What You Should Know About Cleaning Ceramic Tile Grout

There are several different facets of cleaning ceramic tile grout. These different facets vary in terms of effectiveness, and the amount of time it will take you to clean. One of these ways is to use Soft Scrub with bleach. This cleaning chemical can be applied directly to the grout lines, and then you can use a long bean pole brush to scrub out the grout stain. After you are done scrubbing, and the tile grout has been restored to its original color, you have to rinse, and then dry the grout off. Even though this method is pretty effective, there is a much better way to do it. When you are cleaning ceramic tile grout, you should try using a steam cleaner. This machine is very good at getting the job done. It allows you to get to where the cleaning is most needed. You can use attachments which will spray and scrub the tile grout lines at the same time. It will save you a lot of time on your next cleaning.

What Type of Ceramic Tile Grout Cleaner Should You Use?

what type of grout cleaner to useWhen you're trying to clean your tile with a ceramic tile grout cleaner, you have a lot of choices to choose from. We have personally seen the results from a product test which shows that Soft Scrub with bleach and Kaboom are two of the best cleaners that you can use to clean your tile and grout surfaces. When you use these cleaners, you want to make sure to spray them on in advance, and allow them to soak in for a few minutes. This will make it so that they do most of the work instead of you. Also, if you don't want to use a chemical to clean ceramic tile with, you can also try using a steam cleaner. A lot of people like to use a steam cleaner because it is faster and it actually makes less of a mess. Using a grout steam cleaner to clean tile, can cut your cleaning time by as much as two thirds. As far as cleaning ceramic tile, it is a very effective and quick way to clean.

Homax Jasco Bix 9310 Tile Guard Tile Grout Coating 4.3oz
List Price: $5.66
Sale Price: $5.11
Availability: Usually ships in 6-10 business days

Custom Building Products TileLab Grout & Tile Cleaner and Resealer, 32 fl. oz.(946 ml)
List Price:
Sale Price: $7.79
Availability: Usually ships in 3-4 business days

Hoover FloorMate Grout Cleaning Solution 16 oz, 40307016
List Price: $9.49
Sale Price: $3.00
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days

There are several factors to take into consideration when you are cleaning tiles. One of the most important factors is are you able to remove the discoloration from the grout. A lot of people who have tile, don't clean the grout very often. They typically use a damp mop and just wipe up the surface of the tiles. The downside is that over time, they can get a huge build up in between the tiles. If they want to restore their kitchen or patio to its natural beauty, they should seriously consider cleaning grout between tiles as well as cleaning the tiles. By far, the fastest way to do clean grout and tile is to try cleaning with a grout steam cleaner. This machine is fast and very effective. You can use it on the grout lines and get rid of the stains very quickly.

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Shed Kits vs Self Planning

Shed Kits versus build your own shedAre you planning to build your own storage shed? Storage shed are really convenient especially if you have a lot of expensive equipment that usually end up getting dragged all the way back into your house to be stored away when the season changes and it is no longer needed. This applies to heavy equipment such as lawnmowers, snowblowers, grass cutters, chainsaws and other similar equipment. This may also apply to large kiddy wading pools and beach balls and anything else that might make a mess of your lawn in general.

A shed kit is basically a small housing unit built specifically to store away clutter. There are two main ways to acquire your own storage shed. The first way is to simply buy one pre-made or have some professionals install/construct one on the space that you have chosen on your property. The second way is the diy way, which means that you do everything by yourself. Most thrifty homeowners prefer to go the diy route in order to acquire their own storage sheds and of course, the reason is quite obvious. Quite simply put, it is much cheaper than buying a pre-made shed, although it will still be quite costly and it will entail a huge investment in time and effort.

Arrow WL108 Woodlake 10-Feet by 8-Feet Steel Storage Shed
List Price:
Sale Price: $356.99
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours

Flower House SHSM655 StorageHouse Walk-In Storage House, L
List Price:
Sale Price: $132.99
Availability: Usually ships in 1 to 2 months

ShelterLogic Shed-in-a-Box with Auger Anchors, Peak, Gray
List Price:
Sale Price: $147.99
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days

Suncast Wood/Resin Vertical Shed
List Price:
Sale Price: $649.99
Availability: Usually ships in 6-10 business days

Now if you plan to build your own shed, there are also two different, contrasting ways to build it. The first and more conventional way is to use a diy shed kit that comes complete with shed blueprints and usually any other materials that you might need, especially if the diy shed kit was bought for a high price. On the other hand, you could also try self-planning, or planning out the construction of your storage shed by yourself without relying on a diy shed kit. There are pros and cons to each approach, but you should know that you can make a pretty good shed using either one.

