Don’t Stockpile: What to Buy for Home Quarantine During Coronavirus

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As the number of coronavirus cases increase around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to profoundly reshape daily lives and habits. If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve likely seen people in the U.S. and around the world “panic buying” in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but it’s critical to remember that being prepared doesn’t equate to stockpiling or hoarding. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to not panic or stockpile supplies. There are healthcare workers and sick people around the world who have a much higher need for supplies like face masks. A shortage could pose an even greater health risk to communities. Instead, it’s best to create a household plan, as recommended by the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. With a household plan, you can prepare and anticipate what sort of items you’ll need in case anyone gets sick at home or there’s a disruption of daily activities in your community.

There’s a ton of information on how to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak in your community, and it can be overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of what to do and buy while you’re quarantined at home. 

Make a plan, scan your home

A COVID-19 outbreak could last for a long time in your community, so a household plan can help protect your health and the health of those you care about, according to the CDC. 

The CDC provides step-by-step guidance on how to establish a successful household plan, and recommends basing the details of your plan on the needs and daily routines of who you live with. Take a look around your home and scan your pantry, medicine cabinet and bathrooms to figure out what you already have, then write down what you’re missing. 

Buy what you need for two weeks

If you’re in home quarantine, you should have at least two weeks’ worth of supplies and minimize trips to stores to avoid contact with others.

Both the CDC and U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommend buying enough household items, medications and food to last two weeks. It’s also a good idea to look into how to get food delivered.

“It’s important to note that food production suppliers and companies are not reporting any shortage of food supplies across the country — so while you shop, it’s not necessary to hoard food or other grocery store items,” Tamika Sims, PhD, director of food technology communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation, said in a blog post

So, you’re probably wondering: What exactly should I buy during a COVID-19 pandemic?

Prioritize your grocery list

Prioritize non-perishables, frozen foods and canned vegetables on your grocery list the next time you make a trip to the supermarket. If you’d like to buy fresh produce, try to use that up first to minimize any food waste. You also have the option to freeze most fresh produce if you buy too much. 

“Instead of going to the store several times a week, try to get enough groceries for one full week, buy more healthy shelf-stable items to avoid spoilage, and refrigerate foods properly,” Sims said.

Additionally, keep an eye out for foods with long shelf lives such as dried beans, rolled oats, pasta products, shelf stable milk and rice. These types of foods can usually sit in the pantry for several years. 

While you can have a supply of bottled water in the house, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made it clear that “Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual.” 

If you have pets or children in the home, pick up some extra food and supplies all at once to avoid making extra trips throughout the week.

Check toiletries and cleaning supplies

Across the internet, images of empty shelves and shopping carts full of supplies have led more and more people to panic buy. Toilet paper is one of several items that has become the latest coronavirus panic buy, but the reason why isn’t very clear. It’s natural to want to prepare for the worst, but don’t overstock basic toiletries.

Within the two-week limit, make sure you have enough toothpaste, floss, face wash, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, razors, shaving cream and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. It’s also good to have extra laundry detergent and hand soap at home. 

Refill prescriptions and over-the-counter medications

Make sure you’re up to date on any prescription medications and have a supply of necessary over-the-counter medications. In light of COVID-19’s spread, CVS and Walgreens are offering free home delivery of prescription drugs. And some insurers, such as Aetna, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have temporarily waived early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions. 

The CDC advises patients to check with their pharmacists about the possibility of 30-day emergency refills and to keep a 7- to 10-day supply at home, while the American Red Cross recommends having at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medications at home. 

Things you don’t need to buy 

It’s easy to act out of fear during a frightening global situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, but panic buying and stockpiling doesn’t help the situation. Keep in mind that you can skip the hand sanitizer if you’re self-isolating (as long as you have hand soap), and that you don’t need to wear face masks if you’re healthy. 

“The current recommendations regarding masks are that if you yourself are sick with fever and cough, you can wear a surgical mask to prevent transmission to other people,” Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist, said in a blog post. “If you are healthy, there is not thought to be any additional benefit to wearing a mask yourself because the mask is not airtight and does not necessarily prevent breathing in of these viral particles, which are very tiny.”

As one last reminder, here’s a list of things you don’t need to buy right now:

  • Face masks (unless you’re sick)
  • More than a two-week supply of hand sanitizers or hand soap
  • More than a two-week supply of food 
  • Dehydrated meals

The post Don’t Stockpile: What to Buy for Home Quarantine During Coronavirus appeared first on Freshome.com.

Best Kitchen Flooring Ideas

There are so many kitchen flooring options available that it can feel difficult to find the right one. When making your decision, you’ll want to consider two factors: function and durability. Whatever it’s made of, your kitchen floor should be easy-to-maintain and long-lasting. There is a beautiful option for you, no matter your style or budget. Follow this guide to understand the expected costs and the pros and cons of some of the most popular kitchen flooring options.

The kitchen is often one of the most popular rooms in the entire house. For this reason, you’ll want a material built to withstand lots of foot traffic over time. And due to the high number of spills — whether it be wine, sauce, oil or any other liquid and food that tends to stain — you’ll want kitchen flooring that’s easy to clean and maintain.

The top durable flooring options include:

-Concrete
-Rubber flooring
-Stone
-Tile
-Vinyl
-Wood laminate

Besides durability, cooking usually requires long periods of standing and walking back and forth. Flooring that has some cushioning is helpful, especially if you suffer from back issues.

The most ergonomic flooring options include:

-Bamboo
-Carpet tile
-Cork
-Rubber flooring
-Vinyl
-Wood
-Hardwood laminate

Let’s look at the materials available for your kitchen flooring ideas (in alphabetical order) and weigh their pros and cons.

Bamboo Kitchen Flooring

bamboo main

If you like eco-friendly products, bamboo is great for kitchen flooring. Bamboo grows extremely quickly, making it a sustainable source for flooring. In addition to being eco-friendly, bamboo is one of the strongest natural materials on the market, so it will withstand lots of use. Be sure to go with a reputable brand with a long warranty, should you choose bamboo flooring. The quality of the bamboo flooring is reflected by the length of the warranty.

