Design An Attractive, Easy-Care Kitchen
Even if you love cooking – or eating – you probably don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cleaning. Washing the dishes is necessary, of course. But high-maintenance surfaces are not ideal. That said, you still want to be proud of your kitchen. Design a kitchen that's attractive but that features easy-care materials.
The countertops provide your work surface, so they're likely to need the most cleaning. What's more, because of all the food preparation, they take the most abuse. If you want a low-maintenance, easy-clean surface, consider laminate such as Formica 180fx. Laminate countertops are made of layers of paper topped with the laminate coating, making them environmentally friendly as well as low maintenance. The surface is both scuff and scratch resistant and doesn't wear easily. What's more, laminate countertops offer built-in antimicrobial protection, which minimizes mildew, staining and odors. Laminate countertops come in numerous finish and edging options, allowing you to blend them with any décor style.
Linoleum flooring took the world by storm a few decades ago, and with good reason. Flooring made out of vinyl is durable and low maintenance. Like laminate countertop material, vinyl is constructed of layers—in this case a fiberglass backing topped with a printed design, clear vinyl and a protective top coat. Today's vinyl flooring can come in tiles or planks as well as the traditional sheet rolls. Modern linoleum is also more textured than previous versions, affording you a more natural look. Linoleum is warmer and softer under foot than traditional materials such as tile. You can choose linoleum that mimics other materials or that features its own style.
Wood has long been the most popular kitchen cabinet material, and that hasn't changed. If you want real wood that's low maintenance, stay away from pine. While budget friendly, pine is also easily scratched or dented. Instead opt for harder woods such as maple or oak.
Those hardwoods come with a big price tag, though. To stay in budget, Home and Garden TV suggests laminate or thermofoil. Both are basically composite materials in which the surface finish is applied over particleboard or a similar base. This gives them the look of wood with durable, easy-care surfaces. You can also choose colored composite, which looks like painted wood.
Generally, the standard powder-coated finishes on appliances are the easiest to clean. However, there are appliances made of smudge-proof stainless steel if you like that industrial look. For ranges, look for flat or easy-clean cooktops.
Enjoy your kitchen, not the washing up, with easy-care surfaces.