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.

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