Ways to Brighten Up Your Kitchen for Summer

Nothing screams summer like a bright, airy kitchen. If your kitchen is stuck back in the dark days of winter, it’s time for an update. From simple changes to massive overhauls, getting a summer kitchen style makes the heart of your home more inviting and functional.

Maximize Natural Light

Whether you have a single window over the sink or an entire wall of windows, making the best use of that natural light is the perfect place to start for your summer style kitchen makeover. Start by giving your windows a thorough cleaning inside and outside.

A layer of dirt or cloudiness cuts down on the brightness significantly. You may be surprised just how much dirt you have on your windows, even if you can’t see the dirt. It’s best to wash windows when the sun isn’t shining on them directly. You’re more likely to get streaks if it’s sunny.

Here are some additional ways to make the most of the natural light your kitchen gets:

  • Reposition furniture to avoid blocking any source of light into the room. Move your table to a place where it gets plenty of natural light.
  • Take containers off your windowsills, and remove blinds or long curtains to let more light into the space. Even small things can block rays from lighting your kitchen.
  • Position a mirror opposite a window. While mirrors aren’t traditional in a kitchen, they are great tool for amplifying natural light. Find a mirror that fits with your kitchen’s design so it blends in seamlessly.

Window coverings can be a challenge in the kitchen. You need something that holds up to the heat and moisture that comes with cooking, but you want light to come in during the day. If privacy isn’t an issue, don’t put anything on your windows, or put a lightweight or sheer valance along the top.

If you prefer something covering your windows, choose curtains made of light fabric. Hang a curtain rod that is wider than the window. This allows you to open the curtains fully, so they don’t block the sides of the window. Choose blinds that go up easily without blocking a large section of the top of the window. Choosing lighter colors for window coverings makes the room feel summery.

Add More Natural Light

Is your kitchen still lacking natural light? If you’re up for a larger project, consider opening up your kitchen a little more. One option is replacing a traditional exterior door with a sliding glass door or French doors leading outside. The larger glass door lets in plenty of light, and the door lets you easily flow between interior and exterior spaces when you entertain.

If you don’t have room for a larger door, swap out your old model with a new door containing a large section of glass. You still get more light than you did before without as much remodeling work. Depending on your home’s construction, skylights may be an option. Skylights let natural light flow into the room from above for a lighter, airy feeling.

Replacing a regular window with a garden, bay or bow window is another option. These window styles let in more light because there’s more window area. They make the room feel larger because they extend outward. These types of windows keep you connected to the outside, which is a big part of summer.

Update Paint Colors

Painting walls is an easy and inexpensive way to change your kitchen. A neutral color on your wall keeps the room bright with plenty of versatility to change up your décor without needing to repaint. When choosing your paint, consider the existing elements in the kitchen you don’t plan to change.

For example, if you already have white cabinets, painting your walls white may make the kitchen feel a little too monochromatic. Opting for a cream or gray color on the walls keeps the look light and neutral with a slight variation to create depth.

A wall full of paint chips may seem intimidating, but deciding on a general color helps you narrow down the options. White is an obvious light neutral color that works well in almost any kitchen. When you head to the paint store, you’ll find a broad range of white and off-white colors. Warm white colors create a traditional look. Use them to create a classic or transitional feel. If your kitchen is a modern style, look for a white on the cool side.

Gray is a popular option throughout the house, including the kitchen. Just like white, gray pairs well with almost any other color. Lighter shades of gray keep the space feeling airy. Add pops of color, such as bold yellow, to warm up the cool look of gray.

Neutrals aren’t the only options for kitchen wall colors. Choosing a bright color for the wall makes the space feel cheerful and shows off your personality. Light blues and greens are popular, as are light, sunny yellows. If you choose a bright color, make sure it’s something you can live with for a while and that it goes with the existing furnishings in the kitchen.

Here are some additional tips for choosing a paint color:

  • Choose a color at home. It’s tough enough to choose colors from tiny paint chips. The fluorescent lighting in the paint store doesn’t help matters. Take the paint chips home with you to see how the colors look in your space.
  • Test it in different light situations. Your kitchen looks completely different at noon on a sunny day than it does late at night. The look may even change from early morning to late afternoon. Keep the paint chips around, and look at them at different times of day to see how the color changes in varying light levels.
  • Do a test run. Buy a small sample can of your selected color for a test run before painting the entire kitchen. If you don’t want to put the paint directly on the walls, paint a piece of cardboard or wood and hold it up to the wall at different times of day.
  • Follow your instincts. Don’t choose white because it brightens the space if the idea of white walls drives you crazy. Ultimately, it’s your kitchen. Choose a wall color that makes you happy and feels sunny and bright to you.

Add a Backsplash

Your backsplash area has the potential to be a dark, shadowy place tucked back under the cabinets. A new, updated backsplash creates a lighter look. Although time-consuming, installing a tile backsplash is a relatively easy project homeowners can do on their own.

Choose shiny tiles to create a reflective quality on the backsplash. A shiny surface maximizes natural light and reflects under-cabinet lights to make the space feel less like a cave. Subway tile or another white tile keeps the backsplash simple and bright. If you want color on your backsplash, opt for shiny glass tiles with sea-inspired blue and green hues.

Another option is to use tile with a bright, bold pattern. The design draws attention and adds depth to your kitchen design. Keep the bright, summery feeling in mind when choosing the tile pattern, but remember — you have to live with the pattern year-round.

Explore Lighting Options

Kitchens need good lighting. Not only does quality light create a bright look in the space, it also makes the space more functional for cooking, entertaining and other tasks. Natural light is important, but you need quality artificial light throughout your kitchen, particularly in work areas. If your existing lights just aren’t cutting it, consider some upgrades.

Start with the bulbs in your existing light fixtures. If you like your fixture but need brighter light, brighter light bulbs could solve the problem and make your kitchen feel more summery. When choosing brighter bulbs, forget about the watts. Instead, focus on the lumens. Lumens describe the brightness of the bulb. One bulb is usually around 800 lumens. Kitchens generally need between 5,000 and 10,000 total lumens to create a bright, functional space. Count the bulbs in your kitchen to see if you come close.

