Dear Nyla:

We just purchased a place that needs a little TLC. It has those awful white-washed oak cabinets with white knobs. We're not ready to invest in new cabinetry for the kitchen just yet. Is there anything we can do as a short term fix?


Well, you do have a couple of good options. The easiest, quickest fix is to just change the hardware. You will be amazed at how inexpensive and impactful changing the hardware can be.

You can step it up a notch and have the cabinets painted. One of our clients recently had her cabinets painted deep cherry and they look fabulous. Having the cabinets refaced is also an option - this is more expensive than painting them, but a great alternative as well. Even though you are looking at this as a short-term solution please consider enlisting professional assistance if you chose either of the latter options.

Dear Nyla:

What is the difference between a $500 couch and a $2,000 couch? What makes one couch so much more that another?


Good question! When it comes to upholstery and seating you definitely "get with you pay for." I am assuming that both couches are new. The frame of the $500 couch is probably made of plywood with very basic springs - translation; this sofa is probably not very comfortable or durable.

I like to classify seating as good, better and best. Any quality couch would have a kiln-dried (slow dried) hardwood frame and springs that won't sag. The best would have a lifetime warranty on the frame and springs.

A great way to "test" the quality of a couch is to pull and twist it at both ends. If it bows or bends chances are it won't withstand everyday wear and tear, and a $500 purchase will quickly turn into a $1,000 investment. I always recommend "investing" in your primary seating - whether it is a couch or a sectional, and spending as much as your budget will tolerate on a good piece that will last. A good, sturdy couch is not quite worth its weight in gold, but will save you money in the long run.

Maria Bailey Benson is owner of Nyla Simone Home, a full-service showroom offering a wide range of design services, furniture, artwork and accessories. Reach her at (480) 422-6178 or

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