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Tips for buying Amish furniture online 0

Buying home furniture is a very personal matter. Everyone has their own style, their own preferences and their own needs, many of which have nothing at all to do with fashion, fads or fantasy. Luckily, buying furniture is made ten times easier by having online access to hundreds, even thousands, of different chain stores, specialist manufacturers and unique suppliers around the world.

One thing that cannot be denied when shopping for furniture is that quality rules all. From delicate-looking antiques to robust rustic furniture, you want to know that what you buy is going to survive being slept on, sat on, eaten off, lounged about in, played on and around by the kids and occasionally hosting an overnight guest or two, and do the job well for several years. 

Amish furniture is renowned for not only its robustness, strength and quality, but also its attractive, classic looks that can create a comfortable, elegant and homey atmosphere. But how do you know if you’re getting what you really want? How do you go about shopping for Amish furniture online? Here are fifteen quick tips to help you shop. 

  1. Research the vendor

It’s easy enough to research your vendor by visiting their about page and finding out about their history. Read up on where they come from, how their furniture is made, what motivates them – everything you need to know about the company. 

  1. Read the FAQs and don’t be afraid to ask questions

Most websites gave an FAQ section, where most of your questions should be answered – plus a few you didn’t know to ask! Read through them and, if you still have questions, go right ahead and call them, send an email or fill in the contact form. A reputable dealer or manufacturer will get back to you as soon as possible with an answer. 

McCoy Leaf Storage Cabinet 

  1. Read external reviews

There’s no shortage of websites that offer external, unbiased reviews of vendors by former customers. While a lot of companies will allow customers to post testimonials, good or bad, on their own sites, it’s always a good idea to check out other sources. 

  1. Compare costs

Take the time to shop around and compare costs from a couple of different suppliers. While you’re at it, compare everything! From styles to types of wood, from finish options to delivery options, see where you’ll be getting the most value – remember, cheapest is not always best, but you also don’t want to overpay. 

  1. Check the returns policy

Returns and cancellations vary from vendor to vendor. Bear in mind that it’s easier for a chain store to resell stock that’s been returned than it is for a custom-manufacturer with tailor-made options, so their policies may differ. Make sure their policy is fair and is something you are happy to agree to. 

Artesa Bed 

  1. Check the location and shipping options

Whether they’re a purely online supplier or have a showroom, location will make a difference to shipping times and costs. Depending on the shipping options available, you may be better off finding a vendor closer to home. Then again, if they’re on the other side of the country, but have a reasonable delivery policy, that may work for you, too. While you’re at it, read through the terms and conditions, too! 

  1. Online security

For any online retailer, you want to check the privacy policy and also check that the site is secure. Make sure they use adequate encryption to protect your personal and credit card information, preferably both online and offline. 

  1. Read descriptions and options carefully

The last thing you want is to order a table based on the photograph and end up with something different because you didn’t check the description carefully or select the right. For example, if you order a table that includes extensions to make it seat up to fourteen people, but don’t select the right number of extensions or the right table top size, you could end up with a too-small table. 

Cambridge Extension Trestle Table 

  1. Measure before buying

Related to point 8, make sure you have carefully measured the space where you want to place your furniture before placing your order. Custom-made furniture often has various options you can choose in terms of size and those details should be right there in the description or the option selections. 

  1. Research the finish, wood, stain and upholstery options

Especially when it comes to custom furniture, there may be various different types of wood, finish, upholstery and stains to choose from to make your furniture unique. Research the different options available to you and, if the vendor provides the option, get some samples to check that it’s right – remember, images online can look very different to real life and you don’t want to be disappointed because your choice didn’t turn out how you thought it would. 

  1. Check manufacture times

All furniture takes time to manufacture, and good quality furniture can take a little longer, so check the estimated time of manufacture and delivery before placing your order. We don’t recommend basing your decision on who gets it to you fastest, but it’s always useful to know when to expect your furniture. 

