Spruce up your kitchen

GREAT SPACES

Spruce up your kitchen

The challenge is not just to build a modular and smart kitchen but to make it functional and smart in the long run, writes Swati Kapur

Your kitchen need not be a place to just cook and clean. Modular fittings and smart appliances make your work easy but a smart kitchen is much more than that. Bring in some change into your kitchen. Take a look around your kitchen and spot the ten items that you can discard. If you’ve not used something in the last six months, the probability is that you will not use it in the future either. Look out for old pots, pans with depleted teflon coating, casseroles, milk cans, old bottles and jars that are not being used anymore and do away with them. Your kitchen needs a regular clean up, it can help remove clutter and prevent unnecessary hoarding.    

Also if you are using utensils that are a little chipped or flaked off, it is time to stop using them. It is indicative of toxins being released. To prevent scratching of utensils, use wooden spoons to stir food, avoid steel ones. Don’t stack pans or at least put a paper towel between them if you stack. Good cookware can last up to three to five years. Dr Smita Verma, gynaecologist from Delhi says, “people often ignore chipped vessels and pots and continue to cook in it. It’s very harmful especially for pregnant women and children. We must either switch completely to steel or keep changing the non-stick varieties.”

Also changing the counter top can add an instant fresh look, but instead of replacing it with high-end granite, marble, or man made quartz, cover it with a laminate top that lends it a granite-like finish. Cookers, hobs and ovens consume gas or electricity. So opt for natural gas. Induction electric hobs are more efficient than conventional electric, ceramic or halogen hobs and respond as quickly as gas. If you’re still hooked to your mother in law’s mixer grinder, then it’s time you change this energy consuming appliance to something more efficient.

A new, energy efficient washing machine or dishwasher may use up to 40 per cent less energy than an old, inefficient model. Also check on the longevity factor of the machine.
Even if it costs a little more initially, if it lasts 20 years in place of five years then it is a good replacement. It is good for you and the environment. Induction cooking uses 90 per cent of the energy produced as compared to only 55 per cent for a gas burner and 65 per cent for traditional electric ranges. Choose from energy star labelled appliances that save energy. Remember, the kitchen consumes more energy than any other space in your house.  

Lighting appliances in the house can be changed to give your kitchen a new look. Good lighting can actually highlight the features of your kitchen and make it look larger. Your kitchen can also be fitted within cabinets to highlight a frosted glass cabinet, expensive crockery or just to act as a focal point. Look at the main lights under which important tasks are performed. If you think the light being emitted is insufficient then immediately switch over to brighter but greener lights. Save energy with CFL and eco-friendly lights such as compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs. It is also compatible with dimmers and is a great way to vary moods. Also remember to switch off the lights, fans and other electrical appliances when not in use.

Wow factor

While you are budgeting do not forget to add one or two splurges for a focal point and a wow element to your kitchen. Handcrafted tiles with beautiful finishes, colours, and patterns or a creative island counter top can be a point of discussion with your guests.
Invest in the right kind of art if you wish to usher in some colour. Reema Lal from Mumbai  added art to her kitchen with some Turkish tapestries and beakers. “My son travels a lot and keeps bringing me local artifacts. I thought of displaying the traditional Turkish beakers and a tapestry in the kitchen. It has added a moorish effect to the kitchen,” she says.  

You can also decorate your kitchen with plants. Plants will never let you down whether you put them in the balcony or the living room or the kitchen. So find the right corners and spruce them up with some lively plants. Beautiful pots add appeal and liveliness. If your kitchen is beige or set in a neutral tone then there’s ample scope for you to add colours and variety. Red glasses, green ceramic frogs, colourful flowers or exquisite crockery can give it a grand appearance. A black board is also a great idea and can bring in the much needed quirk at a cooking place. Moreover, your grocery can be listed on it.  

Thumb rule

If you create clutter then clear it right away. This is the a basic rule for a clean and fresh looking kitchen. “Mess has no place in my kitchen. Yes, it gets dirty at times when heavy cooking is on, but we don’t sit back to clean up later. We do it there and then,” says Bhav from Bangalore. The challenge is not just to build a modular and smart kitchen but to make it functional and smart in the long run. While you are in the kitchen do not think only about food but give a thought to the look of your kitchen and try reusing and recycling the available material to decorate it.

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