How to Repad Dining Room Chairs

Revitalize the chairs in your dining room set by replacing worn seat pads and fabric with new fabric and foam. Replacing the seat pads on a set of chairs costs considerably less than getting a new set or taking the chairs to an upholsterer’s for new seats. You can accomplish the task within a day. The chairs will be ready to go for a dinner party that night.

Liven up worn dining room chairs with new seat pads.

  • Turn the chair upside down. Remove the current seat pad from the chair by unscrewing the pad from the frame of the chair. Set the screws aside; you’ll need them to attach the new pad.
  • Remove the staples from the old chair pad to take the fabric off. Use the staple remover or a pair of pliers to pry the staples free. Wear your goggles during this step, as the staples may go flying.
  • Set the old chair base down on the piece of plywood, if you need to cut a new base. You may be able to use the old base if it isn’t cracked or overly worn down. Trace around the old seat on the plywood. Use the jigsaw to cut out the shape of the chair seat.
  • Trace the shape of the plywood seat onto the foam. Use the electric knife to cut out the foam, adding an inch to the seat’s perimeter all around.
  • Spray the adhesive on the back of the foam and attach it to the seat base. Fold the excess foam around the edges of the seat base.
  • Drape the batting over the top of the seat base. Trim the batting so that you have 1/2 inch extra on all sides. Pull the batting tight against the foam and staple in the center on one side. Make sure you put the staple on the underside of the chair. Staple in the center on the other side, then staple all around the underside of the chair base. Space the staples about 2 inches apart.
  • Cover the seat with the fabric. Trim the fabric so that it extends over the underside of the seat by about 1/2 inch. Staple in the center on the sides, underneath the seat. Continue stapling all around the seat base, pulling the fabric as tight as you can. Space the staples about 2 inches apart.
  • Reattach the seat pad to the chair. Place the upside-down chair on top of the base and place the screws back into position, tightening with the screwdriver.

How Do I Clean Berber Carpet

Cleaning berber carpet is a bit different than cleaning other types of carpeting. Berber is typically made from nylon or wool and its fibers are densely packed, so it tends to retain water. According to The Flooring Lady, mold can develop in carpeting that is wet for too long. For this reason, it is essential you know how to properly care for and clean your berber carpet. With proper care berber carpet is quite durable and can remain in good condition for years.

Berber carpet has very tight loops, which makes it very dense.

  • Remove dirt, dust and debris from your berber carpet with regular vacuuming. This will help prevent staining. Always vacuum immediately before wet cleaning.
  • Blot up as much excess moisture as you can when a spill occurs. Then, blot the stain with a cloth moistened with clean water. If clean water does not remove the stain use a spot cleaner approved for berber carpets. After blotting the stain up, make sure to blot excess moisture from the carpet and direct a fan on the spot to speed up drying.
  • Steam clean your berber carpet as needed. Use an approved steam cleaning solution for berber. Do not go over any areas twice unless it is necessary. Use the suction to remove as much water as possible.
  • Blot berber carpet dry with old bath towels. Remove as much water as possible through blotting.
  • Direct a fan on the berber carpet while it is drying. Before putting furniture back on berber carpet make sure it is completely dry. Test for dryness by placing a towel on the carpet and stepping on it.

How to Repair a Run in Berber Carpet

Berber carpet has pile made of loops instead of loose ends. The exposed part of the carpet (the pile) is made of strands that come out of a woven base of square holes and then loop back into the next hole. The threads are anchored into or below the woven base with adhesive. A run causes a thread to pull out anywhere from a single loop to several feet or even yards in length. Tuck the loops back in place, and glue them for a nearly perfect finish.