  1. Check the website’s care instructions

Buying good quality, custom-made furniture is going to involve some cleaning and care effort on your part, so it’s always a good idea to know what you’re getting into. If the manufacturer offers it, check out their care and cleaning sections to know how to look after your Amish furniture in the future. They may even provide specialist products

  1. Check the variety and range

Depending on the manufacturer, they may have a small range or a much larger one. Make sure that their ranges extend across various pieces of furniture, though, to make sure you will be able to add on at a later stage without clashing styles. 

The Breckenridge Collection 

  1. Check for specials

Traditionally, the post-holiday season is the time to look for sales, specials and other offers. However, vendors may have other reasons to give specials at other times of the year, like celebrating their birthday, or a spring cleaning sale. The best thing to do is to subscribe to their newsletter or follow them on social media to get notifications of sales and deals. 

  1. Read their blog

Many companies offer blogs on their websites nowadays, so take the time to read through theirs. You may get a whole lot of helpful advice on choosing, caring for, and laying out your furniture.

 

 

  • Amanda Griman

7 Simple Steps for Planning and Laying Out the Perfect Living Room 0

It’s been a long day at work or school and you just want to relax when you get home. Unfortunately, your living room is overcrowded and cramped, or is boring and bare – whatever the case, it just doesn’t feel like home. Frustrated, you and the family head for your bedrooms after dinner to go and surf the internet, catch up with a show on your tablet or read a book until it’s time for bed. 

The living room is a central part of every home. Like the dining room, it’s the place where the family gets together, spends quality time together, unwinds and catches up with the day. After the bedroom, it’s the room where you’ll spend most of your time at home, so it needs to be welcoming, comfortable and reflecting your personality. 

Getting your living room layout and décor right can be a challenge. It rarely turns out like the pages of a magazine, or looking like a movie star’s dream home… but what if you knew how to make it just perfect? Here are seven simple steps to breathe new life into your living room 

Measuring

Everything always starts with measuring, and you need to measure everything. It’s not just about the floor area, it’s about the whole room. Measure the height of the walls as well as the floor area, and measure across the room from corner to corner. Measure how wide and high the doors are to make sure any furniture you buy can get into the room. Also note where the power outlets are and measure their relative positions to each other. And don’t forget the windows! Not just how wide they are, but where they are placed, the distance from window to floor, ceiling, wall and other windows.

 Why: You want to get a really thorough, comprehensive breakdown of your room, so you can start understanding your space. We always imagine things differently to how they really are, and this process helps you cement reality in your mind, which helps you furnish and decorate it perfectly.

 

Listing

Make a list of everything you’d like to have in your living room. This is not the time to get realistic – write down everything you’d love to have in your living room and don’t worry about space, style or practicality just yet. Imagine your fantasy living room and make your list. Don’t get too attached to anything, because you’re going to hone and fine-tune the list later, but for now, go crazy. Enjoy the process of fantasizing about what you’d have if you could afford it and fit it in. 

Why: Furniture and décor isn’t just about practicality – if it was, we’d all use exactly the same sofas, chairs, TV stands and end tables. Creating a list like this helps you figure out what you really want, and honing it later helps you find the perfect balance between desire and need. 

Primary goals

Every family is different, and every living room is unique as a result. Take the time to work out your primary goals for the living room. If you want somewhere to relax and watch TV, put that down. Somewhere to entertain guests? A room that encourages family conversation? You don’t need to stick to just one goal – write down several if you want and then fine-tune the list to what’s really important to you. 

Why: Understanding your own goals goes a long way towards creating the right atmosphere and layout. For example, if you want both TV time and conversation time, the sofas and chairs need to be positioned to make both possible with minimal effort. 

Consider your track record

It’s great to have a fantasy living room, but in the end, it’s going to need to suit your lifestyle. Take your own track record into consideration. For example, if you have dogs who join you on the sofa and you enjoy that, furnishing your living room with delicate, spindly single-seat chairs is going to make everyone, including the dogs unhappy. Or, if you have a tendency to move house every few years, just because you like a change, buying huge, heavy furniture is going to make your life harder when you do move. Maybe the kinds of parties you like to have tend towards the twenty-people-in-a-room variety, so having enough seating will be important. 

Why: While we certainly grow and mature, our personalities are going to remain somewhat constant and if you are already an established family or couple with regular friends, the chances are you’re going to keep doing the things you enjoy. Furnishing and decorating in contrast to that won’t change your life, it will just make it hard to enjoy yourself.

