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7 Steps to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Eco-friendly living will continue to be a hot trend in 2019, with more and more homeowners realizing how the details of their lifestyle can affect the environment in the long run. If you want to keep up with the times, you ought to update your home with sustainable choices, from your living room to your kitchen. To get you started, here are 7 steps you can take for an eco-friendly kitchen.

7 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

1. Choose Your Appliances Wisely

Look for energy-efficient appliances. These use just enough energy to do their job and can help you save 10-50% of the normal power consumption of their regular versions. Some of them even run on renewable energy, such as solar power. One indicator of an eco-friendly appliance is the Energy Star label, which is placed on products that the Environmental Protection Agency certifies as energy-efficient.

In addition, you might want to unplug your appliances when they’re not in use. Leave them plugged in and they’ll still use up power.

2. Cook Smart

If you tend to prepare meals without much thought, you’re probably using more energy in your kitchen than you actually need. This can increase your carbon footprint without you realizing it. Here are some points to keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

  • Use just enough water. The more water you use, the more energy you’ll need to heat it up or get it to boiling point. Plus, excess water is wasted water.
  • Use lids when you cook. This traps heat and speeds up your cooking.
  • Try using the microwave instead of the oven when you can. This way, you can use 80% less energy to reheat the same food item.
  • Cut down on meat and dairy. It takes up a surprising amount of resources to raise a cow. Forests are sometimes even converted into pastures just to raise livestock. The more meat and dairy you consume, the bigger your carbon footprint.

3. Upgrade Cookware and Utensils

Switch out your plastic cookware for modern equivalents made of eco-friendly materials such as porcelain, glass, or wood. It’s a good thing there are several brands selling sustainable kitchen products nowadays! These include Rustic Wall Co., which produces kitchen utensils made of logging scraps, or Bambeco, which reuses its leftover materials and plants a tree for every purchase.

4. Cook With Organic Greens

Try to cook with herbs and vegetables that are fresh and free of pesticides. There are two ways to do this: buy from local green grocers or farmers’ markets, or grow your own produce.

Locally sourced greens don’t consume as much fuel just to be transported, which is a big eco-friendly plus. Be sure of whom you’re buying from, though. A large commercial farm that douses its crops with pesticides could fall under “local” if it’s just across your street. Opt for produce from small, organic farms.

You can also try your hand at growing your own herbs and vegetables. Many common vegetables are perfect for budding gardeners. These include tomatoes, cabbage, and spring onions. The additional backyard foliage will help keep the air at home fresh, too.

5. Cut Down on Food Waste

If your kitchen is truly eco-friendly, it will ideally produce minimal food waste. The following tips should keep you from throwing out too much food:

  • Shop smart. When you’re at the groceries, be realistic and buy only what you need.
  • Don’t over-serve. When scooping food onto your plate, don’t pile it up in heaps. Instead, get smaller portions and go back for seconds if needed.
  • Save your leftovers. If you’re feeling creative, you can use leftovers to whip up a fantastic meal. Just label them to keep track of how long they’ve been in your fridge.
  • Note down the food you toss out. That way you’ll know what you don’t use and take steps to avoid repeated kitchen wastage, whether that means buying smaller sizes of the same product or cutting that item out of your menu entirely.

6. Use Your Fridge Right

Your fridge uses up energy to keep food cold. If you’re aiming to have an eco-friendly kitchen, you’ll want to reduce the work your fridge has to do. Position your fridge in a cool area of your kitchen, and let food cool before putting it in the fridge.

Make sure that your fridge is still efficient, too. Defrost it regularly to keep your fridge and freezer running efficiently. Also, check if the seals around the door need to be changed. A quick test: close the door on a dollar bill. If the bill easily slides out, that means that the seals are also loose enough to let cold air seep out. Replace the seals as needed.

