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Residential and Commercial plumbers and plumbing contractors available in Orland Park, Tinley Park, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, and the surrounding Chicago South Suburbs. 24 Hour Emergency plumbers.

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Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing Blog

Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing is Tinley Park, Orland Park, Oak Forest, Midlothian, Orland Hill, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, Crestwood, Palos Heights, Oak Lawn, local plumber. Read our blog for advice, tips, a good laugh, and basic home improvement.

**We are moving our old blog to our new and improved website. Too see all our posts visit kevinszabojrplumbing.blogspot.com

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Senior-Friendly Bathroom: The Essentials

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Senior-Friendly Bathroom: The Essentials

For ageing adults, performing basic everyday activities and using facilities, such as the kitchen or the bathroom, is becoming increasingly difficult with each passing day. Not only that but being able to take care of their daily activities safely and effectively can also be compromised by their diminishing health and mobility.

This is especially true when bathrooms are concerned, as they pose one of the highest safety-risks in any home. That’s precisely why people – as they get older – usually opt for a bathroom remodel, aiming to create a safe environment they can later use without any major hindrances. With that in mind, here are some senior-friendly bathroom essentials you should definitely keep in mind.

Replace regular faucets with lever faucets

Stiff joints are one of the things that are sure to welcome us once we get older. With it comes the inability to use your hands properly and, more often than not, it’s followed by light tremors and shakes. That’s why, if you’re remodelling a bathroom for your senior loved one, you should install lever-controlled faucets in order to make things at least a bit easier. These completely eliminate the unnecessary twists and turns that can be quite difficult for the elderly.

Opt for a walk-in shower instead of the bathtub

Next, having to climb into a bathtub in order to take a bath is literally impossible for some elderly. That’s why you should consider installing a walk-in shower so that they can enjoy a warm shower without having to overcome significant difficulties. Additionally, consider adding a sprayer attachment for their showerhead, so that they can detach it and hold it in their hands while showering which will make things much, much easier.

Don’t forget the grab bars and rails

Furthermore, install grab bars and rails throughout their bathroom to introduce an additional level of safety. If you provide them with something they can grab onto every time they feel unsure on their feet, you will make the entire bathroom-using experience far more pleasant. Some of the places you should definitely install these are the shower and the toilet area, but you can add them to other areas as well.

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Make sure that the bathroom is light

Having lots of light in any room not only makes the room look nicer but it also makes it much safer to use. That’s why in a modern aged care facility the bathrooms are always well-illuminated and bright. Therefore, aside from the natural light, you should make sure that you introduce plenty of artificial lighting options in your senior’s bathroom to prevent any mishaps and make the bathroom safe to use.

Raise the toilet

Another thing you should consider is installing a raised toilet so that your senior loved one can use it as comfortably as possible. The reason behind this is the fact that seniors usually experience difficulties when having to sit down and get back up, so raising a toilet for just a few inches will make the world of difference.

Don’t forget the non-slip bath mats and rugs

Finally, the bathroom floor can be quite a dangerous place, especially for people whose mobility is somewhat impaired. That’s why you should make sure you cover the bathroom floor with quick-dry non-slip rugs and even cover the inside of the shower with non-slip bath mats. This way you’ll reduce the possibility of accidental slips and falls that can have some quite serious consequences.

Therefore, if you’re ever in the need to redecorate a bathroom for your senior loved one, or you’re simply thinking ahead and you want to create a safe oasis for yourself once you get older, keep these ideas in mind. The bathroom can become quite a dangerous place once you get older so taking steps to make it safer to use is always a good idea.

Guest Contributor, Lillian Connors

Why Your General Contractor Must Have Insurance

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Why Your General Contractor Must Have Insurance

When you’re getting construction work done, you need to consider a lot of things. For one, you have to set a budget that you must work to stick to for the entire project. For another, you have come up with a design that will work for you. You will also have to find a good general contractor to help make your project come to life.

Finding a good general contractor can sometimes be tough, but you need to do your best to find one who does not only have the expertise, capability, and experience to oversee your construction, but also the proper contractor insurance coverage.

Why do you need your general contractor to be an insured one? Here are some of the reasons.