The hard way to do it is to plan out everything by yourself. This will entail a lot more mental effort on your part and could possibly be more taxing for you. If you are game however, self-planning the construction of your storage shed does offer some significant advantages. This means that you will be able to customize your shed to your heart’s content and the only real restrictions you might have would be time, space and money for the materials. Of course, if you plan to go the self-planning route, you have to be very thorough and make sure you have all angles covered. You do not want to go about building your shed only to find out you made the door to small to fit any of your equipment or yourself inside.

The easier way is the diy shed kit route. If you buy a diy shed kit, which usually sells for somewhere between 2000 to 3000 USD, you can be sure that the shed that you finally put together will reek of professionalism and will never disappoint as long as you did everything correctly. The main disadvantage of DIY shed kits however is that you are limited to the type of shed that the shed kit has been specifically made for and customization is quite restricted.

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What Are Some Signs You Have Grubs around your Home?

What Are Some Signs You Have Grubs around your Home?Here are a few telltale sign that you grubs in your lawn and you need to use grub control to get rid of them. One of these signs is if you have dead spots in your lawn that are growing bigger and bigger every day. These dead spots are the result of worms eating the roots of your grass plants. As they eat the roots, the plants will die, and you'll be left with lots of dead patches in your lawn. Another way to tell if you have them, is if you have yellow spots that appear in your lawn for no reason at all. The first thing you would want to do is check and make sure that the wranglers are reaching this area of your lawn. If they are, and it is still turning yellow, then you probably have a problem grubs that needs to be treated as soon as possible. If you wait too long to treat your yard, there may not be much of a lawn left.

What Are the Four Different Types of Grubs? 

                                                                                                               There are at least four different types of white grubs you can get in your lawn. One thing that all of these grubs have in common is that they can be very devastating to your lawn. In a matter of only a few months, they can totally eat up and destroy your plants' root system. As a result, the grass will die leaving you with only dead sod. The four most common types of grubs in lawn include the Japanese beetle, the June beetle, the Asiatic beetle, and the crane fly. All of these insects, will turn into adults in the fall, then they will lay eggs in your lawn. When spring comes around, these eggs will hatch and they will turn into larva that will feast on your lawn. Even though the adult version does some damage to your lawn, the larva version does a lot more damage to your lawn in less time.                                                                                                                                                               

A Few Easy Ways to Control Grubs 

                                                                                                               The best and easiest way to treat your lawn for grubs, is to apply a long lasting pesticide, right after you notice you have a problem with grubs in your lawn. The reason why you want to use a long-lasting pesticide, is so that you will be able to kill all of the grubs in your lawn. Sometimes, if there are grubs in different life cycle, they may not be prone to the pesticide. The best time to treat white grubs, is when they are actively growing and feasting on your lawn. When they are in their eggs, or when they are transforming into adult beetles, you may find that pesticides do not work quite as well. And you may also need to treat your lawn one additional time in order to make sure that you have gotten rid of them and also so that you do not have any more problems with them in the future.

How To Treat Grubs In Your Lawn

Preventive Grub Control

If you are in Oklahoma and have a few problems with these pesky white grubs, check out this video that was done with OSU's Extension entomologist Tom Royer. He goes into detail talking about the damage that these grubs can cause as well as how to prevent white grubs from damaging your landscapes and lawns further.

"Don't overwater or over-fertilize your lawns as it makes it more attractive to these grubs to come in"

Finding Grubs in Your Lawn

Think you've got grubs in your lawn? Watch this video as Chad Diller, a Certified Turfgrass Professional, show you how to find these little grubs in your lawn as well as shares a few tips on how to get rid of them and prevent it from happening further.

How to Fertilize Your Lawn

But if you want to care for your yard, you still have to fertilize it. Here's a quick video from Home Depot that shows you how to fertilize your yard that will help condense turf and crowds out weeds. Find the right blend for the season as well as explains the fertilizer numbering system making the whole process as simple as possible to keep it green.

