8 Decorating Tips for a Clutter Free Kitchen

5. My clients are divided into two camps when it comes to the counter space in their kitchen. Most like the counter completely clear. The other group likes to see every kitchen gadget they've ever owned out and ready for action. I vote for the middle ground. If you use a piece of equipment frequently, like a coffee maker every morning, keep it out. Why waste time hauling it out and putting it away? On the other hand, if your food processor is for holiday food preparation only, find a home hidden below.

6. Remember, too, that items on top of the counter can be clustered in categories relative to their function. For example, in the morning you might want toast and coffee. Your coffee maker and your toaster will make lovely companions near one of the outlets. If you are a busy mom who cooks every night, the blender, the small processor and the electric can opener are candidates for another cluster around an outlet.

7. I love plants and think they are a positive addition to every room. If you have the counter space and a window, do add a bit of life and personality with a plant. Can't remember to water them? I'll bet you have a calendar by now with your schedule kept up to date in its pages. Once a week note: "water plants." The rewards are many. Plants not only look beautiful, they clean the air of pollutants and give oxygen to the atmosphere. There are varieties you would be hard-pressed to kill. Talk with your local nursery about the hardy varieties that will survive in the atmosphere you offer.

8. A wonderful way to set the mood in a kitchen is with lighting. Place a small lamp on your counter if space allows. In the morning, as we prepare for the day, we like a bright, cheery kitchen. The evening meal is probably a time of lively interaction if you're a large family. Those late-night forays to the kitchen for a snack or a beverage, however, can be made in the gentle, quiet light of a lamp. My clients listen to this idea and are generally unimpressed. I ask if I can try a lamp just to see how it looks. Inevitably, they become converts. I hope you'll give it a chance. No counter space? Try a dimmer switch.

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