How to Repair a Run in Berber Carpet

Glue and Tuck

  • Examine the pulled strand. The run will have a definite base where the looped pile is intact. Find this base at one end of the pulled strand. Look closely at the strand to identify if there are periodic glue marks along the strand. They should be in between each pulled loop of the pile.
  • Tuck the first loop. Place your screwdriver or other blunt object on top of the first pulled loop at the glue mark, and push this into the first available hole in the woven backing. If it sticks, try pushing the next glue mark on the strand into the next available hole in the woven backing. Continue for five or six more glue marks and holes.
  • Examine your work. If the loops you replaced into the backing look uneven, pull them out and try spacing them more evenly so the pile you replaced matches the surrounding pile. When you are satisfied, pull the strand out, remembering what holes in the woven backing match what glue marks on the pulled strand.
  • Glue the looped pile back in. Place a small dot of glue on each hole in the woven backing that matched the glue marks on the strand. Replace the glue marks in the holes, and let the glue dry. If the loops do not stay in after being placed back in the holes, apply a weight to the area to keep the loops in while the glue dries.
  • Continue with the next five or ten glue marks/holes. If the job is going smoothly and the loops are not pulling out, continue without bothering to let the glue dry until you finish the job. Keep off the area until the glue is dry.
  • Adjust for too much or too little exposed strand. If you come to the end of tucking and gluing the exposed strand and you have too much strand left over, cut the excess, melt the end of the tucked strand with a match and glue and tuck it into the last hole. If you have too little strand left over, get a strand from a hidden border to finish tucking and gluing the run

How to Design a Kitchen Layout

The best designs for kitchen layouts take into consideration how a kitchen is used on a daily basis and what arrangement of cabinets, appliances, and work areas will function most efficiently. Whether it’s a new kitchen design or a kitchen remodel, how you design a kitchen layout will establish the foundation for all the other design elements that will go into the room.

The layout is the most important functional element of a kitchen.

  • Determine the basic floor plan. Kitchen layouts typically fall into the following categories:
    • One wall kitchen — appliances and cabinets along one wall
    • Galley kitchen (a.k.a. corridor kitchen) — appliances and cabinets along two walls facing each other
    • L-shaped kitchen — wall cabinets and appliances form an “L”
    • U-shaped kitchen — wall cabinets and appliances form a “U”
    • Island kitchen — an L- or U-shaped kitchen with the addition of an island
    • Peninsula kitchen — one cabinet wall is open to another space
  • Design the work triangle. Based on research in the 1950s, the most-used work areas in the kitchen are at the sink, stove, and refrigerator. The concept of a work triangle optimizes the flow between those work areas for the most efficiency — they shouldn’t be too close together or too far apart.
  • Decide on how many prep areas are needed. If multiple cooks will be using the space, design your kitchen with enough room for a second sink, and make sure you have extra room for chopping and dicing.
  • Decide what other functions will take place in the kitchen. Today’s kitchens are the busiest rooms in the house. In addition to cooking features, will you need a separate pantry, a home office, or a place to watch TV?
  • Lay out the design on graph paper. Use manufacturer’s specifications to make sure you have the correct measurements of all your appliances and cabinets. Also consider using kitchen design software. These programs include templates with basic designs, and you can add your own ideas to create the kitchen of your dreams. These programs also check for clearances and other architectural and building code essentials.

How to Pack Dining Room Chairs in a Moving Truck

Packing dining room chairs in a moving truck can be difficult because of the unusual shape of the chairs. They never fit conveniently anywhere and take up more space than other objects of similar weight. Dining room chairs are also rather fragile so more attention must be paid to their protection. If you follow a few simple tips, you can pack dining room chairs in a moving truck safely and efficiently.

  • Wrap up the chairs in packing blankets. The chair’s legs and arms can get nicked and cushions torn if you don’t protect them with packing blankets.
  • Examine the moving truck where you are loading the dining room chairs. Since they tend to be lighter than other furniture they should go on top of heavier things. Find a space that will accommodate the chairs.
  • Try to stand the chairs on their feet. This is the safest way to transport them since their weight won’t be on their backs or sides. You probably won’t be able to stand them all on their feet but attempt to stand as many as you can this way.
  • Turn some of the chairs over and stack them face down on the chairs standing on their feet. The cushions should be pressed against each other. If the dining room chairs have arms you may need to shift them a few inches to the side so they can meet. Be sure to place padding on the arms if you do this.
  • Secure the dining room chairs so they don’t move. It is common for chairs to be damaged by shifting when they aren’t packed tight. Fill in the space around them with small, soft objects. Tie the chairs down if you have no other way to keep them from moving.