To confirm that the contractor is legitimate

Many individuals offer their services as a contractor but don’t actually have the license to do so. If a contractor is insured and provides proof of coverage, then you can be sure that that contractor is legitimate. Securing a license to operate as a contractor requires having insurance coverage. So if your contractor is insured, then he or she is a licensed one.

To not be liable for injuries and damages

The most common insurance policies contractors have are general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. The former pays for any claims made for third-party injuries or property damage, while the latter covers the medical expenses and lost wages of workers who suffer an injury while working on your construction project.

If your general contractor doesn’t have them, then you will in effect be the contractor, and therefore liable for the injuries, property damage, or even deaths that happen on the work site.

To lower costs in the long term

While you may be able to save money from the generally lower rates that unlicensed and uninsured contractors may offer you, you may still end up spending more in the long run. You could be shouldering the cost for construction mistakes that need to be rectified, or pay for an injured worker’s hospitalization and medications if your general contractor has no insurance coverage.

Hard pass on uninsured contractors

Their services may come cheap, but uninsured contractors could cost you more. Aside from being unsure about the quality of work because of the lack of qualifications, an uninsured general contractor can make you a target for a lawsuit that could end up bankrupting you.

So even if someone offers you such services for cheap, steer clear of them if they have no insurance. The risks are just too high, and you wouldn’t want to take them on.

Guest Contributor, Rachel Porter

Dealing With Flood and Water Damages

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Dealing With Flood and Water Damages

Water damage from a flood is one of the worse disasters that could ever hit your property, and it doesn’t even have to involve a foot or two of floodwater. Even just a few inches of water in areas inside your home or business that aren’t supposed to have water can already force you to fork out a few thousand dollars to deal with water damage.

What should you do in case your property suffers from flood and water damages?

In an ideal world, a quick call to water damage restoration services should be the only solution. However, you need immediate action, or the water damage is going to get worse. Also, if you’re relying on your insurance provider to pay for everything, things are also bound to get a bit more complicated and delayed because you have to follow a certain process, and that process could take some time.

Call your insurance company

Once you see that your property is flooded, call your insurance provider right away. Report every single detail that you see, and document everything by taking photos and videos of the affected area. Wait patiently for confirmation from your provider that you’re covered for this type of situation.

Waiting, however, means worse water damage for your property. So if you want to deal with it right away, inform your provider that water removal must begin immediately. The insurance company will likely grant your request and will give you instructions that you need to follow strictly, but until then, don’t do anything.

Remove the water

When you finally get that permission to start the cleanup, then proceed to remove all the floodwater using pumps, pails, mops, or anything that will help you evacuate everything. Once all the water is removed, you can immediately dry out the place using portable fans and even the air conditioning unit.

Call water damage restoration services

If you finally get the call from your insurance provider confirming that you are covered, then waste no time in calling restoration services. They have water damage specialists who are adequately trained and equipped to deal with the aftermath of a flood.

They will take care of cleaning up the place and removing parts that have been damaged by the flood. Once they’re done removing the water-damaged parts of your property, they will begin restoring it.  By the time they’re done, your property will look like the way it was before the flood hit.

 Guest Contributor, Judy Olsen

Post Flood Management and Repair of Your HVAC System

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Post Flood Management and Repair of Your HVAC System

After a terrible storm, the first thing on anyone’s mind is post-flood management and repairing your HVAC system. After a flood, there’s a lot of work that goes into making a home safe and habitable again. Your HVAC system can be loaded with bacteria and microorganisms which are carried in the flood water. Particularly, the HAV system requires either total replacement or major remediation so that the air in the home is pure again and healthy to breathe.   

Water and electricity are not a good combination. If simply stated, your heating and cooling system was not designed to operate in or under water. Flooding either due to excessive rainfall or hurricanes can cause varying degrees of damage to the HVAC system.

So, What Happens To Your HVAC System Post Flood?

During the flood, if the unit was running, then there might be some damage to the electrical components. There’s a chance that the fuse and the wiring may have malfunctioned when it came in contact with water.