Another element in choosing the best light bulbs for your kitchen is the appearance of the light. The options range from warm light to cool light. Warm light bulbs create a cozy feeling, while cool light is brighter and whiter to energize the space.

To create a bright, summer-like effect, look for bulbs described as bright white, cool white or daylight. Bright white and cool white bulbs are 4100 Kelvin. Daylight bulbs range from 5000 to 6000 Kelvin. Check the bulb packaging to find this information.

If you can’t fix the lighting situation with a simple bulb swap, consider replacing the fixtures with newer, brighter models. For instance, replace a single light with a multi-light fixture. Pendant lighting is an effective way to make the space feel bright because the light hangs down into the space instead of shining from the ceiling. It emits the light much closer to your work surfaces than a flush-mount ceiling light.

Another option is to add new lighting fixtures where they don’t currently exist. This is one way to get the total number of lumens closer to an ideal range if your current kitchen is lower than recommended. Hire an electrician to handle the work.

Look around the space to see where you’re most lacking light. Are there dark corners? Do you need more ambient lighting to illuminate the entire room or more task lighting over work areas?

Consider the following additions to your kitchen:

  • Under cabinet lighting to illuminate your countertops
  • Above cabinet lighting to cast a warm glow at the tops of cabinets
  • Lights inside glass-front cabinets to add a subtle glow
  • Pendant lights over the sink, island and other work areas
  • Track lighting to control the positioning and direction of lights
  • Recessed lighting to increase general illumination in an unobtrusive way

Open Up the Room

If you’re up for a major renovation, opening up a closed-off kitchen makes a huge difference in how bright the space feels. Your kitchen feels much larger, which contributes to the airy feeling. Removing the wall lets natural light shine freely between the spaces, so you get natural light from both sides of the room.

This is another project that requires the help of a professional. Before you think about tearing out a wall, make sure it isn’t structural. If it is structural, the job requires more work to replace the support that comes from the wall. Once the wall is out of the way, add cabinets and countertops as a divider between the two spaces. A large island is also an option.

If you don’t want to completely tear out a wall, a smaller-scale option is to cut out a section of the wall. This helps connect the two spaces, makes the kitchen feel larger and lets light from the adjacent room spill into the kitchen. It’s a great way to feel connected to guests when you’re stuck in the kitchen.

Redo Your Cabinets

Outdated cabinets make the entire room look tired and old. Redoing the cabinets gives them a fresh look and makes your kitchen feel brighter.

Refinishing or painting your cabinets is an affordable option for giving them an updated look. Stripping and re-staining cabinets takes time, but this is an option if you like the design of the cabinets but not the stain color. Going with a light stain supports the bright look you want while keeping the wood look you love.

Another option is painting the cabinets a light color. White is a classic option that creates a crisp look. White cabinets fit into almost any kitchen design, from coastal-inspired and country kitchens to minimalist and modern kitchens. White never goes out of style, and it goes with any other color you choose, from your wall color to countertops and accessories. Gray is another neutral option that fits a wide range of kitchen styles.

Painting cabinets takes lots of patience and precision work. Spend plenty of time cleaning off any grease or debris on your cabinets. Sanding the cabinets well ensures a smooth, even finish. Use thin, even layers of paint to achieve smooth cabinets without drip marks.

If your cabinets need more than a coat of paint, consider replacing the doors on the cabinets. This option works well when the cabinets are structurally sound, but you want an updated look on the doors. Choose a new door style that fits the overall style of your kitchen. Glass-front doors create an open feeling, but organized shelves inside are essential to pull off the look. A cluttered, messy cabinet can make the kitchen feel crowded and disorganized.

For a total makeover, have the cabinets replaced completely. You get to start from scratch with fresh, new cabinets that fit your style and the theme of your kitchen. While you can install cabinets yourself, it takes precision in lining up and installing them.

Consider replacing some upper cabinets with large, open shelving. The shelves break up the large bank of cabinets to make the kitchen feel open. Plus, everything you place on the shelf is easily accessible and ready to use. Once installed, add some bright, summery decorations on the shelves along with your kitchen gear to add an invigorating dash of color.

Update Cabinet Hardware

A less involved way to update the look of kitchen cabinets is by replacing the hardware. The project is simple enough to handle on your own. If the size of the new hardware matches the old, installation is as easy as taking off the old and installing the new. For hardware with different sizing, you may need to patch old holes and drill new ones.

If your existing cabinets and drawers don’t have any hardware on them, adding pulls and handles makes an impact on the overall look. You’ll need to drill the holes for the installation.

When looking for new hardware, consider the overall style of your kitchen and the other metal finishes in the space. Choose hardware that complements those existing details. Shiny, reflective hardware maximizes light in the space.

Use Contrast

It seems logical to go with an all-white kitchen to get a bright, summer look, but too much white can make a room feel lackluster. White overload makes the kitchen seem flat and lifeless. Contrasts are very popular in kitchen design. Balance the white with a few pops of a contrasting color to add depth to the look. Contrasting very dark colors with very light colors makes the biggest impact if you’re looking to go bold.

Using contrasting textures creates interest and depth in your kitchen design. For instance, you might use a textured stone on the backsplash next to a smooth kitchen countertop. Even if the two elements are similar in color, the texture creates a visual separation that makes them more interesting.

You can create the contrast in many ways. Here are a few ideas:

  • Dark countertops with light cabinets
  • Light countertops with dark cabinets
  • A bright white island against a dark wood floor
  • Matte black trim along bright or pastel areas
  • Dark floors against light cabinets
  • Colored backsplash with white countertops and cabinets
  • Bold colored bar stools along a white island or counter area
  • Stainless steel or colorful appliances in a white kitchen
  • Painted interior on cabinets with glass-front doors
  • Bold color or textures on light fixtures
  • Bright, bold decorative elements and accessories on shelving and countertops
  • Two-toned cabinetry where you have one section of cabinetry in one color and another section in a different color

When adding contrast in your kitchen, keep in mind that less is more. Too many bold, contrasting elements quickly make the kitchen feel busy and distracting, which is the opposite of the breezy, relaxing, summer vibe you want.