Ideas for White, Red & Black Kitchen Designs

Red accessories add drama to the kitchen.

A white, red and black kitchen design creates a bold, high-contrast statement in your home. Whether you are starting from scratch or incorporating color into your existing kitchen design, you can add elements that transform a standard kitchen into a dramatic, modern space. As you plan a design, look for ways to use color that will complement the rest of your home for a continuous feeling.

Black-and-White Patterns

  • To combine black and white in your kitchen and create a contemporary feeling, use black-and-white patterns. You can choose a bold striped backsplash, for example, or find floral-printed curtains for the window. Look for printed plates, decorative panels, or insert a few bold tiles into your backsplash for an unexpected touch. With black and white, a little goes a long way; even a small amount of patterned space can make a large design impact.

Red Cabinets

  • For a bold way to incorporate red into your kitchen design, paint your cabinets a deep crimson color. If you have wooden cabinets, use a primer to prepare the surface for the paint; you can also install red metal cabinets for a contemporary look. For a less dramatic look, add inserts into the cabinets for a splash of color without the commitment; mount fabric panels on the center of each cabinet that can be removed when you want to change the design. If you want bold expanses of red without overwhelming the space, paint your bottom cabinets so that the color rests below the line of sight.


  • If you want to incorporate red and black into the kitchen without making a dramatic statement, use accents. Start with a white base, and add red and black for contrast. You might buy colored appliances, for example, or add color in the hand towels. Look for pot holders, chargers, place mats, lamp shades, utensil holders or tablecloths in red and black. Vases, stemware, cookie jars or candle elements are also ways to add color without spending a great deal of money.

Checkerboard Floor

  • A black-and-white checkerboard floor is a way to add a retro feeling to your kitchen. Look for tiles that will retain their depth of color over the years. One-foot tiles will make a strong impression without overwhelming the room. A checkerboard floor is particularly effective in a small kitchen, where you do not have a lot of room to work in design elements.

How to Recover a Dining Room Seat Cushion

Like all household furniture, the upholstery on your dining room chairs will eventually wear out. You may wish to replace the chairs before the fabric wears Recovering dining room seat cushions requires only fabric and a few household tools.out, due to changing tastes or fashions. However, purchasing a new set of chairs every time home decorating fashion changes or the fabric gets stained will put a serious dent in your bank account. A much more economical option is to recover the seat cushions yourself. With only a few yards of fabric and a few tools, you will have dining room chairs that look like new.

  • Look at the screws holding the seat on the dining room chair to determine the type of screwdriver you will need. Unscrew the screws and put them in a safe place. Remove the seat from the chair.
  • Turn the seat over and use the needle-nose pliers to remove the staples holding the old fabric to the seat. Remove the old fabric and set it aside.
  • Evaluate the condition of the seat padding. If the padding is in good condition, you do not need to replace it. If it is not, cut a piece of foam to the same dimensions as the old cushion. If you like, you can cut the new foam to a different height. Taller foam will result in softer cushions, and shorter foam will result in firmer cushions. Remove the old padding from the seat if you are replacing the foam, and glue the new foam in place with high-strength adhesive.
  • Cut a new piece of fabric to the same dimensions as the old fabric. If you added height to the cushion, add twice the additional height of the cushion to either dimension of the fabric. For example, if the old fabric measured 16 inches by 16 inches, and you added 1 inch to the height of the cushion, you would cut a piece of fabric measuring 18 inches by 18 inches.
  • Lay the fabric face-down on a flat surface. Center the seat, cushion side down, on the fabric.
  • Pull the middle point of one side of the fabric over the cushion and board and staple in place. Staple the fabric 1 inch away from the first staple on the left and on the right. Continue in this manner until you have stapled the whole side, except for 2 inches at each corner. Repeat on the opposite side of fabric, and then on the two remaining sides.
  • Lay a corner of fabric flat, folding the excess fabric underneath the fabric on the sides. Staple in place. Repeat on the remaining corners.
  • Screw the completed seat in place on the dining room chair.

