Here are some of the pros and cons of these popular kitchen countertop materials from Houzz. I still love granite, unless you want a perfectly white countertop. I did use it in my bathrooms when I recently remodeled and it looks great, but it shows every little spot. My gorgeous granite on the other hand in my kitchen adds life and warmth and hides things so well, I have to have sunlight to catch every spot. Here is what the experts say:
If you’ve recently shopped for new kitchen countertops, you know firsthand how many options there are today. Houzz research says that for most people, the choices often boil down to granite or quartz. Two out of five homeowners choose one of these two surfaces, often for durability and easy cleaning, according to a 2017 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. If you have whittled it down to granite or quartz, here’s a quick way to learn all about their pros and cons.
Pro: It has longevity. Quartz may be the relatively new kid on the block, but granite has had staying power. It is time-tested and has universal appeal. Sure, certain colors may look dated in a decade, but you generally can’t go wrong with granite as a long-term investment. It almost always helps sell homes.
Pro: It’s available in wide slabs. Though granite comes in all shapes and sizes, it’s common to find slabs more than 70 inches wide.For comparison, quartz slabs are seldom larger than 65 inches wide and are most often about 56. Wide slabs are a huge benefit for kitchens with sprawling angles since they usually mean fewer seams. Some kitchens may need only one slab, which can cut costs.
Pro: It costs less. If you’ve ever purchased an exotic granite, you’re probably chuckling at this one. But it’s true that granite has more bank account-friendly options than quartz does. Entry-level granite can run from $35 to $55 per square foot installed, which is significantly less than most quartz options. This price difference really adds up with larger kitchen spaces.
Pro: It’s a natural beauty. Jaw-dropping granite countertops don’t come from a factory. Granite is natural, and with that comes all sorts of intangibles a man-made product like quartz can never have, namely one-of-a-kind patterns and textures that you won’t see anywhere else. Every slab is unique, which really lets you personalize your kitchen.
Con: It’s porous. Like other stones, granite isn’t naturally resistant to moisture. It’s best not to let spills and water rings sit too long since they can stain your granite. An engineered product like quartz can better handle long-term exposure to moisture, and most spills won’t require immediate attention.
Con: It requires more maintenance. Granite isn’t necessarily a high-maintenance material, it just requires more care than quartz does. It’s important to be mindful of the detergents you use to clean it, as certain soaps can stain the stone. Because it’s porous, you need to seal it regularly, a task that can become a nuisance for some homeowners. Depending on the product you use, it’s best to reseal your granite countertops every two to five years.
Con: There aren’t many “clean” styles. Granite has a lot of movement in it, from veins and swirls to spots and speckles. While this is definitely one of granite’s stronger assets, it’s also a drawback for homeowners who don’t want busy countertops. It’s almost impossible to find a clean, simple style without much patterning. If you’re looking for counters without much hoopla, quartz is likely the better option for you.
Con: It’s brittle. Granite is strong, no doubt. However, it breaks far more easily than quartz does. Breaks can occur in larger pieces with angles and turns during installation. Though most professionals offer to patch up the cracks or cover the costs of a new slab, it’s an extra headache that can set your remodeling project back several days to several weeks. Plus, no one wants to see an investment of several thousand dollars get split in half.
Pro: It’s low-maintenance. Quartz is well-equipped to handle most kinds of detergents, and all it takes is soap and water to remove most spills and stains. It doesn’t require sealing.
Quartz does react poorly with certain chemicals, so always make sure to check your countertop manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance guide before you use a particular product.
Pro: It’s stronger than natural stone. Quartz isn’t totally immune to scuffs and stains, but it’s about as scratch- and stain-resistant as countertops get. As an engineered product, it’s nonporous so coffee, citrus juice, cooking oil and other common kitchen ingredients won’t stain it. The resins and polymers used during the manufacturing process form strong bonds that aren’t easy to break. You won’t have to worry as much about it cracking during installation.
Pro: It’s in high demand. Whether it’s interior design’s shift toward clean lines or a desire for less daily upkeep, quartz is hot right now. It’s a huge selling point for home buyers, so it’s worth taking a look at for house flippers and soon-to-be sellers. If the quartz’s price is right, you could get a larger return on investment in the near future.
Pro: It offers consistent, clean styles. Solid, consistent coloring is quartz’s claim to fame. This makes it a natural fit in modern and contemporary spaces that emphasize form and function instead of details. It works well in traditional spaces that need a clean countertop style to mesh well with other detailed features, such as backsplashes, cabinetry, decor and light fixtures.
Con: It’s more expensive. If you’ve already figured out that less maintenance plus greater strength equals a higher price tag, kudos. An entry-level quartz usually costs as much as a level two granite (depending on where you’re located and where you’re buying the material from). While granite styles under $45 per square foot installed are plentiful, it’s difficult to find a quartz under $50 per square foot installed.
Con: It isn’t suitable for outdoor installations. This is one area where granite has the upper hand. While quartz is generally heat-resistant, it won’t perform well outdoors, whether it’s on an accent wall or in an uncovered outdoor kitchen. Its surface can fade and discolor after long-term exposure to sunlight. On the flip side, a natural stone like granite was born to survive sunlight and other weather elements with ease.
Con: Slabs of the same color always look the same. I’ll say it: Quartz is a tad cookie-cutter. Slab designs are predictable (which some homeowners like) and always look the same from slab to slab. In other words, you won’t ever have a truly unique countertop when it comes to quartz. If you’re wanting a one-of-a-kind work surface, it’s best to stick with granite and other types of natural stone surfaces.
Con: It isn’t the real deal. As durable as quartz is and as innovative as manufacturing processes are becoming, it won’t ever be 100 percent natural, and that’s a deal breaker for a lot of homeowners. Granite’s natural beauty, sweeping swirls, and gorgeous veining aren’t easy to replicate, even with today’s advanced machinery.
This is an article I found that is a little “out of the blue”, but interesting. I remember growing up we had to change our sheets every Saturday, but I don’t think most people change them that often. I would love to know the average.