Add Summer Accents

Simple summer kitchen accents make your space feel bright and sunny, and natural elements help you achieve that look beautifully. Tuck bright flowers into a decorative pitcher or vase to display on a countertop or open shelving. Create a hanging herb garden on a wall near a window. Not only do you bring in a colorful natural element, you have fresh herbs for cooking. A glass bowl full of colorful fruit is another way to bring in color to enliven your space.

Try these additional summer accent ideas in your kitchen:

  • Bright, decorative towels that double as art
  • Bright ceramic canisters
  • Patterned display bowls featuring summery designs
  • Sunny dishes on display in glass-front cabinets or open shelves
  • Colorful glass drinking cups
  • Summery patterned rugs
  • Colorful placemats
  • Vivid cushions on dining chairs or bar stools
  • Bright baskets holding your salt, pepper, spices and oils
  • Cheerful paintings or other artwork
  • Wooden lanterns on the table for a beach-like feel

Which options top your list for creating a bright kitchen style for summer? Little changes can make a big difference in the look and feel of the room. If your to-do list includes new summer-themed hardware, feel free to contact us at Cliffside Industries to learn more about our many styles and finish options perfect for any kitchen.

Stainless Steel Hardware Care

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Do you have what it takes to deploy effective stainless steel hardware care? Cabinet hardware that consists of stainless steel will dazzle if you know how to maintain it properly. To fully understand stainless steel hardware care, let’s take a closer look at stainless steel and the importance of proper stainless steel kitchen cabinet hardware care and maintenance.

What Is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is all around us and is used in a variety of appliances, hardware and tools. It includes a group of alloys that contain 10.5 percent chromium, which helps the material fight off oxidization. Unlike iron and other alloys, stainless steel boasts a passive layer on its surface that provides added protection against corrosion. Thus, stainless steel represents an exceedingly versatile and popular option in kitchens of all shapes and sizes.

There are small amounts of carbon, manganese and silicon in stainless steel. Other elements, such as nickel and molybdenum, may be incorporated into different types of stainless steel, as these elements can provide stainless steel with improved corrosion resistance and formability.

Stainless steel commonly is all around us in our kitchens, too. You may notice it as part of your blender, coffeemaker or refrigerator, along with your kitchen cabinets and drawers.

Recent data indicates the demand for stainless steel kitchens is increasing.

stainless steel appliances

Houzz’s 2016 U.S. Kitchen Trends Study revealed the majority of today’s homeowners deploy stainless steel appliances in their kitchens. These appliances will maintain their appearance for an extended period of time and are designed to complement the décor in a traditional or modern kitchen. Therefore, the demand for stainless steel appliances continues to increase, and this trend may continue into the foreseeable future.

As the demand for stainless steel in kitchens rises, it is becoming more important for homeowners to understand how to maintain the appearance of stainless steel.

For homeowners, ensuring stainless steel hardware looks great day after day may help improve the value of a house and reduce the need for replacement hardware at a later date. Homeowners who spend time cleaning and maintaining stainless steel hardware may be able to save both time and money down the line. Thankfully, the process of keeping stainless steel hardware looking shiny and bright can be simple, especially if you understand what can damage its appearance.

What Causes Stainless Steel to Corrode?

On ordinary metals, corrosion may result in rust and long-lasting damage that is impossible to repair. Stainless steel delivers immense strength and versatility, but it can corrode if you fail to care for and maintain it properly.

Unfortunately, like all materials, stainless steel is not immune to corrosion. And if you’re not careful and diligent with your stainless steel kitchen hardware, you may notice corrosion happens sooner rather than later.

One of the most common causes of stainless steel corrosion is “pitting,” which occurs if an environment overwhelms stainless steel’s passive layer. When pitting happens, you may start to notice dark brown pits on the surface. These pits usually are tough to eliminate as well.

Furthermore, there are three common kinds of corrosion you may notice with stainless steel:

  1. Atmospheric — If stainless steel kitchen hardware is exposed to harmful airborne liquids, solids or gases, atmospheric corrosion may occur. Atmospheric corrosion frequently impacts stainless steel that is located outdoors, particularly in a marine setting.
  2. Chemical — A material that includes a high chloride concentration or corrosive solution may damage the appearance of stainless steel. Also, chemical corrosion can become more severe based on the chloride concentration level of a material, how frequently stainless steel has been washed, and how long the dangerous chemical has been in contact with stainless steel.
  3. Contact — Even a small piece of carbon steel, copper or scale can negatively impact the appearance of stainless steel. Contact corrosion results in the destruction of stainless steel’s passive layer, increasing the likelihood that the material’s appearance could be damaged.

If you understand the importance of cleaning stainless steel hardware in your kitchen, then you should have no trouble keeping this hardware looking great.

How Can You Maintain the Appearance of Stainless Steel Hardware?

To clean stainless steel hardware effectively, you’ll first need to be able to identify and address common stainless steel surface contaminants.

The Specialty Steel Industry of North America, or SSINA, notes the most common stainless steel surface contaminants include:

  1. Dirt

Cleaning stainless steel

Even the most diligent housekeeper may encounter dirt in the kitchen, and this dirt may damage the appearance of stainless steel if it remains unaddressed. Dirt can contain contaminates that may affect stainless steel in a variety of ways. Although some of these contaminates may be simple to wipe off and remove instantly, others may require you to pick up various household cleaners for proper removal.

In many cases, you many need to test different household cleaners and evaluate their effectiveness in removing dirt from stainless steel hardware. You also may be able to use a combination of warm water with a gentle detergent, which could allow you to break up dirt and eliminate it entirely. Also keep in mind:

  • There are many mild, non-scratching abrasive powders that may provide value as well, and these items can be used in conjunction with warm water, clean cloths and sponges for effective dirt removal.
  • SSINA recommends adding a small amount of vinegar to a scouring powder for additional support with dirt removal from stainless steel.
  • The use of carbon steel brushes should be avoided, as this may result in rusting if these brushes leave particles embedded in the surface of stainless steel hardware.