Pros: Durable, beautifully grained, eco-friendly, long warranty available.

Cons: Some bamboo flooring can dent easily.

Cost: $2.09 – $5.91 per square foot, installation averages at $8 per square foot.

Carpet Kitchen Flooring

carpet 1

Since carpet is often difficult to maintain and clean, as it can absorb stains and spills, it has not always been one of the more popular kitchen flooring options. But the latest carpet tiles are a modern kitchen floor solution. Designed and tested to be industrial grade for high traffic areas, made of durable, easy to clean materials and easy to install, they now make a unique kitchen flooring idea. The best part is that a carpet tile can be removed for cleaning or replacement. Choose a carpet tile from a company like Flor, designed for the modern, DIY consumer. Be sure to buy an extra box of tiles and keep for future replacements. For a modern look, use carpet tiles selectively in certain areas of your kitchen like the image above, instead of wall to wall.

Pros: Durable, modern colors and textures, soft and padded, recyclable.

Cons: Needs frequent cleaning and vacuuming.

Cost: $1 to $3.60 per square foot

Concrete Kitchen Flooring

concrete main

Concrete has a contemporary look and tone that is hard to match. It not only looks great; because of its durability, it can stand up to the busiest kitchens. There are various finishes you can give concrete to customize its look. Freshly poured concrete can be stamped, while all concrete can be stained, polished, stenciled and waxed. If you like concrete flooring and live in a colder climate, consider adding radiant floor heating beneath the concrete to warm up the material’s cold surface.

Pros: Durable, versatile, moisture resistant, contemporary looking.

Cons: Hard if standing is required for prolonged periods, cold, needs resealing, can stain.

Cost: Depending on the level of preparation required to install and finish concrete, cost averages range widely between $2 – $30 per square foot installed.

Cork Kitchen Flooring
cork 1

Cork is a good kitchen flooring idea that offers a unique texture and a padded feel underfoot. Cork is a natural insulator, and can help with both temperature changes and noise. It’s also naturally antimicrobial, as the waxy substance in the cork repels insects and pests. On a budget? Cork tiles are a great DIY solution that’s easy to install. Choose a quality cork that like wood, can be sanded and refinished periodically. Confirm that the cork has a durable finish that will repel water and moisture. If choosing to install cork tiles, buy a few spares that can serve as future replacements should the tile flooring become damaged.

Pros: Earth friendly, anti-microbial, soft, padded feel, attractive texture options.

Cons: Can dent or scratch easily, creating imperfections on the surface that may bother some cork flooring owners.

Cost: $5.24 – $7.24 per square foot.

Laminate Wood Kitchen Flooring

laminate fllors

Laminate wood flooring is an affordable and durable kitchen flooring idea. The top layer can withstand most abuse. If you add padding beneath, it’s a soft, ergonomic flooring solution. Easy-to-install and available in a wide variety of styles, laminate wood flooring is a simple, modern solution for kitchen floors. Choose laminate flooring with the longest warranty possible. Many come with a 25-year guarantee. For extra cushioning when standing, install a manufacturer-recommended thin foam sheet layer underneath.

Pros: Durable, cost effective, wide variety of options, easy to install and uninstall.

Cons: Is not as valued as real wood flooring, may be slippery, noisy, not refinishable.

Cost: $2.00 – $4.00 per square foot.

Rubber Kitchen Flooring
rubber

Rubber has similar properties to cork, but comes in a larger variety of colors and textures. It’s both easy-to-install and doesn’t require an adhesive, thanks to its high-grip properties. This makes it a good temporary flooring upgrade if you’re in a rental apartment. It’s cushy underfoot, durable and has a non-slip surface, so it’s perfect for busy kitchens. And it’s available in sheeting or tiles so it’s easy to customize. Choose richer, darker colors which hide oil stains better. As an added bonus, rubber tiles are easier to install than sheeting. For an earth-friendly kitchen floor, choose recycled rubber flooring, which is also less expensive.

Pros: Recyclable, naturally water and fire-resistant, durable, easy to clean, soft, padded feel.

Cons: Some people are sensitive to the initial smell, oils may stain the rubber’s surface.

Cost: Approximately $3.50, including installation.

Stone Kitchen Flooring

stone 1

There’s a great variety of stone flooring available including the most popular marble, travertine and slate. Because of the natural pattern and color variations found in the material, stone is a great kitchen flooring idea that gives each kitchen a unique, earthy look. Stone flooring is also naturally cool, which is perfect in hotter climates. If installing stone flooring in a cold climate, consider adding subfloor radiant heat to warm the floors in the winter. Purchase at least 25% more than you need and save your receipt to return the rejected stone. Look through all your stone tiles before having them professionally installed. It’s likely that the grain and coloring of the stone will vary dramatically and you’ll want to hand select the pieces you want installed for a similar texture and tonal match.

Pros: Hard, durable surface, easy to clean.

Cons: Certain stones may stain, requires routine sealing, some fragile stones like slate may chip easily.

Cost: Depending on the material, $17.91 – $27.53 per square foot.

Tile Kitchen Flooring

tile pat

Tile flooring is a great, low-maintenance solution for a kitchen. It’s easy-to-clean, durable and has a reflective quality that expands the appearance of space in a kitchen. The latest tile designs mimic wood and other textures and patterns. Know that tile no longer comes exclusively as a 12” square, so you can customize your design more easily. Some of the latest modern designs are large, rectangular shapes. Hire a professional to install the tile flooring, especially if the subflooring is not perfectly level. For ease of maintenance, install tiles with grout lines that are as small as possible.

Pros: Durable, moisture resistant, easy to maintain, available in a large assortment of styles, shapes and colors.

Cons: Grout lines may be difficult to keep clean, dropped items like glassware and dishes will likely shatter.

Cost: $11.34 – $17.38 per square foot.