7. Use Green Cleaning Products

Some kitchen cleaning products have chemicals which can harm your family as well as the environment. Switch to eco-friendly alternatives with natural formulas. Homemade cleaning ingredients won’t give off strong odors, yet they can often be just as effective as store-bought cleaning products.

With these 7 steps, you’ll be on your way to an eco-friendly kitchen with a smaller carbon footprint. This sustainable lifestyle choice isn’t just a great way to welcome the new year, but it’ll help keep your home cleaner and fresher for you and your family.

For more tips on sustainable living and interior design, visit our blog regularly.

Quick Guide to Kitchen Under Cabinet Lighting

Quick Guide to Kitchen Under Cabinet Lighting

Under Cabinet Lighting is the most suitable choice for your kitchen countertops. Not only does it illuminate the backsplash on your wall, but it is also ideal for food preparation and cooking. A lot of lighting designers are talking about under cabinet lighting as it creates “layers of light” for your kitchen.

However, there a lot of available options in the market. How will you know which style of under cabinet lighting is perfect for your kitchen?

We hope this Quick Guide to Kitchen Under Cabinet Lighting helps.

Types of Under Cabinet Lighting Fixtures

1. Puck Lights

Puck lights are by far the most popular type of under cabinet lights. They are circular lights that deliver focused lighting to the space below it. Aside from serving as a good task lighting, it can also be used for accent lighting by orienting it toward the backsplash to get an ambient glow.

Puck lights are easy to install and affordable, hence they are user and budget friendly.

On the other hand, the space that is lighted by puck lights is limited to the space they are pointed at. Thus you have to buy several units and install them with regular spacing to achieve best results.

2. Light Strips

Light strips are available in several lengths and can be customized according to your cabinet length and shape. Compared to puck lights, they deliver lighting more evenly. And compared to rope and tape lights [below] they emit more luminous light.

You can buy this in LED or fluorescent options. LED being longer lasting and energy efficient, while fluorescent has less initial cost.

3. Tape Lights

Tape lights are the most space-saving under cabinet light, because its thin strips are flexible and can fit into corners and tight spaces. It is made of LED lights fixed in a strip of flexible peel-and-stick adhesive tape. It delivers functional light to aid your kitchen task while staying low-key and inconspicuous. But note that tape lights are not a good stand alone under cabinet lighting. It only works well when matched with more functional lights.

However, it can be complicated to install this fixture if you want to hide the wirings. It is best to hire a professional if you want to properly install tape lights.

4. Rope Lights

Rope lights are a type of linear lighting fixture alongside tape and light strips. It is made of LED lights strung inside a tube, thus it is a bit thicker than tape lights. The two, however, shares almost the same advantages. It is also a space saver and is more affordable.

Like tape light, it doesn’t give off much light. So, it is best matched with good task lighting. It is also less flexible than other linear lighting.

 

Things to Consider when Buying Under Cabinet Lighting

Now that you know the type of under cabinet lights you need, here are the details that you have to consider when you buy one.

Amount of Light

Under cabinet lights are only an addition to a kitchen that is already well lit. Overhead lighting should primarily deliver the most amount of light. However, if you want to add more illumination you can choose task lights like puck lights as they deliver a bit more light than other under cabinet lights.

Color Temperature

Aside from the amount of light, you should also be concerned with the color temperature. Different kitchen designs, including the color theme and materials used, call for a particular color temperature. Hence, you should be particular with this.

Kitchens with wooden cabinets and tones are best lit with lights in the warmer spectrum.

Modern kitchens, on the other hand, with glass or steel fixtures and cabinets call for cooler lights.

Bulb Type

LED (Light Emitting Diode) –  is the most energy efficient choice is LED. It doesn’t emit as much heat as other bulb types and it lasts up to 50,000 hours. It costs more than halogen and xenon lights, but the cost pales in comparison to the amount of light and energy efficiency of this bulb.

