World's Largest Selection of Decorative Switch Plates

Options for organizing and revitalizing your kitchen

With the new year telling you to get organized and an approaching spring asking you to refresh, the kitchen is a perfect place to begin.Refreshing and redecorating a kitchen is a two-part process: First, organize, then revitalize.Organize by shedding clutter Almost every kitchen has items on counters and on top of the refrigerator and microwave, but they can be stored rather easily when not in use. What's more challenging are the unseen areas inside drawers and cabinets - as well as the small electronics you display on counters but rarely use.Real Simple magazine interviewed professional organization expert Chip Cordelli about common kitchen organization errors, and he pointed out that you should start by looking at what you really use and how often you use it. For example, the bread maker that you use on a quarterly basis or ice cream machine that's sought-after mostly in July should be relegated to storage status the rest of the time, allowing you to reclaim precious countertop real estate. And if you're left-handed, set up small appliances like coffee makers where they're easiest for you to handle - not where your right-handed friends might keep them.Although hanging pots and pans can be quite decorative, Cordelli insisted that only the essential pots - ones you actually use regularly - should be kept out. By "essential," he means a cast-iron skillet, large saute pan, saucier and stockpot. They'll handle just about any cooking function, and you might also consider hanging your cutting boards alongside.Revitalize with fresh ideas Better Homes and Gardens magazine listed an array of inexpensive ideas for giving your kitchen a fresh face. If you're lucky enough to have a breakfast nook, or could possibly add one, toss in some pillows to make it simultaneously more colorful and comfortable.Add plants, too. Flowering plants are beautiful and relaxing, and herbs like chives, basil and oregano are both decorative and functional. You can even set them in a corner under a cabinet with the addition of a small ultraviolet light source.Lighting is also critically important in the kitchen area, and it  doesn't need to be boring. Lighting up a kitchen island with a ceiling-hung pendant fixture, echoed by a similar small one over the sink, lets you combine creativity and common sense to enhance the workable space. Finish the look with plants and fresh flowers, and don't forget how the small details like decorative switch plates and plug covers can add a truly unique touch. You can select from assortments of literally thousands of styles in an incredible range of colors, finishes, materials and themes.

Frugal options for do-it-yourself decorating

Do-it-yourself projects will always cost less than hiring a contractor, but some decorating projects don't cost anything at all.If you approach a decorating project with a budget of zero, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you can work with and where you can find it.Start in Australia That's the home of RecyclingNearYou, an environment-friendly collection of ideas for reusing and repurposing almost anything. For example, instead of buying coasters to protect a table, consider what fun you can have gluing two old CDs together to create a truly unique coaster. Or, collect your old wine corks and store them in a mason jar. Not only do you have an intriguing decorative accent, but you also have a stamp to use when painting. If you glue the corks to a plank of wood, you'll also have a most unusual corkboard for hanging in your kitchen or home office.Come the holidays, you really don't need to buy a tree when you can simply gather branches and make your own. Simply arrange them in a tall vase or large pot and start decorating.Real Simple, real frugal Real Simple magazine offered an array of no-cost ideas for working with what you already have to craft a new look. For example, begin with a basic headboard and hang a splashy quilt over it. Now you have color, character and a quilt that will keep you warm.Another Real Simple idea is really quite fun: Take your old bracelets - and this works with a little girl's bracelets as well - and turn them into napkin rings. It's easy and free, yet it manages to add whimsy and personality to any dining area.You can also paint the legs - just the legs - of a battered old chair. You now have a side table for holding magazines that camouflage a worn-out seat beautifully.Woman's Day magazine also uncovered some unique ways to use items already in your home - or, more likely, in your storage area. Take the immense platter you use only at Thanksgiving and give it a new home on your living room wall, or take your ice bucket to the guest bath to cradle guest towels.Little purchases for giant impact Don't overlook the power of details, and craft shops can be your ally for selecting ribbons, buttons and yarn that you can use ever so creatively.Decorative switch plates and plug covers can also add a spark of genius at a relatively low cost, especially if you choose a theme like music and dance or gems and jewels.

Ideas for decorating an apartment without paint

Apartment dwellers may feel limited in their decorating efforts because they can't always paint their walls, but there are plenty of ways to beautify without paint.It might seem daunting at first: You want to give your rental apartment a fresh look but the lease won't allow repainting. Walls are typically white, eggshell or perhaps light gray, and you'd prefer to see more vibrant colors in the living space.Actually, the neutral wall color is good news, since you now have an easel, so to speak, for expressing your taste and personality. For example, if you cherish a lovely wall hanging of the tulip fields of Holland, you can rest assured the light gray or white paint will accentuate the piece and present it in its best light. This is true of all artwork, which is rarely improved by hanging it on a green or orange wall. You don't have to own or buy expensive artwork, either. Besides combing flea markets or garage sales for watercolors or prints that you find appealing, you can also create your own art by framing a length of fabric that works with your space and with the other items, such as personal photos, that you choose to include.Don't overlook the small details: Decorative switch plates and plug covers, available in literally thousands of materials, themes and colors, can be just what you need to customize a cookie-cutter space and are easily installed with a screwdriver. When you move, take them off and replace them with the original standard switch plates.Cover the carpet with area rugs If yours is like most apartments, you have serviceable carpeting that's functional but hardly fashionable. Real Simple magazine suggested topping the carpet du jour with a vintage oriental rug, which manages to be faded and richly elegant at the same time. You can, however, use any area rug to achieve the look you're seeking.Southern Living magazine recommended laying area rugs over carpet for the textural advantages. Not only does the right area rug add texture, but it helps define a space: For example, a living room area might be topped with a braided jute rug and the bedroom with a charming needlepoint version.Open up with mirrors Finally, consider adding mirrors wherever you can, since they open up a space, add interest and reflect light beautifully.Somewhat under-appreciated as a decorating tool, a mirror, perhaps set in an antique picture frame, can help transform the uniform square footage of your rental apartment into a satisfying and lovely living space.


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