Category Archives: Bathroom Design Trends

2021 Kitchen & Bathroom Color Trends

Kitchen and bath color trends for 2021  reflect a need for self expression. As 2020 kept us home and a bit stifled,  2021 reflects breaking out of old patterns and our desire for more  joy –  bold spaces that emote uplifting, and cheerful times that signal a new chapter is upon us.  Below we explore color through the lens of kitchen and bath design elements .

2021 Paint Colors 

Benjamin Moore’s 2021 Color of the Year – A blend of blue-green and gray, Aegean Teal 2136-40 is an intriguing midtone that creates natural harmony.

Benjamin Moore Color of the Year - Agean Blue is great paired with sunny yellow for cheery eat in kitchen
Courtesy of Benjamin Moore


Pair it with Chestertown Buff, An earthy, gently muted maize that works beautifully in both contemporary and classic settings for a cheery eat-in kitchen dining area.

Chestertown Buff

Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

If that seems too scary you can still add color with a more muted tone, like Sherwin-Williams Oyster Bay,  a very popular soft green-blue color with gray-tones.

Courtesy of













Otherwise known as the fifth wall, the ceiling is an unexpected place to add a splash of color.

FireShot Capture 135 - Painted Ceiling Kitchen Design Ideas -
Courtesy of


Islands of Color 

You’re cabinetry and island no longer need to be matchy-matchy. In fact, it’s part of a larger trend for mixing and matching everything from paint to cabinetry and hardware.

A beautiful royal blue Woodharbor island makes this 314 Design Studio kitchen sing!
A beautiful royal blue Woodharbor island makes this 314 Design Studio kitchen sing!


A colorful island is also a fantastic counterpoint to contemporize and add interest to a rustic kitchen.

Hunter green island in Rustic kitchen
We’re in love with this hunter green island that honors the outdoor enthusiast concept of this rustic transitional kitchen design. Courtesy of Woodharbor Custom Cabinetry.


In this master bathroom, soothing blue gray paint is paired with soft gray vanities for a serene spa look. Courtesy of Woodharbor Custom Cabinets.
In this master bathroom, soothing blue gray paint is paired with soft gray vanities for a serene spa look. Courtesy of Woodharbor Custom Cabinets.


Colorful Cabinetry

As an alternative to using wall paint color, brightly colored cabinets are a great way to make a bold statement.


Modern trendy black cabinets are sleek and sophisticated,  grounding a space and making a chic statement.



Up the Wall

Wallpaper in the kitchen? Yes, it’s actually a THING. And, we actually LIKE IT!

Courtesy of Country Living
We love the fun, movement and sophistication this floral wallpaper brings to this  country kitchen design. Courtesy of Country Living


Statement Floor and Bathroom Tiles 

In Home Stone wall tile makes it clear - this bathroom is custom designed!
In Home Stone wall tile makes it clear – this bathroom is custom designed!


When you're looking for one elements of drama - floor tile can be just the ticket. Courtesy of Floor Coverings International
When you’re looking for one elements of drama – floor tile can be just the ticket. Courtesy of Floor Coverings International

Gee-wiz, that’s a lot of ideas on how to design your space with color! But that’s because we’re just nuts about kitchen and bath design! You won’t believe the endless design ideas we have waiting to share with you.  Which one of these ideas is your favorite? Drop us a line at or give us a call at (410) 643-4040 to set up a consultation with our designers. We are as excited about your next project as you are!

Celebrate National Kitchen and Bath Month

Celebrate National Kitchen and Bath Month with these novel trends!

Wood floors in the kitchen help bridge continuity between spaces when used throughout an open floor plan design.

Wood floors in an open concept kitchen - Chester, Maryland -custom build by Lundberg Builders
Wood floors in an open concept kitchen – Chester, Maryland -custom build by Lundberg Builders

A lovely master bath has always held a high court in a list of homeowners’ top desires, but today, as we are spending more time at home, homeowners are raising the bar to spa-level status.

This huge walk-in spa shower features a rain head with separate hand held body wand, luxury marble tile wall, full length shower bench, pebble tile pan and shower niche shelf.

As the holidays arrive, homeowners are Thankful for smart storage solutions!