Warm weather may mean more rooftop cocktails and outdoor workouts, but it also means there’s a whole lot more sweat on your body by the time sunset rolls around. So when you get into bed at night in the months from May to October, chances are you’re bringing more dirt and grime than in the cooler months.
We spend 56 hours per week in our sheets that’s a lot of time. There is a natural accumulation of microorganisms in bedding as people constantly shed skin, saliva, and hair. In the spring and summer, heat and humidity provide the perfect environment for dust mites to thrive, which means they’re likely joining you while you sleep. Oh, and since it’s allergy season, pollen from the air can get in there with you, too, which means it’s basically a full-on microscopic mixer every night. So how often should you be washing your sheets in the heat?
Keep scrolling to find out how often you should clean your bedding in the spring and summer.
Pillowcases should be swapped every week, regardless of the season (your face has bacteria that transfer directly to it), and duvet covers should always be washed every other week. As for the oft-overlooked items, which can also be loaded with some of the creepy crawlies, Calleja suggests washing pillows every six weeks and comforter inserts every month.
There are all sorts of things lurking in your sheets, pillows, and comforters that you may not be aware of, and they could pose a threat to your health if cleanliness isn’t maintained, and your bedding properly laundered. All those dust mites, bacteria, fungi, and pollen on dirty sheets can cause nasal congestion, stuffiness, runny nose, scratchy throat, allergies, provoke asthma, and worsen eczema and acne. Yikes.
To wash properly, research shows that hot water is an effective way to kill dust mites and other allergens. Calleja also suggests using gentle hypoallergenic, phosphate-free soaps and chlorine-free whitening powder when necessary. Because TBH, if you’re going to spend 56 hours a week in your sheets which is basically all of your free time, not counting the hours you’ll spend at the beach or sipping rosé on rooftops you may as well keep them as fresh and clean as possible.
If Fido sleeps in your bed with you, there are a few more things you should know about washing your sheets.
If you’re a hooman (as they say on the Internet) to a Fido or Fluffy or if you live with someone who is you’re likely aware of the overwhelming number of health benefits associated with dog ownership. From potentially lowering blood pressure to maybe even increasing your lifespan, pups are basically an immunity booster in a cute furry package.
And so it only makes sense that dog people would want to spend as much QT as possible with their pups, including at bedtime. Studies show that about 40 percent of dog owners sleep with their pets, but is it really safe to co-sleep?
While dogs can actually transmit some 70 diseases to humans, you don’t need to kick your little buddy out of bed in a hurry. The risks for the average population are probably overall low, especially if you do some simple basic things.
How to safely co-sleep with your furry friend
It may sound obvious, but washing your hands often is a top priority,especially if you’ve just touched your dog and are planning to eat a pre-bed snack (but it’s good advice to follow all the time). This is really really important, pointing to a recent outbreak of multi-drug resistant Campylobactertransmitted from puppies to people, which could have been avoided with proper handwashing. And don’t forget to wash your sheets, comforter, and any other dog bedding on the reg. Probably more often than you think you should.
Secondly, and this is likely another obvious one, keep your dog healthy and clean. One of the biggest concerns for people who sleep with their pet is getting fleas or ticks, which is a valid concern because pet owners are more likely to encounter ticks on themselves than non-pet-owners. (Although, to be fair, this could just be because dog owners tend to spend more time outside.) But you can help keep your bed bug-free by speaking to your vet about the appropriate flea and tick control products, which are now very safe for pets.
One of the biggest concerns for people who sleep with their pet is getting fleas or ticks, which is a valid concern because pet owners are more likely to encounter ticks on themselves than non-pet-owners.
Keeping a close eye on your dog when it’s on a walk or playing in a park is also important for co-sleepers. Eating rotten garbage or dead animals can cause your pet to become ill, and they may spread their sickness to you. There have even by documented cases of the plague and other serious diseases being transmitted from pet to owner.
Everyday grime and dirt that undoubtedly sticks to your dog’s paws could carry some risks, but they “haven’t necessarily been well-quantified. As long as their paws aren’t overly full of muck and all kinds of other things, then probably especially for the average person, the risk is pretty low. And here’s a tip: Clean your pooch’s paws before bedtime!
Of course, there are certain populations of people who should think twice before cuddling up, including young children under five, elderly people over 65, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised generally those with HIV/AIDS or people with cancer and receiving chemotherapy. These groups are not only more susceptible to the types of diseases dogs can spread, they’re also likely to get more severe cases.
What it really comes down to is: Before you let your dog in your bed, invite him to be part of your nightly self-care hygiene routine. You’ll both be better for it.
Here is a wonderfully interesting article from Wine & Food Magazine on keeping your knives sharp. I sharpen mine a little everytime I use them.
Having a great knife makes cooking so much more enjoyable when you have this joy of cutting through something that’s so easy and effortless, plus it’s going to last you a lifetime and can even be an heirloom for your kids.
If you want to get the most out of that fancy new knife you bought—and have it last long enough to actually be an heirloom follow these tips from the experts.
Whatever you do: Don’t put them in the dishwasher.
The biggest mistake people make at home, according to Blanchard and Cox, is putting their knives in the dishwasher. Newer high-powered dishwashers can even warp the steel. You always want to hand wash and hand dry your knives.
“Use a kitchen rag or soft sponge be gentle.”
Remember that boning knives aren’t for … bones.
When it comes to knife work, bones are off-limits. Period. (And boning knives are designed for working around the bones and through the joints.)
People assume that Japanese knives can go through anything, that they’re like samurai swords. They cannot go through bone. They are finely made, like jewelry.
And please don’t try to cut through frozen food, either. That can damage the knife.
Ditch the bamboo cutting board.
What you’re cutting on is almost just as important as the technique you’re using. Hardwood is preferable. You can use plastic or composite rubber, especially when you’re cutting raw proteins, so you can just put it in the dishwasher. Bamboo is a little too rough.
Learn the difference between honing and sharpening.
