresh bread, wine motifs, food, cheese, candles, and cafe style curtains – all of these things meld together to create an atmosphere that is intimate, warm and inviting.  As far as flooring goes, stone, ceramic tile in earthy tones or natural wood floors add to the natural appeal.  Even linoleum is suitable if you use natural, earthy colors and patterns.

Decorating your kitchen in a European bistro style is fairly easy, and will give the room an entirely new look and atmosphere.  Look through magazines and online to get even more ideas, and have fun creating your new kitchen.

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Jul 14 2011

Give Your Kitchen a Fresh New Look For 2011

Published by under Kitchens

The kitchen is the heart of many homes; it’s where families enjoy meals and time together.  Guests also tend to congregate in the kitchen, so you want it to be as beautiful and inviting as possible.  If your kitchen/dining area has had the same old look for a while and you’re ready for a change, this article offers some helpful tips and ideas.

Start with a fresh coat of paint

Your walls and ceiling are the “canvas” of your kitchen.  Before you do anything else, freshen them up with a coat or two of paint.

Ceilings look best when painted in a flat white.  This makes the room appear airy and open.  For the walls, choose any color that suits the decorating theme you have in mind.  Always remember that dark colors absorb light, so if your kitchen is on the small side you may want to stick to light paint colors.

You don’t have to use white of off-white for the walls; in fact, a bright cheery yellow, soft orange or sage green may be perfect, depending on the look you want to achieve.

Keep the cabinets in mind

If your cabinets are wood, keep their color in mind when shopping for paint for the walls.  The last thing you want to do is paint the walls a color that will clash with the cabinets.

The cabinets can be given a makeover as well if you cannot afford new ones.  If they’re wood, simply sand the varnished layer off, paint with white wood primer, and then finish with any color you like.  Adding new knobs and hardware will also freshen up the look of your cabinets.

If you like a rustic, worn look then simply sand around the edges after painting your cabinets.  Focus upon those areas where they would naturally “wear”.

Dress up the floors

Kitchen flooring can be expensive, but if you can afford it the beauty added to your home is priceless.  There are all kinds of options from ceramic and stone tiles to hardwoods, laminates and vinyl.  If you can install it yourself, you will save about half of the total cost.

If you cannot afford to replace your kitchen floor, consider painting it instead!  Not many people realize it, but you can paint old linoleum or vinyl.  Give it two or three coats of paint, then add about 3 layers of a protective top coat.  You can even stencil “patterns” on the floor before you add your top coat; just paint those patterns in colors to match your decor.

Once you have completed your remodeling project, clear out the clutter.  Clutter makes rooms look messy.  Clear the counter tops of any small appliances that you don’t use often.

Add an accent rug by the door if you have an entrance in your kitchen, and one in front of the sink area.  Decorate the walls, add a fresh new centerpiece to the dining room table and you’re done!  You have an entirely new kitchen, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

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Jul 06 2011

Designing a Kitchen in Blue and White

Published by under Kitchens

The nice thing about using blue and white to design a kitchen is that these colors can be incorporated in many different stylistic themes.  Whether you prefer a country look, contemporary or Americana appeal, you can achieve nearly anything you like with these fresh colors.

Here are a few ideas that will help you create a kitchen that is beautiful, comfortable and inviting.

Shades of blue for any design

The wonderful thing about decorating with blue is that there are so many shades of the popular color.  From gray-blue or country blue to navy or royal blue, you can use those colors that best suit your decor theme.

A country kitchen looks comfortable and rustic when white and country blue shades are used for walls, textiles and other accents.  Navy and white create a look that is modern and dramatic. If you really want to put your creative genius to work, consider a nautical theme for your kitchen!

Creating an Americana kitchen

Today, many people love decorating themes that create a relaxed, worn and nostalgic feel.  With an Americana theme, you can add splashes of red that not only give the room bold color, but create the patriotic feel you desire.

Think about including hand-painted signs, a U.S. flag on one wall, coffee mugs and other crafted items that lend to the look.  Patriotic symbols and decorative plates add to the appeal.

Country charm

Love a country kitchen that brings grandma’s house to mind?  Blue and white are perfect for achieving the look.  Shades of gray-blue or country blue are perfect for counter tops or cabinets.

Hand-woven baskets, daisies, roosters, tin signs for the walls – there are many accents that are perfect in the country kitchen.  White ceramic canisters, white floors and walls and a white tablecloth offer a bright contrast to the blue.

Love a look that is modern or contemporary?

Bold shades of blue contrast with clean white sections to create spaces that are dramatic and make an impact.  White cabinets, marble counter tops and white appliances blend together to create a look that is clean and crisp, yet modern.

Add touches of bold or navy blue through the use of window treatments, a center piece for the table, even a dramatic wall hanging.  A blue glass vase filled with periwinkle, larkspur or white roses adds a punch of color and interest to the room.  Dish towels may be solid blue or patterned in a blue and white design.

As you see, there are many ways that blue and white can be combined to create a kitchen that oozes style and charm.  If you love the look of blue and white, there is no limit to what you can achieve!

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