Xenon – is the best choice if you want warm lights, as it gives off the warm glow comparable to that of incandescent lights but with less heat and longer life hours. It can last up to 8,000 hours compared to 2,000 hours lifespan of incandescent bulbs. While it emits less heat than incandescent, it has a higher heat emission level than LED and Halogen bulbs.

Halogen – is much like the incandescent bulb, but it emits brighter illumination and it lasts longer. It can last up to 4,000 hours. Compared to LED, it is less expensive, but it emits more heat. Accurate fitting and proper placement is important, as it can burn very hot.

Fluorescent – emits cooler light than halogen and xenon lights. Along with LED, it is also energy efficient and emits functional, bright illumination. On the other hand, its initial cost is hefty, and it must be properly handled because it contains mercury vapor that can risk your health.

Power Source

Here are three main power source options you have for your under cabinet lights:

Battery-powered is easy to install and convenient but can be unreliable especially when you drain the battery charge. You may need to replace the batteries too often when you’re busy at the kitchen

Plug-in requires an accessible outlet, and as such the wirings can be too obvious. If you use many kitchen appliances, this may not be your best option. On a lighter note, it only requires simple installation.

Hard-wired lighting fixtures are directly connected to the power source. It is a good permanent solution for a seamless under cabinet lighting fixtures. However, its installation is the hardest, requiring professional service.

With all these important information under your belt, you can now plan the remodeling you want for your kitchen. Not confident enough? Call a professional interior designer.

Do you find this article helpful? For more interior design guides and tips, stay tuned in our blog.

5 Kitchens That Combine Form & Function

Modern Loft Kitchen in Chicago1. Sometimes I walk into an initial consult, and am overcome with the potential of the space. This Chicago West Loop condo, with its concrete ceilings and rich wood floors, falls into that category. It was oozing with potential . The concrete combined with wood, stone, and glass creates an interesting layered look. Metal and glass modern light fixtures are the perfect finishing detail for this space.

Slab front espresso cabinetry along with pale quartz counter tops creates striking, high contrast look. A combination of different sizes of stone and glass were used to construct an interesting and masculine backsplash.

 

 

North Chicago Kitchen2. Sleek glass tile is the focal point in this loft-style kitchen. The stacked tile design adds to the modern aesthetic of the kitchen and keeps the design very clean. The tile was laid above the cabinets to add height and drama to the space. Perforated metal pendant lighting illuminated by Edison light bulbs adds a unique flair to this home. Here’s a designer tip for you: Be bold with your lighting selections. Light fixtures are a great place to express your personality.

 

 

 

Contemporary Chicago Kitchen Design3. The goal of this kitchen remodel was to create a modern kitchen that felt crisp, clean, fresh, and airy. Recycled glass mosaic tile creates a dramatic impact on the back splash. Two different tones of the same tile were used to create a graphic stripe pattern. You can’t see it here, but the reflective glass tile shimmers in the natural sunlight.

 

 

 

 

 

Wicker Park Chicago Kitchen4. This kitchen is a combination of traditional and modern elements. The cabinetry, granite, and hardware are very contemporary, but with the infusion of a custom rustic kitchen table, fabric dining chairs and cornice boards, the space becomes cozy. The cornice boards were created in an unexpected bohemian patterned fabric with orange accents to add interest and pattern to the room. The hammered metal pendants hanging at varying height, are copper on the inside and produce a warm glow.

The focal point is a custom double pedestal base table. This table was created to fit the space perfectly and fulfill all of the family’s needs. With a bench on one side for the kids, and more formal dining chairs on the opposing side, the kitchen has found the perfect balance between formal and casual.

 

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5. The purpose of a kitchen is to create meals that bring people together. This kitchen does a great job of incorporating a dining area with the kitchen. We all know that getttogethers often end with people congregating in the kitchen. By having the eating space face the preparation area, the cook can intimately interact with the people who get to enjoy their creations.

@ 2019 Lugbill Designs   Downtown 211 W Wacker Dr, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60606   North Side 7005 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626-2812    (773) 572-9049