Cool Kitchen Tricks

By: Danny Lipford

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Kitchens are the busiest room in the house, and most could use a bit of home improvement magic to make them more functional, convenient, and attractive. We’ve reached down deep in our toolbox and pulled out a number of innovative ideas to improve the kitchen that won’t break your budget.

Kitchen Drawer Organization

  • To get the most out of drawer space, install drawer dividers for silverware and cooking utensils. Premade dividers are available at home centers, or custom wood ones can be made to fit any size or shape desired.
  • Another idea is to make drawer bottoms from pegboard and use wooden dowels rods for adjustable spacers. Moving them from one hole to another allows the dowel pins to accommodate various size pot lids and other odd shaped kitchen items.

Kitchen Cabinet Door Modifications

  • Rollout bins behind cabinet doors are a great way to organize the inside of your cabinets. A pullout rack for baking sheets makes finding them a piece of cake.
  • Another good use for a rollout rack is to hide a sliding trash can behind a cabinet door. Premade wire trash can holders are available at home centers, or you can build your own from plywood and use a standard drawer slide to allow it to roll in and out. Attaching the cabinet door to the front of the drawer simplifies the process.

  • To give your kitchen a new look without buying all new cabinets, consider replacing just the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. There are many styles and finishes to choose from at your local home improvement store, or you can order them unfinished and finish them yourself to match the cabinets.

  • You can also give flat plywood cabinet doors a facelift by adding molding to them. Measure in 2½” from the outside of the door and miter strips of molding to length. Stain and finish the strips to match the cabinets, then attach them with brads to the face of the door.

Kitchen Cabinet Solutions

Hanging cabinets often stop short of the ceiling, resulting in wasted space that could be used for display or storage. To make better use of this space, consider adding a gallery rail molding around the top of the cabinet, then decorate the area with plants or collectables.

Another option is to add a narrow custom built cabinet on top of the existing hanging cabinets that extends all the way to the ceiling.

Adding a plate rack to your cabinets gives them a touch of style and is convenient as well. Replacing wood panels with glass on some of your hanging cabinet doors is another way to break up the monotony of a wall of wooden cabinets.

Design Tip

When planning for an island, make a three dimensional mock-up from heavy duty cardboard appliance boxes. Allow 42” between the island and other countertops, and 36” for a walkway.

Countertop Ideas

  • Installing a patterned tile backsplash can provide a colorful accent to your countertops and cabinets. Mosaic tile kits from companies such as JEM Expressions can be imprinted with a wide variety of custom images from painting to family photographs.
  • Vertical wooden beadboard is another creative idea for a kitchen cabinet backsplash.
  • If you can’t afford granite countertops throughout your kitchen, consider installing a granite insert next to the stove as a place to put hot pans from the oven.

  • A combination vent fan/microwave unit mounted over your stove is a good way to free up much needed countertop space.
  • If your kitchen doesn’t have room for a permanent island, consider a rolling cart that can fit against the wall or be pulled out into the room to serve as a temporary island when serving.

Other Tips from This Episode

Cleaning a Faucet Aerator

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Cleaning a Faucet Aerator

When a faucet has a weak or intermittent flow, the problem is often with the aerator. Aerators contain a fine wire screen that mixes water with air to provide an even flow. Over time this screen can become clogged with mineral deposits or debris, reducing the amount of water coming through. To solve the problem, unscrew the aerator from the end of the faucet and soak it overnight in a cup of white vinegar. The acid in the vinegar will dissolve any deposits and make the aerator as good as new.

Dremel Multi-Vise

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Dremel Multi-Vise

The Dremel Multi-Vise attaches to work surfaces up to 2½” thick. The cushioned jaws can grip even delicate objects and expand to over 7” wide. A locking ball and socket base allows the clamp to rotate 360° and tilt up to 50º in any direction for easy positioning. The Dremel Multi-Vise is available at The Home Depot.

Reducing Heat Loss and Gain in Your Home

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Reducing Heat Loss and Gain

Up to 40% of the heat loss or gain in a home is due to leaks in the thermal envelope surrounding the living space. To save energy, make sure the attic has plenty of insulation, and fill any cracks or gaps around windows, doors, plumbing pipes, and HVAC lines. Installing foam gaskets behind switch and outlet covers is another good way to reduce air infiltration in your home.

Power tools used on Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford® are provided by Ryobi.

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