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Spice up your kitchen with an added touch of color

The kitchen, the most-used room in the house, is often the most-enjoyed room as well. Make the most of your kitchen, whatever size and shape it may be, with the following hints from the National Paint and Coatings Association:

* Paint one wall in your kitchen a lighter or darker shade of the room color. Display an assortment of matching pots on the wall. Copper pots and utensils make a wall design that is both eye-catching and practical.

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* Inside and out, cabinets can contribute to and enhance room decor. Stains and varnishes for wooden cabinets and high-gloss enamels for metal cabinets can provide your china and glassware with colorful surroundings. Easy-to-construct painted shutters will hide open storage shelving in kitchens and pantries.

* A painted wooden pie shelf around the upper kitchen wall makes a nice showcase for collectibles. Arrange plates, cup and saucer sets, vases, or even infrequently used kitchen items on this shelf for a homey effect.

* A colorful window shelf and a few plants can make your kitchen window something to look at as well as through. Paint the window sill and frame to match room color or complement it. Consider a white window in a blue kitchen or a primary color for a white kitchen. Create a contrast to walls by painting the window frame a darker shade of the wall color.

* Color is the spice that makes kitchens come to life. First, select an overall color for the room. Peach, creamy beige, and yellow are light colors that work well in kitchens. White is a good overall color, too, forming a backdrop for dramatic accents. If the room is especially large, consider a more daring color, such as deep yellow.

Additional colors can be used to give interest to the room. Add a little country color to walls with a simple stencil. A painting of a basket of fruit or a collection of lightly colored vegetables makes an eye-catching centerpiece on a central kitchen wall. Select a portion of the pattern and carry the motif around the kitchen doorway, the ceiling, or window sills. For a sleek high-tech touch, spray-paint a piece of perforated hardboard in a bold primary color. Place it in a central location along the wall and use it for hanging frequently used kitchen utensils.

* Proper surface preparation is insurance that the design selected will last for many years. Begin by taking a good look around the kitchen, noting areas that will need special attention: water stains, mildewed patches, wall surface deterioration, dents, holes, and cracks.

Remove portable items from the room and cover all other surfaces, including the floor, with dropcloths. Wash the walls thoroughly, using a mild cleanser and water. Be sure to remove all traces of dirt and grease. Repair problem areas and remove all mildew stains.

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