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Important Things To Remember In Planning A Home Improvement Project

Planning a home improvement projectEvery home owner has to think about home improvements sometime during their stay at the home. Some people are content with minor changes, while others may have major projects in mind. Regardless of the size of your projects, here are some important points to think about as you plan the transformation of your home.

Think about what area in your home you would like to change first. You cannot change everything at once because that would create chaos. It is better to tackle one area at a time. Consider what is most important to you and your family, or what you can afford to do now. Write down your thoughts and discuss them with your family because they will be affected by the changes as well.

As you are writing down areas in your home that you want to improve, under each area, put down specifics on what you would like to change. Go from room to room, and make a list of things that you want to modify. This will provide a framework for your overall home improvement plan.

When you have decided on an area to tackle first, start getting estimates from contractors. Get estimates from at least three contractors that will include their time and total cost. Be sure that you are giving them the same requirements to bid on because you want to be able to compare apples to apples.

Before you decide on a contractor, make sure that his business has the proper license to do this type of work in your state. His license ensures that he will do everything by the permit and state building codes. Do not be tempted by low bids from an unlicensed contractor. The risk of not having your project done correctly is not worth the money saved.

It is important to ask your contractor for references. You want to be sure that he has satisfied customers. From these references, you can get comments about his reliability and work quality. You will need to communicate with your contractor every day during your project, so you want to make sure that he is someone whom you can easily work with. For example, if you are living in Calabasas and you are planning to do a garage door repair, it is a good idea to use Google Maps and see the nearby garage door repair locations that have high ratings. Many people will usually rate the performance of their service providers and you can easily pinpoint which companies give great service to their customers.

Home improvement projects will no doubt cause some disruption in your household during the work in progress. Discuss with your family how all of you will function during this time. Think about areas in your home that will be inaccessible and what you will have to do to work around it. For instance, if the kitchen is being remodeled, you will not be able to prepare meals for a while, and you may have to rely on prepared meals that you can just microwave.

After all is done, sit back and enjoy the upgrades. You have planned long and made sacrifices to get to this point. You and your family should find time to enjoy the new enhancements. Your home improvement projects will go smoothly if you hire a contractor with a good reputation, and if your expectations are realistic in terms of the cost and time required. Plan carefully, and you will have the home of your dreams.

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Retro Kitchen Trends

The Retro Comeback

The Retro Kitchen ComebackRetro styles have been making a steady comeback mainly in fashion and decor.  The pantry, complete with traditional cream enamel tins, can now be added to the list of items taking homes back to the future.

Surprisingly, despite kitchens being bigger than ever in modern homes, a pantry is one of the most requested features in American houses.  A pantry has a certain quaintness but is more than just a nostalgic nod to the past. Despite the charm the pantry still has a practical use in modern day life.

History Of The Pantry

Pantries were usually small rooms adjoining kitchens used to store food and kitchenware accessories. The word is derived from the Old French term paneterie, which in turn comes from pain, the French version of panis, the Latin word for bread. And no pantry was complete without the big bread bin, often in cream enamel.

Bread bins were used to keep the loaves fresh. Every home would have had one before the commercial manufacture of bread which contained food preservatives and was wrapped in plastic. People who still bake bread at home like mum or grandma used to still buy them for that purpose.

Use Of Enamel In The Kitchen

The bins, often in cream enamel, were used to keep the bread at room temperature which increased the length of time it was edible.  The lids on the bins were not airtight. They were left loose enough to let the air flow and this in turn cut down the amount of condensation. Too much condensation meant that mould formed more easily.

But the lids had to be tight enough to keep out things like foraging mice looking for a few titbits.  Enamel has been used for centuries. The Romans used it decoratively on glasswork and it became widely used by the Chinese.

Vitreous/porcelain enamel gradually had its commercial uses after being mainly used on jewellery and intrication art decoration. In the middle of the 19th Century steel and sheet iron was coated with enamel and as the raw materials' purity improved production increased and costs were subsequently reduced.

Gradually objects used in everyday life crept into the equation and domestic receptacles - things like bread bins, biscuit tins, utensil jars and cooking vessels, often in cream enamel - became commonplace in kitchens and pantries.