Typically, floodwater is made up of debris, grime, and dirt. If this ‘dirty’ water if left unprotected and comes in contact with the condenser coil, then the efficiency level of the equipment reduces. Also, this can also result in premature failure.

The floods cause water damage to natural gas furnaces. It may lead to corrosion which usually begins inside the controls, electrical components, and valves. The outcome of this type of damage is long-term reliability problems.

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So, Should I start my HVAC system after a flood?

After the water is drained, your HVAC system might look the same as before the flood, but there may be serious issues and concerns that you might not have noticed. The system is also prone to the production of microorganisms, bacteria which settles in the fans, ductwork and other parts of your HVAC system.

The impact of the flood on the system might be unknown, so it’s best to wait until a qualified HVAC technician performs a full inspection.

Your First Steps

If your home was flooded, the first thing you should do is to have a licensed electrician or qualified emergency responder declare the home to be safe. The major problem is of electrocution associated with standing water.

If you want to clean right away, mark the high water line on your furnace and air conditioner. It will help the technician to assess which components were submerged quickly.

There are some serious health hazards involved, and that’s why AHRI and CDC insist that all the work should be undertaken by HVAC professionals who are trained and possess a license.

-          Suppose the HVAC and the air duct units don’t need replacing, ensure you remove and dispose the flooded insulation along with any HVAC filters that are part of the HVAC system.

-          According to the CDC, the system needs to be completely disinfected and cleaned. The remaining dirt and debris need to be vacuumed out of the unit and air ducts using special vacuums.

-          After the debris is cleared, the surface needs to be wiped down with disinfectant to ensure that any remaining microorganisms are killed. To do so, it would require the ductwork to be completely taken apart, cleaned, disinfected and then to be put back together.

-          Trained professionals are hired to make sure that the cleaning is done in a manner such that the system doesn’t get re-contaminated. It’s best to hire hvac contractor in jacksonville for a thorough job.

-          After disinfecting the system, all parts need to be rinsed with clean water. Even the fan. It needs to be taken out and thoroughly disinfected, cleaned, dried out and tested to ensure it runs well before you fix it back in place.  

-          Phew, lastly, once the system’s cleaning and rebuilding id one, insulation and filters need to be replaced. The system should be examined by a trained professional.

During this season, the system needs to arrive at the desired temperature. By checking the odor and air quality, you can tell if the system is following the indoor air-quality standard. If there is any persistent issue, you need to re-inspect the HVAC system and get it properly cleaned and flushed to a point such that the air quality improves.  

Insurance

Restoring your home’s HVAC system after flooding can be a bit much on your wallet. But if you have home insurance which has natural disaster policy, it may pay for the restoration of your home’s HVAC.

In conclusion

Although we hope you never have to experience a flood, in the event you do, make sure you immediately reach out to trained and licensed HVAC technicians.  If flood water contaminates your HVAC system, pick up your phone and call a licensed HVAC technician to restore and repair it the right way. After all, your family’s health depends on it!   

Guest Contributor, Jessica Miller

Tips To Pull Off A Gorgeous Eclectic Design

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Tips to Pull Off a Gorgeous Eclectic Design

Eclectic design is super attractive. It’s full of freedom, mismatched items and fun colors. However, because it’s so hard to define, creating a beautiful eclectic space is not an easy task, especially if you don’t want to end up with an overly kitsch home. Luckily, here are a few tips that will help you create a successful eclectic design that matches your lifestyle and feels just right!

Start from scratch

This is a trick that many interior designers swear by: every time you’re designing a new look, start with a blank canvas. Since the eclectic look is definitely in-your-face and very eye-catching, starting with a neutral background is a great idea to avoid creating an overwhelming space. While neutral colors like white, gray and beige instantly come to mind, you can also opt for various natural materials like wood and stone. They are eco-friendly and look neutral, but are also warm and inviting.

Coordinate your colors

Many people think that nothing is supposed to match in eclectic design. However, that’s not true! The key is in coordinating your colors that will allow you to create a successful design and a coherent space. For instance, choose a color that can be introduced in multiple areas in your home and use it on everything from textiles to art and paint. Opt for a variety of different prints and patterns in your chosen color to stay true to your eclectic design yet subtly pull the room together.