How to Pad Wooden Dining Room Chairs

Wooden dining room chairs come in thousands of different styles that match a wide range of tables. After regular use, you may notice that the chairs feel less More padding makes your chairs more comfortable.comfortable. Most chairs feature some type of padding, but the padding breaks down over time. Whether you have chairs with inadequate padding, no padding or padding that has broken down, you can replace the padding easily yourself. The process is similar to reupholstering, except that you do not replace the fabric.

  • Turn the chair upside down with the bottom of the chair facing up. Depending on the manufacturer, the chair may feature screws or nails that keep the seat attached to the chair frame. Remove the seat from the wooden chair frame by unscrewing it from the frame using a screwdriver. If the seat had been nailed to the frame instead, remove the nails using a hammer or a pair of pliers, taking extra care not to crack the wood as you pull the nails out.
  • Turn the seat upside down to reveal the staples holding the fabric to the seat. Slide the butter knife under the edge of any staples holding the fabric in place and pop the staples loose.
  • Peel away the fabric from the seat and set it to one side. Slide the edge of the utility knife under the original padding and wiggle it from side to side. Push the knife around, loosening the padding until it comes off the bottom board or backing.
  • Sand the bottom board with medium-grit sandpaper, removing any glue residue left behind. The glue holds the padding to the board. Set the board on top of the foam and trace around the board. Trim the excess foam away, following the line you made.
  • Coat the bottom of the foam with spray adhesive, which makes the foam slightly tacky. Spray more adhesive on the board itself. Set the foam directly on top of the board and press it down gently, letting the glue adhere the pieces together.
  • Arrange the fabric over the top of the foam and board. Drape the fabric over one side of the pieces and turn it around so that you can see the bottom. Staple the fabric to the board and pull the fabric down taut on the opposite side. Add more staples and repeat on the other two sides, pulling the fabric taut and smooth as you staple.
  • Reattach the seat back to the wooden chair frame using the screws or nails you had removed previously.

How to Make a Dining Room Booth

A dining room booth, or banquette, is an interesting and elegant way to provide seating for a dining room. One of the advantages of booth seating, over traditional seating provided by individual chairs, is intimacy: you can sit closer to someone you love in a banquette. You can also often seat more people in a roomy booth than you can at a table with chairs.

Create a booth or banquette seating arrangement for your dining room.

  • Decide whether you want to make an L-shaped seating area around two sides of a table, a niche booth with a U-shaped seating area around three sides of a table or a two-sided booth with fixed benches on the two opposite long sides of the table. Draw up a test floor plan to scale to help you decide.
  • Construct the booth seating banquettes or benches. Determine the ideal seat height for your dining table. For most tables, this is 18 inches from the floor to the top of the seat of the chair. Use 2 inch by 2 inch dimensional lumber to construct the skeleton of a box. The box should be the proper length for the banquette as measured along the wall. The box should be about 26 inches wide, from the front of the bench to the back. The box should be 14 inches tall from the floor to the seat of the bench. These dimensions will accommodate the seat cushions.
  • Sheath or cover this frame with ¾ inch thick plywood or medium density fiberboard (MDF). Use plywood sheathing if you intend to upholster the bench completely. Use MDF if you want to paint the bench. If the back of the bench will never be seen, don’t sheath the back.
  • Build a backrest for the bench. Build another box frame, equal to the length of the bench. The backrest frame should be no more than 6 to 8 inches in width. The backrest can be as tall as you like: mid-back height, shoulder height, or as tall as an average person is when seated. Sheath it in 3/4 inch thick plywood or MDF.
  • Mount the backrest on the back edge of the bench with wood screws. Drive the screws down through the framing of the backrest into the bench, or use angle irons.
  • Accommodate any turns for an L or U shaped bench. It is sometimes easier to build any “turns” as separate bench units and put them together at a later stage. This also produces a bench that is easier to manage in terms of size and weight. Conduct a ‘dry run’ of your bench units to see what modifications may be needed to fit the pieces together, snugly, into an L or a U.
  • Cover the front and the side panels of the bench units, and the side and top panels of the backrests in a suitable upholstery material, if desired. Pad these areas with 1 inch thick foam rubber, cut a little larger than the sizes needed for each panel. Staple the foam rubber to the bench before covering it with fabric. Roll the foam over edges and around corners to soften them.
  • Optional: if you want to simply paint the benches, cover all the corners and construction joints with molding trims. Prime the benches. Paint the benches with two coats of a durable, semi-gloss or gloss enamel paint.
  • Acquire large sheets or blocks of foam rubber from fabric stores or online. Choose the thickness of the foam according to your tastes: 4 to 6 inches thick is standard.
  • Cut the foam into sections (an electric bread knife works well) to match the size of your bench seats. Cut the foam slightly larger than the seat both along the front (under the knee) and on the sides. If you have an L or a U turn to span, make the L one piece of foam. Make two long straight pieces of foam to fit on either side of this L. This technique works with U-shaped benches as well.
  • Cover the foam seat blocks with a gauze or “facing” material available at fabric stores. Baste stitch the facing material so it encapsulates the foam blocks completely.
  • Upholster the seat blocks with fabric. Use a sewing machine to create six-sided “envelopes” for the cushions. Sew the fabric panels together inside out. Leave one “flap” of the envelope open, along a long edge. After sewing the envelopes, turn them right side out.
  • Insert the foam cushions into the envelopes and then close up the open end by whip-stitching the seam closed by hand. If you want to create washable covers, tailor the cushions with nylon zippers along the back seams so you can remove the foam cushion.
  • Place the seat cushions on the benches. Measure the distance from the top of the cushion to the top of the backrest. This is the height you need to make your backrest cushions. The seat cushions need to fit under the lower edge of the backrest cushions.
  • Construct backrest cushions as you did the seat cushions.
  • Attach the backrest cushions to the backrest with four vertical rows of heavy-duty Velcro strips.
  • Push the upholstered benches into the final position against the wall. Pull the table up to the benches and test the clearance needed to get in and out of the benches comfortably. Adjust the table location as needed.