This kitchen was designed to conveniently and brilliantly hide all the dishes, pots, pans, cutlery and appliances behind a polished and organized wall of gloriously crafted custom cabinetry. 
This kitchen was designed to conveniently and brilliantly hide all the dishes, pots, pans, cutlery and appliances behind a polished and organized wall of gloriously crafted custom cabinetry.

Kitchens designed for the Cocktail Hour and the nightcap

Wet bars designed to elevate the host or hostess to barista status officially elect the kitchen as the rightful gathering place for guests and hosts to start an evening off with cheer. Stocked with prized wine selections, martini, champagne and decanters collections, this designated hot spot, makes an event of homemade whiskey tasting.

Custom-designed places and spaces are our specialty! Call 314 Design Studio to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040. Visit us online at

Bathroom Trends 2020 – Part 2

Designing a new bathroom or updating an old one is an exciting but detail-oriented process.  Below are some of the trends we are seeing in bathroom designs this year.  All photos are from 314 Design Studio’s recent projects!

This contemporary bathroom features a glass enclosed shower with a glamorous glass tile feature shower wall, sleek floating double vanities and modern linear vanity lights.

Dramatic glass tile

Dramatic powder rooms are all the rage this year.  They frequently feature a vessel sink, show stopping light fixtures, unexpected wallpaper or a bold paint colorUnique faucets and framed mirrors finish the look for a bold and memorable statement.

The process of selecting flooring, title, cabinetry, vanities, mirrors, showers,  baths, toilets,  faucets and finishes can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Working with our bathroom designers, you can even have fun and enjoy the process while eliminating a lot of the worry.

This bathroom features a number of trends we are seeing this year. Mixing matte and high shine finishes give a monotone bathroom design a rich, luxe look by playing with texture. This recessed and tiled niche is a much more sophisticated look than an aftermarket shower caddy would. Display all your high quality shampoo and body washes with pride.



This crystal vanity pendant light bounces light off the glass tiled shower wall like  bubbles in a champagne glass! Note in the mirrors’ reflection an indulgent towel heating rack!  Wood look porcelain tile flooring, includes radiant heat below to keep toes toasty on cold winter mornings.

With a bathroom designer by your side to guide you, you don’t have to worry about forgetting important items, measuring properly, ordering the just right materials and quantities, construction considerations, and project management.


Freestanding soaking tubs continue to trend this year. All you have to do is to choose what style. Do you like the traditional look of a retro clawfoot tub, or do you prefer an Asian-inspired contemporary look like this one above?


This contemporary bathroom has a soothing earth-toned palate, featuring dramatic marble flooring and walls, glass tile vanity backsplash, double floating vanities, unique his and her triangle mirrors, recessed vanity lighting, and lantern-like wall sconces. A jetted tub with an ultramodern and vogue linear curved faucet completes the alluring design.

We are thrilled to assist you in making sure your bathroom design will meet your needs, budget and style preferences, while creating a pleasing overall design that you will love for years to come. Make an appointment today!

Back to Black

Kordan's finish and form are inspired by a cocktail shaker in a sleek matte black finish. Mix it up how you like with wires that can be adjusted during installation: in perfect linear synch, in a pattern or in random heights.
(Photo Courtesy of Kichler.)


There is an old adage that black is the queen of colors.  Afterall, it’s really a mix of all the colors in one, and as such, it’s the ultimate neutral, goes with everything and is known for bringing elegance and sophistication to any pairing.  Black is also an incredibly versatile color that can either be styled Classic or Contemporary. It can be grounding to quiet other colors or it can assume the center drama in a design. While it’s not that black was ever out of fashion, per say, we are seeing much more “black magic” in the home right now after a long love affair with white.  From black window frames, to ebony cabinets, smoky black sinks, to matte black cabinetry, hardware and lighting, BLACK IS BACK!

Here are some beautiful examples of new kitchen and bath trends that highlight the versatile range of how to use black in kitchens and bathrooms.


