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10 things you don't want in your kitchen (and what to do about them)

Maryalene LaPonsie | Improvement Center Columnist | April 4, 2014

Not everyone can have a showroom-worthy kitchen, but every home deserves a great room where meals can be prepared and family and friends can gather.

And while each home may be a unique reflection of its owner, there are ten things that never belong in a kitchen. Here's the list and what to do if your kitchen is an offender.

1. Old wallpaper

The problem: Nothing says dated quite like wallpaper. You might be able to get away with keeping it up so long as you live in the house, but once it's time to move, the wallpaper needs to come down.

The solution: Stripping wallpaper isn't hard although it can be a pain. How easy it comes down also depends on how it was put up in the first place. Generally speaking though, you'll want to use a wallpaper remover solution to soak the paper and pull it down once loosened. You may have to remove the backing with a scraper knife. Once all the paper is down, prep and paint.

2. Carpeting

The problem: It's a mystery why anyone would put carpeting in a kitchen but some homes are literally wall-to-wall. Maybe the owners were going for a warm feel, but all we can think about is food and water being ground into the carpet and soaking through to the padding.

The solution: Get it out! You could DIY or call in the pros. Then, have it replaced with a more suitable kitchen flooring option.

3. Zero counter space

The problem: No matter how much you love to cook, you'll be inclined to order takeout every night if your counter space is zilch.

The solution: For a cheap fix, bring in a portable island to serve as a chopping or serving station in the kitchen. If you are ready for a more permanent solution, consider a minor kitchen remodel to add cabinet and countertop space.

4. Inadequate lighting

The problem: Along with no counter space, limited lighting can be a real kill joy when it comes to cooking. Plus it can pose a safety hazard if you can't see what you're cutting.

The solution: In some kitchens, the fixture might be the problem. Try swapping out the current fixture with one that has adjustable heads that can be turned to light up all the kitchen corners. In other situations, it might be the placement of the fixture itself that's the problem. If you need to rewire the kitchen, be sure to call in an electrician.

5. Creepy-crawly things

The problem: You might be having guests for dinner, but you certainly don't want to invite the six-legged kind, right? Pests and bugs can not only infest your food, they can make you lose your appetite as well.

The solution: Make sure your pantry items are off the ground and well sealed. Consider transferring bagged items like flour, rice and sugar to air-tight containers. Also, double check for cracks in doors or holes around appliance pipes that could be letting unwanted visitors inside.

6. Leaky pipes

The problem: Of course you don't want water on the floor or in your cupboards, right? You probably also don't want to be paying for all that leaking water either.

The solution: Some pipes might simply need a good tightening to keep them dry. However, you may want to call in a plumber if you have old pipes that are past their prime or that have fittings that have been stripped.

7. Dirt and grime

The problem: This one is rather self-explanatory. Who wants to cook, let alone eat, in a kitchen that is yucky and grimy?

The solution: Keep the germs at bay by deep cleaning your kitchen on a regular basis. SC Johnson suggests a clean kitchen schedule that breaks down tasks to daily, weekly and monthly chores.

8. Inefficient appliances

The problem: Old appliances may mean your energy bill is needlessly high. In addition, once appliances hit a certain point, they tend to stop working as well as they should. Think: the fridge that freezes everything on the top shelf or the dishwasher that leaves glasses looking almost as bad coming out as they did going in.

The solution: The next time appliances go on sale, consider treating yourself to an update. Look for Energy Star appliances that may garner you a tax break as well as lower electric bills.

9. Ugly drop ceilings

The problem: Ok, this one is largely cosmetic. Older drop ceilings are industrial, boring and, well, ugly.

The solution: Like wallpaper, if you are living in the home and don't mind the ceiling, feel free to leave it as is. However, once you put a home on the market, you're going to want to freshen up those ugly tiles. You don't need to drywall the ceiling, but you should consider some more attractive acoustic tiles or another ceiling option.

10. Stinky smells

The problem: It's the kitchen. It's going to be home to some smelly stuff sometimes. But just because you have garbage sitting in the corner doesn't mean you have to smell it too.

The solution: Keep your garbage in a bin with a tight fitting lid. Then, remove the garbage nightly and use a fresh bag in the bin each day. Voila! No smelly kitchen.

Your house may be unique, but no home should have to suffer with these ten kitchen fails. Whether you are giving some TLC to a home you plan to live in for years and years or want to spruce up a property for a sale, make some updates that will turn your home into something even better.

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