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Ceiling improvements can get things looking up in your kitchen

(BPT) - When you’re planning a full kitchen renovation, or even just a few choice upgrades, counter tops, cabinets, appliances and flooring command your attention. But do you ever look up? Unless a lightbulb burns out or you want to replace a light fixture, you probably don’t think much about the ceiling in your kitchen or other rooms.


Yet with all the cooking and living that goes on in the kitchen, a whole lot of unpleasantness can gather in the top half of the room, including heat and moisture, cooking odors and grease. All that can make the ceiling dingy, darken the room and turn the air in your kitchen stale and unpleasant. As you’re refurbishing your kitchen, here are some ways – simple to lofty – to improve the ceiling and brighten the whole room:

The simple stuff
Just as painting walls is the easiest, most cost-effective way to create a new look in a room, painting the kitchen ceiling can have a huge impact on how the room feels and functions. For example, if your kitchen is short on windows and often feels dark, painting the ceiling a high gloss white can help brighten it by reflecting light back down into the room. You can also add faux tin ceiling tiles to reflect light and to create a vintage look.

Stuck with light-colored flooring, countertops and cabinets that make the room look washed out? Adding a subtle hue to the ceiling can help bring color to the room without the aggressiveness of a heavy wall color. Even if your kitchen has no design issues you need to resolve from the top down, repainting the ceiling can impart a fresh, bright look.

Perhaps new light fixtures aren’t in your budget or you really like the ones you have. In either event, replacing incandescent or flourescent light bulbs with LEDs or CFLs can soften harsh overhead lighting and use less electricity at the same time.

Practical luxury
Kitchens cry out for light but with wall space often largely devoted to cabinets, it can be a challenge to get enough natural light into the room through windows alone. Adding a skylight is a cost-effective way to compensate for a lack of windows and to bring balanced natural light and fresh air into a kitchen.

Skylights can help vent cooking odors and moisture from the kitchen if you choose Energy Star-qualified solar-powered fresh-air skylights, like those from Velux America. A programmable touch pad remote control operates the skylights as well as accessories like blinds. Solar powered blinds, which improve the overall energy efficiency of the skylights even more, are available in colors and patterns and allow you to make a design statement while giving you full control of the light that enters the space.

In addition to kitchens, bedrooms and baths are the most popular rooms for skylights since you get the same natural light and passive ventilation benefits while maintaining privacy.
And no-leak solar powered skylights, which close automatically in case of rain, as well as solar powered blinds, can be upgrades that partially pay for themselves since both can qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit, as do the installation costs. Visit www.whyskylights.com to learn more.

Lofty aspirations
Adding a ceiling medallion is a simple yet high-impact way to change the look of your kitchen ceiling. You can either position it around an existing light fixture or place it above a kitchen island. Installing a medallion is well within the abilities of most do-it-yourselfers and you can accomplish the project in less than a day.

Wood accents, such as paneling, crown molding or a wooden frame add luxury and depth to kitchen ceilings. These are complex installations that may require you to hire a professional but they can pay off big to create your dream kitchen.

Investing some money, thought and effort into upgrading your ceilings can help give the rooms a new look and feel while providing benefits that are both beautiful and practical.