How to Decorate a Small Attached Living & Dining Room

Decorating a small attached living and dining area can be a headache, and creating distinctly separate rooms with minimal space can be a design challenge. How to Decorate a Small Attached Living & Dining RoomBut a tiny living space doesn’t have to feel like a shoebox; with a little guidance and preparation, your home can go from cluttered and cramped to wonderfully cozy. And the best part? Your renovation doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

  • Empty out the living and dining rooms, moving the furniture well out of the way for now. You need to be able to plan out your space without having to climb over the sofa to get from one end to the other.
  • Select an interior latex paint in a light, neutral color, and paint both rooms in the same hue. Choose a satin finish, which will be less reflective and add depth to your walls. Light colors will make the room feel more open and bright, and painting both rooms in the same color will keep the areas from seeming boxy and enclosed.
  • Use furniture to define the spaces, and treat them as two distinct rooms. Orient your dinette set or dining table in the center of the dining room. Arrange the living room furniture around a focal point, such as a TV or fireplace. Splitting the rooms in this manner visually enlarges the space by creating purposes for each room. The unified paint color, meanwhile, prevents the eye from becoming distracted.
  • Add bright, airy accent elements. Small spaces are often shrunken by bold decorating styles, so understatement is the key with your decor choices. Look for lamps with delicate, slender bases and light colored shades; hang pictures with narrower frames, and try to avoid cluttering your wall space. Select draperies and curtains in lightweight, sheer fabrics.
  • Get organized. Perhaps the best way to maximize the appearance of space in a small, attached living and dining space is to do a little spring cleaning. Get rid of furniture that isn’t necessary to the space, and minimize decorative elements. Clutter drastically reduces the impression of space, so making sure that every object has a designated place can do wonders for opening up your home

How Much Money Does the Realtor Selling Your Home Get?

Real estate agents help market and sell houses.

Real estate agents sell homes based on commission — generally about 5 or 6 percent of the sales price. Agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors are called realtors, but other than the trade association membership there is no difference between a realtor and a real estate agent.


  • A contract with a realtor is a voluntary agreement. Sales commissions of 6 percent are common, but you can negotiate a lower commission when selling your house. Interview several agents and ask each of them if they’re willing to accept a commission of less than 6 percent. Shaving just 2 percent off the standard 6 percent sales commission will save $6,000 in commission fees on a home selling for $300,000.

