Gather 'Round. Curved shapes and flowing edges are a hot kitchen-design trend, according to Alan Zielinski, vice president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association. For a quick makeover, switch out boxy light fixtures for round ones, use circular cushions on chairs, and pick up an oval or round cutting board.
Evergreen and Clean. Before your next big hosting gig, treat yourself to a cleaning service -- even better, a green one. Josh Kyle, manager of San Francisco's Greenforce Clean Team, suggests seeking ones with Green Seal Certification or inquiring about the eco-friendliness of the cleaning products used.
Waste Not. Disposable plates make entertaining easier, but they're low on aesthetic and ecological appeal. Try biodegradable dinnerware made from fallen leaves: VerTerra's line mimics the look of wooden dishes and can be put in the oven and microwave. Marx Foods' palm-leaf plates come in lots of cool shapes -- and they won't get soggy.
Jingle Bells and Whistles. Before adding the shiniest new gadgets to your wish list, consider the effort needed to maintain them, and how often you'd use them. (For example, good cappuccino machines need constant cleaning to avoid malfunctions.) Consider appliances that will get a workout and perform multiple functions.
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