Finishing Off Your Kitchen

You may feel like your home's to-do list will never be done, especially when it comes to the kitchen. But you're closer to your dream home than you may think. Don't fret over a large-scale renovation. Instead, scale it down with a few simple updates that pack a big punch!

1. Update the appliances

Outdated appliances are more than just an eyesore — chances are, they're wasting your money each time you pay the electric bill. To give your kitchen a fresh, new feel, upgrade to new Energy Star-rated appliances in a stainless steel finish.

We recommend Whirlpool’s French-door refrigerator ($2,699) >>

2. Change the cabinetry hardware

This simple switch gives your kitchen a whole new look. Choose hardware that is modern, traditional, shabby chic or even French country for an instant boost of style! For a streamlined look, coordinate your hardware with the same finish as your sink faucet and light fixtures. Or, create an eclectic look with mix-and-match finishes throughout the room.

We recommend Home Depot's Liberty bar cabinet hardware pull ($6) >>

3. Add countertop decor

Resist the urge to overcrowd the countertop, especially if your kitchen has adequate cabinet storage. Instead, display a few decorative items that also perform a function. Fill a large bowl with fruit for an easily accessible snack item, or use decorative canisters to hold cooking utensils. Keep it simple, clean and functional, and you can't go wrong.

We recommend Sears' 15-inch fruit bowl ($29) >>

4. Display artwork

The kitchen doesn't have to be all work and no play. Keep things fun by adding artwork that fits your decor. Use artwork to bring in pops of color to accent an otherwise neutral room, or enlarge family photographs to create a display with a personal touch. You don't have to be an art collector to create your very own gallery. Use Art.com to find affordable prints with images that speak to your personal style.

We recommend Art.com's Light and Shade 37-inch x 27.5-inch print ($34) >>

5. Update the light fixtures

Changing out the lighting in your kitchen is a great way to make a large impact without a complete overhaul. Install updated pendant fixtures over the island and above the sink. Pendants are available in many styles to fit your taste and provide task lighting right where you need it. You can also add puck lighting beneath the cabinets, or spotlights to highlight artistic features throughout the room.

We recommend West Elm's globe pendant light fixture ($99) >>

6. Lay down a rug

One of the quickest and most affordable updates you can make in your kitchen is adding a great rug. Use a rug with an attractive pattern to add bold, vibrant colors into the space. Or, choose a rug with a natural weave to add a textural element. Rugs also prevent slipping on hard flooring surfaces, like tile and hardwood, which keeps your family safe in a room prone to spills.

We recommend Ikea's Hessum 6-foot 7-inch x 2-foot 7-inch runner ($25) >>

Take one step at a time

Working within your budget may mean that your kitchen transformation will happen gradually. Use Pinterest.com to create a wish list of the items you're saving for, and then as your budget allows, bring home an item from the list. Before you know it, you'll be looking at the kitchen of your dreams!

More kitchen ideas

Kitchen makeover tips from HGTV's Meg Caswell
Kitchen design trends: Back to basics
Etsy roundup: Retro kitchen decor

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I thought for a moment that Kerry was going to blow Rep Jeff Duncan (R-SC) launched into a self-righteous soliloquy about Benghazi the IRS the National Security Agency and what he portrayed as Kerrys longtime aversion to using military force Kerry you may recall is a highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran Duncan is an armchair warrior"I am not going to sit here and be told by you that I dont have a sense of what the judgment is with respect to this" Kerry said But he held it together and gave Duncan a more civil answer than he deserved "This is not about getting into Syrias civil war" Kerry explained "This is about enforcing the principle that people shouldnt be allowed to gas their citizens with impunity"For Sen John McCain (R-Ariz) the question is to shape the outcome of the war As the price of his vote to authorize a strike McCain insisted that include language calling on Obama to "change the military equation on the battlefield"I respect McCains knowledge and experience on military matters even when I disagree with him In this case I think hes hallucinatingIn Iraq with US forces occupying the country and a compliant government installed it took a huge troop surge and a long counterinsurgency campaign to beat back the jihadists who threatened to take over part of the country In Syria with no boots on the ground and a hostile regime clinging to power how is Obama supposed to ensure that the "good" rebels triumph over the "bad" ones Why does McCain think we have it in our power to favorably change the equation now Let me clarify: I believe that a US strike of the kind being discussed involving cruise missiles and perhaps other air-power assets can make it more likely that Assad loses But I also believe that absent a major commitment of American forces which is out of the question we cannot determine who winsFor some skeptics on Capitol Hill the question is why we dont wait for others to act the United Nations perhaps or some of the 188 other nations that have ratified the outlawing atrocities such as those committed in Syria I guess hope springs eternal but thats how long the wait will be Russia has vetoed every attempt by the UN Security Council to act France is willing but wont go it alone Maybe all this reluctance is a warning that we too should demur But lets at least be honest with ourselves: If we dont act nobody will The clear message to Assad and to other tyrants will be that poison gas is frowned upon but not prohibitedThere is no way that Assad can be shamed into contrition and atonement; 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