Both are important. Honing, which you should do more frequently, involves grinding the edge of the knife on a stone to even it out. The process doesn’t sharpen the knife, but it fixes the blade’s alignment, which makes it feel sharper and cut better. Sharpening, on the other hand, involves actually shaving off some of the blade, and should be done a few times a year at home, or at a shop that professionally sharpens knives.
“”you don’t want to sharpen or hone your knifeon anything harder than the steel of the knife itself,” says Cox, suggesting ceramic honing rods. “Hone your knife a couple times on each side – always use the same amount of passes on each side. Go ten or twelve. But if you’re going more than ten or twelve on each side, and it doesn’t go right back, then its time to sharpen.”
Applying oil to a carbon steel knife will help prevent any oxidation or rusting, though don’t use any vegetable oils like canola or olive.
What happens with vegetable-based oils is they get rancid, so use Tsubaki oil, Camellia seed oil, very thin and neutral and you don’t need a lot of it. You can get mineral oil at the grocery store.
In many respects, you want to treat your knives like they are cast-iron pans.
For a stainless steel knife and carbon steel knife, you want to treat it like a cast-iron pan. Even for a stainless steel knife, some knives are high polished and contain nickel and silver. Humidity speeds up the oxidation process, causing the knives to rust, so you want to store them in as dry a place as possible.
Put your corridors to work as storage, seating, or gallery space with these ideas.
Hallways don’t just have to be connective space they can serve a multitude of functions despite the challenges that their long, narrow proportions present. Below, find a practical guide to making hallways that aren’t just for passing through.
Houzzers’ favorite entryways include features such as benches and an indoor contemplative garden
In the first three months of the year, Houzzers saved photos of grand main entry spaces and casual backdoor mudrooms that were full of great ideas. Benches for slipping off shoes, cubbies, and cabinets for storing outerwear and striking design elements such as flame-stitch-patterned wallpaper, an urban landscape mural, and log cabin siding caught our attention. Here are 10 great ideas from the most popular new entry photos uploaded in the first quarter of 2018.
1. Consider sidelights. An entry area behind a solid door may get little to no natural light. These large sidelights cleverly reference two-over-one double-hung windows at a suitable scale for the space and show off the way the log cabin detail on the exterior continues into the house.
2. Don’t ignore the floor in a back entry. The instinct for casual back- and side-entry floors is to go super practical and utilitarian. But durability and high style aren’t mutually exclusive. Slate in a herringbone pattern elevates this room’s design.
And in this popular back entryway, a gray-and-white harlequin floor brings pattern and style to the mudroom.
3. Include a bench. The previous photo shows off how to do a more casual backdoor bench, while this one shows how to incorporate a grander version in a front entry. The benches may serve the same functional purpose, but here the bench manages to be a piece of art as well.
4. Look to far-off lands for inspiration. Did you know you can search by country on Houzz? Click on “Photos” at the top of the page, then scroll down the left side of the screen to “Location” and pick your spot. With so many international Houzz sites, there are scads of places to search for exotic foreign inspiration. This indoor contemplative-garden entry in India made the most-popular list.
5. Plan built-ins thoughtfully. At first glance, these built-ins seem simple, but they are well-thought-out. There are baskets for shoes at the bottom, drawers for devices or gloves above those, cubbies big enough to sit in while putting on shoes, hooks for coats and bags, and baskets in the cubbies above for hats, umbrellas and other smaller accessories.
6. Offer a sneak preview of what’s to come. This Miami home has a lot of whites and neutrals enlivened by brightly colored pieces of art. The rug guests step-on right as they enter foreshadows the colors they’ll see throughout the house.
7. Wow with a mural. In this apartment, visitors are greeted by an urban landscape, hinting at the soft industrial influence the designer used throughout the home’s remodel. Other more practical components include shoe cabinets with a bench on top, hooks for coats and bags, a mirror and a compact laundry niche behind the black doors.
8. Add kapow to a small space. There was minimal room to work within this apartment’s entry, yet it still manages to be grand. The designer went for maximum impact via a showstopping flame-stitch-pattern wallcovering and an 18th-century marble-topped console. A large mirror makes the space feel lighter and larger, and the cobalt door signals that there’s some serious color wowing going on inside.
9. Combine an entry, mudroom, and pantry. This mudroom off the kitchen is a hardworking multifunctional space. The designers extended the style of cabinetry used in the kitchen and included extra pantry space in here. The homeowners can come in from the car with grocery bags and place them on the counter right away for unloading. The sink can serve as a hand-washing station (think muddy kids), bar sink and flower-cutting area. The coat-hook wall provides all the space for outerwear and shoes the homeowners need, as well as a bench.
10. Create function without construction. The best thing about this setup is that you can do it on a tight budget without having to remodel. The shoe racks double as a bench and the mirror and branch-shaped coatrack provide useful decorative touches. A simple basket can serve as a catchall for gloves, hats, and scarves in winter.
Share: What elements are must-haves for your front and back entry? Have you found any great solutions? Please tell us about them in the Comments.
Micro-kitchens, concealed burners, and new oven technologies are some of the surprises for 2018 brought to you in an article by Houzz.
Dream kitchens, live presentations of the latest smart-home appliances and cooking demos by famous chefs greeted visitors to EuroCucina and FTK (Technology for the Kitchen), the biennial events that took place during the latest installment of the Salone del Mobile trade fair in Milan, Italy, from April 17 to 22.
We kept an eye open for signs of how the most lively and innovative space in the house, the kitchen, is evolving. Among the exhibits were increasingly flexible setups, commercial appliances redesigned for the home cook and innovative new technologies. Picking up on the current trend of the integration of kitchen and living spaces, designers also presented kitchen features that either blend seamlessly into their surroundings or disappear altogether. Here are some of the kitchen innovations coming your way in 2018.
EO 01 freestanding kitchen, designed by Elisa Ossino for Sanwa
1. Beautifully designed compact kitchens. These kitchens have everything you need — a sink, cooktop and storage space — all in a mini unit.
