Want to make some updates to your home but need some ideas? We’ve collected some suggestions for the three most common areas considered for home improvement. Whether you’re looking to do a little or a lot, there’s always something you can do to make your house more of a home, and investing in your home can be both financially and personally rewarding.
Plumbing in your kitchen is pretty straightforward, with your kitchen sink and faucet, but there are other fixtures that add convenience and elegance to consider. Your main sink can pretty much look and feel the way you want it to. They come in numerous sizes (such as single-, double-, and triple-bowl configurations) and materials (like stainless steel sinks, granite, and cast iron). Similarly, kitchen faucets come in a number of looks and arrangements:
- Handles: Typical choices are single-handle and double-handle, but triple-handle faucets are also available.
- Handle type: Your options include lever, cross, and knob, and many lever handles are ADA compliant.
- Faucet centers: Choose from one-hole, two-hole, three-hole, and four-hole configurations.
- Features: Some of the most sought-after features include sidesprays, soap dispensers, and pulldown faucets to help simplify cleaning and washing.
While you’re getting your main sink squared away, have you ever considered a bar sink and bar faucet? These are exceptionally helpful if you have a large island in your kitchen or if you could use an additional sink nearby. Bar sinks and faucets are generally smaller than their main kitchen counterparts, but they boast the same functionalities and can feature interesting looks. If you’ve ever carried a pot of water from your kitchen sink to the stove, you may not be surprised to learn that one pound of the wet stuff weighs 8.34 pounds. When installed next to your stove top, pot fillers can save time and spare your back from unnecessary heavy lifting. They’re practical, functional, and can include several features. Finally, we’d all like to save money and water in the kitchen. And the best way to do that is by installing a tankless water heater. These amazingly energy-efficient fixtures provide instantaneous hot water and omit the waiting—which eliminates water and money waste. To learn more on how to choose a tankless water heater, read our DIY article here.
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It’s easy to overlook kitchen lighting. Much of the lighting we’re familiar with is likely kitchen lights, because they spread an even light throughout the kitchen. But don’t think for a moment that you’re limited:
- Close-to-ceiling lighting is also referred to as semi-flushmount lighting. This is a combination of flushmount lighting (which sits flush against the ceiling) and a low-hanging fixture. If you see a flushmount fixture you like, there’s a good chance it has a semi-flushmount counterpart.
- Island lighting is designed to illuminate a space that’s a little isolated in the kitchen, like, say, an island. The fixture hangs down from the ceiling to provide an additional source of light. Island lighting can also shed light on a dining room table or billiard table, which is why these fixtures are also called billiard lighting.
- Pendant lighting typically features one shade and hangs from the ceiling—similar to island lighting. Popular options are single-light mini and bowl pendants.
- Pot rack lighting is a very unique and functional way of combining two tasks into a single fixture. Adorned with hooks to support pots and pans, these fixtures can feature up or down lighting for another source of illumination
- Recessed lighting is installed into an opening in the ceiling. The result is a crisp, clean look and the light appears to shine from the opening.
- Track lighting is set along a track (also called a run). Because these tracks can be rigid or flexible, you can customize your lighting. This gives you the freedom to express your individual taste and to work with what you already have in the kitchen. For the basics on track lighting, visit our article here.
- Under cabinet lighting is installed beneath your cabinets. This is energy-efficient and low-maintenance and provides a subtle accent to this popular area in your home.
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Swapping out your new appliances (or even just one or two) is another easy and effective way to rejuvenate your kitchen while saving energy (and money) in the process. Today’s cooktops are more versatile, efficient, and economical than ever before. While just about any type of cooktop can heat your food, the difference is in its method and efficiency. The three most popular types of cooktops are induction, electric, and gas (natural gas and propane). You’ll find some halogen and modular models out there, as well. For more information, visit out cooktop buying guide.
Ranges are the cooktop’s natural counterpart. Once again, if you place your food in a range and turn it on, it’ll get cooked. But it’s the way the range works and the fuel it uses that sets it apart. Choose from electric, natural gas, and propane ranges, as well as dual fuel ranges. For the most efficient range available, we recommend a convection oven. These ovens differ from conventional ovens, and the result is a more evenly cooked meal. There’s a lot to know about convection ovens, and you can read about them by visiting our DIY article here. If you have a range, you’d best have a range hood. This is the most effective way to ventilate the kitchen and it provides a healthier environment by trapping unwanted odor, grease, smoke, dust, and moisture. Range hoods are some of the most complicated appliances in your kitchen, so it’s best to educate yourself as much as possible. We have several articles on range hoods in our DIY library, including Choosing a Range Hood and FAQs.
