Check It out: Get inspired to remodel your kitchen

If your old kitchen needs some upgrades or improvements and you are considering remodeling it, look to the Newport Beach Public Library for helpful books and other materials. This is a major household project, and you may want to seek out some design ideas and do-it-yourself advice before you go shopping. Books about kitchens may look similar, but they are not all the same.

Some books focus on design ideas, some on before-and-after kitchen makeovers, and some get into the real technical how-to aspect, and some focus on organization. There's so much to consider, such as overall style; cabinets, countertops, sinks, appliances (big and small), floors, and storage. The following books are all full of color photographs to help inspire you:

"Kitchens: A Sunset Design Guide" by Karen Templer and the editors of Sunset Books is a great book for browsing for ideas, probably one of the best to start with as it illustrates such a wide range of options. Packed with all sorts of kitchen styles, colors, materials and layouts, plus it comes with a DVD.

"Design Ideas for Kitchens" by Susan Boyle Hillstrom goes into three different styles in detail: traditional, country and contemporary. This is also an excellent book to start with to look for style ideas. It discusses the major components of a kitchen: appliances, sinks, countertops, cabinets, and the myriad options for updating them all. This book also focuses more on lighting than the others do.

"Great Kitchens: At Home with America's Top Chefs" by Ellen Whitaker, Colleen Mahoney and Wendy A. Jordan takes a look inside the actual home kitchens of working chefs from around the United States. See how professional chefs set up their very own kitchens and check out some of their recipes.

"Kitchens for the Rest of Us: From the Kitchen You Have to the Kitchen You Love" by Peter Lemos gives practical advice and shows how many old kitchens were modernized and reorganized and their space made not only nicer, but more useful.

"Before and After Kitchen Makeovers" by Christine E. Barnes and the editors of Sunset Books shows floor plans and illustrates how the featured kitchens got their makeovers.

For the do-it-yourself crowd, "Ortho's all About Kitchen Remodeling" by Larry Hodgson and John Riha lays out technical instructions on plumbing, electrical work, replacing a countertop or floor, and cabinet resurfacing or replacing.

"Kitchens: Moneysmart Makeovers" by Rick Peters also gives loads of how-to, practical advice. This book is interesting in that it makes over the same kitchen three times, using three different budgets: economy, mid-range and high-end. Specific instructions are given on how each makeover was achieved.

The possibilities really are endless when it comes to kitchen storage. When it's time to reduce clutter and organize the stuff, try "1001 Ideas for Kitchen Organization" by Joseph R. Provey. This is a fabulous source for keeping that shiny kitchen neat and tidy. Find out ways to store everything from food, dishes, and small appliances to cell phones that tend to clutter kitchen counters.

Other sources include the DVD "Positive Home Solutions: Kitchen Remodeling." This 75-minute DVD is for the serious remodeler. See a kitchen completely gutted and reconstructed. Topics covered: Removing walls, removing cabinets and appliances, installing drywall, installing cabinets and appliances, plumbing and electrical. It also includes a fully diagrammed booklet printable from a PC.

Sometimes it's good to flip through magazines to get ideas on up-to-the-minute trends in color and design elements. While not specific to kitchens, the following magazines might still be helpful: For general design ideas try "Better Homes and Gardens," "Elle Décor," "House Beautiful," and "Interior Design." "House Beautiful" is particularly good for this. Do-it-yourselfers might want to look at "Fine Homebuilding" and "The Family Handyman." Back issues of magazines may be checked out for two weeks.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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