SC 01 linear wall-mounted kitchen by Sanwa
Sanwa Company presented compact kitchens that fit well into any space.The floating model pictured here features an extractor hood and has an affordable price tag — compared to other models on the kitchen market of about $1,950 (1,600 euros).
Another compact kitchen on wheels (not pictured) can also be used in outdoor spaces and can accommodate a mini fridge.
AC 01 adjustable compact kitchen by Sanwa, designed by YutoRie
Designed with wheelchair users in mind, Sanwa presented another wall-mounted kitchen that can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button.
It features a panel that can be flipped down to conceal the kitchen appliances and convert the unit into a desk.
Inside System, a customizable walk-in unit, here containing a K-Lab kitchen, both by Ernestomeda
2. Super organized kitchen-bar. When the kitchen invades the living room, everything is exposed, and therefore everything needs to stay tidy. According to the 2018 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends survey, decluttering kitchen surfaces is a constant worry for the vast majority of respondents other kitchen obsessions, like replacing hand towels or composting, trailed far behind.
Therefore dividers, bottle holders, hangers, glassware racks and other organizers are becoming increasingly incorporated into kitchen designs. Ernestomeda offered a solution with its Inside System, which allows anything including a kitchen to be hidden behind fully retractable doors.
Surf kitchen drawer organizer by Ernestomeda
Natural and Color Trend by Stosa
3. Continuous surfaces. Kitchens that are open toward the living area are starting to look less and less like kitchens: Pantries match living room furniture and kitchen islands are starting to resemble large tables, made of a single material.
For example, Stosa has integrated gas cookers and a flush-mounted steel sink into a slate-grayhigh-pressure-laminate top.
Monolightkitchen prototype, designed by Fabrizio Crisà for Elica
Even more radical was Elica’s Monolight kitchen concept. This integrates the stove directly into the wood or stoneware counter, concealing induction cookers under the 0.2-inch-thick (5-millimeter-thick) surface.
“We are still working on this prototype, to make sure that the wood won’t change color or deform with the heat,” says designer Fabrizio Crisà, manager of Elica’s design center, in a press release. “I imagined a space without boundaries … in which technology merges with design to offer a new way of working in the kitchen. Even when not in use, this kitchen is a wonderful piece of design to look at.”
SapienStone and TPB Top Porzelanik Barcelona showcased their TPB Tech integrated induction cooker countertop.
BlastChiller by Electrolux
4. Commercial appliances for the home. More and more solutions born in restaurant kitchens are making their way into our homes. One example is the blast chiller, which freezes food with reduced crystallization and minimal effect on its taste and texture.
These are now available for the domestic market. Electrolux’s BlastChiller has three settings: soft chilling at 41°F (5°C), hard chilling at 37.4°F (3°C) and shock freezing at -0.4°F (-18°C). These can be activated either manually, by entering the weight of the food to be frozen, or automatically through a thermometer that measures the inside temperature of the food.
The KeepHeat oven by Hoover is another crossover from the world of commercial kitchens. It can bake but also keep food warm and fresh for prolonged periods of time, maintaining a constant temperature of 143.6°F (62°C). A technician at the Hoover booth told us food that has been vacuum-sealed can be safely stored at this temperature for up to two weeks.
The oven is targeted at those who only have time to cook on the weekends and want to have food ready on demand over the next few days, or for hosts who want to keep food fresh for their guests’ arrival.
Dialog oven by Miele
5. High-tech ovens and stoves. Having debuted last September at the IFA in Berlin, the Dialog oven is a completely new approach to making food.
Once the user has selected the type of food to be cooked on the touch-screen, two internal sensors direct electromagnetic waves at changing frequencies. They detect the weight of the food to be cooked, automatically adjust the amount of energy released and distribute the waves as needed through the oven during the cooking process.
This means that, unlike traditional ovens, which cook from the outside in, the Dialog cooks food evenly all the way through, or directs the energy to where it’s needed most. It can, therefore, cook a dish made up of several components, such as a roast surrounded by vegetables, to perfection all at once, saving time and effort.
It is completely different from its cousin, the microwave oven, despite what you might think at first. “The frequency of the waves is different, the effectiveness is different and the operating principle is different,” says Carlo Santeroni, a product and sales trainer at Miele. “The Dialog by Miele ‘converses’ with the food hence the name while a traditional microwave is only a monologue.”
Induction stove with integrated InductionAir extractor hood system by Siemens
Innovations to induction cooktops and stoves were also presented. Siemens, for example, has developed flexMotion, which remembers the cook settings of each element, allowing you to quickly move pots to another part of the stove. They also integrated a powerful extractor with a liquid collection tray for cleaning up spills.
“The vapors produced while cooking are not necessarily sucked away immediately,” says Giuseppe Rago, a training manager at BSH Home Appliances Group. “For example, this could happen when you are using a very high-walled pot. But the high power level of this hood makes it extremely effective. Our integrated ventilation system, in fact, can filter up to 690 cubic meters [2,500 cubic feet] of air per hour and is therefore suitable even for large spaces.”
SmegConnect, the Smeg iOS and Android app for smartphones and tablets
6. Connected kitchens. Internet-enabled kitchens deserve a separate section here, because more and more companies are introducing smart home automation systems, increasingly in more affordable models as well.
Apps already on the market allow you to peek inside your camera-equipped fridge to see what you’ll need before you go shopping, turn the oven on and monitor what is happening inside while on your way home from work and even set your washing machine and dishwasher cycles.
This year, Smeg enhanced its SmegConnect app to work with its wine cooler. The app allows the user to adjust the temperature in the wine cooler remotely, monitor stock and make purchases. It also connects to major Italian food websites, allowing novice wine lovers to learn more about wine storage and pairing. Stay tuned for linkups with international brands.
Last but not least, first-generation web-connected kitchens used smartphones and tablets as an interface; now everything is on a touch-screen that is integrated into the appliance itself. These screens have become increasingly large, intuitive and multicolored, and they now even offer video cooking tutorials.