Vinyl Kitchen Flooring

vinyl-red-main

Vinyl is affordable, comes in a variety of textures and styles and is one of the most water-resistant kitchen flooring options. While tiles are easy to install, sheet vinyl requires professional installation. Consider the latest wood-look vinyl flooring planks. Easy to install, water resistant enough to be used in a shower, kitchen or wet area and textured to mimic wood grain, it takes a careful look to see if the wood plank vinyl flooring is actually wood or not.

Pros: Easy to install, water resistant, certain styles look just like wood.

Cons: Offgasses potentially harmful chemicals in your home, requires a flawless subfloor to install on, can gouge easily.

Cost: $2.83 – $3.82 per square foot.

Hardwood Kitchen Flooring

wood 1

Hardwood has traditionally been on the top of buyer’s lists for flooring choices. Hardwood has a high-end, warm look that’s unique, according to grain and age. But hardwood in the kitchen requires special protection from excess moisture. Add an extra coat of finish in the kitchen to keep the wood sealed. If living in a high humidity or coastal region, avoid wider planks, which will cup and warp over time.

Pros: Adds resale value, attractive, durable, can be refinished.

Cons: Can be noisy, needs periodic refinishing, may dent or scratch easily.

Cost: $6 – $18 per square foot, including installation.

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Easy Kitchen Wall Decorating Ideas

Do you love looking through the latest design magazines for kitchen decorating ideas, but don’t have the time or budget for a major remodel? We’ve got some quick and easy decorating tips on how to give your kitchen an update worthy of a home magazine. The best part is that these kitchen decorating ideas can mix and match beautifully — use one or a few together.

We naturally see things at eye level first, and one of the most noticeable changes you can make is to decorate your kitchen walls. Most kitchen decorating efforts are placed on the appliances, countertops, and cooking gadgets. But the walls are where you can make a big impact with an easy DIY project. 

Take a quick glance at your kitchen. What do you see first? A dingy, boring wall? Or worse, an outdated faux paint job complete with ivy or fruit-themed stencil work? It’s time to make a change.

Updating your kitchen wall decor with easy, design-savvy changes will transform your cooking and dining experience. Here are 5 kitchen decorating ideas that take your kitchen’s walls from tired to inspired:

1. The Three-Color Palette

kitchen wall decor tips

Color is one of the fastest and most inexpensive ways to update a room. But great kitchen wall colors don’t happen by accident. The secret is in the three-color palette:

Color 1: An existing kitchen color that can’t be changed. This may be the color of the countertop or cabinets.

Color 2: A neutral of your choice. Use it for the new kitchen wall color that complements color 1. It’ll serve as your decor backdrop.

Color 3: The color that makes your kitchen unique. It’s often a bold and unexpected color that works with your palette. Color 3 adds pop to your kitchen. Use it as a statement piece for your accessories like bar stools, vases or cookware.

The best way to find the perfect three-color palette is to grab paint swatches in the shades you like and shuffle them around until you’re happy with the combination. Once you find your signature three-color palette, keep a set of paint chips handy for accessory shopping.

2. The Best Kitchen Decorating Ideas Start With a Focal Point

kitchen wall decor tips

Try to see your current kitchen decor the way a visitor would view it for the first time. Walk into your kitchen and think about what you notice. Is the first thing you see something you like? If not, what would you rather notice first? Make that spot and the closest wall your focal point.

Focal points are eye-catching and visually jump out at you. Compared to the rest of the kitchen, the focal point is bold and unique.  To create a focal wall in your kitchen, try one of these techniques:

– Paint your focal wall in the bold shade you chose for your kitchen’s three-color palette

– Hang a large piece of art on the focal wall

Use textured, patterned, or vibrantly-colored wallpaper

Be fearless when dressing up your focal point — it’s just one wall.

3. Open Shelving — the Latest Trend in Kitchen Wall Decor

kitchen wall decor tips

If you’ve updated your kitchen decorating with fresh, fashion-forward colors and a focal wall, it’s time to add layers. The latest trend in kitchen design is open shelving, instead of cabinets. This look lightens a kitchen up by creating visual space, but requires you to hide all the tupperware and mismatched glasses in fewer cabinets.

Instead of tearing out your upper cabinets, try updating your kitchen wall decor by placing one or two floating shelves on an open wall. Floating shelves come in many styles and are easy to install. Keep the floating shelf display items minimal and color-coordinated for a magazine-ready look.

For a bigger change, take the doors off of one or two kitchen cabinets and paint or wallpaper the back of the cabinet. You now have a new open display shelf. To give your new display life, add LED under-cabinet lighting to highlight the items. Battery-powered lights are available if cabinet wiring is an issue.

4. The Carefully-Curated Kitchen Wall Design

creating a kitchen gallery wall

Set your kitchen apart by adding touches of your personality. Gallery wall collections are popular with designers and magazines because they’re unique and make a boring wall interesting. Gather favorite objects together and use them as kitchen wall decor.

Modern kitchen decorating ideas for a gallery wall collection include:

-Framed album covers

-Baskets

-Framed wallpaper or fabric swatches

-Vintage dishes

-Empty antique frames of different shapes and sizes

-A variety of mirrors

There are no absolute design rules to creating a kitchen gallery wall. Symmetrical, patterned or freestyle placement are all good approaches. To save time (and extra nail holes on the wall), arrange your collection on the floor before hanging for the best spacing and placement.

5. Personalize Your Kitchen Wall With Chalkboard Paint

kitchen decorating idea for chalkboard paint

A can of black chalkboard paint is inexpensive and a great way to dress up an accent wall in your kitchen. Black is a bold, eye-catching wall color and the perfect backdrop for your ever-changing chalk art.

If you’re out of wall space, a door or cabinet surface is another great chalkboard (and dinner menu) in the making. Remember to layer. A floating shelf or gallery wall collection on your chalkboard wall adds to the unique look of your new, inspired kitchen walls.