 

Planning

Now that you’ve got a really good understanding of your space, your needs, your desires and your own personality, it’s time to start planning. This is the stage where you start researching the kinds of furniture you want, finding a good vendor, honing that list of desires to a manageable, practical level and using those all-important measurements to work out what’s going to go where. Take your measuring tape with you when you go and look at furniture, carpets, décor items and even TVs, or ask for measurements if looking online. Don’t let yourself be pushed into buying something until you’re sure it’s going to fit and work with your overall scheme. Most good furniture manufacturers will offer delivery and online purchase options, so you don’t have to make any final decisions the first time you go shopping. 

Why: This step and measuring are the two most important steps. Impulse buying furniture or décor could end up giving you and uncomfortable, poorly laid out space that you don’t feel comfortable in. Taking the time to plan properly means you will know what to expect and have things the way you want them. 

Keeping it interesting

While you’re doing your preliminary shopping, take a moment to consider ways to keep things fun and interesting. Whether that means planning for an over sized bean-bag, or adding an accent table, or mixing and matching different upholstery options, make things interesting for yourself. Consider colors, shapes and sizes that offer an interesting counterpoint. 

Why: A room needs to reflect your personality, and at the same time, it needs to hold your interest. When everything is similarly sized, colored, and shaped, it becomes very bland and boring, and eventually you just aren’t interested in spending time there. So have a little fun with it! 

Experiment with décor

Yes, you want to have an overall theme to a room to tie things together. If, for example, you get all your furniture in a uniform style, like our Artesa range in the Mission style, you’ll have a solid theme. Then, you can start experimenting with a few interesting décor items, from paintings to throw pillows, carpets to chandeliers. The wonderful thing about decorative items is, you can find beautiful, interesting and fun things that work with just about any theme and style you go with, so once you have a solid furniture foundation that works, you can shake things up with a few inexpensive changes whenever you want. 

Why: Keeping things interesting makes a massive difference to making a room comfortable and lasting. By creating a strong working foundation and then focusing your changes on décor, rather than refurnishing each time, you’ll save money while enjoying your living room for many years to come.

  • Amanda Griman

Breathing new life into your bedroom with the right furniture 0

It always surprises me how many people pay so little attention to the furniture in their bedroom, especially when they go all out with living room and dining room furniture. It surprises me because this is the one room where you will spend up to a full third of your day every day, yet often it is the most neglected room in the house. 

Of course, there’s the argument that most of the time you spend in there is spent sleeping, but consider this: when you are in comfortable, attractive surroundings, your mind is better able to relax and switch off, giving you better sleep. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary, a place to feel safe and cozy – a place where you can just let go of the day and relax. 

Choosing the right furniture for the bedroom doesn’t need to be a daunting task. With a few simple basics, you can lay the foundation for a bedroom that will feel right for years – even decades – to come. The finer details, like curtains, bedding and décor details may change, but with a good, strong bedroom set, you’ll have a lifetime of good sleep. 

The bed

Bungalow Bed 

The bed will always be the most important piece of furniture in the bedroom. Even if you have nothing else in there, you need a good bed. When you’re selecting a bed, there are three things to bear in mind – sturdiness, size and style, in that order.

Of course, we are always attracted to style first, but a beautiful bed that can’t hold your weight won’t do you any good. Choose a furniture manufacturer that has a reputation for building good quality, strong furniture that lasts, and you can take sturdiness as a given. 

Your bed size depends on your own size and space needs. If you’re super tall, make sure to ask about extra-long options. For example, Amish Tables’ beds come in twin, full, queen, king and California king sizes. At a full seven feet, a California king is four inches longer than a regular king size, making it ideal for even the tallest person. At the other end of the scale, if your room is very small, or if the bed is just for one person – say your child, for example, you could choose a twin bed. 

Style is all about personal choice. From more rustic, farm-style looks to fancier four-poster beds, everyone has something that appeals to them. Style, however, should be carefully thought through. Just because something is very in fashion right now doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way, so consider classic styles that will always look good. 