Candy has even managed to transform the door of the Watch&Touch oven into a 19” internet-enabled touch-screen, on which you can watch video recipes or browse for and enter cooking settings.
Judging by this year’s fair, it won’t be long until the kitchen is fully integrated into our living rooms, our schedules, and our phones.
What to consider when making your selections and how to create a layered lighting design
Pendants, uplights, downlights, LEDs: are you confused by all the options out there in kitchen lighting when it comes to creating the illumination you need to prep, cook and dine? We’ve asked an expert to explain the different lighting types and the main things to consider in planning an effective design.
Why is kitchen lighting so important? For most of us, the kitchen is the workhorse of the home and a busy spot from morning till night. Good lighting is essential, as it allows you to perform tasks such as prepping food and cleaning up safely, plus, it adds character to a space and can quickly take the mood from functional to cozy, perfect for an eat-in kitchen.
Plan lighting as early as possible. Moving light fixtures after a kitchen has been installed can be expensive: Rewiring and repainting mean costs can add up quickly. For that reason, it’s best to plan kitchen lighting during the design stage.
What is a layered lighting design? Light layering involves creating different shades of light, playing with shadows and using colors to highlight a room’s best features. In the kitchen, it generally incorporates task lighting for food prep and cooking, ambient lighting for general illumination and character, and accent lighting to highlight specific features such as a gorgeous backsplash or a piece of art.
Consider safety first. The first priority of kitchen lighting is to provide sufficient illumination for safe and efficient meal prep, cooking and cleaning. This is achieved with task lighting think LED strip lights under an upper cabinet (these create a lovely, even light with no shadows or heat) or a track system over the island.
Make sure there are no shadows in your prep zones. The best way to do is this is to install task lighting in front of or above you, rather than behind you.
Add ambient lighting for character. Soft, ambient lighting will wash your kitchen with light and create a warm, welcoming glow. It could be in the form of a pendant above a counter or dining table, downlights around the perimeter of the room or a central ceiling light.
Highlight your best features with accent light. Use accent lighting to draw attention to special features such as a backsplash or a dramatic island facade. Installing strip lighting under cabinets or counters is a great way to achieve this. You could also add accent lighting to glass cabinets or open shelving to highlight your displays.
Choose the right style. When it comes to choosing kitchen lights, take your cues from your home’s architecture and the lighting styles in the rest of the home. Choosing similar styles (or at least having a unifying theme such as shape or finish) will create a sense of flow among the spaces. This is particularly important in an open-plan kitchen that flows directly into a living or dining area.
When it comes to decorative lighting trends, the Scandi look is still popular, and simple styles in natural wood and black, white and industrial metallics.
Get the proportions right. With pendant lights and other decorative styles, size is important: too large and the fixture will overwhelm a small kitchen; too small and it may get lost in a large space.
It’s important to hang the pendant at an appropriate height to reduce the risk of people bumping their heads. Generally speaking, it should be about 32 inches above a table or counter.
Take control. Lighting control systems allow you to alter the illumination as needed and change the mood of the space. With dimmers, you can go from bright lighting for precision cooking to a warm glow for dining. Having controls on separate switch plates lets you control lights in different areas separately.
Don’t be tempted to do the job yourself unless you’re a trained electrician, always hire a professional to do electrical work in your home.
Develop a layered lighting plan to help you create a functional, adaptable and illuminated kitchen according to Houzz.
When planning a lighting scheme for a client’s kitchen, I like to think about cake. Let me explain. On my birthday, a red velvet cake always comes my way, and it includes four layers with a cherry and icing on top. Just like that cake, a well-lit kitchen should have four layers for different lighting needs. I call these light layers: “doing,” “knowing,” “feeling” and “changing.”
“Doing” lights help you perform manual tasks like prepping and cooking in the kitchen. “Knowing” lights help you navigate your way around a kitchen. “Feeling” lights make a kitchen feel inviting and comfortable. “Changing” lights help you adjust to the time of day and set the desired mood. And finally, the cherry and icing on top are all about adding decorative fixtures that let your personal style shine.
Layer 1: Lights for Doing
Your kitchen lighting scheme should start with creating a functional workspace. Adding lights where you need them the most, such as above countertops, sinks, and cooktops, will let you perform manual tasks in a bright and safe atmosphere. We need light to see what we’re doing, especially when using sharp knives and high-temperature burners. You want to protect your fingers, so getting this layer right is important. In the kitchen above, note the strong lighting over the cooktop and the pendant lighting above the countertop. LED lights mounted underneath cabinets are a great way to add functional lighting to your kitchen.
Layer 2: Lights for Knowing
Designers call it “ambient light,” but it is really just a layer of light to help us know where we are and where we are going. Recessed “can” downlights are a great option here because they light up the floor and bounce light off cabinet fronts to create a bright, well-lit space. Adding toe-kick lighting underneath cabinets and islands is also a great way to help prevent stubbing toes at night. Wall sconces are another way to provide the ambient lighting that can help you better navigate your kitchen.
Layer 3: Lights for Feeling
Showcase lights, also known as accent lights, all have one thing in common: They help the space feel more inviting and comfortable. Whether you use illuminated cabinets, chandeliers, sconces or pendants, showcase lights should be visible from wherever you stand or sit in the kitchen. That way you’ll get the benefit of this feel-good lighting at all times. Showcase lights might help you perform functional tasks in the kitchen, but their main purpose is to draw attention and make a room feel complete.
Layer 4: Lights for Changing
As the sun changes location in the sky, lighting needs inside the kitchen change. During the day, natural light from windows might be all the lighting your kitchen requires. But at night, you’ll want your kitchen brighter for cooking meals and more dramatic for entertaining guests. Adding dimmers to your kitchen lighting is key for setting the mood.
Keep in mind that our eyes require more light as we age. So if you expect to stay in your home for awhile, you might want to add more lights than necessary now so you’ll have them later.
