Design on a Budget

Here are tips and ideas to add custom touches to a budget-conscious kitchen.
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  • A beveled edge on a Formica countertop eliminates the black line associated with squared-off edges. Beveling can also be used on the backsplash. A 2-inch backsplash adds a custom look and is more proportionate than the standard 4-inch backsplash. A thicker backsplash also adds a custom look. Textured or patterned laminates are easier to clean because you don't see every scratch or crumb.
  • Some details that add a custom look to cabinetry: crown molding, a rail detail at the bottom edge to hide under-cabinet lighting, ledge details, mullion bars in glass insets, fly over panels (connecting two cabinets separated by a sink, for example), upgraded hardware.
  • Adequate lighting is critical in the kitchen. Popular choices include under-cabinet halogen lighting, can lighting and lights inside glass door cabinets.
  • One of the details affecting cost is drawer construction. The less expensive choice consists of particle board and side-mounted glides. A sturdier and costlier choice is solid oak, dove-tailed drawers with under-mounted glides.
  • Working with a kitchen designer can avoid costly or unsightly mistakes, like not leaving enough space for drawers to move easily in corners, and not making cabinets deep enough when staggering the height of cabinets.
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