Wall ovens are offered in a few different configurations: single wall, double wall, triple wall and combination wall models. Warming drawers are a unique way of preventing food that’s already cooked from getting cold, and they’re conveniently placed wherever drawers are installed.
Microwave ovens have become a ubiquitous part of our kitchens, used for everything from thawing out frozen chicken to cooking baked potatoes to preparing a tasty bag of popcorn. What kind of microwave depends on where you have space for it, like on a countertop, over the range, or staged as a drawer.
The refrigerator is one of the most critical appliances in the kitchen—and the entire home. Today’s fridges are extremely advanced and include a wide range of features you’d never dream of a generation ago. In addition, there are hundreds of ENERGY STAR-rated refrigerators available. You have a lot to think about when shopping around for a refrigerator, so if you have any questions, refer to our Refrigerator Buying Guide. The dishwasher is built on convenience. So, what you look for in one depends on how it’s going to be used (such as cleaning up after family meals, seldom used in a bachelor pad, etc). You can find a long list of features that are designed to make your life easier and to save water and money, like the dozens of ENERGY STAR-rated dishwashers. If need more information, refer to our Dishwasher Buying Guide.
Your garbage disposal is another appliance that’s designed to simplify life in the kitchen. While the benefit to having a garbage disposal is clear (getting rid of food and the old food smell that follows while eliminating bacteria buildup), garbage disposals are not exactly quiet. But new technology is helping to make these appliances quieter than ever without sacrificing power. Here’s our Garbage Disposal Buying Guide for more information.
Sure, most large appliances in our kitchens are necessary, but smaller appliances can help simplify everyday life, as well. Some of the small appliances ImprovementDirect offers include: ·
- Portable grill
- Food scale
- Rice cooker
- Ice maker
- Toaster or toaster oven
- Coffee machine
- Hot water dispensing pot
Cabinet & Door Hardware
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a huge difference when you’re thinking about remodeling. Installing new cabinet hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to change the look and feel of your kitchen. Everything from pulls and knobs to hinges and backplates can help contribute to your kitchen’s new, updated appearance. Door hardware can play a large role in your kitchen. For a pantry closet, you’ll need just a passage fixture, one that allows easy entry. But for a door that leads to a garage, you’ll want to consider something stronger and more secure. Deadbolts and keyed entry knobs and levers would do the trick nicely.
A kitchen just isn’t complete without its furnishings. Furniture helps to round out the look in any room and the kitchen is no different. Whether it’s the essentials like a dining room table, chairs, and complete sets, or the luxuries of a china cabinet and buffet cabinet, your kitchen will never be more appealing. Servers and sideboards and island cabinets are also excellent additions. And for that area of entertainment, the bar is an excellent addition to any kitchen.
You might use kitchen accessories more than you realize, simply because they’re such a regular part of your kitchen. How about that cutting board and colander you use to get dinner ready? And that basin rack and basket strainer while cleaning the sink? And don’t forget the soap dispenser or soap dish when you’re cleaning your hands. Yup, all accessories.
You’re going to need some tools for this remodel project, Depending on the size and scope of the job, you might need a few tools or more than a few. And if you don’t already have it, we do. Manufacturers are doing a much better job simplifying installation instructions so that their products can be installed by virtually anyone. Thorough installation instructions and innovative designs have allowed the do-it-yourself market to thrive. NOTE: This is just a general list of the tools you might need to install the products in this article. Please consult the installation instructions provided on the product page or those that are included with your product.
Sink · Saw (jigsaw or keyhole) · Hammer · Teflon plumbers tape, plumbers putty, or another sealant · Screwdriver(s) · Adjustable and channel lock wrenches · Measuring tape
Faucet · Pipe wrench · Teflon plumbers tape, plumbers putty, or another sealant · Measuring tape Pot filler · Strap wrench · Hexagonal wrench · Adjustable wrench · Teflon plumbers tape, plumbers putty, or another sealant · Level · Measuring tape Tankless water heater Please consult a contractor or plumbing professional prior to installation. Because of the technical nature of this installation, it may require a licensed professional to complete the job. Lighting · Screwdriver · Measuring tape Appliances Many of the appliances listed in this article should be installed by a licensed professional. Others may require some of the following: · Screwdriver · Measuring tape · Level · Teflon plumbers tape, plumbers putty, or another sealant · Hammer · Pipe wrench · Hand saw Range hood Please consult a contractor or HVAC professional prior to installation. Because of the technical nature of this installation, it may require a licensed professional to complete the job. Small appliances These typically can be just plugged into an outlet without the use of tools. Cabinet and door hardware · Screwdriver · Measuring tape · Drill · Hammer Furniture · Screwdriver · Measuring tape Accessories · Screwdriver · Measuring tape