Luxury Listings

  • Leverage for a lower commission is even greater on luxury homes costing around $1 million. Realtors are so eager for luxury home listings that some will accept as little as 3 percent in sales commission, according to MSN Money. The agents realize that even with the smaller commission they may earn more on a luxury home than on lower-priced homes.

Buyer’s Agent

  • A realtor does not keep the entire commission. The buyer’s agent usually receives half. That means on a 6 percent commission, both agents receive 3 percent, and they will share some of that money with their respective real estate brokers.

Annual Wages

  • Only the top 10 percent of real estate agents earn more than $100,000 in a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual wage for a real estate agent in 2008 was $40,150. Median wages for the top 10 percent were $101,860. The lowest 10 percent earned $21,120.


  • Some sellers avoid paying realtors by acting as their own agent. They list their homes as “for sale by owner,” and handle all marketing, inquiries and open house events. The strategy works for some sellers, especially in a strong economy when there is great demand for housing and homes are easy to sell. Other owners pay a flat fee of 1 or 2 percent to companies offering basic help with marketing and advertising.

How to Choose Bedroom Curtains

When choosing bedroom curtains, you should consider many factors.
Choosing the type of curtains for your bedroom depends on a number of factors. Color, texture, insulating ability and style are just a few to consider. Light that comes into the bedroom is another important consideration, particularly for a bedroom where morning light can disturb sleep. Whether you like ultra-modern styling or soft traditional settings, there are a number of fabrics and methods of operation to help make your bedroom the comfortable retreat you envision.

  • Look at the wall paint in relationship to the size of the room. Consider whether the color of your walls overwhelm the room. For large expanses of wall space, you might break up the color with a patterned fabric on the windows. For a small room, you might wish to make the curtains the same color to create a sense of more space.
  • Notice the shape of the windows. Simple rectangular windows scattered around the room can look good with any kind of window treatment. Large stretches of window may need to be broken up into individual units. Arched windows may need special rods or shades for curved areas.
  • Feel the temperature of the room. Does the bedroom face the north, or is it subject to drafts in winter? You may need lined curtains that you can close at night to help keep heat in the room. Heavy fabrics will also help to insulate the room.
  • Take note of early morning light. Think about how often you will open and close the drapes. If your bedroom windows face east, morning light may disturb sleepers. Draperies on sliding tracks will be easier to shut light out in the early morning and let light in later in the day. If light isn’t a problem, you can consider lighter-weight fabrics and stationary rods.
  • Consider the styling of your décor. If you prefer modern styling, frilly ruffles or voluminous drapes won’t go well with the feel of the room. Consider a modern print or contrasting color to add an edge to the room. If you like country styling, soft prints and ruffles will work well.
  • Measure your windows. Take measurements from the top of the windows to the bottom and to the floor.
  • Go to your local window treatment store and pick out fabrics and styles.
  • Place your order and arrange for installation.

How to Reupholster Seat Cushions on Dining Room Chairs

The ability to upholster chairs is a useful skill for do-it-yourselfers and any homeowner. While it might initially seem like a daunting task, reupholstering Reupholstering old dining room chairs can give an old space new cushions is easy to accomplish and requires no previous sewing or upholstery experience. Old dining room chairs can take on a new life by simply adding a new piece of fabric that better coordinates with the design of the room. Before beginning any upholstery work, it is important to repair the chairs if needed.

  • Remove the seat from the chair. This usually requires simply turning the chair upside down and removing the screws that are holding the cushion in place. Remember to reserve the screws so the cushion can be reattached after the cushion is covered.
  • Pull away any existing fabric from the dining room chair cushion. If the fabric is stapled in place, use a flat-head screwdriver to pry the staples away from the underside of the cushion. If possible, keep the original fabric intact to use as a pattern for the new fabric.
  • Repair the cushion as needed. If the foam is torn, fill the holes with pieces of upholstery foam and glue in place. If you prefer, you can replace the upholstery foam entirely by attaching a new sheet to the base of the cushion with spray adhesive.
  • Create a pattern for your new upholstery fabric. If you were able to reserve the original cushion fabric, simply trace this piece onto your new fabric. You can also create a pattern by draping a piece of muslin cloth over the cushion and tracing out the shape you need. Be sure to leave extra material on all sides for pull.
  • Position your seat cushion over the new fabric, print side down. Pull the fabric over to the underside of the cushion and staple in place. Pull the fabric as tight as possible to avoid bubbling and create a clean, professional look. Cut off excess material or cover with a sheet of interfacing.
  • Attach the seat cushion to the chair with your reserved screws.

