Amid the congestion of the fridge and the stove, table and chairs, and hardworking countertops, kitchens usually have little leftover space for decorative touches.
Still, you can add character to this functional room by using the treasures you probably already have in your home.
These decorating ideas can help make your kitchen more beautiful, cozier - and perhaps even more functional.
Try these low-cost design ideas for a homey touch:
Such little home decorating pick-me-ups can pack a big design punch.
Freshen up the kitchen by placing baskets, bowls, or other decorative containers on a windowsill or countertop near the sink, or atop your breakfast table or the fridge.
Fill them with seasonal accents: gourds in autumn, chestnuts in winter, bright lemons in spring, limes in summer.
Of course, fresh flowers can perk up the kitchen any time of year. Even a bird feeder outside the window lends life and color.
Is your kitchen on the dull side?For a quick fix, replace your humdrum cabinet and drawer handles with chrome or brass hardware or colorful plastic fittings.
Paint or stain the cabinets, or the entire room, in a bold new color. It's the quickest and cheapest home decorating fix for any bland room - including the kitchen.
And should you decide you don't like it, you can easily change the color later.
And speaking of home decorating quick changes, does your kitchen table seem to take over the room? These design ideas can help:
Window coverings are a quick, easy way to alter the look and feel of any room.
There are so many styles from which to choose - horizontal and vertical blinds, draperies, shades, sheers, shutters, and wood blinds.
Each offers a distinctive look - and price range. Miniblinds are generally the least expensive.
They're an excellent choice for the kitchen as they're easy to wipe free of dirt and grime and won't be damaged by heat or humidity.
In general, simple is best. If you're looking for fabric draperies, plan to shop around, and compare prices and design advice before you sign on the dotted line.
If possible, select a company that offers guaranteed in-home measuring - this will keep you from making any costly mistakes.
Most shops will provide an in-house decorating consultant to help you find the perfect fabric and style, but the advice - and the prices for the window coverings - will vary from store to store.