The nightstand

Old Classic Sleigh Nightstand

There are so many reasons to have a good nightstand on one or either side of the bed: you like to read in bed and need somewhere to put the book, it’s good to have a glass of water handy in the middle of the night, your alarm clock or cell phone needs to be somewhere close at hand, or even just the simple fact that it rounds out the décor.

The two most important factors for choosing a nightstand are style and practicality. As far as style goes, try to choose something in a similar style to your bed and, if you’re having everything custom made, make sure the wood and stain match, so that you have a consistent look.

Practicality depends on your needs. Some folk have need for little more than a bedside lamp and a glass of water, while other like to stash several books, their important medications, and various other odds and ends in their nightstand. Consider drawers, shelves and closet space when choosing your nightstand. 

The dresser

Finland 9 Drawer Dresser 

Your dresser needs are going to vary, depending on the available space in your room, how much closet space you already have for clothes, and whether you need a mirror or not. Choosing a dresser, much like a nightstand, is all about style and practicality. 

Again, look at the style and try to get everything either in the same style, or in similar, complementary styles. If you’re having everything custom made, but don’t want to have everything made at once, make sure you or the manufacturer keep a record of the wood you chose and the stain that was used, so that you can color match later. 

Dressers are primarily there for practical purposes. If you have tons of closet space, your dresser may stand half empty, in which case choosing a smaller dresser might be worth it. If you have very little closet space – or a lot of clothes – a larger dresser will give you all the storage space you need. 

The extras

Panel Day Bed 

Depending on your room size and your needs, you might want to add extra items, like a day bed, a small living room set, or a trunk for storing extra bedding or kids’ toys. Whatever additional furniture you choose, bear in mind these three factors: size, practicality, and style. You don’t want to overcrowd your bedroom with too-big furniture, but large bedrooms can handle some bigger pieces. Choose items for the use you’ll get out of them, not just because they are attractive. Always try to match or complement the style of your other furniture. Follow these guidelines and you’ll develop a bedroom décor scheme that’s comfortable, cozy and long-lasting.

 

  • Amanda Griman

Choosing the Perfect Dining Table 0

Buying a quality, hand-crafted dining table is a bit like a relationship. You will hopefully be together for many years, if not a lifetime, and you will spend a great deal of time together creating shared memories. 

Your kids will grow up using the table to do their homework on, meals will be shared along with stories of the day, issues and difficulties will be solved around it, and, when the time comes, it will leave your home and pass to the next generation. 

Why not take the time, then, to choose the right dining table for your space and your life? Let's take a look at some of the things you should consider when choosing your ideal Amish table. 

Size matters 

The very first thing to think about is how big your table should be. There are many factors that could influence this, for example: How big is your immediate family and do you plan to have more kids? Think about what you and the children will use it for – will they do homework there or do they have work areas in their bedrooms? 

Want to seat 14 people easily but don’t want to over-clutter? Check out the fully extendable Hartford Trestle Extension Table 

Do you have a tendency to entertain regularly, or is it once every four years when it's your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family? A smaller table with the option to extend could be the answer for you if you're infrequent hosts. 

And, of course, how big is the room – haul out that measuring tape and make sure before you choose a table so big it gets in everyone's way. There's nothing quite as annoying as a bulky piece of furniture that breaks the flow of a living space. You want to be able to easily walk past it without having to shuffle or squeeze through. 

In our comprehensive size guide, we take you through the specifics of choosing a size according to how many people you want to seat and how much room you have. 

It's a question of style 

The style of Amish table you choose is very important. It should reflect your tastes and personalities and also take practicalities into consideration. Just remember, this is a table you will have for many years, so matching it to your current decor might not be the best idea – especially if you enjoy redecorating regularly. 

Bring that old-world charm into your home with a Barstow Trestle Live Edge Table 

If you have a tendency to regular decor changes, rather choose a simple, classic style that you can work with and around. 

However, if you have chosen a specific style for your home and plan to stick with it for the next twenty or thirty years, go right ahead and find a table that blends in with that style. 

Take a look at our guide to dining table styles to work out which might suit you best. 

Into the wood 

Because each Amish table is custom-made for you, one of the most enjoyable parts of buying one is choosing the wood. Wood has personality, style and life and making a good decision will mean you have a table that really suits you. 