How to Design a Culinary Arts Demonstration Kitchen

An effective culinary-arts demonstration kitchen gives students an extensive view of the instructor’s workstation, and provides space for students to learn through hands-on practice. Minimize obstructions that can prevent students from observing the instructor’s work, and choose the quietest equipment you can find so students can hear the instructor. Give safety features special attention in your design, to accommodate inexperienced chefs.

  • Situate the instructor’s workstation in a central, visible location. Students should be able to see and hear the instructor from every part of the room.
  • Plan locations for video cameras and video screens. Place one camera in a location to film the instructor’s prep station, and another camera over the stove, where it can film multiple burners. Situate video screens on either side of the instructor’s workstation, high enough for all students to see.
  • Minimize clutter around the workstation by arranging cabinets for pans and utensils within reach, but away from the island containing the instructor’s stove and prep area.
  • Place a hand-washing sink within easy reach of the workstation, but at enough of a distance to not interfere with instruction activity or for water to splash on prep areas.
  • Plan student workstations where up to four students can work together. Workstations should be islands with stainless-steel prep stations and burners if students are cooking.

How to Design a Kitchen for the Elderly

Eventually, we all will need to modify our living environment — including our kitchen. Universal design offers spaces that treat “disability” as a relative term, recognizing that all people have “special needs”, whether tall, short, physically challenged or elderly; and that needs vary within each individual’s lifetime. Universal kitchen design provides some options that are convenient for anyone, but particularly well-suited to elderly users.

  • Establish priorities by taking inventory of the needs of household members. Perhaps someone has a chronic condition that means they will eventually need an assisted living device like a wheelchair. An elderly member of the household may be much shorter than others or need help in the kitchen.
  • Plan for varying mobility requirements. This may mean allowing five feet between counters and islands or arranging space to minimize the need to walk between preparation areas and cooking appliances. Add pull-out counters under microwaves and ovens to allow hot food to be put down without the need to turn around or move to another counter.
  • Provide standard or adjustable counter-height workspace. Counter height has been creeping higher in new homes but our parents — and anyone in a wheelchair — find them inconvenient. Place ovens and microwaves on walls where they can be approached at eye level to make them more accessible.
  • Buy appliances with safety features convenient for wheelchair users. Side-by-side refrigerator freezers, in-door ice and water dispensers, side-open ovens, convection stove tops and front-mounted controls all simplify use and make appliances more accessible. Leave open space under adjustable work counters that can be raised or lowered four inches.
  • Build in convenience by including at least 60 inches of “prep” and cleanup space next to range tops, ovens and refrigerators. Install pull-out storage in base cabinets and pull-down racks in upper cabinets. Specify pull-out shelves on rollers in appliances and cabinets.

How to Start a Kitchen Design Business

Everyone knows that kitchens sell homes; even when home sales drop, people still like to remodel this versatile room in their homes. If you’re an interior designer with a special love for kitchen design, consider starting a kitchen design business.

Start a Kitchen Design Business

  • Figure out what you want to do. You can own a kitchen design showroom, do consulting for other interior designers or contractors or act like an interior designer only specializing in kitchens.
  • Research local licensing laws. Many states require that an interior designer have a certain number of years of experience as well as a college degree. Since kitchen design falls under the umbrella of interior design, you’d still need a license. Alternatively, you can call yourself an “interior decorator” to bypass these licensing laws.
  • Set up your office. Even if you only take jobs as a consultant, you’ll need some kind of office from which to work. You can set up a home office if you’d like, but if you plan to have clients come over, your entire house must be presentable. If you want to own a design showroom, you’ll have to buy some inventory to display as well as set up your office.
  • Decide on your rates. This all depends on the type of business you start. Obviously the rate for consulting is different from the rate for a residential kitchen remodel design gig.
  • Make up business cards and give them out to everyone you meet. Choose other marketing techniques that you think will help you get some business. Consider talking to contractors and other interior designers to see if they would be interested in using your services, or at the very least, referring some business to you.
  • Keep up with the trends in kitchen design. As a professional, people will only want to hire you if you know what you’re talking about when it comes to kitchens. Know about every aspect that makes up a kitchen, from cabinets to counter tops and from sinks to floors.