Of course, don’t forget to rinse any cleaning areas in hot water to finish your dirt clean-up efforts. By doing so, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of water spots on stainless steel surfaces.

  1. Fingerprints and Stains

If you have stainless steel doorknobs and drawer handles, it makes sense that fingerprints and stains may become noticeable after prolonged use. Fortunately, those who are prepared to deal with fingerprints and stains can dedicate the necessary time and resources to eliminate these eyesores from stainless steel hardware immediately.

Usually, fingerprints and stains are easy to remove. They rarely affect the corrosion resistance of stainless steel and can be minimized with a traditional glass cleaner. Or you can remove fingerprints and stains by utilizing sodium carbonate and water that are applied together with a soft rag. And, as always, you’ll want to finish up your cleaning efforts by rinsing any cleaning areas in hot water.

  1. Grease and Shop Oil

If you’ve been working on your car and decide to enter your kitchen to grab a break-time snack, you may notice grease and shop oil all over your stainless steel hardware. They can be messy, and you’ll want to clean them up immediately or risk suffering the consequences.

Oftentimes, grease and shop oil can soil the surface of stainless steel hardware and affect surfaces you use to prepare foods, so you’ll want to minimize grease and shop oil marks and stains without delay.

To do so, you can start your cleaning with a combination of detergent and water. If that doesn’t work, however, you’ll need to deploy chemical solvents that are specifically designed for grease and shop oil removal.

The use of non-halgenated solvents may deliver immediate results for grease and shop oil removal, and some of the most common non-halgenated solvents you can deploy include:

  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Ethyl Alcohol
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Toluene

Keep in mind that many solvents are sold as individual cleaners and blended or compound cleaners. Each cleaner is different, and you should read the label carefully to ensure any cleaner you purchase is safe for use with cleaning stainless steel hardware. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer for more information.

What Are the Most Common Types of Cleaners and Methods for Stainless Steel Hardware Care?

When it comes to cleaning stainless steel hardware, you’ll want to do everything possible to avoid scratches and post-cleaning corrosion. Scratches may occur if you use abrasive cleaners. On the other hand, if you utilize a soft abrasive cleaner, such as a pumice stone, you may be able to avoid scratches that otherwise could permanently damage your stainless steel hardware.

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In the event scratches do happen, you may be able to eliminate them or reduce their appearance by using whitening toothpaste or another light abrasive cleaner. This tactic is ideal to minimize the appearance of light scratches.

A piece of fine-grit sandpaper may serve you well if you need to remove scratches from stainless steel hardware. If you use sandpaper, be sure not to push too hard, as this may do more harm than good and actually cause scratches rather than eliminate them.

For effective stainless steel hardware care, frequent cleaning is a great idea. Using a simple combination of a soft cloth and warm water empowers you to break up dirt and debris on your stainless steel surfaces. And when you’re done, be sure to rinse each stainless steel surface with clean water and dry it with a clean cloth to maximize your results.

Organic Solvents and Common Household Cleaners

Organic solvents also may prove to be valuable options for those who require deep cleaning of stainless steel hardware. You’ll need to apply the solvent on an affected stainless steel surface, i.e., a surface that is dirty and cannot be cleaned using a soft cloth and warm water. Then you’ll need to wipe surface with a clean cloth, which may leave a streaked surface.

Using household cleaners such as detergents and abrasive cleaners remains an option for the care of stainless steel hardware. Both detergents and abrasive cleaners may deliver results, but you’ll need to pay extra attention if you decide to utilize abrasive cleaners.

As SSINA points out about abrasive cleaners, the abrasiveness of a cleaner will vary depending on the product. This means you’ll need to check the acidity and chloride levels of any abrasive cleaner that you use. And even if you utilize a product that states “for stainless steel,” there are no guarantees this product is safe for use on your particular kitchen’s stainless steel hardware.

Lastly, there are numerous commercial cleaners that are formed from alkalis, phosphates and synthetic detergents. Like abrasive cleaners, the performance of a commercial cleaner may vary depending on the cleaner’s strengths. To find out whether a particular cleaner is right for your kitchen’s stainless steel hardware, you can contact the manufacturer for recommendations and instructions.

What Are the Best Ways to Take Care of Stainless Steel Hardware?

Maintaining the appearance of your kitchen’s stainless steel hardware may seem like a time-consuming, costly chore. But if you spend a few minutes each day keeping your stainless steel hardware clean, you may be able to avoid long-lasting damage.

To take care of it, here are five tips that you need to know:

  1. Use Clean Cloths Without Exception. If you use a greasy or oily rag as part of your stainless steel hardware cleaning efforts, you may find the appearance of your stainless steel hardware will worsen dramatically in a short period of time. Instead, utilize a clean cloth at all times, without exception.
  2. Avoid Chloride-Containing Detergents. If you use chloride-containing detergents, the risk increases that there may be long-term damage to the stainless steel surfaces in your kitchen. Comparatively, you can eliminate this problem if you avoid chloride-containing detergents.
  3. Wear Cleaning Gloves. Want to reduce the chance of fingerprints or stains from appearing on your kitchen’s stainless steel surfaces? Pick up a pair of cleaning gloves, and you’ll be able to clean to your heart’s delight without having to worry about adding fingerprints or stains on your stainless steel hardware.
  4. Perform Routine Cleaning. The 2015 National Association of Home Builder’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey ranked kitchen remodeling (79 percent) second among the most common remodeling jobs done in 2015. For those who perform standard cleaning of stainless steel hardware in the kitchen, however, there may be no need to remodel. Performing routine cleaning ensures your stainless steel hardware will dazzle consistently, and it may even reduce the need for an expensive kitchen remodeling project down the line. cleaning
  5. Rinse Thoroughly With Water After Cleaning. What good is cleaning your kitchen’s stainless steel hardware if you don’t rinse it down with water afterward? Be sure to rinse your stainless steel surfaces thoroughly with water after cleaning, and you’ll be able to keep these surfaces looking great for years to come.