Coal SuperMatte kitchen | Products by Northern Contours, Design & Styling by TC Studios
Coal SuperMatte kitchen | Products by Northern Contours, Design & Styling by TC Studios



Powder Room built by Lundberg Builders. Interior Design by Laura Hodges Studio features a black smoky glass sink.
Powder Room built by Lundberg Builders. Interior Design by Laura Hodges Studio features a black smoky glass sink.  See it featured in Home & Design Magazine 
Carin Farmhouse Apron-front sink - Photo courtesy of Kohler Co.
Carin Farmhouse Apron-front sink – Photo courtesy of Kohler Co.

With soft French curves, the Cairn® kitchen sink offers transitional style to suit contemporary and traditional kitchens alike. Cairn is made of KOHLER Neoroc®, a matte-finish composite material designed for extreme durability and unmatched beauty. Richly colored to complement any countertop, Neoroc resists scratches, stains, and fading, and is highly heat- and impact-resistant. The Self-Trimming® apron design makes it easy to retrofit existing 36″ cabinetry that has a false drawer front, requiring only a simple rough cut.


Thaine TUb
Photo Courtesy of Signature Hardware

Signature Hardware’s Thaine Antique Black Copper Double-Slipper Pedestal Tub

Welcome high-end design into your master bathroom with the Thaine Antique Black Copper Tub. A true statement piece, this bathtub features a patina fused to the exterior to create a smooth, dark finish within the metal. The rolled rim allows the polished interior to be showcased on every curve of the double-slipper design. Bold yet functional, the Thaine has plenty of room for you to sit back and enjoy a luxurious soak.



Photo Courtesy of Kichler Co

The Natural Brass finish on Kichler’s Linara 5 light linear chandelier, is like jewelry to the Matte Black metal slatted shade. A refreshing twist on contemporary and mid century modern décor.



Photo Courtesy of Signature Hardware
Photo Courtesy of Signature Hardware

Signature Hardware’s Radke Mahogany Vanity in Shoreline Gray features hardware options including Satin black shown here.

Photo Courtesy of Vigo Industries
Photo Courtesy of Vigo Industries


We think the black finishes on this VIGO Elan Adjustable Frameless Shower Door is a showstopper! Made with VIGO’s proprietary RollerDisk™ Technology, this door has built-in adjustability to ensure that it is a perfect fit in your shower. Flex-Sizing™ and SmartAdjust™ Technology ensure that your shower door will remain level despite inevitable shifts that occur as homes settle. This door features resilient tempered glass to prevent dangerous splinters and shards. With the option for right or left-side installation, the VIGO Elan is as versatile as it is sturdy. Stainless-steel hardware outfitted in a 7-layer plated, rust-free matte black finish completes this one-of-a-kind design.

Design Inspiration

If you want to incorporate a few touches of black but not sure how, Moen put together some great advice in their blog

And here are blogs from Signature Hardware on “How to Use the Look in Your Kitchen Design”  matte black bathroom and matte black kitchen!

Let’s face it. A bathroom or kitchen renovation or remodel can be expensive. You don’t want to make a mistake, but it’s easy to do given all the dozens of mechanical, design and selection decisions that one has to make during the process. To really feel confident about pulling off black in your kitchen or bathroom design, we encourage you to check in with our design experts who are ready and waiting to help you design your new space and to assist you in making the selections that ensure your bathroom has a good balance and is executed thoughtfully to avoid costly errors. Call us at (410) 643-4040 to make an appointment with our kitchen and bath designers and to view our showroom! 



2020 Bathroom Trends: Part 1

As  we turn the page into not only a new year, but also a new decade, you may be thinking about a fresh start with a bathroom renovation project that will bring your home into the “20s”. With that in mind, you might be searching for design inspiration and we are pleased to be the source for your fresh intel!

Below we explore three of the hottest designs emerging from bathroom design and manufacturing tastemakers.

Floating Vanities 

Floating vanities like this custom frameless one by Woodharbor bring a modern, weightless aesthetic to keep the bathroom looking light and airy despite the dark door front color.  Lighting beneath the vanity illuminates the floor and provides more safety during trips to the loo in the middle of the night.