The cherry on Top: Decorative Light Fixtures
The fun part is choosing decorative fixtures that look at home in your kitchen, like this barn-style sconce in a country cottage. Think carefully about your personal style and kitchen design and then determine whether the light fixtures you choose can add any of the other layers of light needed.
Not keen on decorative fixtures? Choosing to minimize visible fixtures is a valid style choice ideal for streamlined modern designs. You may want to highlight something else, like the backsplash in this kitchen lit by concealed LED strips.
Flip through our collection of beautiful powder rooms on Houzz and fill your eyes with color and style
Powder rooms are often the jewel box of a home. Usually the smallest room, they lend themselves to doses of color and pattern that might be over the top in a larger space. Today we celebrate them in a new photo series highlighting areas of the house particularly rich in personal expression and beautiful design.
Which would you choose?
1. Featuring oxidized fixtures, this Mediterranean-inspired Houston powder room creates a pop with its blue tile.
2. This Victorian-inspired powder room was designed for a female executive and includes a custom-built walnut chest.
3. A bold mirror and graphic wallpaper create immediate interest in this powder room.
4. The rustic features of this powder room, such as the cement sink and wood mirror, are balanced by the contemporary pendant lights.
5. This formal powder room has a 19th-century French marquetry commode with gilt bronze mounts. The carved and gilded Italian mirror is also from the 19th century.
6. With its graphic blue wallpaper, the counter made from recycled Douglas fir and single pendant light, this room makes a bold statement.
7. This sophisticated powder room in Chicago includes gold fixtures and a gilded picture frame but forgoes a mirror over the sink.
8. The pebbled wall tile and chunky black vanity are the featured players in this powder room.
9. The violet paint and orange pendant light blend harmoniously in this contemporary powder room.
10. This luxurious powder room includes an antiqued wall mirror and gold fluted sconces that add a dose of glam.
11. This sleek powder room includes wallpaper with a metallic weave, chevron-patterned floor tiles and a vintage-style sink with a marble top.
12. This formal powder room includes shaded sconces, custom cabinetry and an elegant trellis-patterned wallpaper.
13. This rustic powder room features a custom sink with a dual-level live-edge-wood vanity and copper sink.
14. This powder room was made from salvaged wood taken from the demolition of a coach house onsite.
15. This glamorous midcentury bath features a chandelier-like drooping pendant light that produces a definite wow effect.
16. This powder room features hand-painted wallpaper and an antique copper fountain that was converted into a sink.
17. This contemporary-meets-rustic powder room includes two frosted glass doors and a vanity and backsplash made from sorghum wood.
18. A dark blue painted ceiling and bright orange mirror add color to this white powder room.
19. With a live-edge vanity and birch tree wallpaper, walking into this powder room feels like stepping into a forest.
20. This modern powder room includes a bold red vanity that pops against the black tile backsplash.
21. This sleek powder room features a limestone mosaic wall, a faucet coming out from the mirror and a glamorous ceiling fixture.
22. This powder room includes a tongue and groove wall painted white, a leather-strapped mirror and a custom vanity sourced from a salvaged barn.
23. This traditional powder room has a subtle nautical theme with its fish-patterned wallpaper and seashell soap dish.
24. This powder room includes a custom sink, vanity, and wall all made from honey onyx.
25. This rustic powder room includes a stained cabinet made from alder and a naturally weathered wood wall.
26. This elegant powder room includes a translucent vessel sink, pinstriped walls, and shaded sconces.
27. With its suspended mirror and pendant lights, this powder room provides plenty of dramatic tension.
28. This traditional powder room elegantly blends scenic wallpaper with an antiqued vanity topped with an Athens Gray stone countertop.
29. The black wainscoting adds a dramatic base for the silver-toned wallpaper and gold bamboo mirror in this powder room.
30. This rustic bathroom includes a custom-designed faucet, a concrete sink, and an antique mirror to complete the look.
31. This nautical-themed bathroom includes a naval-blueprint-inspired wallpaper and nautical-style wall sconces.
32. This exciting powder room features neon green walls and a mirror hung from a timber beam.
33. This powder room was inspired by the ocean, seen in the blue vanity and Seascape wallpaper.
34. This eclectic New York City powder room has gone to the birds, and it definitely has our attention.
35. This vacation home powder room includes a round metal mirror and an unstained wood vanity with open storage on the bottom shelf.
36. This eclectic powder room has LED lighting underneath its translucent white quartz sink. It also features Chinese hand-embroidered silk on the walls.
37. This woodsy powder room features custom bark siding, a slate countertop, and a woven copper pendant light.
38. This powder room is soothing in various shades of gray. It includes a black-rope-framed oval mirror, graphic wallpaper, and a Caesarstone countertop.
39. This white and blue powder room was inspired by a trip to Morocco. The lanterns are made from fire-glazed clay.
40. This rustic powder room features plaster walls, granite floors, and a wood pedestal vanity.
41. This bathroom includes a custom-designed vanity with gold hardware from Bauerware.
42. This Mediterranean-inspired powder room includes a repurposed antique bowl for a sink and a vanity with black iron legs.
43. This bold black and white powder room include an impressive wall of Montauk black slate and a smooth round white vessel sink.
44. This pretty powder room includes a vanity painted light blue, shaded sconce lights and a gold mirror.
45. This contemporary and chic powder room features a stained wood wall and a large slab of marble for the sink.
46. This elegant powder room includes a black vanity and a bold striped black and white painted ceiling.
47. This modern-meets-rustic powder room features a wallpaper that gives the illusion of brass nailheads.
48. This Native American–inspired powder room includes natural wood paneling and shaded dog-head sconces to create a whimsical scene.
49. This simple yet elegant powder room pops, thanks to the wood siding painted robin’s egg blue.
50. This traditional powder room features a detailed vanity in gray and mirror-backed sconces that cast a warm glow throughout the space.
51. This modern powder room uses black and white to make a bold statement, from the speckled wallpaper to the elegant pendant light.
52. The gold spiked mirror, sconces and vanity fixtures in this powder room fit well with the purple and white stenciled wall.