Add statement pieces

Every space needs a statement piece that will be the star of the show. No matter if you opt for an art piece or a furniture item, this is the element that will make your eclectic design come to life. So, don’t hesitate to make it bold and make it big. In this case, forget everything about coordination, because you want your statement piece to pop. Even your quirky collection of items can serve as a focal point. For instance, if you’re an avid comic book fan or someone obsessed with music, there are super cute bobbleheads in all styles and themes that can be grouped together. These figurines will look amazing when displayed on your shelf and will definitely start a few conversations. All in all, find something you like, make it stand out and you have your statement piece!

Find balance

The goal of every interior is to have balance in symmetry and scale. Even if you have furniture in different styles, textures or from different periods, you can still use similar lines and sizes to create a sense of harmony. Your space is meant to be lived in, so don’t sacrifice good layout and organization for forced diversity.

Mix textures

In order to add more interest to your eclectic home, try to invest in different textures. When you combine rough and smooth textures, you can opt for a simpler color palette and still have a fun and quirky space. For instance, think fluffy pillows, shaggy rugs, rough wooden furniture and smooth, polished finishes. Combine them and your home will be full of surprises.

Think outside the box

The eclectic look has no clearly defined rules, so take advantage of that and let your mind play with different ideas and solutions. Grab an item and find a new and unusual use for it or instead of throwing something away, repurpose it and give it new life. This process is super fun and will give your space character and interest—that’s what eclecticism is all about!

Creating a successful eclectic look is all about achieving balance. Don’t give yourself too many limits, but also don’t go crazy. Eclectic design can easily get out of hand if you’re not paying attention! So, keep these tips in mind, be moderate but let your imagination fly high.

 Guest Contributor, Diana Smith

5 Tips Organize Your KitcheN

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If you want to function in the kitchen then the only way is to keep it organized. Nothing is worse than having to work in a messy, disorganized kitchen with bits and bobs laying all over the place.

Not only is it difficult to cook in a messy kitchen, but it is also challenging to find things. So, to avoid all this, it is crucial that the kitchen is kept tidy and organized at all times. 

Keeping all this in mind, we have created the top five tips to help you to keep your kitchen fully organized and neat. Let's go and take a look at it. 

Use of transparent jars for the junk drawers

We are all familiar with that drawer in the kitchen that holds all kinds of necessary junk items. This drawer holds the things that come in handy but is so messy to the point that it is a quest to find anything in there when you really need it. 

Here is an idea, bring some small transparent jars with lids and fill each of them up with all the similar category items and then sort them out in the drawer.

This trick will help you to save a  lot of space inside the drawer and also make room for other items. Plus, you will be able to find things more easily around the kitchen. 

Sort the cutting boards in a magazine holder

Have cutting boards laying aimlessly on the kitchen counter and taking up all the space and messing things up? Well, worry no more, as we know just what you should do. 

It is not a great look for the kitchen counter when you just let your cutting boards lay anywhere haphazardly. Plus, this eats up a lot of workspace in the kitchen. 

So, what you have to do is, bring in a magazine holder and put all of your slicing or cutting boards in that. Magazine holders can easily hold your cutting boards and give your kitchen an organized look plus make a lot of space for you to work in. 

Keep measuring spoons in a transparent jar near the stove

This is a great tip that will not only organize the kitchen but will also help you to access the measuring spoons easily whenever you need it as you won't have to waste time finding them as all you measuring spoons will be stacked in one single place. 

Well not just that, it looks really good when you keep the spoons in the jar and adds a dainty touch to the kitchen. 

Use hooks around the kitchen to hang accessories and other useful items

Using hooks that can be stuck with the walls around the kitchen is a great way to clean up a disorganized kitchen. 

You can hang pots and large spoons or other items in these hooks instead of letting them sit idly in the kitchen top blocking space.

Store all your small spice jars in a large cake pan

This is one of our favorite tricks, to keep the kitchen organized and also to ease up the work around the kitchen while cooking. 

Keeping spice jars in a single cake pan will not only organize the kitchen but will also help you cook as all the spices you need will be stacked in one single place. 

