The Complete Kitchen Checklist
Simple Ways to Revive and Refresh Your Look
The heart of the home, the kitchen, is where family and friends gather for good food and conversation. It’s where meals are prepared, homework is done, and much of day-to-day life happens. It’s a haven and a hive of activity, so it should look and function in a way that makes your life easier and more enjoyable.
There comes a time when most kitchens begin to feel tired and are ready for a refresh. Whether you find yourself renovating an existing kitchen, designing a new one from scratch, or just looking to give your current space a facelift, planning is key. To help in this process, we have put together a handy checklist of items and ideas to ensure your kitchen works hard and looks good for you and your entire family.
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
After years of heavy wear and tear, most kitchens are ready for a refresh. Unless you are undertaking a complete kitchen remodel, replacing your cabinets is typically not in the picture. Replacing your cabinet hardware, however, is a quick and easy update most homeowners can accomplish in a weekend. Simply changing the finish, style or material of your hardware can give your kitchen a whole new look!
As small as they are, knobs & pulls help define the character of your kitchen. You can go with sleek or sparkling, rustic or refined, traditional or modern - the options are endless. To help navigate your choices in style, finish, size and material, we’ve created a handy guide on choosing knobs & pulls.
While many newer cabinets feature concealed Euro-style hinges, visible hinges add visual interest, as well as traditional charm to your kitchen. Choose butt or olive-knuckle styles for a more understated look, or go with decorative butterfly or strap surface hinges for a more bold vintage statement.
Once a necessity on file cabinets and pantry cupboards, label holders are again proving their usefulness throughout the home. From the kitchen to the mudroom, from dresser drawers to the linen closet, these handy brass labels will keep everything in its place and easy to find. Some styles are equipped with a finger grip and act as drawer pulls as well.
Designed for built-in appliances with fitted cabinet fronts, appliance pulls are essentially large scale companions to standard drawer pulls. Applied to your refridgerator, dishwasher or pantry doors, they are a substantial and eye-catching additon to your kitchen.
The days of a single overhead light in the kitchen are (thankfully) long gone. Kitchen lighting today is all about layers - using overheads, pendants, chandeliers, and sconces to create an appealing atmosphere that changes throughout the day. A single sconce to ease you into the morning, multiple pendants for busy food prep or homework, a small chandelier to brighten family dinners. What is the key to creating the right mood for any occasion? A dimmer on every light!
The go-to option for over a kitchen island, pendants bring much-needed light to the food prep, homework, and entertaining that takes place at this epicenter of family life. If you’re using smaller or mini-pendants, place them in groups of three or more. If you opt for large or dramatic pendants, place them in pairs. A sinlge pendant over the kitchen sink brings targeted light to this busy work zone.
These oversized, multi-light fixures make a dramatic visual statement and are ideal for large spaces. Generally linear in form, they are perfectly suited to a rectangular kitchen island or dining room table.
A small chandelier provides the ideal amount of light for a dning nook or breakfast room. Whether it’s a drum shade, candle arm or globe-style fixture, a three to five light design is usually sufficient for these compact spaces. In recent years chandeliers have taken pride of place over the kitchen island as well, whether alone or in pairs.
If your ceilings are low, or you prefer lights higher than eye level (like many pendants), flush and semi-flush fixtures are the way to go. Despite their smaller profile, today’s ceiling mounts don’t skimp on style - you’ll find looks ranging from classical to modern and everything in between. Single light flush mounts are also a great alternative to can lights, providing understated illumination throughout your kitchen.
A one or two light sconce provides the perfect amount of directed light over the kitchen sink. Due to their high location above a window, designs with down-lights generally work best. If you have a breakfast room or open wall space anywhere in your kitchen, a sconce provides another layer of light, ideal for entertaining. If you have open shelving or glass-front cabinets, picture lights mounted above each opening are a wonderful way to showcase all your treasures.