How to Make a Zen Bedroom on a Budget

The spirit of Zen is humble, direct and peaceful. Uncomplicated decor, simple lines, empty space and natural materials belong in a Zen bedroom. Lots of decorative touches, loud colors, and an excess of consumer goods are the antitheses of a Zen retreat. But a Zen makeover isn’t an invitation to use your entire savings in pursuit of serenity. Spend little to nothing; let go of everything you don’t need. Find space to breathe and to meditate, using mostly what you already have.

Modern Japanese style zed bedroom
Clean and ClearThe cheapest thing you can do to create a Zen bedroom on a budget costs nothing and may make you some money to pay for the paint. Clear it out. Zen decor is spare, bare, calm, uncluttered and clean. An uncluttered space imparts a sense of spaciousness and is always the epitome of order. Blitz the room for the fastest clear-out possible — also the most painless, as it is a quick surgical strike. Take everything out, including the contents of closets, the dresser, under-bed storage, the curtains, wall-hung art, even the bedding. Clean the room. Determine the absolute minimum of furniture to go back in — you need the bed and some light; everything else is debatable. Cull your closet and donate or sell the clothes you haven’t worn in the last year. Anything that goes back into the room should have a designated place; which, for most things, won’t be the floor.

A clean, uncluttered modern bedroom
Zen PaletteNeutral is so Zen. Paint the walls, ceiling and trim the same non-color or a soft shade from nature. White, gray, beige, blush, pale straw, whitened jade, a mere hint of sky-blue, the most subtle hues are soothing, not distracting, and change with the shifting light in the room. Cover the floor with a handwoven rug or rush mat, or refinish a plank floor and consider wax rather than glossy polyurethane. A bedroom is low-traffic enough to make a rich wax finish practical. Replace bedding, if possible, with plain white sheets and pillowcases in a high-thread count, an investment in quality that looks as good as it feels and lasts longer than cheaper sheets. Wait for an annual white sale to get bargains on better bedding. Leave off the throw pillows, fancy bedspreads and other patterned and decorative touches.

Simple bedroom painted with a grey and beige color scheme
Blooms and BranchesBring some nature into your Zen retreat with a healthy green plant or a curated collection of objects found on contemplative walks — cost: minimal to none. A simple stand of green bamboo in a plain clay pot adds a vertical note to decor, thrives fairly hardily indoors, and will rustle softly when windows are open to catch a breeze. A hanging spider plant in the window is graceful and cleans your air at the same time. A single blossom in a clear glass flute vase invites meditation. A small basket of woven grasses holding a few polished beach or river rocks merges found and handmade art. An interesting branch is an angular sculpture anchored in a glass globe. Leave walls bare or hang just one unframed brush painting — elegant black calligraphy on linen or rice paper.

Close up of bamboo plants
Breathing With the BuddhaThe focus of a Zen bedroom may be your spiritual practice, and your private space is the perfect place to set up an altar and meditation station. A Buddha statue doesn’t have to be large, gilded and bejeweled, or an obsidian antique. A symbolic Buddha sandal is enough for an altar centerpiece; tuck a fresh blossom into it to honor the deity. Place your statue or symbol on a low wood platform or carved altar. Make an inexpensive altar with a wine crate covered by a clean linen or embroidered silk cloth. Repurpose a bedside table or lay a clean cloth over a low bench or stool. Add a tea light, vase for a flower, incense holder, brass bell or crystal. Cover a spare pillow with plain cotton canvas or splurge on a supportive meditation cushion to place in front of the altar.

Colorful cushion seats line a bedroom wall for meditation