Vitreous enamel is a more than useful substance when it comes to fending off wear and tear. It is a smooth material with excellent durability. It does not scratch and is chemically resistant, its colour does not fade in direct light or burn and, bearing in mind it is widely used in kitchens, it is easy to clean - A housewife's (or househusband's) dream.

The Contemporary Home offer a great range of enamel tins and cream enamel kitchenware which look great in retro styled and modern kitchens

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Energy-Efficient Replacement Windows

Replacement energy efficient windows have made a big comeback in the window industry due to the benefits to your home. Your power bill will surely shrink with new energy efficient quality replacement vinyl windows.

Here are some of the advantages of Energy-Efficient Vinyl Replacement Windows:
Energy Efficient Replacement WindowsYour home will become more efficient with it's energy use. With vinyl replacement windows your home will be better insulated against those drafts older windows can cause. Without the drafts, your heating and cooling system will not have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable. You will notice the savings on your power bill after installing quality vinyl replacement windows.

Energy-Efficient windows have multiple panes, sometimes called a double pane window or double pane glass. The air gap in between these panes is normally filled with an argon gas then sealed in with butyl rubber or a silicone glaze. This keeps the the window from transferring heat and cold into the home like your older conventional windows. You can also purchase vinyl replacement windows with multiple glazes which will increase the insulating properties of the window. Based on your location, vinyl replacement windows can have different coatings applied per request to meet your insulation requirements.

Do not just use any replacement vinyl windows. The (NFRC) or National Fenestration Rating Council applies different decals on replacement vinyl windows indicating the windows energy efficiency rating. There are different factors which are checked by the NFRC including the Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient, condensation resistance, Visible Transmittance or (VT), they measure the U-factors and check for air leakage. Make sure and read the decals to get the right replacement vinyl windows for your needs.

When looking at the NFRC labels, there are ENERGY STAR ratings which incorporate the U-factor and the SHGC ratings. To ensure your new replacement windows meet or exceed government standards look for an ENERGY STAR rating of 30 or below. There are areas in the U.S. that recognize energy efficient homes and if your home qualifies there are tax credits that may become available to you.

Circumstances Influencing your Homes Energy Efficiency:
New vinyl replacement windows provide energy efficiency, although in some cases they may lose some efficiency. This occurs when there are leaks or cracks in the window and when the windows do not insulate your home from the heat and cold, or when the solar energy outside exceeds the insulation capacity of the window.

If this is the case replacement vinyl windows are required to cure the problem. Although if you install quality vinyl replacement windows these failures will not happen. The manufacturing of vinyl replacement windows technology has come a long way and top quality and energy efficient products are readily available to home owners everywhere.

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Custom Printed Doormats

Personalised Door MatFor sure you want to leave a lasting impression to anybody who visits your home, and certainly, there is no better way for you to accomplish just that than with an excellent quality doormat which you can place on your main entryway that will create the tone for your guest’s entire visit. And although there are many decent mats that you can purchase from mat suppliers, the best way for you to go is with custom mats which say what exactly you want the mat to express to all of your visitors. If you want to get doormats in the way that you want them to exactly be, then you should consider shopping for them online. Here are some tips that you can use when shopping for custom doormats.

First, it significantly helps to learn a bit regarding how mats are created. The key feature to these mats is their capacity to withstand frequent and heavy stomping and rubbing. Hence, they should be of durable construction, which can endure not only tromping, but also take away stubborn dirt as well as debris that clings on shoes. Therefore, the best doormat is one that has thick bristles, held together usually with rubber or some other material resistant to weather. In some cases, you can simply choose to buy a generic mat and print images onto it yourself; however, a much better option is to go online and find reputable custom doormat printers. Here are some designs that you can select from.

First of, one common option is to get a personalised door mat that has your name or initials printed on it. This allows people who are about to step inside your home to know immediately of who lives there. This produces a great familiar environment as well as lets visitors know, even in a simple way, that they are very much welcome. Find a custom doormat printing company that will help you also to choose an ideal design for the background of your mats. You can have your name printed onto the mat in any specific way that you want and best thing about all of this is that you can choose an appropriate font in order to make the mat appear sharp.

