15 Ways to Love Your Kitchen

Even if you aren't planning a major overhaul of your kitchen, there are many ways to rekindle the flame.

Explore the kitchen in our 2008 FitHouse in Portland, Oregon.

 Tria Giovan

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1. Replace the hardware on your kitchen cabinets. Handles now come in a variety of fun styles and shapes, such as vegetables, fruit, fish, and starfish.

2. Remove a cabinet door and enjoy an open display area -- ideal for your favorite knickknacks, colorful linens, or barware.

3. Hang an architectural piece, such as a small porthole window, on your backsplash. A shelf can hold novelties or spices.

4. Hang themed plates vertically down a narrow wall or around framed artwork.

5. Buy an inexpensive set of flatware with decorative or colored handles for a change of pace.

6. Add a rug in your breakfast area or in front of the sink to pull the room together. A rag rug lends coziness, a dhurrie gives an ethnic or Southwestern feel, an Oriental rug is more formal or traditional, and a natural-fiber rug (such as sisal) promotes a natural look.

7. Think about adding an inexpensive set of solid white dinnerware to your cupboard. Paired with bright, colorful place mats and napkins, it's anything but boring. Or add black or shimmering gold tones for a sophisticated, elegant look.

8. Keep the table set with place mats, napkins, plates, and flatware between meals to cozy up the room. Nothing looks more inviting than a table that's dressed for the next meal.

9. Begin a collection of interesting bottles for storing good-quality olive oils, flavored oils, and specialty vinegars. Then store them next to the cooktop, where they are not only decorative but handy, too.

10. Place an aloe vera plant in a pretty pot or basket and keep it in the kitchen to help with minor cuts and burns.

11. Get new canisters you'll be proud to show off on your countertop. Clear-and colored-glass jars are readily available and can double as decorative accessories.

12. Turn your kitchen into a bakery with a bread machine. From sweet breads and savory loaves to yeast rolls and bagels, the aromas and flavors of homemade breads simply can't be beat.

13. Start an herb garden on your kitchen windowsill.

14. Hang a new light fixture in the breakfast area. A black wrought-iron or pewter chandelier can freshen a room's look.

15. Mix and match table linens. Plaids can work with florals, florals can work with stripes, and a rainbow of different colors can work with either.

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