Let Cliffside Help You Keep Your Insurance Shiny and Looking Good

With the right amount of time and resources, you’ll be able to improve the appearance of your kitchen’s stainless steel hardware. And if you ever need extra support along the way, you can always rely on the team at Cliffside Industries for guidance.

At Cliffside, we have a simple mission — to serve the hardware needs of consumers through our business customers in the kitchen and bath industry with excellent service and ageless, elegant products crafted from high-quality materials. As part of this mission, we supply a wide range of top-notch cabinet hardware in many finishes and styles.

Take another step toward transforming your kitchen into a warm, inviting setting. Contact us today to learn how we can help you personalize your kitchen.

12 Quick & Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen

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Kitchens are often thought of as the heart of a household. We spend a lot of time in our kitchens every day, and they’re usually the backdrop of most social gatherings in our homes. If your kitchen style is beginning to feel outdated and uninspiring, there are a number of quick and easy ways to update your kitchen that will save you the time and expense of a complete kitchen remodel.

Here are 12 ideas that are sure to have your kitchen looking new and improved in no time:

  1. Update Cabinet Knobs

Updating certain hardware pieces throughout your kitchen is a simple change that can have a big impact on the overall look of your kitchen. Replacing basic ceramic or plastic knobs on your cabinets with heavy-duty stainless steel or brass knobs can give your kitchen cabinets a whole new refreshed style. Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve in your kitchen, you’ll find metal cabinet knobs that range in aesthetics from simple and contemporary, to ornate and decorative.Hardware Pieces

Solid brass, bronze and stainless steel knobs are durable and long lasting, even under heavy use. If elegance is your thing, then opt for knobs made of crystal or marble to take your cabinet décor to the next level. These materials look sophisticated and classy. This simple change of replacing cabinet knobs is easy to implement on your own, and it will cost a whole lot less than replacing your cabinets entirely.

  1. Replace Drawer Pulls With Stylish Cup Pulls

Cup pulls add a unique style to drawers by going beyond the basic drawer handle. Whether you’re looking for a way to add antique or rustic style to your kitchen or you want to add modern flair, cup pulls enhance any décor. Since cabinet pulls are used frequently each day, look for quality metal styles that are durable and built to last. Cup pulls also come in interesting shapes and designs like leaves and clamshells to give your kitchen a fun aesthetic.

If you have a removable island or a butcher block in your kitchen, an easy way to make that extra piece look cohesive with the rest of your kitchen décor is by adding coordinating cup and cabinet pulls to drawers and doors. This addition will make your island look purposeful and blend it with the rest of your kitchen cabinets — even if the finish or countertop is different.

  1. Swap out Cabinet and Door Hinges

Replacing a door hinge may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about updating your kitchen. However, older and cheaper cabinet and door hinges have a tendency to break or discolor over prolonged use, especially if they are made of plastic.New hinges

If you think about it, you open your cabinet doors multiple times a day. Over a few years, that can take a toll on those hinges holding your doors in place. Replacing them with hinges that are made from a quality material like solid brass will not only help your cabinet doors function better, but it will make them look better, too! Choose a hinge color that matches the other hardware in your kitchen for a unified look and feel. For easy installation, look for hinges that are adjustable so you can use the same hinges to fit multiple sized doors and cabinets. This small change will make your cabinets look updated and keep them functioning properly for years to come.

  1. Choose a Whole New Hardware Suite

When updating your kitchen with new cabinet hardware, one of the easiest ways to achieve a cohesive look is to choose a matching hardware suite. By choosing a hardware suite, all of the guesswork of matching one piece to another is done for you. A hardware suite includes things like cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, door hinges and even window hardware — all with a similar finish and craftsman style.

Many suites come with multiple sizes of each item so you can update areas throughout your kitchen by coordinating hardware on everything from cabinets, drawers, doors and even appliances. Changing your cabinet hardware is an inexpensive way to give new life to your kitchen, and choosing a matching hardware suite makes it simple.

  1. Install a Built-in Wine Rack

If you’re a budding wine connoisseur who wants to someday own various bottles of the best wine from around the world — or if you simply have limited counter space and a standing wine rack won’t do — then installing a built-in wine rack in your kitchen is exactly what you need!Wine logic wine racks

Wine Logic wine racks are built-in right underneath your kitchen cabinets, eliminating the need to take up any counter space with a freestanding wine rack. Wine Logic racks come with two to five separate slide out trays that each hold up to six bottles of wine. And the best part is, Wine Logic’s horizontal design stores wine in the best possible condition, keeping the corks wet and the wine untouched by air.

The shade from the cabinet also keeps your wine shielded from the light and sun, preserving the natural flavors of your wine. When you’re ready to choose a wine from the rack, simply slide out one of the shelves and browse your full selection of prized wine!

  1. Change Your Lighting

If you have dim lighting, dull fixtures or you’re just not thrilled with the lighting pieces you currently have in your kitchen, swapping out lighting fixtures is a quick and easy upgrade you can do yourself.

Check out online home stores to find coordinating fixtures or browse vintage shops to find unique statement pieces. There are plenty of inexpensive light fixtures to choose from if you don’t have a big budget.

Even if you have multiple light fixtures in your kitchen, don’t worry about finding new fixtures that match exactly. By varying the design slightly, each light fixture will stand out and create visual interest in your kitchen. However, when choosing one-off pieces, just be sure to stick with a theme for your lighting so it looks purposeful. In other words, if you’ve picked a rustic metal chandelier for over your dining table, choose something that is also rustic inspired to hang over your kitchen sink, like a simple pendant light, and keep that theme going with other lighting choices as well.

  1. Mount LED Lighting Under Cabinets

The kitchen is one place in particular where the more lighting you have, the better. By installing extra lights underneath your cabinets, you’ll give your kitchen a high-end feel for minimal cost.