Conclusion

Nothing feels better than working in an organized kitchen. The above tips will allow you to make more space and store more useful items.

Plus a clean and tidy kitchen is much more fun to work in as you can easily grab the things you need without wasting time to find them from a pile of objects.

Guest Contributor, Carl Nevins

Domestic Energy Consumption: How to Optimize It

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Domestic Energy Consumption: How to Optimize It

The popular ways of reducing household energy use range from simple adjustments of our routines and habits to more or less extensive home improvement projects. However, for most homeowners the motives remain the same: saving on utility bills and reducing the environmental footprint. Here are the five most effective ways to waste less energy and save electricity in your home.

Heating and cooling

Since domestic climate control systems account for the largest piece of the energy use chart, they should be your priority in optimizing the energy efficiency in your home. Keep in mind that with every degree up or down, you can increase your running costs by 2-4%. It’s more effective to heat or cool down your home slowly over time than cranking the conditioner for the instant effect. Have your HVAC system serviced regularly to minimize the losses due to dust and debris in the system. In the evening, instead of plugging in an electric blanket, throw some extra regular ones on your bedding.

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Entertainment tech

Even though your TV set and the gaming console, aren’t power-hungry machines by definition, the problem is that they often suck up electricity even when not used. For starters, try to have a TV-free family dinner. Not only will you reduce the running time, but also get to have some real talk with your loved ones. When not used for longer periods, such as over the night or while everyone is at work or school, make a habit of plugging out at the wall, as this eliminates ‘vampiric’ consumption of the power unit. Finally, when shopping for a new TV, look for one with a high Energy Star rating.

Computers and appliances

The number of appliances in homes is increasing with each generation of homeowners, and there’s nothing we can do but to use them responsibly. When chargers aren’t charging, unplug them to prevent energy leaks. Keep in mind that appliances on standby still use energy so unplug them as well. If you want to know how much energy your fridge or dishwasher consumes at any given time, consider data loggers with power usage and power cost functions. This may give you an idea if it’s time to get a newer, more economic model. Plug your computer peripherals into a separate switchboard, so you can turn them off without affecting the computer.

Interior and exterior lighting

Lighting typically accounts for a 10% of your energy use. While no one asks you to trip over things in dark to save energy, it’s more the type of lighting you use and when you use it that makes the difference. Try turning off the lights whenever you leave the room and use energy saving bulbs, such as LEDs. Unlike other options, their lifespan isn’t affected by frequent switching. Also, try to diversify and layer your lighting, as you most often don’t need to illuminate the entire room. On the outside, instead of flooding the empty garden with light all night long, choose a fixture with a motion sensor.

Hot water management

Hot water sometimes contributes to 17% of your household energy use. Keep in mind that the most efficient temperature for your hot water system is around 60°C. When you go on holiday or a business trip, turn off your water heater completely. The new models feature highly effective heating coils, and can heat up the water again in less than 30 minutes. If you live in a house, consider a solar hot water system, which will take a hefty sum out of the utility bill equation, especially in summer months. When it comes to dishes, run your dishwasher with a full load every time, as this is the most effective way to use it.

Even without expensive remodels and investments, households are able to save a fair percentage of their electricity bills if they adapt their behaviour towards more sustainable ways of using home systems and appliances.

 Guest Contributor, Lillian Connors

An IntroductionTo Renters Insurance Coverage

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An Introduction to Renters Insurance Coverage

Renters insurance is an extremely affordable way for tenants to keep their belongings safe, with the average premium totaling less than $150 per year. Yet under 40% of all renters are insured, in large part because of a lack of awareness among tenants about the benefits of renters insurance.

It’s impossible to predict when an emergency situation will strike, and the best way to prepare for the unexpected is to stay insured. Understanding the benefits and coverage of a renters insurance policy will allow you to make an informed decision about acquiring coverage.

How Does Renters Insurance Work?

Since relatively few people purchase renters insurance, there are some common misunderstandings regarding what exactly is covered under a typical policy. Some tenants assume that they’re automatically protected under their landlord’s insurance, but the truth is that you need your own policy to be covered in case your possessions are damaged or stolen.