Want more ideas for your kitchen? Check out the following articles:

50 White Kitchen Ideas That Work
14 Creative Kitchen Backsplash Ideas
60 Beautiful Kitchen Island Ideas
Beautiful Outdoor Kitchen Island Ideas For Summer

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Kitchen Layout Design Tips & Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Many of our home activities — cooking, cleaning, eating, drinking, socializing — take place in the kitchen. Which is why a beautiful and functional kitchen is so important. Regardless of your kitchen design style, organization and layout are key components. Take a look at these 10 renovation mistakes you should avoid and design tips to try, so you’ll end up with a practical and elegant kitchen design.

Before you get started, if you’re looking for a loan to create your dream kitchen, check out these personal loan options for nearly every credit type.

1. Kitchen Triangle Obstructions

Kitchen design professionals refer to the sink, stove and refrigerator as the kitchen triangle. It’s the area of greatest activity, so designing a kitchen triangle requires careful planning and unobstructed access. Of the three, the sink typically sees the most action, though your triangle should also have easy access to the stove and refrigerator, as well as your countertop workstations.

Obviously, your sink needs to be near the plumbing. Sometimes, because of the placement of the pipes, kitchens are designed with the sinks in a poor location. If this is the case in your kitchen, consider hiring a plumber to relocate the plumbing to accommodate the best placement for the sink.

Regardless of your kitchen’s size or layout (L-shaped, galley, U-shaped or island), the sum of all the legs in a work triangle should not be less than 10 feet or greater than 25 feet. If the work triangle is too small, people will be tripping over each other. If it’s too large, food preparation could be a tiring task.

2. Wasted Storage Space

Kitchens typically contain lots of stuff. Not only that, but items concealed behind kitchen cabinets can be oddly shaped and require extra space — think food processors or stand mixers. Finding a home for your appliances while keeping them easily accessible can be tricky.

Because built-ins are expensive and the overall size of the area may be limited, one big design mistake is not including enough storage. Even small kitchens have wasted space, but this can be minimized with smart kitchen renovation planning.

If your kitchen is small, consider installing extra-long upper cabinets with molding for extra storage space. Place lighting or greenery along the molding to draw the eyes up. Always install cabinets over the refrigerator. Not utilizing this area is a waste of storage space for large or seasonal kitchen items. Finally, install shelves across the backs of the lower kitchen cabinet. This could add up to 4 square feet of extra kitchen storage space.

3. Not Enough Counter Space

One of the biggest complaints about kitchen design is the lack of counter space. Considering all the kitchen activities that require a countertop, as well as appliances that are permanently located there, you want to fit as much open horizontal surface area in a kitchen as possible. An easy way to do this is by adding an island or breakfast bar to an L-shaped kitchen.

4. Bad Lighting

The kitchen is one room where you can’t afford to have poor lighting. It’s not just a matter of good design and atmosphere. Proper kitchen task lighting is safety is important when it comes to handling sharp knives and other kitchen tools. Plus, the more light you have in the room, the better you can show off your design elements.

Rooms generally need three types of lighting:

  • General lighting for overall illumination
  • Task lighting
  • Accent lighting

For your kitchen, evaluate the work areas and focus on providing each spot with the light it needs. Consider adding lighting directly above all the main work areas.

Use pendant lights or a series of mini-pendants to enhance the beauty and functionality of the kitchen. Pendants look great above kitchen sinks, while a series of mini-pendants work well over breakfast bars and kitchen islands. Install under-cabinet lighting to make sure that the counters have sufficient lighting for common kitchen tasks.

5. Skipping the Backsplash

When budgeting or designing a new kitchen or remodel, the backsplash sometimes slips to the end of the list. Or worse, it’s left out of the plan altogether. This may save you money in the short term, but in the long run it will cost you a lot of time and effort.

Think about all the steam, water and grease in the kitchen, and you’ll understand why installing a backsplash above the cooktop and counters is a smart way to keep your kitchen clean. It’s much easier to clean grease off a backsplash made of tile, metal or plastic than paint or wallpaper.

6. Poor Ventilation

The best kitchen design fades in the presence of stinky cooking odors. If you’ve ever walked into someone’s home and smelled last night’s fish lingering in the air, you’ll understand the importance of good ventilation.

Inexpensive range hoods simply circulate dirty, stale air, while a good ventilation system will improve the quality of your indoor air. It also helps keep your kitchen cleaner and extends the life of your appliances.

Although it can be a big investment, a good ventilation system makes cooking and dining more pleasant, especially if your kitchen opens to a living area or family room.

7. Choosing the Wrong Kitchen Island

When it comes to kitchen islands, we generally think of additional storage, preparation and serving space in the kitchen.  But you may be surprised to learn that kitchen islands can waste a lot of space. Choosing the wrong island or placing it in the wrong spot can be a mess, especially in a work area that gets overly cluttered.

Islands that obstruct the flow of traffic to and from the sink, refrigerator, stove and primary workstations will create bottlenecks. An island should be at least 4 feet long and 2 feet deep and it needs enough room for people to move and work around it. Kitchen renovation experts say that unless your kitchen is at least 8 feet deep and 12 feet long, you shouldn’t even consider an island.

8. Ignoring Your Recycling

As recycling becomes even more important, dealing with trash in kitchen design has gone beyond sticking a bin under the sink. Make a plan to manage your trash efficiently and responsibly — incorporate sorting bins for recyclables into your kitchen design.

9. Going Too Trendy

Although it’s not necessarily a mistake, the latest kitchen trends and high-end equipment may not be the best choices. Trendy colors and designs have a short lifespan, and you may never see a return on your large investments in the latest kitchenware. Look for kitchen innovations and appliances that are timeless.

10. Not Working with Kitchen Design Professionals

Starting a kitchen design project to save money is a common mistake; it can actually waste more money, time and energy if you do it wrong. Professional designers have the latest ideas and information, and they can help you identify your needs and translate them into an efficient plan that fits your taste and budget.

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What is a Transitional Kitchen?

