Choosing the Right Cabinet Hardware For You

Cabinet hardware is the last element of your kitchen design. It sets an accent of color into your kitchen. This touch is a unifying element in the design, which would appear “broken” or boring without it. A plate of any material in one color is simply too blunt for a crafted design. Therefore, any descent professional designer will put this little piece of color on it.

Even if you are not a professional designer, you should take into account basic design principles when renovating your kitchen. Choosing the right cabinet hardware is an important step in this process. You’ll find plenty of alternatives. No matter what materials you want (plastic, glass, metal, steel, ceramic) or what kind of style you have in mind (classic, conservative, avant-garde) somewhere you’ll find a vendor which offers it. Therefore, it is important to invest some time into shopping, since it is a matter of time until you find the right price and type of cabinet hardware for you, your kitchen and your project.

When considering which cabinet hardware to buy, remember that not every piece of cabinet hardware will match any cabinet. Both elements have to match in style, color and quality. This rule applies to any knob, hinge, pull or handle. These elements, furthermore, have to match each other. Therefore, it is important to buy all of them from a single source. This will save you money, since if it is online you’ll be paying only once for the delivery. If you are buying them at a local store, you will be saving time.

When buying, remember that physically not every piece of hardware fits into any door or drawer. Some knobs have two holes, so un-mount your old cabinet hardware before you buy the new one. It is also advisable to bring your old hardware to the shop, so you can compare directly how the new will fit.

Another aspect that you should consider is the ease of cleaning hardware. As a matter of fact, kitchen cabinets get dirty quickly. So a too complex piece might look beautiful, but its many details will turn into a nightmare if you want to have it completely clean and shiny.

Kitchen Cabinet Re-Do

When you want a new look in the kitchen, probably the first thing you think of is re-doing the cabinets. Before you rip out those old cabinets and head down to the DIY warehouse, take a moment to consider your options. If replacing the kitchen cabinets is not in your budget, you can still update the kitchen by painting or refacing the cabinets. If you have a substantial remodel budget, then consider custom cabinets.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting your kitchen cabinets is an easy and inexpensive way to liven up dull, boring cabinets. Plus, painting cabinets does not require a lot of skill. You can completely customize the look of your kitchen by finishing your cabinets in vibrant, eye-catching color.

To paint your kitchen cabinets yourself, first remove the doors. If the cabinets themselves are easy to remove, take them down as well. Be sure to take the hinges and hardware off and put them in a bag or a container for safe keeping.

Take the cabinets or the doors outside or into a well ventilated garage, and create a workspace by laying out newspaper, a tarp, or an old sheet.

The next step is to sand the cabinets to prepare them to receive the paint. Don’t neglect this step even if you can’t get your cabinets down, because this will ensure the quality of your work. Use first a medium and then a fine grade sand paper with the sanding attachment on your rotary drill. You will want to take off all the original finish and leave the cabinets with bare, smooth wood for painting.

The sheen of the paint you use will determine how many coats of the paint you will need to apply. Flat and eggshell paints require fewer coats than semi-gloss and gloss. Always paint with a latex based paint to make clean-up easier.

Paint in the direction of the grain of the wood. This technique keeps the paint strokes from looking like they go against the natural grain.

After you have painted the doors allow them to dry in a well ventilated, shaded area. Then return to the kitchen and repeat the process on the inside and underneath of the cabinets. Keeping all the windows and doors open, and keeping the house at room temperature should provide adequate ventilation.

Once the doors and cabinets are completely dry, simply reattach the hinges and doors. With the money you saved doing it yourself, you can buy brand new hardware. At the end of the day you will have a new kitchen and the pride of doing it yourself.

Refacing Cabinets

Refacing cabinets can provide an easy and affordable alternative to purchasing new cabinets. Instead of replacing your kitchen cabinets, all that is required to spice up the old cabinet is a new finish. With a minimum of effort, and expense, you will be pleasantly surprised how good your cabinets will look.

If your kitchen cabinets are in good structural condition, and you have enough storage and counter space, then refacing is for you. To reface your cabinets you will cover the exterior surfaces with new laminate. Replace the doors and drawer fronts, and finish the front and side panels with new veneer. These materials are available at your hardware store in a stunning variety of styles.

Refacing your kitchen cabinets is the perfect DIY project. There is no damage to your walls and floors, and minimal mess. Most refacing jobs take only a few days.