Product Line: Woodharbor Custom Frameless Door Style: REGENT Drawer: SLAB Edge Shape: UNIQUE Finish: TEXTURED MELAMINE, KONA Dealer: HC REMODEL & DESIGN
Product Line: Woodharbor Custom Frameless

Ahhhh-mazing Shower Experiences 

Real Rain from Kohler brings the exhilaration of a summer storm to the shower. The look and feel of natural rain is accomplished in numerous ways.  First, an innovative sprayface design has a unique nozzle geometry that simulates rain by adjusting the size of the water drops.  The rates at which the drops fall is also varying and random, just like in a true rainstorm.

To recreate the feel of a growing storm, the shower is designed with a water reservoir that relies on gravity rather than the typical pressurized spray to shape the water, using 775 concave nozzles to start the storm off slowly and then build.  The pitter patter of drops grows in intensity as it swells into a warm summer storm. Finally, to capture the moment the sky opens up and the rain truly pours down, the on-demand Deluge feature releases the water in the reservoir, soaking the bather in an extravagant flood of water.  Watch the video!

Kohler Real Rain Shower
Kohler Real Rain Shower


New Cabinets & Mirrors with Task Lighting

Personal grooming is an important part of daily life. Many tasks considered essential to proper hygiene and appearance take place in the bathroom, in front of the mirror – oral care, skin care, hair care, applying makeup, hair removal, etc. And appropriate lighting is crucial in this space. Kohler addresses this need directly with the launch of its new Verdera lighted cabinets and mirrors that bring true grooming task lighting to the bathroom. The Verdera enhanced cabinet features the option of a flip-out flat mirror or magnifying mirror, along with slow-close functionality to eliminate slamming.

Standard lighting vs. Verdera Lighting
Standard lighting
Kohler Verdera lighting
Kohler Verdera lighting


The Verdera lights are compatible with most LED dimmers to give you even more control over your lighting experience, including pairing with Amazon’s Alexa system.

So how do you ensure that your bathroom design is classic enough to stand the test of time but still incorporates enough modern style to be distinctive? This is where kitchen and bath designers like us can really benefit you! We can help you decide on selections that will help you strike the right balance between classic and trendy to help you ensure you don’t make an expensive mistake.  Give us a call (410) 643-4040 to set up a consultation. We are as excited about your project as you are!


Curbless Showers: All you need to know

With the cost of living continuing to rise, it is not uncommon to find multiple generations living under the same roof. With this new reality it is important to have a bathroom that is functional for all members of your clan. A standard 4.5” shower curb may be simple for a younger person to step over but may be impossible for a grandparent or older adult to tackle.

There are several advantages and disadvantages to think about when considering this change for an existing bathroom or choosing this type of shower in a new home. Read below for a few things to consider.

Curbless showers are easier to clean than a standard shower. Eliminating the curb in a shower space opens up the entire bathroom making it one seamless space and much easier to clean.

Maximize your space. By eliminating the obstacle of the shower enclosure you will be able to more effectively use

A curbless shower designed by 314 Design Studio; installed by Lundberg Builders
A curbless shower designed by 314 Design Studio; installed by Lundberg Builders

every inch of your space, especially in smaller bathrooms.

Creates a streamlined look. The curbs on showers tend to stand out and can be an eye sore. By removing the curb you create a sleek, spa like look.

Functionality for everyone. This change will make your bathroom an “equal opportunity” space. This makes it easier and safer for older generations to utilize the shower.

With every decision there are typically advantages, we well as disadvantages. Read below for a few unfavorable things to consider before making this change. 

Too little privacy. Since the shower will  be open it does not offer as much privacy as a shower enclosure would. This can be reduced by using obscure glass, glass blocks, a half wall or curtains.

The shower will be colder as the heat will escape without an enclosure to keep it in. You can reduce this by having a heated floor installed.

With this to think about what is your take on having a curbless shower in your home?

The benefits of upgrading appliances to Energy Star qualified machines

If you’re searching for ways to save money in your home, consider taking a hard look at your appliances and how you use them—home appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, and laundry machines account for about 13% of a household’s energy costs.


ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers and refrigerators are about 20% more energy efficient than typical models, and ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwashers only use about 5.8 gallons of water per cycle or less—older dishwashers purchased before 1994 use more than 10 gallons of water.

You can also take smaller steps like only running your dishwasher with a full load, scraping food off of your dishes, and letting your dishes air dry. All of these can help cut the energy use of your dishwasher.  You can also consider using cold water when possible and drying towels and heavier cottons in a separate load or air drying when doing laundry.

