How To : Home Improvement

What's Cooking in Kitchen Renovation

Think of your kitchen as the social hub of your home. Undoubtedly, it's the most trafficked area in your house and is probably where your family gathers the most. It's also the room where you prepare your meals and, most likely, where you do most of your entertaining.

With so much functionality, it should come as no surprise to discover that the kitchen is considered to be the most important room in a house. In fact, 58% of Canadians polled in the 2003 Royal LePage National Home Attitude Study cite the kitchen as having the most impact on potential purchases. When considering a home renovation, remodeling the kitchen is a top priority for many. Whether considering a complete redesign, or a few minor touchups to add some pizzazz, the following options will help make a significant difference:


A countertop serves as the main focal point of a kitchen and a new one can dramatically impact the look and feel of the busiest room in your house. If an upscale look is what you're after, granite is the most popular choice. This natural stone is waterproof and heatproof when sealed and is also durable and stain-resistant. Manmade solid-surfaces are available in a variety of colours and patterns and boast a rich luxurious look. These surfaces are easily maintained with everyday cleansers and most signs of wear and tear can easily be buffed out. If you're budget conscious, plastic laminates are available in a variety of designs. These enduring materials are easily maintained, but one word of caution, they are neither heat or scratch resistant.


Top-quality cabinets can last a lifetime. Equipped with great hardware and built with elaborate finishing systems, new cabinets can spark up an outdated kitchen. When choosing cabinet height, consider the height of your ceilings. For eight-foot ceilings, cabinets should reach the ceiling. For ceilings that are higher than eight feet, 15 to 18 inches should be left above the cabinets. As an alternative to replacing all of your cabinets, consider incorporating glass cabinet doors. Whether frosted, clear or ribbed, glass can enhance both a modern and traditional cabinet. If you are looking to make a dramatic transformation but don't want to break the bank, paint can be used for an instant cabinet makeover. Visit your local paint store for the latest tips and techniques. The choice of hardware can be used to significantly enhance the look and feel of cabinetry. Simply adding chrome knobs and handles can update a traditional kitchen with a contemporary edge.


Hardwood floors have become a popular choice for kitchen flooring. Although often discouraged because of traffic considerations and proximity to water, many are choosing hardwood for its chic look, electing style over practicality. Laminate flooring offers an attractive and affordable alternative. Available in a variety of patterns, durable laminate flooring is resistant to scratching, fading and denting. Laminate flooring requires minimal maintenance — mopping and vacuuming are all that is necessary. Ceramic tiles are renowned for being resilient and easy to care for — especially important in high-traffic zones such as the kitchen. With a wide variety of styles and colour selections, ceramic tiles offer an affordable choice for those looking for durability and style.

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