Switch plates are the simplest way to add a dash of style to your kitchen. With designs ranging from ornate to understated, you can coordinate with your cabinet hardware, your lighting, or the era of your home. When considering lighting, don’t forget dimmers! Lowering the light from your overhead fixtures is the best way to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for family and friends to gather.
Kitchen Door Hardware
Most kitchens have a door or two leading to the hall, pantry, garage, or basement. If the knobs on your doors are tired and worn, or simply a style that isn’t yours, it might be time for a change. Upgrading your door sets and hinges to something you love and that functions well is a sure-fire way to make your doors shine once again!
Perfectly marrying function and design, door sets are among the most important pieces of hardware in your home. Given their heavy day-to-day use, they should be as durable as they are attractive. In the kitchen, you can coordinate door sets with the style and finish of your cabinet hardware (for example, crystal & nickel) to give your space a cohesive look.
Worn, rusted and painted over hinges can be an eyesore. If restoring them is out of the question, upgrading to new butt hinges will transform the look of your doors. Choose from plain or decorative styles, with finishes to match every type of door set.
Designed for the pivoting door between a kitchen and dining room, a push plate protects the surface of the door from wear and tear. Paired with a heavy-duty spring-loaded hinge, they provide a place to push with your hand, arm, elbow or back as you pass through the door.
The pivoting door between your kitchen and dining room requires a powerful spring-loaded floor hinge. This handy device keeps the door closed and the kitchen messes out of sight when entertaining. Paired with a push plate, it allows for easy, hands-free operating - a must when carrying dishes from room to room.
As inconspicuous as they may seem, doorstops are an essential item in the kitchen. Mounted on the floor, baseboard, wall, or hinge pin, they protect your appliances and cabinets from damage by a swinging door. Unlike the cheaply made models of yesteryear, today’s doorstops come in a wide array of eye-catching designs and finishes. See our handy doorstop shopping guide to find just the right solutions for your kitchen.
The Kitchen Sink & Windows
In many homes, the kitchen sink resides under a window to take advantage of light and air, a garden view adding a bit of pleasure to the mundane tasks of dish-washing and food prep. Unfortunately, faucets are often handled roughly, and window hardware tends to look worse for wear from constant exposure to light and moisture. Updating your faucet and window hardware is an easy way to brighten your everyday outlook. A glint of sunlight on a shining sash lock is guaranteed to bring a smile!
If you have original sash-over-sash (double-hung) windows, you’ll find that the locks and lifts have lost their looks with time. Replacing them with new brass hardware with a gleaming finish will brighten your windows in an instant. If you are going the extra mile and undertaking a complete window restoration, you’ll find pulleys in matching finishes, as well as cord, chain, and weights.
While lighting and cabinet hardware tend to take center stage in the kitchen, it’s the unexpected details that make all the difference. From eye-catching shelving to cleverly placed hooks, from a cheerful hanging plant by the window to a surprisingly lovely register, create a space that shows your style in every way.
Open shelving is a great way to add extra storage without taking up the same visual space as traditional upper cabinets. Far from being utilitarian, shelf brackets can be one of the most distinctive design elements of your kitchen. Brackets can add cottage charm, Victorian elegance, or rustic-industrial chic! Choose from brass, iron,and wood, in dozens of styles, sizes and finishes.
Just the thing for towels near the sink or coats by the back door, decorative hooks add an element of period practicality that every kitchen needs. For inside or under a cupboard, top-mounted wardrobe hooks are handy for holding mugs! From pet leashes, to aprons, to keys, there’s no end to what hooks can hold.
Floor registers may be the last, but not the least important design choice you make for your kitchen. Although they live underfoot, their presence can delight the eyes. Upgrade from boring builder styles to something that shows your design savvy.
Although commonly reserved for the exterior of your home, a plant hanger or two near the kitchen window is a wonderful way to bring a touch of nature indoors. Whether you favor a trailing vine or a basket of herbs, plants are a cheerful and useful addition to any kitchen.
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