The benefits of upgrading appliances to Energy Star qualified machines

Save money.

The average U.S. household spends $5,550/year on energy. But buying energy-efficient appliances, making energy-efficient home improvements, and taking energy-efficient actions every day can save hundreds of dollars. Buying ENERGY STAR appliances can save up to 30% on electricity bills.

Bonus tip: replace  incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient halogens, CFLs or LEDs and save 30-80% on energy bills.



Get better cleaning.

Many features in an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher result in better cleaning. ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers boost water temperatures to 140 degrees, which allows for improved disinfection compared to hand washing.

Save energy and water.

A new ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher uses less than half as much energy as washing dishes by hand and saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year.


Save the environment.

Because they use less energy, ENERGY STAR qualified products reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels. By reducing water consumption, they also help protect our lakes, streams and oceans.

13 steps to deep clean your kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home in most households. It’s the place where we meet up for conversations, whip up sweet treats or a yummy breakfast or share wine with friends. Unfortunately, because of this it is also notorious for being the messiest.

Women prepare to clean house on wood table

Most of us spot-clean our kitchens on a regular basis, but we very rarely take the time to give them a good deep clean. Our kitchen may end up looking nice at the end of our mini cleaning spree, but this quick method of cleaning can still leave residue and germs lingering in places we least expect.  If you’re looking for some clever ways to spruce up your kitchen, consider these things you can do to give it a deep clean.

Quick run thru before you begin

The kitchen can easily become the place where everyone dumps their stuff. Take a few minutes to clear away items that do not belong. Put any items from the counters into their proper place. Wash, dry and put any dishes away.

The Surfacesoriginal_erinn-valencich-kitchen-backsplash-step5_s4x3.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.960

Wipe down all of your kitchen surfaces.  For granite and other countertops without grout, start with a squeegee to quickly and easily sweep any crumbs away. Spray all surfaces and the stove top with a multi-surface cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it down with a scrubber sponge. Letting it sit will help break down grease and grime, and soften any food or spills. Don’t forget the backsplash, walls, range hood, stove and exteriors of the cupboards.

Clean & Organize  the Cupboards

OrganizedSpiceCabinetCreate a fresh start by removing all items from the cabinets. Wipe down shelves with soapy water or kitchen cleaner. Use clean, labeled, airtight containers to store baking & cooking staples such as flour and sugar. Put items back in the cabinet, making sure the most frequently used containers and pans are easily accessible towards the front.


Clean & Organize Refrigerator & Freezer

Check labels & toss items that are expired, moldy or empty. Wipe down shelves with soapy water or cleaner. Remove produce drawers & wash well. Wipe down the exterior.

Under and Behind Refrigerator

To clean this area, begin by pulling the refrigerator away from the wall to give yourself space to work. Unplug the refrigerator and turn off the water supply. Clean the coils of dust. Vacuum away any leftover dust and wipe down the wall behind the refrigerator.

Clean Floors

Boy (5-7) polishing floor with paper towel under hands and feet

Sweep entire floor well and be sure to remove any movable furniture. Spot clean any sticky or dirty areas. Mop floor with heavy duty floor cleaner and be sure to wash any throw rugs

Clean Garbage Disposal

Gather baking soda, vinegar and a few pieces of fruit peel (lemon, orange or lime). Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup of vinegar. This will fizz up like crazy so it’s very exciting to have the little ones help! After five minutes, flush out the mixture with hot water. Drop the fruit peels down the drain and run the garbage disposal for a few seconds to further deodorize. 

Under the Sink

First pull everything out and dispose of any leaking or burst containers. Clean out the area thoroughly and replace items in an organized fashion.

Oven Cleaning in Kitchen

Clean Your Oven With Baking Soda

Make a paste using a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water, and spread it all over the oven. Let it sit for an hour, and then wipe down. You can use this on your range hood as well to remove built up gunk.

Wipe Down Your Microwave

Put some lemon or lime slices in a bowl of water and microwave them for five minutes. Let the bowl sit for an additional five minutes so the steam can soften up anything stuck on the walls. Carefully remove the bowl of lemons, and wipe up the sides with a cloth.

clean-room-light-fixtures-chandelier_53a47b2f22cd02aed400f6c59503203eWipe down all light fixtures

Dust and clean the exteriors and interiors. Replace any bulbs that need changing.