Transitional is the most popular kitchen design in the National Kitchen + Bath Association’s 2019 kitchen design trends. In fact, 65% of kitchens designed in the past year were transitional, more than double the kitchens that were traditional, contemporary or farmhouse, according to Tricia Zack, Market Research Analyst at the NKBA.

Why are transitional kitchens so popular? And, perhaps more importantly, would this style fit your design aesthetic? Freshome asked Zack and John Starck, CEO and Owner of Showcase Kitchens in Manhasset, NY, to explain the features that define a transitional kitchen.

Clean, light and airy.

Clean, light and airy. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Clean and relaxed

“Transitional design offers the best of both worlds, blending the textures of traditional with the sleekness of contemporary design,” says Starck. “For kitchens, think geometric, clean and practical lines for the countertops, cabinetry, crown molding and other crafted elements.”

Starck says non-fussy is a key element of transitional kitchens. “Never would you include corbels or ornate appliques or other heavily decorative features typical of traditional kitchens,” he explains.

Floor to ceiling subway tiles.

Floor-to-ceiling subway tiles. Image courtesy of Showcase Kitchens.

Colors

Since transitional kitchens often open to the living area, designers are opting for smooth features that blend in. What’s more, they often aim to achieve a light and airy effect. “Designers report using clean colors such as whites, grays, beiges, bones and blues,” Zack says. Those are good choices for now — and when homeowners decide to sell since neutral colors appeal to buyers.

Cabinet drawers in abundance.

Cabinet drawers in abundance. Image courtesy of Showcase Kitchens.

Cabinets

In transitional kitchens, cabinets are usually a light or medium color in painted wood, wood grain or mixed materials. “Our report reveals that designers are using integrated storage with recessed panels, and doors are not as prevalent as drawers,” Zack says. Matte decorative hardware or integrated hardware are also traits of this design style.

Updraft hoods are a staple of transitional kitchens.

Updraft hoods are a staple of transitional kitchens. Image courtesy of Showcase Kitchens.

Appliances

“White kitchens with stainless steel appliances are still king — with frequently contrasting island and perimeter cabinetry,” explains Starck. Also, expect to find fully-integrated French-door refrigerators in transitional kitchens. “Designers have told us there will either be an induction cooktop along with a wall oven and microwave, or a dual-fuel or gas range,” Zack says. Updraft hoods and standard-door dishwashers are other staples in this design.

Countertops with waterfall edges. I

Countertops with waterfall edges. Image: C Wood Photography/Shutterstock

Countertops and backsplashes

“Marble countertops and even marble backsplashes work beautifully for transitional kitchens,” Starck says. Other popular features that define transitional kitchens include quartz and quartzite. “Designers say countertops are thick (1¼ inch) and are either traditional or they have waterfall edges,” Zack explains.

“Subway tile for backsplashes is still a favorite, but mosaics and glass tile in a variety of sizes work great, too,” Starck explains.

The Elkay Circuit Chef Sink. Image courtesy of Elkay.

Sinks and faucets

Popular sinks styles among designers include stainless steel single bowl or apron sinks,” Zack says.

The Moen One-Handle Pulldown Faucet. Image courtesy of Moen.

Among faucets, brushed stainless steel finishes reign; matte, polished or satin finishes are also popular. However, there is no preference regarding faucet functionality. “Designers are selecting faucets that are motion-controlled, touch or even manual,” she says.

Dark wood floors provide contrast.

Dark wood floors provide contrast. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Flooring and lighting

“The flooring can be either tile or wood, typically high gloss, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Starck. Designers are using both hardwood and engineered wood plank, continuing the debate on using hardwood floors in kitchens and bathrooms. “The various types of large-format tile used in transitional kitchens include ceramic, porcelain and stone,” Zack says. “Some designers are also using luxury vinyl.”

Designers are incorporating a variety of lighting options in transitional kitchens. “This includes recessed lights and pendants and dimmer and traditional switches,” Zack says. Undercabinet lighting and interior cabinet lighting are also features of this kitchen style. And designers are more frequently adding motion sensors and keypads.

“Lighting, seating and hardware are areas where our clients have fun,” Starck says. “Contemporary, mid-century modern, industrial, glam and even traditional elements can blend successfully into a transitional kitchen.”

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What to Do About a Clogged Toilet, Sink & Other Common Plumbing Issues

Is there anything worse than a clogged toilet? First, there’s the sheer panic as you pray it doesn’t spill over onto your floor. Then, there’s the frustration of attempting to successfully plunge it. And all of this doesn’t even take into account the potential for embarrassment. Fortunately, if you’re dealing with this situation, we’ve got two pieces of good news. First, you’re not alone. Second, we’ve got tips and tricks to help you out.

clogged toilet

Protect your sparkling bathroom by neatly handling your plumbing issues with this guide. Image: Astronaut Images/Getty Images

Fast stats on common plumbing issues

Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a Neighborly company, recently commissioned a study about this exact situation — and all the other plumbing challenges homeowners and renters face. Here are some quick facts and figures the study uncovered:

  • Nearly one in five homeowners deals with a clogged toilet on a regular basis
  • 15 percent of homeowners have recently spent time fixing a backed up drain
  • Almost one in ten regularly deals with a clogged sink
  • 6 percent have low water pressure
  • 4 percent have garbage disposal troubles

Sound familiar? Whatever plumbing issue is plaguing you, you want to get it dealt with as quickly as possible. And fear not! If you’re one of the 46 percent of people who’ve turned to the internet for support, we’re here to help. We talked with Mr. Rooter Plumbing to get some expert guidance for you.

How to fix a clogged toilet

First things first, step away from the handle! Continuing to try to flush your toilet when it’s clogged will just leave you with a mess all over your bathroom floor.

Instead, grab your trusty plunger. Oh, wait, not that one. James Doyle, President of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, gave us a crash course in plungers. And taught us that not all are created equal. The most common plunger type is a sink plunger, which is a simple flat rubber cup attached to a handle. Your toilet needs something extra.