Beautiful and practical, the Monteray Split Pedestal Extension Table in quarter-sawn White Oak with Cherry stain comes with up to 8 extensions 

There are a few specific factors to consider with wood: 

Tone or color – Do you prefer a lighter, brighter wood, or a darker, more antique look? Maybe a good red-colored wood is more your speed. 

Grain – Wood gets so much of its character and personality from its grain. The lines in the wood tell a story, and the way light will reflect off your table on a late afternoon will all depend on the grain. Practically speaking, the tightness or openness of the grain determines how the stain will absorb. 

Density or hardness – You want a table that's going to last a long, long time, so choosing a durable hardwood makes sense. At Amish Tables, all our tables are made with hardwoods. That said, each of these woods has unique attributes that make them special. 

Take a look at our breakdown of the various different woods we use, which goes into detail about each one's color, grain, density, durability and overall look. 

Finishing touches 

Once you have chosen the size, style and wood that suit you best, it's time to think about what finishes to use on your Amish table. This is the last touch that's going to set the look of the wood, highlight or downplay color and stamp your personality onto this unique hand-made creation. 

First of all, choose a stain or paint color. Here you can darken or complement the wood's natural color, go for a matt or more glossy look, cover or part-cover the table in paint. Choosing the stain or paint color depends on whether you want to highlight the table or blend it with your other furniture, what kinds of tones your other furniture has, whether you want to be more formal, traditional or modern... Our guide to stains and paints helps you choose. 

Once you've chosen a stain or paint, it's time to decide what kind of final finishes you want. It's mot just as simple as taking a paint brush and slapping on an even coat! Whatever kind of look you're trying to achieve with your table, there is a stain or paint application technique that brings that out. Burnishing, distressing, glazes, even carefully applied saw marks can all add a unique look to your table, making it so much more than just another factory-made assembly-line table. Take a look at the finishes on offer at Amish Tables for inspiration.

 

 

  • Amanda Griman

Boost Productivity with the Right Home Office Setup 0

There are many good reasons to have a home office. The most obvious one, of course, is that you are self-employed and work from home, but that’s not the case with everyone. Many people set up a home office or work area so that they can take work home with them, while some are studying part-time and need a dedicated work space. Others just like to have an area where household admin can be done, rather than the dining room table.

 Whatever your reasons for setting up a home office, it pays to keep it as efficient as possible, especially if you don’t have a lot of extra space for it.  At the same time, you want it to be a space where you can enjoy working, with as few distractions as possible, without feeling trapped in just another work environment. To help you set up the perfect home office, we’ve put together a few ideas that will maximize efficiency while creating a beautiful, comfortable space where you can get things done. 

The space

The first thing to do is to choose a room to set up in. Of course, if you live in a studio apartment, there is really only the one room, in which case you need to get creative. The area where you set up your office should be away from obvious distractions, like the TV or high-traffic areas such as living and dining rooms. If this is unavoidable, try portioning off a section of the room with a divider of some kind. Make sure, however, you have enough space to fit your desk and chair and are able to move around somewhat comfortably.

 

If you have a whole room to dedicate to your office, that’s great. Make sure it is centrally located, so you can get to the bathroom, kitchen and other areas easily enough for necessities. If, however, you are easily distracted, go for the quietest possible corner of the house.

 

Top tip: try for a space with as much natural daylight as possible. Especially for people who work from home, natural light helps cut down on the lighting bill, plus natural light is proven to help boost your mood.

 

The desk

One of the two most important pieces of furniture in a home office is the desk. To keep things as efficient as possible, you need to take some time and evaluate your desk needs. Some offices need just enough desk space for a laptop computer and a glass of water, while others need enough space to roll out full-sized blueprints. Your desk surface area really depends on your profession.