Under-cabinet lighting serves not only a fashionable purpose by creating visual depth in your kitchen, but it serves a functional purpose as well. The added lighting will make everything from chopping veggies to reading recipes to measuring ingredients easier to see as your countertops will be under direct light from above. And as far as style goes, the right lighting can make all the difference!

  1. Refinish or Repaint Cabinets

Installing new cabinets is an expensive and time consuming task you will likely need to hire a professional to do. If you want the look of new cabinets but you don’t want the cost and hassle of completely replacing your old ones, then give your current cabinets a facelift with a new stain or paint color.

When choosing your new cabinet color, the options are limitless! White is a popular choice for cabinet colors because it goes with just about everything and will lighten up your kitchen. If the idea of having a kitchen that stands out is your thing, however, then pastels like sage green and light robin’s egg blue will give your kitchen a rustic feel with a subtle pop of color. Additionally, modern colors like bright red and deep gray are bold choices that will certainly have your kitchen making a statement in your home.

After you have your perfect colors selected, painting your kitchen cabinets can be done in a just a few steps:

  1. Remove cabinets from the wall and lay them on a flat, protected surface.
  2. Take off the doors, drawers and hardware and lay them flat as well.
  3. Get rid of existing paint, gloss and dirt by rubbing a thin layer of deglosser over your cabinets.
  4. Paint on one coat of primer over every surface you’ll be painting.
  5. Once the primer is dry, paint your cabinets with two coats of your chosen color. Make sure the paint has completely dried between coats.
  6. Reattach doors, drawers and hardware, and rehang your newly refinished cabinets!

  1. Add Custom Appliance Covers and Handles

If your old fridge still runs like a champ on the inside but it’s starting to look like a but run-down and haggard on the outside, spruce it up with a DIY custom cover! Appliance covers are fastened directly to the outside of your appliance, masking their appearance on the outside and making them blend in with your kitchen cabinetry. You can take materials like bead board paneling, wallpaper, wood from old pallets or even mismatched wood scraps from barns to create an interesting look for your old appliance.

If you’re going for wood paneling, the process is pretty simple. Fasten the pieces together and cut to the size of your appliance. Then, remove the handles from your appliance and glue the panels onto the front using a hot glue gun. You can either paint the wood and the sides of your appliance to match your cabinets, or you can leave it as is for a natural unfinished feel. Complete the look by adding new appliance pulls to match the rest of your kitchen hardware. Appliance covers can be added to just about any kitchen appliance that has a door like a refrigerator and dishwasher.

  1. Update Switch Plates & Outlet Covers

Over time, switch plates and outlet covers can become dingy and dirty. Replacing your old outlet covers is a quick way to add some new life to your kitchen décor. Switch plates and outlet covers are no longer stuck just being basic functional pieces on your wall. There are many different designs, materials and finishes that can complement the look of any room. Choose switch plates and outlet covers that are made from high-quality metal materials because they are more durable and stylish than basic plastic ones. Plus, you won’t have to worry about kitchen splatter creating unsightly stains on your covers, as this material is super easy to wipe clean!Outlet Covers

  1. Choose New Window Hardware

Updating the hardware on your kitchen windows can take them from standard to standout in seconds! Typically, window sash locks and lift pulls blend in with your window color, but switching these traditional styles up with an elegant bronze or a satin nickel finish will add interest and pizzazz to your windows. You can also choose a finish that matches the rest of your kitchen hardware for a pulled together style.

  1. Install a New Backsplash

Backsplashes are a fun way to break up solid kitchen wall colors while protecting your walls from food splatter and spills. The tiles used in creating a backsplash, whether they’re made of ceramic, vinyl or another material, can be easily wiped clean to remove all food debris after cooking.

When choosing a backsplash color scheme, keep in mind the type of look you want for your kitchen. By choosing a backsplash color that blends in with your wall color, you’ll be creating a streamlined, coordinated look. If you want to make a statement and have your backsplash pop, try choosing one or even a few colors that accent your wall color, making it stand out from the background.

Tiling a backsplash may seem difficult, but it’s actually easier than you’d think. Many home improvement stores sell tile backsplash in larger sections that are partially assembled, so all you have to do is piece them together like you would a puzzle when gluing them to your wall.

You can also create a one-of-a-kind backsplash by purchasing individual tile pieces and putting them together yourself. This could end up being somewhat time consuming — and you’ll need a steady hand to get those measurements exactly right — but the result could be amazing! Just keep in mind, the smaller the tile pieces are, the longer and more intricate this project will become. There are many tutorials online that will show you the tricks of the trade and give you a handle on exactly what to do before your start.

Get Started Updating Your Kitchen Now

There are lots of ways to update your kitchen that don’t involve taking on an exhausting complete kitchen remodeling project. Sometimes simple upgrades like replacing cabinet hardware and quick changes like swapping out light fixtures are all you need to give your kitchen new life.

Even adding new décor pieces like food-themed wall art, rustic chalkboards and decorative fruit baskets will add extra flair to an otherwise plain kitchen design. If you’re up for making a few simple swaps and working a little DIY magic, then refreshing the look of your kitchen can be quick and easy!

Stainless Steel Hardware Care

Stainless steel is a high quality, sturdy alloy containing at least 10.5 percent chromium. Chromium is essential because it’s the component that helps prevent rust. Without proper care, though, stainless steel can corrode. Follow these guidelines using items commonly found in the kitchen. They’ll keep your stainless steel hardware bright, shining and unblemished.

Avoid These at All Costs

Before you start pulling out cleaning supplies, here’s a list of materials to leave in the cupboard. Do not use any of these on stainless steel:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Oven cleaner
  • Steel wool or another abrasive scrubber
  • Very hard water or dirty water
  • Commercial silver polish
  • Antibacterial cleansers

Certain substances speed up corrosion, so try to keep them away from stainless steel:

  • Standard steel or other metal
  • Seawater
  • Salt or salty foods

Also, if it’s been heated, let clean stainless steel cool before you clean it.