Toilet plungers have a soft rubber flange running along the inside of the plunger cup, which makes them much more effective at plunging your toilet. “With the flange plunger’s universal design, it can also be used on sink and toilet clogs,” Doyle points out. “But don’t use the same plunger on both surfaces! Keep one plunger strictly for the toilet and another one for flat surfaces.”

clogged toilet - toilet bow

You need a plunger designed to fit well inside your toilet bowl. Image: bymuratdeniz/Getty Images

How to properly plunge, as explained by a pro

Ready to get plunging? Once you’re armed with your flanged plunger, Doyle offers step-by-step guidance for optimal results:

  • “Take your plunger (make sure you have a good connection with the plunger and the toilet) and begin the plunging motion with a good amount of force behind it. The goal is to push the blockage through.
  • “Be quick and repetitive with the plunging motion and keep your eye out for movement in the toilet, which means the blockage is being pushed through.
  • “Make sure the water is draining before you try to flush the toilet. Never pour a chemical drain cleaner down your toilet; harsh chemicals can irritate your skin and eyes or cause damage to your plumbing pipes.
  • “If you can’t repair a clogged toilet on your own, contact a professional plumber for assistance.”

With the right tool and the right action, you’ll have that toilet cleared in no time at all.

clogged toilet 1

Plumbing issues can arise pretty much anywhere in your bathroom. Image: dit26978/Getty Images

Fixing other common household plumbing issues

Unfortunately, Mr. Rooter Plumbing’s survey revealed that a clogged toilet is far from the only plumbing issue you could face. Fortunately, they offer other tips and tricks you can use.

Clearing a backed up drain or clogged pipe

Whether you’ve got a drain that’s moving slowly or it’s completely clogged, a simple household item could be the solution. Mr. Rooter Plumbing recommends taking a wire coat hanger and straightening it, then creating a small hook with one end. Use that hook to fish down into your drain and pull up any hair or other buildup, clearing your pipes.

If your fishing expedition doesn’t yield results, Mr. Rooter Plumbing recommends a natural but effective way to reach further into your pipes. Mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar and pour it down your drain (be prepared to move quickly, because this mixture will foam — and fast). Let it sit as long as you can. An hour works, but overnight is best. The fizzing action will help break up any gunk in your pipes, allowing water to run freely through them.

Still stumped? Keep reading for more guidance on clearing your drains.

clogged toilet - aerator

Your sink’s aerator can be screwed off to making it easy to clean. Image: PAVEL IARUNICHEV/Getty Images

Restoring water pressure to a sink

Fix your sink’s low water pressure in minutes. Simply screw off the aerator, the little cap at the end of the nozzle that prevents your sink from splashing. Clean it out, screw it back on and voilà! You should have improved water pressure.

Fixing a clogged garbage disposal

It’s tempting to run a chemical pipe cleaner through your garbage disposal, but it will likely be ineffective and can hurt the disposal itself. Instead, take the garbage disposal off and visually inspect it. You can do this by simply unscrewing it from the base of your sink. Don’t forget to disconnect it from power when you do to keep your hands safe!

Once you’ve located your issue, safely remove it, reattach the garbage disposal and test it to confirm you’ve found — and resolved — the issue.

See, being your own plumber doesn’t have to be a huge headache or mess. That said, don’t be afraid to call in the pros for support. If the above tips don’t do the trick, getting a hand from a professional can save you a lot of hassle.

The post What to Do About a Clogged Toilet, Sink & Other Common Plumbing Issues appeared first on Freshome.com.

Galley Kitchens: Pros, Cons, and Tips

Whether you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen or searching for a new home and weighing your options, the kitchen setup is extremely important. And if you cook a lot, the layout of this room really matters.

Quite a few homes have galley kitchens — and the owners either love them or want to take a sledgehammer to them. But what is a galley kitchen, and how do you know if this style is right for you? Freshome rounded up several experts to help you understand the pros and cons of a galley kitchen. They also provided tips for designing a galley kitchen that you’ll love. 

A galley kitchen is great for one cook at a time.

A galley kitchen is great for one cook at a time. Image: Ran Kyu Park/Getty Images

What is a galley kitchen and why is it used?

“A galley kitchen consists of two parallel runs of units forming a central corridor,” explains Ariel Richardson, a San Diego-based interior designer and the founder of ASR Design Studio. The name “galley kitchen” is derived from the kitchens on ships, in which everything is in a straight line.

It’s a great solution when you don’t have a lot of space, or if a house tends to be long instead of wide. “A galley kitchen is generally considered a solution for smaller apartments. We’ve also done some as second kitchens in larger homes, like a mother/daughter set up,” says Michael Radovic, CKD at Showcase Kitchens. “You can achieve a functional and nicely integrated kitchen, one that works seamlessly with the rest of the decor, with a length of about seven to eight feet.”

You can save money creating a galley kitchen

You can save money with a galley kitchen. Image: Hoxton-Martin Barraud/Getty Images

A galley kitchen is cost-effective

One advantage of a galley kitchen is that it won’t blow your budget, according to Nathan Outlaw, President at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA. “A galley kitchen will usually be more cost-effective than a large, open kitchen,” he says. “You only have two sets of cabinets with simple rectangle countertop slabs.” That leaves more money to splurge on the latest faucet trends.

You can save steps - if it’s not too wide.

You can save steps — if it’s not too wide. Image: hikesterson/Getty Images

A galley kitchen is efficient

But a galley kitchen isn’t only cost-effective. It’s also efficient. “The appliances are easily accessible. Galley style provides a very efficient kitchen work triangle,” says Joan Kaufman, an interior designer and President of Interior Planning & Design in Naperville, IL.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Erin Davis, Owner and Lead Designer at Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, OR. “Because it’s smaller, fewer steps are required in between work areas,” Davis says. “In some galley kitchens, the sink, refrigerator and range are all along the same wall. This can work well as long as there is enough prep space in between work areas.”