One other option is to get a design which holds some significance to your family. An ideal place to begin your search is in previous family records and/or journals. There are numerous designs that can be included. In some instances, families have some special insignia or crest which has been repeatedly passed down for many generations. You can have both your family name and crest printed on the mat or any other design that you like.

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When Redecoration Plans Run Askew You Can Cover Blemishes With Mirrors

home wall mirrors and decorations
Image by Carly Jane1

You’ve done everything you could possibly imagine to decorate your home in the most sumptuous, stunning manner that you could possibly manage. Maybe you’ve hired a well-known interior decorator that has ripped apart your living space and reassembled it in his vision of what the perfect home interior is for you.

That means that he sought to make your home not only attractive, but also fully functional and more conveniently arranged to enable you to accomplish everyday tasks and feel as comfortable as is humanly possible. That’s a tall order for anyone to accomplish, even if it’s a professional designer whom you’ve put on the job.

Doing It Yourself

Perhaps you’d prefer to do your own decorating because you have a vision of your own that you’d like to see come to life. And what better way to do it than to expend your own sweat and elbow grease in tasks that will increase your property value and provide you with a more aesthetically pleasing environment that is also more comfortable.

But perhaps your design skills are not all that they should be, because although you fancy yourself as an aspiring interior decorator who is just waiting to come out of her shell and show the world a new vision of what a beautiful home can truly be, you actually discover that you have absolutely no talent for any of this kind of work. And worse, still, you’ve turned you home into a bombed-out military bunker like citadel that is on a slow boat to hell as you twist, tweak and finagle the plans that you thought would be so dazzling.

They Might Laugh At You?

Yes, now you’ve made yourself the laughing stock of the mahjong table, and you secretly suspect that your “friends” are chortling about you behind your back and referring to your home redecoration project in condescending tones and disrespectful speech. Maybe they privately refer to the whole redecoration mess as “Dizzy Debbie’s Folly,” or “Addams Family II.” Let them laugh. You can quickly repair much of the damage done using a few simple props.

Covering Up The Holes

First, let’s cover up the holes your husband punched in the walls, out of anger or perhaps in a feeble attempt to follow your incoherent building plans. Get yourself some large oval mirrors and hang them over the punch holes. And, voila! Holes, what holes? You’ve solved a major problem cheaply that might have cost many thousands of dollars to repair.

This sort of idea could help you cover up the damage in all of the rooms where your husband ran amok with his sawzall. But you might get bored of the oval-shaped motif, so why not patch up other rooms with large round mirrors? Get the difference? One kind is oval, and the other is round!

Try it on your home, and you’ll never have to be ashamed of the excruciating damage that you caused to your own home, sweet home. Invite your “friends” over, and then let’s see who has the last laugh.

OARM aka Oval and Round Mirrors is one of a kind distributor of round shaped mirrors and oval shaped wall mirrors online. You can choose your favorite wall mirrors by style, finishing, size, and profile from a wide selection.

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7 Legendary Items Every Bachelor Pad Needs

There comes a point in every man’s life when he sits back and surveys his glorious empire with the resounding thought -  ‘my life would be better if I had a drinks globe’.

This is a very important time for a man, having left home and not having a dominant female influence on his surroundings. It is therefore time to spend a large chunk of disposable income on items that in later years will most probably be destroyed by his offspring.

Some may very well be sold for a substantial financial loss on eBay to fund increasing insurance quotes for the family people carrier. But those times are far away.

So for now, I have the pleasure of introducing...

The 7 Legendary Items

The Pool Table

Anything less than a full size regulation table and you might have well not bothered. A model in likeness to the pub and/or bar of your local area is preferable to avoid the shame of having purchased a table to gain an unfair ‘home advantage’ over your fellow man.

The Entertainment System

The main draw for your friends to visit you will undoubtedly be your entertainment facilities. A game is a game, but a ‘match day’ is an event. All channels are preferential to create the perfect ambience; however this is dependent on your financial situation. Lever this against the savings you will save from visiting your favourite local establishment and offset other costs by implementing a beverage tax for entry if necessary.

Sports Memorabilia

As the light emitted from your home entertainment system shines upon the walls of your man cave you can be sure that the rays of light fall upon the presence of sporting greats. Adorn your walls with a shirt of ‘*Insert favourite player name’, in the amazing ‘*insert successful year’ season. What a legend that player really was.