 Perfect for small spaces, the Desk Chest fits anywhere 

If you’re fortunate enough to have a nice, large area for a desk, then go ahead and get one that feels spacious enough for you. If, on the other hand, you have limited space, judge the desk on what it can offer you in terms of multitasking. For example, if you only need space for your laptop, choose a simple, small desk at which you can sit comfortably. However, if you need to maximize storage space, consider something like a rolltop desk, a desk that incorporates drawers or, if you’re really pressed for space, something like this desk chest

The chair

Nothing kills your productivity like feeling uncomfortable while you’re working. The wrong chair can cause backache, headaches and other health problems, all of which affect your ability to do your work properly. Choose your office chair carefully, as it’s the other of the two most important pieces of office furniture you’ll buy. 

The three most important things to remember about your office chair are comfort, support and quality. Your office chair needs to be sturdy enough to support your back throughout a full eight-hour workday, and it needs to be comfortable enough to make you forget it’s even there. You also want a chair that’s going to last a long time and not suddenly start hanging skew after a couple of months. There are thousands of cheap, poor quality chairs that seem great at first, but start giving out on you in short order. Don’t get fooled by their price tag! Look for a chair that is going to do its job – and do it well – for a long time. 

The storage

Stylish and functional, this barrister bookcase is a great space saver 

Every home office has different storage needs. Some people need space for plenty of files, while others need little more than somewhere to keep a couple of thumb drives. Here again, evaluate your needs and the space you have available. Like I mentioned earlier, a desk with enough drawer space might do the trick for you. If you need more storage, though, look at what’s going to be the most space efficient. For shelving or filing cabinets, taller is usually better than wider for space-saving. Again, think about your specific needs though. Those blueprints? Having a good, wide set of drawers or shelves to store them can be great, especially if the top doubles as a space to roll them out. 

The layout

For maximum productivity, you should be able to reach everything quickly and easily. Look at the items you use most often and place them closest at hand – a writer, for instance, should keep their dictionary and thesaurus close by. Those things you only use on occasion can be neatly stored so that they’re easy to get to when you need them, but are out of the way when you don’t.

 

Before setting up your office, take the time to plan it, taking into consideration your unique needs. You’ll find that just by planning it properly, you will have instantly increased your productivity and made things easier for yourself. 

The last bit of advice is to make it a space that inspires you. Personalize it, decorate it and make it somewhere you are happy to return to each day. Especially if you are self-employed, you’ll be spending a lot of time here, so put in as much effort into it as you would any other room in your home.

  • Amanda Griman

15 Essentials You Must Have in Your Kitchen 0

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, what your social status is or what you do for a living, we all have one thing in common – we all have to eat. It’s fundamental to survival, but it’s more than that. Meal times are the perfect opportunity for families to catch up with each other, friends to spend time together and even colleagues to get to know each other better. Since time immemorial, mealtimes have formed a focal point in human civilization.

Most American homes have two spaces dedicated to food – the dining room and the kitchen. But even if you live in a small space and don’t have a dining room, there’s still the kitchen and it needs a few essentials to make the difference between a place where you microwave your ready-made meals, and the heart of the home, where delicious food originates and good memories are created. To make sure you have the perfect kitchen at any size, here are 15 essentials that any and every kitchen needs. 

Food

A kitchen without food is pointless. If you’re lucky enough to have good pantry space, you can stock up on all the fundamentals and have room to spare for the extras. Even if you don’t have a pantry, though, these basics are essential. 

1 – A varied spice rack

The exact spices that will appear vary according to your cooking styles and tastes, but at a minimum you should have salt and pepper, rosemary, cinnamon and at least one spice blend that you enjoy. It keeps your cooking vibrant and interesting. 

2 – Good coffee or tea

Even if you use instant coffee or basic tea daily, have at least one pack of the good stuff in your kitchen. You should always have something special to give your guests or even just on hand for when you feel like a treat. 

3 – Quality dry goods

No matter how low your supplies are running, you can always whip up a tasty meal if you have a couple of varieties of rice, beans and pasta on hand. Even if dinner is literally rice and beans, seasoned with some of those tasty spices, when seated around your dining table, you’ll have full bellies and good conversation. 

4 – Three oils

It may seem redundant to have three different oils in your kitchen, but there’s a good reason. Plain cooking oil will be fine for most of the dishes you want to cook, but some call for something a little more flavorful – plus cooking oil does not make a good vinaigrette for salads. Have at least olive oil and sesame oil on hand – that way you can enjoy Mediterranean and Asian cooking as well. 