However, if the corridor is too far apart — more than 6 feet wide, specifically — Richardson warns that it will lose its efficiency.

In lieu of 2 walls, a galley kitchen can have one wall and one long island.

In lieu of two walls, a galley kitchen can have one wall and one long island. Image courtesy of Case Design/Remodeling.

Chelsea Allard, VP of Design at Case Design/Remodeling in Charlotte, NC, agrees that a galley kitchen can be efficient. “The galley kitchen is made up of two parallel work surfaces. In a small condo, it may be two walls. Or it could be one wall of cabinetry parallel to a long island,” she explains. “Galley kitchens can be incredibly efficient because they allow a linear path to organize the major work zones: food storage, prep and cooking, clean-up and non-perishable storage.”

Two cooks will probably bump into each other.

Two cooks will probably bump into each other. Image: photographee.eu/Shutterstock

A galley kitchen isn’t the best style for multiple people

However, a galley kitchen isn’t typically designed for a lot of — or even a few — people. “Due to size constraints, a galley kitchen really can only fit one or two cooks at a time,” Outlaw explains. “It will be harder to move around anyone in the kitchen.”

Allard agrees and says that unless one of the sides is an island, a galley kitchen doesn’t handle traffic well. “Proper spacing between each counter is critical to making sure there is comfortable space for people to cook and pass by each other,” she says. “A galley kitchen is great for small spaces, but can feel like a runway if it’s too long.” On the other hand, if you have hardwood floors in the kitchen, you may enjoy walking the runway.

You might not have a window view.

You might not have a window view. Image: Contrastaddict/GettyImages

There may not be a lot of natural light

And if you’re in the habit of looking out the window as you wash dishes, this may not be the kitchen for you. “Views of the outside may be sacrificed,” says Kaufman. “There’s usually not a sink directly in front of a window. And sometimes, there may not even be a window in the kitchen.”

Make sure appliances will fit correctly.

Make sure appliances will fit correctly. Image: Martin Deja/Getty Images

Consider your appliances

If you’re planning a galley kitchen, plan for your appliances as well. “You should know the specs of your appliances and make sure that the main appliances — sink, refrigerator and stove — are either in a triangle or close to one another in a row,” advises Linda Hayslett at LH.Designs.

“Because galley kitchens are used for smaller spaces, the specs of the appliances are important, especially the fridge and stove.” Hayslett says that many people don’t think about the spacing of these items, but larger sizes can create issues during installation.

Add light wherever you can.

Add lights wherever you can. Image: Mint Images/Getty Images

Making the galley kitchen feel larger

Even though a galley kitchen tends to be small, there are ways to make it appear larger. “Use light or high-gloss finishes to create a more open feel,” says Richardson. “Placement of light fixtures is essential in creating an illusion of more space.”

Light and open galley kitchen.

A light and open galley kitchen. Image courtesy of Dawn Totty Designs.

Interior Designer Dawn Totty of Dawn Totty Designs in Chattanooga, TN, recommends using a monochromatic color scheme in a light color to give the illusion of a larger, more open space. “I always say the best kitchens are the most well-lit kitchens. But don’t just rely on recessed lighting,” Totty says. She suggests hanging a lantern, chandeliers or some other type of light fixtures to add some personality to the room.

Since space is limited, Totty also recommends placing cabinets as high as the ceiling and utilizing baskets and labeled bins.

“In addition, implement at least two glass-front cabinets for a pretty shine and to break up the heaviness of all-wood cabinets,” she says. “You can have a galley kitchen and an island, too.” Totty recommends either a custom or store-bought island with casters. “It’s a perfect way to create more prep space. [Islands] are also fun to use as a bar or dessert cart for entertaining.”

You may be able to enlarge the footprint.

You may be able to enlarge the footprint. Image courtesy of Joan Kaufman — Interior Planning & Design.

Modifying the kitchen

If you’re really sold on the idea of a galley kitchen but you don’t have the necessary width, there are ways to make it work. “You can open up the walls on both sides of the kitchen, which can add up to 12 inches of cabinet and countertop space,” explains Shawn Breyer, owner of We Buy Houses Atlanta. If you don’t want to remove walls, he has another suggestion: add a glass door or a large window at the end of the wall. “Adding larger windows is a tactic used in smaller homes. It provides the perception of more space, making it feel less cramped,” Breyer says.

Some galley kitchens are quite spacious.

Some galley kitchens are quite spacious. Image: Contrastaddict/Getty Images

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Wayfair’s Bridal Registry Unveils the Most Popular Wedding Gifts For The Kitchen

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Did you know that Wayfair has one of the most popular bridal registry services in the country? Wayfair Registry makes wedding gifting easy for brides and their friends and families. And the online retailer recently looked at what kitchen products are the most requested and gifted to figure out this year’s hottest kitchen appliance trends.
most popular wedding gifts

The KitchenAid Stand Mixer has been the top bridal gift year after year. This year, pastel colors are the most popular. All images courtesy of Wayfair.

Are you shopping for your kitchen? Or do you need the perfect wedding gift? Either way, here are Wayfair’s 5 most popular wedding gift categories:

1. Healthy living kitchen products

It looks like brides — and Wayfair shoppers, in general — are focused on health. Juicer searches are up 82 percent over last year. This secures their spot as one of the top appliances consumers want in their kitchen.




2. High-end restaurant tools

Home cooks want to be more like professional chefs. As we develop a more sophisticated “foodie” palate, we need new kitchen products. Items like sous-vide slow cookers (up 54 percent), digital multi-function cookers and air fryers are on the must-have shortlist.



3. Pastel-colored appliances

Spring (and wedding season) are obviously here. Pastel-colored appliances are hot — and the top manufacturers are making sure a good selection is available. According to Wayfair, the KitchenAid Mixer continues to be a wedding gift staple. And now you can get one from the Artisan Stand Mixer collection in pink, blue and other pastels. Here are some of the pastel pieces registered by brides:



4. Home barista products

Gourmet coffee will never go out of style. And it looks like customers are opting to create their specialty latte at home instead of waiting in line for the paper cup version. Searches for cold brew are up 50 percent. Coffee and espresso makers have more than doubled in popularity. And the champion in this category is the pour-over coffee maker, up 82 percent.





