Featured Article

Kitchen Remodel
January 19, 2012

Planning Your KitchenYour kitchen-remodeling project is large or small, you need a plan. Not something sketched on a napkin or jotted down on a few scraps of paper. You need a solid, realistic, accurate plan of what you want, need, and can afford....

More articles on Kitchen Remodeling

A well-lit kitchen with ceiling lights

Installing a Bright New Ceiling Fixture

This task is one of the easiest to perform and is perfect for folks who are uncomfortable working with electrical stuff because, in most situations, the wiring is very straightforward. Things can get a little tricky if you have a single fixture that can be operated with two or three different switches, only because you have more than the two wires to the light fixture in the electrical box. However, if you examine the existing light’s connections and either sketch them out or take an instant picture, you should be able to handle those scenarios, too.

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A pretty kitchen door with decorative window film

Tips and tricks to installing window film

Applying window film isn’t rocket science, but you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and be patient! Here are a few tips that will hopefully make the installation process go smoothly:

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A cozy kitchen with windows protected by decorative window film

Protecting your interior with window film

If you’re not upgrading your kitchen windows, you can still upgrade the protection capabilities of your old windows by applying window film to the interior side of the window glass. The advantages of applying window-tinting film include blocking visible light rays (the ones that heat up a room) and screening the invisible or ultra-violet rays (the ones that cause furniture, drapes, and other items to fade). Filtering out sun rays also reduces glare in the room, putting less strain on your eyes. Note: All types of interior window films sold in most home centers are compatible with residential windows and should not effect a window’s warranty.

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A kitchen window with a decorative valance

Sprucing up the windows you have

Even if you can’t afford to include new windows in your kitchen remodel, rejuvenate your existing windows to let in more light and do away with the old, worn look. Now’s the time to sand and re-stain the wood frame and mull centers (the wood strips separating windows) so that your old windows don’t stick out like sore thumbs.

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A kitchen with huge windows

Replacing existing windows

Too often, homeowners don’t include or even consider new windows as part of a remodel, but they should. New windows are energy efficient and save money on monthly energy bills. Plus, you can choose exterior finishes that are almost, if not completely, maintenance-free. New windows are also easier to operate.

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A sunny kitchen with four open skylights

Setting your sights on a skylight

A skylight can add beautiful, natural overhead light to a kitchen all year ’round. (Check out the skylight photo in the color insert.) Remember that you need to have direct access to the roof of the house to install a skylight. If your kitchen is on the main level, located directly under a couple of bedrooms, you’re out of luck.

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A kitchen with great lights

Great ways to gather design options

Want to see examples of new and creative ways to use windows both in overall design as well as function? Then:

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A spacious kitchen with a lot of natural light

Letting the Light Shine In: Natural Lighting Options

Like interior light fixtures, your kitchen windows are important sources of light. This section gets you thinking about the benefits of new energy-efficient windows, and it also tells you how to make your existing windows aesthetically pleasing with a fresh coat of paint and blinds if new windows aren’t in your budget.

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A kitchen with several lighting options

Deciding whether you need major changes

Most kitchen lights are powered on a single 15-amp circuit. This takes care of the ceiling fixture (remember, you often only need one) and the one or two other lights in the kitchen. If you plan to add lights for the countertops, over the stove, and maybe even some in-cabinet lights, consider running an additional lighting circuit to the kitchen. Adding a new circuit and getting it to the specific lights can be tricky, especially if the wall and ceiling surfaces are finished. To be honest, calling in an electrician is best. Besides pulling the cable for the new circuit, the electrician can help make the best decisions about which lights should go on which circuit.

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A wooden ceiling fan

Choosing a ceiling fan

Ceiling fans come in a wide range of sizes that are defined by the blade size. You can find fans in sizes from 24 inches wide to units up to 54 inches wide.

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