Custom Cabinets

If your kitchen remodel ideas run to completely new cabinets, rather than buy stock (or modular) cabinets off the shelf, consider the grandeur and convenience of custom built cabinets.

Cabinets are one of the main focal points of a kitchen. Custom cabinets will add that little something extra to the beauty and value of your home. A home with custom cabinets will have a higher market value than one with stock cabinets. In addition to value and aesthetic appeal, custom built cabinets will easily accommodate a modern family with options like organizational tools and space saving storage devices.

Custom cabinets are designed especially for you and are built to accommodate your needs. They can be made in any material and style you wish, and the style can be mixed and matched to your preference. You no longer have to be stuck with boring knobs, with custom cabinets you have your choice of hardware.

But the real beauty of custom cabinets are the organizational tools, such as lazy susans, boxes, and separation racks. These features are designed especially for your kitchen and your family. If you want specially sized cabinets or a unique design feature, you will have to have custom built cabinets. They are expensive, but, if your kitchen is a work of art, they are worth it.

How to Have a Luxury Spa and Hotel Break For a Budget Price

Ever since Gok Wan went from making us look good naked to creating catwalk outfits for less than the price of dry cleaning a designer outfit, I’ve been pulling out my craft glue (and the occasional DIY supplies) to glam up New Look basics into must have “pieces”. I’ve even taken a couple of their comfortable wide fit shoes and made them into sparkling triumphs courtesy of Claire’s Accessories and some Superdrug nail varnish. I know, these are not names that generally inspire, but when the resulting sandals are mistaken for the latest season sandals from Dune (and are actually comfortable enough to walk in) I knew I was on to a winner.

Fast forward to a girlie weekend in Barcelona this March and a visit to a local spa and suddenly my mind was working overtime again.

As much as I love the idea of a long weekend at a luxury spa hotel, if I’m honest the prices have always put me off, and my recent experiences at day spas in Morocco and Barcelona have convinced me that you don’t need to pay through the nose for an exceptional spa experience. In fact the best massages I have had to date have been the cheapest ones:

- Around 32 pounds for a hammam, with a gommage “scrubbing”, followed by a rhassoul, and then the most relaxing massage I’ve ever had. I can’t tell you how long I was in there – only that the sun had gone down, I had lost all track of time, and I was on a completely different planet.

- Even in Barcelona, with the euro at an all-time high, the top rated spa cost us around 54 pounds for the hammam, (with extra hot steam room and plunge pool), followed by a gommage “scrubbing” and another extremely relaxing massage. Three hours of luxury for 54 pounds compared to UK prices is a total steal.

The fact is that in many cultures the local spa is an everyday (or at least every month) treat, which, combined with good exchange rates (when they are available), makes them a great bargain on holiday. So why aren’t we taking advantage of them? Well personally I think it’s because, whereas guide books are stuffed with restaurant, sight and hotel recommendations, very rarely do they spend any time on spas. The spa in Morocco was recommended by friends, and the spa in Barcelona was found with some pre-emptive internet research. Later in the year I’m off to visit China, which has some world class hotel spas, but also boasts a proud massage tradition, which leads me to hope that as well as the day spas I’ve been recommended (where prices are about a quarter of UK rates) I’ll also be able to find other more authentic bargains.

Which leads me to the hotel part of the spa and hotel break. One of the reasons that staying at a luxury spa hotel can cost so much is that you are paying for the option to use it 24/7. If, like me, you see your spa time as part of a whole trip rather than a destination in itself, you’ll probably find that one day spending 3-4 hours in a spa is enough (taking into account the detox effects) at least for a couple of days. So just by choosing to stay in a separate hotel you will probably save a hefty chunk of your holiday budget, and you’ll also avoid the temptation to stay locked up in your hotel for your entire stay and miss out on the local treats.

By then choosing an affordable hotel, reasonably close to your spa, which features the required level of pampering (slippers, robe, fluffy white towels), you can relax back in your room safe in the knowledge that you’ll be going home with a designer glow and a budget bill.