Erase Everyday Buildup

To remove ordinary grime and keep stainless steel hardware sparkling, wipe it with a soft cloth that’s been dipped into a mixture of warm water and mild liquid dish detergent. If you want, substitute a little ammonia for the detergent. Rinse off the cleanser with plain water, and dry it with a clean cloth.

Be sure to wipe off water that’s on stainless steel. Though it’s not harmful, it can lead to hard water stains you’ll have to eliminate later.

Remove Grease

Clear away grease buildup with a nylon scrubbie. Dunk it into hot water with a squirt of dish detergent added, and scour. Be sure to rinse away the soap and towel dry the area.

Eliminate Stubborn Residue and Stains

If a liquid cleanser doesn’t work on dirty hardware, make a paste out of baking soda and dish detergent. Gently clear away gunk using a nylon scrubbie or soft toothbrush. Wipe any remains with straight vinegar. As always, rinse and dry thoroughly.

Get Rid of Adhesives

To remove sticky residue, use an alcohol-based solvent, such as acetone. After the gumminess is gone, wipe away any cleanser left behind.

Buff to Gleaming

After cleansing your hardware, make it really gleam. Apply lemon oil or a dedicated stainless steel polish with a cloth, and buff dry with a second clean, lint-free cloth. Commercial polishes form a layer over stainless steel to help it repel dirt. The protection stays in place for several months. If you want to remove it, rub the area with a soft cloth damped with alcohol.

For best results, don’t use a stronger cleanser than necessary. Choose the one that fits the situation, and always be sure to wipe the surface clean and dry.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Kitchen Hardware

selecting cabinet hardware

Accessorizing your kitchen is a way to express your style. Selecting the right kitchen cabinet hardware will give your kitchen an immediate update in appearance and functionality. Whether you’re giving your existing cabinetry a fresh new look or searching for the knobs and pulls to fit a new installation, there are a number of factors that should influence your final choice.

From the practical uses of hardware to the purely aesthetic appeal, we’ve covered a number of things that you’ll want to consider to be able to make the most appropriate choice for you and your home. We’ll also highlight each of our hardware suite collections that include a minimum of four handle sizes along with coordinating knob designs, cup pulls, cupboard latches and hinge options. Most of our suites offer various choices in finishes to provide an accommodating array of color for every kitchen style.

We’ve recently added two new lines of contemporary brass hardware to our suite collections to provide you with a wider range of decorating possibilities. With eight top-quality kitchen hardware collections, we’ve got the look for any style you want to create.

While your kitchen hardware is a small part of your home, it is an important element of the overall design of your kitchen and is the added “spice” that improves the look and use of your cabinetry. It’s the final touch that establishes the style and mood of the space. It’s the fine detail that that reinforces your personal taste of simplicity, elegance or uniqueness.

 

Kitchen Hardware Collections

Our extensive line of quality, crafted suites offers you a consistent look with all your fixtures that can be beautifully used throughout your home. Because we offer a wide range of hardware designs and finishes in our collections, you can be creative with color while still maintaining a consistent look in your kitchen and in other rooms. Many of our suites come in ten different finishes. So, whether you need a few pieces or a full hardware set, you will be impressed with the options available in our collections of handles, knobs, cup pulls, latches and hinges.

 

Tips for Selecting the Right Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

visual appeal

When designing or redesigning your kitchen, there’s no other part that is so small yet so vital to the overall theme you’re trying to achieve in your decor than your kitchen hardware. Although highly practical, handles, pulls and knobs add a lot to the visual appeal of your space. Just an update in hardware alone can change the mood of your kitchen. With so many options in interior design styles that you can mix and match, these four factors will show you how to select kitchen hardware that complements you and your home in every way.

 

Functionality

The practical matters of kitchen hardware make it a necessity in a high-functioning kitchen. Be sure to keep in mind how the size and shape of a chosen handle or knob will interact with other open doors and with traffic moving through your kitchen. Also take into account the hands that will be opening doors and drawers and whether there are any specific issues like arthritis or other physical problems that make gripping some handles difficult.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Some handles and knobs will stick out further than others. If your kitchen is more spacious, this will likely be less of an issue, but if you’ve got limited space, choose hardware for base cabinets that doesn’t protrude too far beyond the countertop.
  • The larger and heavier the drawer or door, the larger you’ll want the handle to be. All our hardware suites have a minimum of four different sizes of handles along with extra-large handles for paneled appliances.
  • Larger handles are also easier for gripping, so these may be the best option for those using your kitchen that have arthritis or big hands.
  • Handles, cup pulls or knobs could all be an option for the same door or drawer. Consider how each would work to help you open and close the drawer or cabinet that you’ll use again and again.
  • Quality materials in the manufacturing of kitchen hardware play a big part in weight, strength and durability. All of our collections are primarily made of brass, bronze and stainless steel, and our special-order hardware is mainly crystal, pewter, marble and stainless steel.
  • If you live near the ocean where the air has a high content of salt, choose non-lacquered pieces such as stainless steel, marble or wood.

 

The Interior Design Style for You

What’s your interior design style?

Don’t feel like you have to conform to just one style — you can mix it up to get a uniquely defined theme to your kitchen. But it helps to know what the main styles are to guide you in the right direction for your kitchen cabinet hardware selection.

forming the foundation

The list that details all the different styles for kitchen decorating is long and creative. Whether you like the look of art deco, French country or Tuscan design, you’ll find these three main decorating styles form the foundation for all the creative themes.

 

Classic/Traditional

Whether you favor old-world charm, country creations or a classic cottage designs, traditional styling welcomes the inclusion of coordinated elements, comfortable layouts and timeless touches. The use of natural colors and materials is the focus to create a space of symmetry and balance.

A traditional European-styled kitchen honors elegance with personal expression. Our Sedona Suite provides the timeless look to Old World-inspired designing and a unique option to add a rustic look to any space. Crafted from blended metals to produce three distinctive patinas, you’ll love the how the handle’s circular base and thin, minimalist bar meld with your cabinetry.

All Sedona collections are uniquely distressed and pitted to give that “worn-and-loved” look to the variety of handles, distinctive knob designs and cup pulls. Although only available in three color choices, you won’t be disappointed at the unique offerings in design and personal expression you can make with this kitchen hardware collection. And if you’re feeling bold, be sure to add that rustic look in two or all three of the finishes.