53. This beach-style powder room has white as the main star, while the dashes of color from the art and flowers round out the scene.
54. This powder room includes a custom pedestal sink inspired by an 18th-century birdbath, turquoise walls, and chevron-patterned wall tile.
55. This lovely Moroccan-inspired powder room uses cream tones that contrast well with the black and white tiles.
56. This powder room makes an elegant statement in black and gold. From its golden lanterns to its leopard-print floor mat, this space doesn’t hold back.
57. This refined powder room includes a vanity with open shelving used to display decorative objects. The metal and tweed wallpaper gives the space a luxurious feel.
58. This powder room with its dark purple wallpaper and industrial sink are ready for blast-off!
59. This stunning powder room includes a glass mosaic tile wall in quartz, aquamarine, tanzanite and turquoise colors, creating an ikat-patterned effect.
60. The designer of this masculine bathroom took advantage of its vintage dark wood-paneled walls by adding a custom antique sink and a pharmacy-style mirror.
61. This powder room features a dark green custom vanity created by Millicent Furniture that pairs well with the scenic wallpaper.
62. This powder room embraces life on the ranch. The walls are made from plaster, and the mirror was custom made.
63. The designer of this Mediterranean-inspired powder room used mosaic wall tiles, an antique-style vanity, and an elaborate mirror to create a timeless space.
64. In this powder room, natural grasscloth wallpaper and tropical wood cabinetry create a relaxing mood, while the oversize pendants tie everything together.
65. The black plaster walls, gilded mirror, and cement sink create a moody and glamorous effect in this powder room.
66. The faux-leather stool, sleek shaded sconces, and polished silver fixtures create a super glam look in this powder room.
67. The playful interaction between the gold and silver hardware in this powder room creates a subtle contrast. Light lavender painted walls complete the scene.
68. This elegant powder room includes a custom shade that complements the wallpaper and black shaded sconces. The open shelving allows for easy-access storage.
69. This understated powder room features barnyard pendant lights, a round vessel sink from Waterworks and a Rohl wall-mounted faucet.
70. This farmhouse-inspired powder room includes an antique cabinet repurposed as a vanity and painted Navajo White and a faucet from Waterworks.
71. This steampunk-inspired powder room features elaborate copper piping for the light fixtures and copper plating for the faucet.
72. With its pink flower wall sculpture and monogrammed stool, this powder room blends rustic and feminine quite well.
73. This stunning powder room includes mirror-backed sconces with silver-tipped lightbulbs that provide a warm glow in the wallpapered space.
74. This farmhouse-inspired powder room includes a reclaimed-wood countertop with custom metal strapping. The cabinetry underneath is made from stained alder wood.
75. In this bold and eclectic powder room, the walls were hand troweled in colored Venetian plaster to create the vibrant effect.
76. A small WC makes use of every inch of wall space with bookshelves and bright artwork. Recycled greywater from the sink is used to flush the toilet.
77. Mirrors are used to their fullest effect in this powder room. The back wall includes a large wall-mounted mirror topped with a pivot mirror. A round mirror on an extension arm is also attached to the side wall.
78. This vibrant powder room includes a custom-designed black and white cabinet, a single pendant light in burnt orange and a tropical wallpaper available through Pal+Smith.
79. This powder room includes a custom vanity with leather pulls from Holland & Sherry and a concrete top.
80. The designers of this traditional powder room took their client’s antique cabinet and refurbished it as a vanity.
81. This eclectic bathroom features a custom wallpaper made from printed book images. A long shelf dissects the mirror and the sink, providing a great space to store books or a plant.
82. A large stone wall makes a huge impact in this powder room on a private estate. Bronze fixtures and a leather-strapped mirror complete the scene.
83. This farmhouse-inspired powder room includes industrial sconces sourced from a Swap Meet and a custom cabinet vanity made from reclaimed wood.
84. This farmhouse-inspired powder room includes traditional wainscoting, an antique stool, and a pedestal sink. The glass jar of marbles adds a subtle splash of color.
85. Start your engines! This car-inspired powder room includes a repurposed fuel tank for a vanity and side-view mirrors from an automobile attached to the wood-paneled wall.
86. This lovely traditional powder room has a nautical-inspired mirror and wallpaper. The vanity has a faux bamboo design that complements the mirror hanging above it.
87. This traditional powder room has wainscoting and an inset mirror painted gray. The sconces and wallpaper complete a silvery scene.
88. Vibrant red walls frame a black tiled wall in this bold contemporary powder room. The elegant modern white pendant light adds warmth to the modern space.
89. The designer of this awkwardly angled powder room in Chicago made the most of its layout by including a double-shelf vanity topped with marble. The walls are lined with a beige subway tile.
90. This rustic powder room features hammered-bronze pendant lights, a round mirror with a rope strap and a lime-green wall with a graphic square relief pattern.
91. This beach-style powder room is a vision in white with a bold splash of green thrown in with the art and the unique mirror.
92. This Victorian-inspired powder room has an antique sink and blue and white wallpaper that’s reminiscent of delftware.
93. The style of this transitional powder room is an interesting mix of farmhouse and modern. The rustic vanity has contemporary acrylic sink fixtures. Note the living wall of plants reflected in the oval mirror.
94. This sophisticated powder room includes a large marble pedestal sink and a chocolate-brown natural-grass wallpaper.
95. This modern powder room features a floating sink and a dark tiled backsplash. The integrated countertop is made of white Corian.
96. This simple but sweet powder room has a ladder to hold towels, a wire basket for extra toilet paper and a chalkboard panel on the medicine cabinet that reminds one to smile.
97. This eclectic powder room is lined with more 160 license plates from all over the U.S. A hammered-copper sink and wood mirror complete this rustic scene.
98. This all-white powder room in has many subtle details. The molding on the walls adds depth. The vanity’s original hardware was silver, but it was spray-painted it a matte black.
99. This farmhouse-inspired powder room features a custom vanity that was made on site. The room includes pendant lights that hang from ropes.