A Guitar

More of a psychological party piece than anything else. Your reluctance to pick up and play said guitar is mistaken for humility rather than the fact that you cannot play guitar. Surely no-one would buy such a beautifully crafted piece of workmanship without the necessary skills to do it justice? You can be that guy.

A Drinks Globe

An item of beauty, the drinks globe. They said it wasn’t possible - but this is practical art. Encapsulated within this delightfully rendered atlas sits your array of preferred beverages. Nestled within its ample bow of hardwood and other such fine materials.

A Surfboard

You may see no purpose for a surfboard, especially as you live a billion miles away from the sea, but they are nevertheless part of a larger picture to have sporting goods in your immediate vicinity. You may instead mount your snowboard or any other board for that matter.

Kayaks are not advisable as they encroach on the feng shui of the room and are considerably less cool. Sorry Kayakers, keep it in garage.

Neon Lights

You have everything else associated with bars in your home; why not add the finishing touch of a neon sign. Pick from your favourite brand of beer, sports team or any other option you can think of. If you’re feeling flush then you can commission your own design. Simply illuminating.

Kudos my friend, you have created a thing of beauty. Enjoy your bountiful surroundings for many (a few) years to come. What would you put in your ultimate bachelor pad? Have I missed any of your items off my list?

Dan Izzard blogs for Litecraft who supply a wide range of light bulbs. So if you don’t fancy the charm of a giant neon light, you can install ceiling lights and ceiling spot lights to illuminate your home instead.

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Tips for Creating a Mediterranean Kitchen

Tips for creating a mediterranean kitchenThere are a lot of different kitchen design styles out there these days - from modern brushed steel, to rustic country designs, and, my personal favourite - the Mediterranean kitchen.  Mediterranean kitchens are warm, attractive, and welcoming.  Cooking in one isn't a chore - it's fun.  I swear, food tastes better when you've enjoyed cooking it.

The secret to creating a good Mediterranean kitchen is to break down the design, and identify the elements that can work well in your home.   A traditional Mediterranean kitchen would suit a large home, but in a smaller modern apartment you may have to compromise slightly.

Common Elements of a Good Mediterranean Kitchen

Colours play an important role in traditional Mediterranean design.  The colour palette that you will want to work with will depend on whether you want an African, Greek, or Provence inspired design.  African designs centre around earthy colours, while Greek design uses a high contrast palette.  Designs inspired by Provence tend to focus on floral themes with dark green, lavender, and olive being prominent choices.  African colour schemes are popular choices for kitchens because the rustic colours are soothing, welcoming, and according to some designers even inspire appetite.

Natural Materials

The kitchen is a great place to make use of natural materials.  Oak doors, granite countertops, and luxurious waxed wooden cupboards should be prominent features in your design.  If you can complement this with cast-iron cookware, and wooden hangars and accessories, then you'll be well on the way to a great Mediterranean design.  Other trademarks of Mediterranean design include terracotta tiles, clay cookware, and flatware.

Build in Balance

Stone and ceramics are a huge part of Mediterranean design, but if you go overboard with them it's easy to end up with a harsh, unwelcoming kitchen. Try to soften the cold, harsh feel of the room with some judicious use of soft materials.  If you want to retain the authentic look, then curtains, tablecloths, and kitchen rugs are good additions that won't take away too much authenticity.

Work With Your Home

If you have a small room in a modern building that lacks exposed beams, large stone arches, and other archetypical Mediterranean features, then you may need to compromise a little to get the look you want.  There are some key features that you will be able to use - such as oak doors and waxed cupboards, but there's no point in trying to cram too much into a small room.  It's better to compromise and work with the room, than to push forward with a design that won't work.

You can make a Mediterranean style kitchen even if you're limited to a small, narrow space (such as a galley style kitchen).  If your countertops are too small to go for the large, spacious granite look, consider using terracotta tiles on the counter itself, and hanging up a lot of your cookware, "country kitchen" style.  Complement your oak doors with oak chairs and freestanding cupboards, and opt for a slightly brighter look to make the room look bigger, instead of going for the stronger browns that would be used in a bigger kitchen.

This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of UK Oak Doors. Add UK Oak Doors to your circle on Google+. Photo: Miamism

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