5 – Good mustard

Yellow mustard is great for ninety percent of applications, like sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and so on. If, however, you decide to serve something special, like a rare roast beef, it’s good to have a quality mustard around as a flavor enhancer. 

Utensils

We’re not going to discuss appliances here, because frankly, almost none of them are critical for cooking. Of course a food processor is great, but almost anything it can do, you can do with a good knife, a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. There are some utensils, however, that no kitchen should be without. 

6 – Quality knives and block

If you’ve ever worked with a good quality knife, you will know why it’s so much better than a cheap one. Good knives hold their edges better and for longer, are properly balanced to make cutting easier and are usually designed for comfort in your hand. Get a quality set along with a block to store them and your food prep will be much easier. And while you’re getting these, get a sharpener too! 

7 – Two cutting boards

Your kitchen should have one wooden cutting board and one plastic one. The wooden one is perfect for chopping vegetables, slicing bread, cutting cheese – most of your cutting needs. The plastic one is for meat, because it’s a lot easier to clean thoroughly. Look for boards that have a groove along the edges – this helps prevent vegetable, fruit or meat juices from spilling onto your counter. Glass, metal and marble cutting boards are, in our opinion, useless, as they damage knives.

 

8 – Mixing bowls

So many dishes start in a mixing bowl, from meatballs to cake, that they are absolutely essential. Have a ceramic, or plastic one for cakes, pastas, veggies, eggs and more. Get a stainless steel or glass one for any meat-based dishes, where you can marinate chicken, mix your hamburger or toss strips of meat in oil and spices. 

9 – Whisk and spatula

One to mix and one to flip. These two utensils will be used every day in your kitchen, so get a well-made pair. The best whisks are made from wire, not plastic, while hard plastic spatulas are best if you have Teflon-coated pots. 

10 – Apron, cloths and oven gloves

Protecting your clothes and skin from spills and burns is necessary, because both can happen in the blink of an eye. Get a full apron, rather than a half apron, as well as a couple of cloths that are purely there to keep your hands clean. Oven gloves will keep your hands from being burned on hot pots and casserole dishes. 

11 – Spoons

A kitchen needs all kinds of spoons, but there are four that you have to have: A wooden spoon for mixing sweet dishes and batters, a metal or plastic mixing spoon for savory dishes, serving spoons for serving up all these goodies, and a complete set of measuring spoons. 

12 – Colander and grater

The kitchen’s holey pair. The grater should have a sturdy design and in this case, larger is definitely better. Look for a grater that has a minimum of three grades and preferably has a slicing end too. The colander should be large enough to hold a full pot of pasta, vegetables or anything else you’re straining. Look for one with smaller, but more numerous holes. 

Furniture

We realize that some kitchens really are tiny and don’t have enough space for furniture, but most American homes have either an eat-in kitchen or a kitchen and dining room. These furniture items are a must-have. 

13 – A dining table and chairs

Even if you’re in a tiny apartment and only have space for a two-seater table, invest in a good one. Meals eaten around a table are psychologically more relaxing and help bring couples and families closer together. You’re also more likely to prepare meals if you eat around a table, rather than go for take-out or ready-made convenience meals, so a dining table is better for your health. If you have a suitable corner, consider a dining nook, which takes up a minimum of space, while providing a maximum of seating. 

Our traditional dining nook is perfect for in-kitchen dining and entertaining 

14 – Storage

Unless you have more than enough built-in cupboards and a pantry, there’s always a chance you’ll need extra storage space. A good buffet, hutch, pie safe or other storage item can take the burden of the stuff with nowhere to go. This piece of furniture also goes well in a dining room. If you have a really small kitchen, consider an island instead, as this provides a combination of food preparation space, dining space and storage space, all in one.

 

Storage and a wine rack in one – the Brunswick Wine Cabinet

15 – A wine rack or cabinet

Now not everybody drinks wine, we know, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a wine rack or cabinet. This little item stores any bottle of a certain size range, and that includes bottled water, sodas, and olive and other oils. Bottles are real space thieves in cupboards and a wine rack gets them out of the way and neatly stored.

  • Amanda Griman