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Holiday Entertaing: Let Your Kitchen Do the Work

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Kitchen Ready for Holiday EntertainingFall is upon us with winter well on the way, and if you’re like me, as the holidays approach your thoughts start turning toward the inevitable: a houseful of people, most of them pushing into your already overcrowded kitchen.

It may be too late to make any major changes this season, but if you’ve decided that next year will be the year you finally upgrade your outdated chef’s quarters, don’t forget to allow for fall entertaining, even if you’re remodeling during the first flush of spring.

Appliances: Go Better, Not Bigger

Ranges that include a dual oven make it easier to skip staggering and get the meal on the table on time. These beauties allow you to cook your daily dinner without upping your electric costs and go into overdrive when you entertain. Smaller refrigerators are softer on your energy bill and better for the planet, but they can be short on space. Look for clever high-efficiency designs that offer more built-in room with a smaller footprint.

Try See-Through Storage

If you’re tired of trying to baste a turkey while people are rummaging through your cupboards and exploring your junk drawer, invest your new kitchen with at least a few glass-fronted cabinets. Not only do glass-paneled doors add interior light and brighten dark rooms, they’re also the perfect storage solution to direct guests toward glassware and other frequently used items. You’ll get thirsty visitors in and out of your way in no time.

Open Up

Major holidays are often built around extravagant meals, and sometimes it seems like everyone wants to be where the action is – in the kitchen. Opening up a wall to create a bar or island between the kitchen and den or family room makes it possible for everyone to feel connected and stay on top of the score without overcrowding. Open floor plans also let air – and conversation – flow freely. If you’re stuck with a galley kitchen and a load-bearing wall, consider a cut-out service window.

Let There Be Light

Valuable kitchen counter space is often lost because overhanging cabinets create an atmosphere that’s dark or dim. During the holiday rush, with meal preparation at high-throttle and every inch of usable room in demand, you’ll be glad you installed LED lighting below the cabinets. Turn a counter into a cutting board in minutes with the right lighting. A media center that includes an HDTV, iPod dock or other digital upgrades can keep you in sync with the rest of the party even while you’re slaving over the stove.

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