 

Contemporary/Modern

Contemporary and modern designing often incorporate sleek lines — straight or curved — and solid colors. Shades are generally muted neutrals with a splash of bold colors in accessories and furniture. This style ties into current trends, reflecting the style of the design and fashion industry’s latest looks. With an organizational focus of keeping clutter out of view, there’s lots of opportunity to adorn cupboards, drawers and other hideaways with just the right hardware for the room.

In the kitchen, this style would include tubular or rectangular options for hardware with streamlined pulls. Our Stainless Steel Suite is a popular choice for this look due to its visual benefits as well as its durability. This collection includes two distinct styles of solid bar pulls with either thin legs or wide feet in a range of sizes. With a brushed natural finish, this collection will fit into any modern kitchen design to match other stainless steel elements or be a crisp and clean option to add some practical elegance to any space.

 

Transitional

Transitional designing mixes up modern and traditional elements. For example, a modern-designed kitchen can be accented with some traditional furniture and fixtures to create a cozy classic space. Our Rope Suite is one of our most popular traditional styles that has remained a favorite for years. The intricate rope design on the handles and pulls adds just the right amount of decorative interest that compliments a variety of kitchen styles.

As one of our solid brass collections, the Rope Suite hardware is available in ten finishes, like silver satin that will beautifully contrast with deep toned cabinets or the iron finish that looks distressed and textured for a classic rustic look.

 

Material & Finishes

Cabinet hardware is manufactured at all different levels of quality. Comparing a kitchen with low-end hardware to a kitchen with high-end hardware, you can tell the difference in wear and functionality after a few years of use. Just like most products, the quality comes from the materials used as well as the process of manufacturing. Cliffside’s fine hardware suite collections are mainly made from forged European bronze, solid brass and top-quality stainless steel. The weight and strength is noticeable as soon as you hold it in your hands, and it is likely that the cabinetry will need an update long before our properly cared-for hardware.

forged european bronze, solid brass and stainless steel

When you’ve found a hardware design that suits your style, you then need to decide on the finish. While we’ve made it a little difficult by offering our collections in so many finishes, we have a few guidelines to show you how to select the finish of your kitchen hardware to suit your space and your personal taste.

  • Look at the other fixtures in the room like appliances, faucets and lighting, and match up your hardware finish with one of those. Have a brass faucet? Get your kitchen hardware in our antique brass finish.
  • Don’t match every finish in your kitchen (unless that’s just the look you’re going for!). You can harmoniously blend chrome with polished nickel or black with silver satin.
  • Complement painted cabinets with colorful classic finishes such as Venetian bronze, old antique, polished brass or old copper.
  • Mix up hardware from different collections and keep the same finish. Four of our suites come in the same coordinating ten finishes, so you can easily mix them up, and our newest collections, Modern and Carena, are available in the same four coordinating finishes.
  • Select contrasting finishes that work well together for a uniquely modern style. Iron furnishings with stainless steel appliances and old copper hardware can look visually appealing and bring an intriguing, eclectic feel to your space.

8 cabinet hardware options

We offer eight design options in our suite collections and cover every mood and style of interior design. We have four kitchen hardware collections with the widest selection of ten finishes:

Our two newest collections have four finishes to suit your decor:

Our Sedona Suite is made with three variations of blended metals to provide three distinct color choices.

Our Stainless Steel Suite is the eighth collection that boasts a luxurious look in its natural composition.

 

What and Where to Install

When you’ve got a style defined, the right collection picked out and the finish decided upon, you can now take into consideration what hardware you need and where you want it positioned on your cabinetry. If you’re getting new cabinetry, ask that handles not be put on until all the cabinets and drawers have been installed. That way you can hold your handles, knobs and pulls in different positions and heights to find just the right setup.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re deciding on the positioning and items of your kitchen cabinet hardware selection:

  • The general rule for handle placement (but feel free to break this rule to complement your personal taste) is to position handles horizontally on pull-out drawers and vertically on doors.
  • For a streamlined look in a contemporary kitchen, you can consider placing handles horizontally on doors.
  • Open doors and drawers should not have handles positioned in a way that they will hit one another.
  • For a minimalist look, you could equip all your lower cabinetry with handles and knobs while leaving overhead doors free of fixtures.
  • A knob, handle or pull could be an option for most of your cabinetry. Consider the functionality and look of each and how it ties in with your defined style and use. Round kitchen knobs provide a home-style country look and may be a better choice for the majority of your cabinetry. Alternatively, handles and pulls add more of a sophisticated, elegant look to your space, especially when combined with certain finishes.
  • Wider drawers can be paired with two knobs or one wide handle. All of our suite collections offer at least four different sizes of handles and two-three knob sizes and styles.
  • You can decide to contrast or blend in with your positioning and hardware selection. While cup pulls have a somewhat classic appeal, they may be just the contrasting element you’re looking for in your art deco styled kitchen.
  • Your budget may also determine the choice of hardware to appropriately equip your kitchen.

 

Hardware Collections Make It Easy to Update Any Room

Picking pieces from the extensive options in our suite collections can be done for every room of your house. Whether you have some living room furniture that needs to be outfitted with a new look or a wardrobe closet that needs to be a bit more appealing, you’ll be able to use our handles, knobs and pulls to give those pieces a fresh update.

Our miniature knobs are a popular pick for pull-out spice racks and breadboards and are just as useful on an antique desk drawer or as a decorative addition to a handle-less chest of drawers. With a quick glance around your home, you can probably find an array of places you could update to better fit with your personal style. Get a simple latch or set of handles to make your bathroom a better-functioning and better-looking space for you and your family.

The most important factor to remember is that decorating your home is mostly about you. Mix and match from our different collections and vast selection of specialty items to create that eclectic look that you can call home.

Now that you’ve got the information needed to select the right kitchen cabinet hardware, go make a statement with your decorating from one of our hardware suite collections.