5. Memorable home entertaining

More and more consumers are looking to create an entertaining experience at home that rivals going out. Products that make a houseguest’s visit memorable are trending. According to Wayfair, “Searches for popcorn machines alone have grown by 41 percent and items such as cotton candy machines and soft serve ice cream makers are also increasing in popularity.”



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Check Out The New KitchenAid Walmart Kitchen Tools Line

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Are you (or is someone you know) obsessed with the classic KitchenAid stand mixers and the colors they come in? You’ll love the brand’s latest collab with Walmart. The new and exclusive KitchenAid Walmart line of modern utensils and kitchen gadgets comes in fashion-forward colors at a budget-friendly price.
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools

The new line of gadgets and tools is perfect for home bakers or cooks that already use the iconic KitchenAid stand mixer. All images courtesy of Kitchen Aid/Walmart.

Some items in the collection cost as little as $8, but each one offers KitchenAid durability and quality. Stainless steel, silicone, dishwasher-safe plastic and heat-resistant nylon handles are just a few of the materials in the collection.

The new collection colors are also fashion-forward and feature white, turquoise and a dark graphite grey. Here’s a look at the collection, available exclusively at Walmart. A bundle of these could make a great wedding or housewarming gift.

kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools

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9 Pro Secrets for the Perfect Tile Backsplash

Contemporary Kitchen Backsplash

Make your DIY kitchen backsplash a focal point. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.

When you’re remodeling or creating a new home, your kitchen and bath are the rooms that will need the most attention. Luckily, they can be the most fun to design. No matter your favorite decorating style, your kitchen and bathroom tile backsplash can be the focal point of your room.

Choosing a beautiful tile for your backsplash is just the first step to creating a memorable kitchen or bathroom. If you have the confidence and the right tools, your backsplash project can be a DIY victory. Because of the time-sensitive nature of setting tile and difficulty undoing tiling mistakes, you’ll need tips to create your own pro-style backsplash. Here are our favorite pro secrets:

1. View Your Tile in a Large Sample Before Committing

Many homeowners and designers have been surprised when the tile they ordered arrives at the job site. What seemed like the perfect tile when looking at a small sample can be quite different over several square feet in a kitchen or bathroom backsplash. If you are unable to see photos of a project of a similar scale to yours, consider purchasing a few square feet of your tile in sheets to see how it will look in your space.

2. Choose the Right Grout Color for Your Backsplash

The dark grout trend has been popular for a few years, but it’s not for everyone. Choosing white grout or matching your grout to the tile will give you a seamless look, especially in a large backsplash area. Dark grout lines with light tile is stylish but can be busy for large-scale areas.

3. Follow Seam Size Recommendations for Your Tile

Grout lines matter when setting tile. Tile comes with grout line size recommendations that are important to follow for a professional look. If you’re doing a DIY backsplash, invest a little in tile spacers, even if you are using tile adhered to mesh sheets. Tile sheets make it easier to set tile, but it’s important to match your grout lines between each sheet to the lines already established in the pattern so that the overall design is symmetrical.

Bathroom Tiled Wall Backsplash

Tiled walls are a trending choice for bathrooms and kitchens right now. Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

4. Know Where to Stop Your Backsplash

There’s nothing worse than finishing your tile backsplash project and realizing that it doesn’t line up with a cabinet or window line. Plan out your backsplash stop and start before you begin setting tile. You can play with it, too. The latest kitchen and bath trends feature floor-to-ceiling tiling, instead of a small backsplash.

5. Use a Tile Border or Bullnose for a Finished Look

Installing a border or matching bullnose tile to your backsplash edges is a crucial step to achieve a professional-looking design. Buying tile that has matching bullnose edging available will make your project so much easier, but you can improvise with a tile border in a similar color.

6. Purchase 10 Percent More Tile for Breakage

Tile breakage is a fact of life when installing tile — even for the tile pros. The pros purchase 10 percent more tile than they’ll need for a backsplash to be sure that they have enough. Some tile can have color and texture variations from batch to batch, so it’s best to purchase all at once like the pros do.

Kitchen Tile Designs

Create a focal point with a tile accent above your range for a designer look. Image: Alabn/Shutterstock

7. Create a Tile Accent Design Behind Your Range for a Luxury Look

Your backsplash is a major focal point for your new kitchen. Take your design to the next level by creating an accent design on the wall above your range or cooktop. Using your vent hood or built-in microwave as your size guide, you can create a backsplash within a backsplash. Your accent can be as simple as using your backsplash tile in a different pattern or color, or as elaborate as an intricate mosaic with a tile border.

8. Electrical Outlets Can Be a Problem for Your Backsplash

Let’s be honest: the electrical outlets in many kitchen and bathroom backsplashes are an eyesore. Even in professional backsplash projects, badly placed or poorly chosen outlets can ruin a beautiful design. We need those outlets and the placement may be out of our control, but there are ways to work around them and maintain your gorgeous backsplash design. Here’s how:

  • If you are designing a tile accent stripe in your backsplash, place it above or below your outlet line.
  • White backsplash tile and accents can incorporate standard white outlets stylishly, as they disappear when put together.
  • Shop for outlet cover options in colors that coordinate with your backsplash tile. There are options beyond just white or beige available now.
  • Clever companies have created pop-up outlets for kitchens that can leave your backsplash free of wall-mounted outlet covers. Your electrician can give you more information on making this work in your kitchen.

9. There’s No Shame in Hiring a Tile Pro for Your Backsplash Project

You may be an absolute rockstar when it comes to home DIY projects, but perhaps tile is just outside of your comfort zone. It’s totally okay to hire a professional for your backsplash if you don’t want to take it on yourself. You can save your time and talents for another project. 

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