100. This stylish powder room plays with colors and patterns, from the red vanity to the intricately patterned wallpaper.
Now you pick, which is your favorite? Pick one and post it on Facebook!
Clearances, codes, and coordination are critical in small spaces such as a powder room. Here’s what you should know by Houzz.
At one time a luxury found only in grand homes, the powder room has become a staple in new American residences. When planned for new construction, they are often given ample space. But when you want to fit one in during a remodel or into an addition, you may have constraints. No matter what type of home you have, it helps to understand how much space is needed for these little or not-so-little very special rooms.
You can choose from a variety of types and sizes for the powder room door. It can be styled like the rest of your home’s decor or unique.
Common widths are 28, 30, or 32 inches (71, 76 or 81 centimeters). Wheelchair-accessible doorways ideally should be at least 36 in. (91 cm) wide. You can go as narrow as 24 in. (61 cm) if absolutely necessary, but anything less than that will likely be uncomfortable, and the door would probably have to be custom fabricated. Standard door heights are 80 or 96 in. (203 or 244 cm), and you will probably coordinate the height with that of the other doors in your house.
Double doors can work nicely if detailed well, especially since they fold into less wall space. Pockets and sliding types provide more choices, as seen in the third photo.
Toilets come in a variety of configurations, such as two pieces or one piece. There are types that can be wall mounted, as in the third photo.
If you are selecting a toilet, get the manufacturer’s specifications from the website or from a plumbing supplier before making a decision about what type will fit and operate properly in your home.
Other options can be different seat heights, electronic controls and different levels of water consumption.
As seen in the previous example and this one, a powder room may need to fit in a narrow space, under stairs or both. The trick is to place the toilet with its back to the descending ceiling. You will normally bend down to use this area so you can cheat some space out of it if you are particularly squeezed.
However, don’t place it in any space less than about 5 feet (152cm) in height. You might be able to go a few more inches below that, depending on your circumstances, but once the ceiling goes below 4 ft., its best use is for storage accessed from an appropriate opening.
It is important to understand that toilets have minimum clearances, which must be considered for their placement. These can vary depending on location and local codes and customs. They can be affected by the type of toilet you install.
The most common configuration requires a toilet to have 15 in. (38 cm) of unobstructed space on either side of its centerline, for a total clear width of 30 in. (76 cm). You then must have at least 24in. (61 cm) clear in front of the toilet to a wall or another object, according to this same building code.
Take note that toilets come in standard round bowl configurations or with an elongated bowl. The elongated bowl adds about 3 in. (8 cm) to the front-to-back depth of a fixture, so a round-bowl toilet will be about 27 in. (69 cm) deep and an elongated type will be around 30 in. (76 cm) deep.
Powder room sinks are primarily a place for quickly washing hands, so the size can be very small, as seen in this Vancouver space, or much more generous, as in the following examples.You can find vessels that measure a mere 12 in. (30 cm) or so front to back and about as wide, and can be mounted to the wall. As long as you have at least 24 in. (61 cm) clear in front of your sink, you can get by with such an arrangement.
This powder room was created within existing floor space and built along with an addition (shown in the plan below). The original area contained an awkward-size closet that saw little use and an old broom closet that contained a flue that was no longer needed.
The pedestal sink is in a room that measures 3 ft. wide and 7 ft. long (91 by 213 cm). The toilet is on the opposite end of the sink, and a door is on the long side of the small space.
If you have room for standard-size sinks and vanities, you’ll be able to choose from an enormous variety of products not to mention you can have something custom designed and built.
Expect that the depth to the wall of pedestal sinks, of any type, will be at least 16 in. (41 cm), with more common depths being about 20 to 22 in. (51 to 56 cm). Those built into a vanity or cabinet could be 21 to 24 in. (53 to 61 cm) deep. Heights are now commonly 34 to 36 in. (86 to 91 cm). Previous customs placed them at about 32 in. (81 cm) high.
When spaces are newly designed or more conventional, a powder room can work well in an area that is 60 in. (152 cm) square. This allows for a pedestal sink and a toilet to be placed on one wall together, the door on an adjacent wall and possibly a window on one of the other walls.
It is important to note that the wall behind toilets, and sometimes sinks, needs to be thicker than a standard wall framed with 2-by-4s. A 2-by-6 construction allows for plumbing with a 3-in. (8-cm) diameter to pass through the wall space, which is necessary for sewage.
Types of construction vary among different regions and building types, so carefully consider buildings that are not wood framed or designed using metric measurements. Remodeling in a high-rise condominium may require considerations beyond those described here.
An electrical outlet must be installed with a listed ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFIC) or listed GFIC breaker that protects the circuit of that outlet. Outlets are required by some building codes to be placed within 36 in. (91 cm) of the outside edge of the sink and at an appropriate height for the configuration of the basin area.
If a window is provided for ventilation, its area must be 5 percent of the square footage of the room or at least 1½ square feet (about 450 square cm). Mechanical ventilation can be used in place of a window and is common. The key is that the ventilation equipment must provide five air changes per hour to the exterior of the building, according to many current building codes in the U.S. All fans manufactured for this purpose will have indicated in their specifications how much air they can circulate.
When space is plentiful and the budget is ample, powder rooms can be indulgently luxurious, like this beautiful space. The plan below illustrates some dimensions that are suitable for more generous designs. You may have a cabinet and countertop custom designed and fabricated, and place the toilet so that it is more shielded from view than in a smaller room.
Tissue holders do not have a code requirement for their placement. However, it’s standard to mount them with their horizontal centerline at 24in. (61 cm) above the floor. Position one on a sidewall or surface at a comfortable distance beside the front of the toilet bowl so that reaching it is convenient but the fixture is not easily bumped.Other elements installed in powder rooms such as light fixtures, mounted soap dishes and mirrors all depend on the style and configuration of the room. Mirrors can be very small or cover an entire wall. Sconces mounted on either side of a mirror at about head height provide a good light source for reflections on the face. Backlit, overhead and recessed fixtures can provide special or dramatic lighting effects.