Many tenants wonder if renters insurance covers water damage, bedbugs, and other unexpected occurrences. While there are some important differences in the fine print of many policies, a typical renters insurance plan provides coverage up to a certain limit in case of weather events such as rain, wind, fire, and hail. That said, more extreme conditions like earthquakes and floods will generally require additional coverage, so it’s important to make sure you’re protected if you live in a vulnerable region.

Your policy will also pay for temporary relocation in case your apartment is no longer habitable, a responsibility that may or may not be picked up by your landlord. The price of a few coffees each month is well worth the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll be kept on your feet no matter what happens.

Exceptions to Renters Insurance Coverage

While renters insurance provides critical protection for a number of costly situations, there are some things that most policies won’t cover. The first two examples are earthquakes and flooding, which many insurance companies offer as a separate policy. 

Under a standard renters insurance policy, you won’t be compensated for any damage done to extremely valuable or rare items such as jewelry and fine art. The most common insurance limit is $100,000, but you’ll likely still need to purchase additional insurance if you want these items covered.

Other common situations tenants often find themselves in, like losing a phone or having a pet cause damage, are not covered under renters insurance. Your protection also won’t apply to anyone else living in the apartment unless they purchase their own coverage.

Renters insurance is a low-cost, reliable method of keeping your belongings safe and ensuring you’ll have a place to stay even in a worst-case scenario. For less than a dollar a day, you can cover all the possessions in your apartment from loss or damage resulting from anything from fire to theft.

Guest Contributor, Armand Levitz

How To Organize a Small Kitchen

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How To Organize a Small Kitchen

With the trend of eating healthy and home-cooked spreading throughout our busy lifestyles, a lot of people are spending more time in the kitchen. But as living quarters are getting smaller, the kitchen is often the first space to suffer, and we don’t exactly have space to spare. But don’t worry – you can still have a fully functional kitchen, even if you’re working with a small space. You just have to organize it well and most importantly, keep it tidy. Let’s see how you can achieve that:

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Multipurpose tools

The first rule of any functional kitchen is to make sure it’s not cluttered. This means getting as many multi-functional tools as you can and learning to work with what you have. Perhaps you don’t need both a blender and a food processor, or you can get an oven with an integrated microwave. You really only need one frying pan, a few pots of different sizes and a baking dish. You can make any dish smaller by sectioning it off with aluminum foil and bake several items at once. Any tool that just simplifies a process that you’d normally do with a knife should be replaced by practicing actual knife skills and putting them to good work.

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Work with the space you have

With small kitchens, off-the-shelf pieces probably won’t work well as they won’t maximize the potential of the space you have. You would be better off working with professionals who design and make custom kitchens. Perhaps you’re someone who loves baking and needs added counter space that you can expand in a second, or maybe you have a big family and need to be able to set a table for seven people while having it out of the way for the rest of the day. This is where custom design really plays in. It’s more work and you’ll have to plan it out well, but it will be well worth it when you start enjoying your new kitchen. Think about using every dead corner, every nook and cranny, and all of a sudden, your kitchen will seem a lot bigger than it did before.

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Use vertical space

As with every smaller space, you’ll want to use every single square inch, which means the walls need to be fully utilized. A good way to do this is to hang a peg board to the wall, equip it with hooks and start hanging up anything from pots to spatulas. It will clear out a lot of the space from the cupboards, giving you more storage room. If you have tall ceilings with a detached counter in the center of the room, you can consider a hanging element over the counter which will carry additional cookware. The space below counters, tables and skins should be used as well, so make sure you’re not letting it go to waste. If you have a free wall, creating a vertical indoor herb garden could be a great way to use the space, bring in some color to the room and improve your cooking.

If you think you don’t have enough space, it’s probably just not organized well enough, and you have things that you don’t use. If spending time in the kitchen is a priority, you should probably look for a property with added kitchen space, but a coat of white paint and some decluttering can go a long way in transforming your kitchen. Just make sure you make a habit out of washing dishes regularly and putting things back into their designated space, because even the biggest kitchen won’t be any good to you if it’s too messy to use.

 Guest Contributor, Diana Smith