Of course this is not to say that there aren’t spa hotels offering affordable deals, but by being flexible and savvy you can make sure that your relaxation time isn’t spent feeling ripped off. And perhaps more importantly, by being more creative in choosing your hotel, you have a much better choice of spa. You are not limited to an in-house spa experience, very important considering the number of excellent day spas available, even in the UK. Take for example Spa London in Bethnal Green, voted 2010 Professional Beauty Awards “Day Spa of the Year”, where 3 hours of thermal experience will set you back 21.50 pounds at the top of the scale for non-members, down to 6.75 pounds for concessionary local members (including towel, robe and flip flop use) and which is truly a luxury experience compared to the slightly run down Porchester Spa. And then there’s Thermae Bath Spa, the only place in the UK where you can bathe in natural healing spa waters, voted 2010 “Best Spa in the World” by readers of the Daily Telegraph’s Ultra Travel Magazine for the second time running, where a 2 hour session in the New Royal Bath (recommended) will set you back 24 pounds (plus 9 pounds hire cost for towel, robe and slippers if you need them – and you get to keep the slippers!) Unlike many spas the Thermae Bath Spa also offers reductions for locals, disabled guests and their carers, so a local disabled guest (and carer) could pay as little as 9.50 pounds each for a 2 hour session in the New Royal Bath. (You can also buy a glass of spa water at The Pump Room for only 50p!)

Of course London and Bath are not known for their cheap hotel rooms, and certainly in central Bath you might be pushed to find availability, let alone an affordable room rate. However, if you widen your search to the surrounding area, you’ll also find some wonderful B&Bs which would put many hotels to shame, and where you can wake up to the sound of a horse clip clopping past, right in the heart of the countryside. Then it’s up to you whether you decide to explore some old fashioned villages, head back home refreshed and revived, or pop back to the Thermae Bath Spa for just a little more bargain relaxation.

Kitchen Cabinet Handles – Finish Your Home Remodel With Style

If you’ve recently undergone a kitchen remodel, you may be looking for ways to spruce up your room like never before. When home owners institute such a big change on their home, it’s only natural for them to want to make their kitchen look like it never has before – from appliances to flooring to countertops. Although replacing these elements impacts the room greatly, the project doesn’t just end there. Within your kitchen, although it may be very spacious, are tons of details. These details, just like the major elements in the room, cannot be ignored. Without placing the necessary concentration on them, your kitchen will be unable to reach its full potential.

Making small home additions may seem irrelevant if you’ve just completed a big remodel, but in order for your kitchen to look it’s best – these small elements need attention. If you’re having trouble locating these vital decorative outlets in your kitchen, you don’t have to look out of your direct line of vision. When you walk into many kitchens, the first thing that you notice is a long line of cabinets directly at eye level. Upon these cabinets are vital details that can make a major impact on the overall design of the room. Kitchen cabinet handles may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a remodel, but they can make or break the outcome of your finished product. Small things like cabinet door handles are not only inexpensive, but easy to install. This means that if you’re sick of hiring outside labor to complete your projects, you won’t have to call on them to assist you with installing your finishing touches.

Cabinet hardware allows homeowners to unleash their creative licenses and perfectly coordinate their kitchens. If you’re currently using the generic cabinet hardware on your cabinets, you won’t realize just how big of a difference putting a creative twist on your kitchen cabinet handles can make. If you have a black and white kitchen and you’re looking to add a fun, modern twist – you can easily accomplish this with the installation of new cabinet door handles. Instead of settling for the plan, black cabinet hardware on your black cabinets – add a touch of color with vibrant, red kitchen cabinet handles. You’ll not only add a pop of color to the room, but you’ll add a creative and interesting twist without cluttering floor, counter, or wall space. If you deal with the struggles of a smaller sized kitchen – you’ll be sure to appreciate the saved space you’ll have by placing decorative concentration on elements that already exist in the kitchen.

If you have a more traditional home, you can browse huge selections of cabinet hardware until you find the perfect match for your home. With thousands of styles, colors, textures, and designs available – every homeowner can become a designer and choose the absolute perfect style for their home. A traditional kitchen can be greatly enhanced with the introduction of classic, gold cabinet hardware instead of door handles that simply blend in with their current cabinetry. Once you install these beautiful details, you’ll be able to see just how beautiful your kitchen can be.

So whether you’ve recently completed your remodel or you’re just beginning to make plans, don’t forget about the smaller home additions when you’re drawing out the details. Although it can be easy to get wrapped up in concentrating on the large elements of the room, you can compliment them with details, thus making them even better. Taking on a kitchen remodel is a big deal, so don’t let your finished product fall short. Take the time to give attention to your entire room and your new kitchen will be everything you dreamed, and maybe even a little more.

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