Tops of Cabinets

If your cabinets do not go all the way up to the ceiling, the tops are probably in need of a good cleaning. Using  a hand held vacuum or duster,  dust the tops of the cabinets to remove all dust and other loose particles.  Spray with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe down.


Wash any window treatments and dust the blinds. Clean your windows with a window cleaner. Don’t forget about opening the window as well and cleaning the window tracks.


Closet Organization 101

“A place for everything and everything in its place.”This saying sums up what we all wish for in our lives; but achieving this takes a bit more than wishful thinking. Making a few simple changes and using items you already have around your home can help you save time, wasted energy and money.

Check out our top six tips to help you get the closets in tip-top shape.


Reuse old shoe boxes to organize drawers. Cut the boxes to fit more odd shaped objects. and the particular drawer you want to use them in.



Hang a pegboard for added storage. You can use this to hang hooks which can organize a variety of items: jewelry, hats, belts, and more. The possibilities are endless!




Use large canvas boxes to store out of season items. This keeps these items out of the way when they are not in use, while also keeping them organized.



Remove items that don’t belong in that particular closet. One of the most common causes of clutter are when items that belong in the kitchen or bedroom are stowed in various closets throughout the house. This is the time to return out-of-place items to their rightful home.


Use shelf dividers to help keep folded clothes and accessories organized and stacked without falling over.












By making a few small changes at a time and focusing on one area, you can really make an impact in the overall organization of your home.

Composting 101: All You Need To Know




Did you know the average American household throws away about 25% of their food? If we all  made an effort to compost leftovers, landfill loads would significantly decrease. In addition to this benefit composting is great for all gardens! Not only does it improve garden soil and help to keep plants healthy, it helps to reduce harmful greenhouse gases. “Organics that break down in a landfill produce methane gas, which is about 120 times more harmful than carbon dioxide,” says Cary Oshins, assistant director for programs at the United States Composting Council. So why not help the planet and your yard by piling up your leftovers?

Getting started doesn’t necessarily require any special equipment: piling up materials and letting nature take its course will eventually produce compost. Starting can seem like a very daunting task to a beginner with all of the talk of Ph balances, microbes and smells, but it’s a lot less scary than it seems. I’ve done the heavy work for you and put all that you need to know into a simplified list. Check it out below.

To start what exactly is compostsoil-comparison

Although it may resemble it finished compost is not soil or fertilizer. It is a soil enhancement that can be incorporated to help the soil retain moisture and nutrients. It also helps to improve the texture of problem soils and encourages the growth of microorganisms that help to maintain plant and soil health. Best of all though: it’s a free and easy way to dispose of organic waste, which will ultimately decrease landfill usage.

First things first, pick your container and choose a location

Choose a bottomless container (plastic, metal, or wood) and place it in the ground in a partially shaded area of your yard. It is necessary that the bin be bottomless to allow for proper drainage. You can purchase containers that are specifically made for composting, but any container will do. It is important to place your compost bin in a partially shaded area. In full sun the bin can create excessive heat build up, while full shade will cool the bin too much in the spring and fall.

What foods can be tossed in the compost bin

Fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds (and the paper filters) eggshells, grass clippings and leftover fruits and vegetables. You can place any and all organic matter into your compost bin, but the majority of the bin should be made up of dry materials such as twigs, dead leaves, newspaper, and paper. These items contain carbon which provides the microbes that decompose the pile. Food and other moisture rich items supply the protein that microbes need to reproduce. Avoid putting meats, cheese, cooking oils, or fish because they will attract animals.compost_methods_food_scraps

You’re likely to get the best results if your compost pile is a three-to-one ratio of dry to wet. Compost is very forgiving so no worries if it isn’t perfect.

What about the upkeep

The great thing about creating a compost pile is that once you make one, the upkeep is very mild. It’s most important to keep an eye on the moisture level. The pile should be damp but not soaking wet or dry enough to blow around. It’s recommended (but not necessary) to turn your compost every two weeks to aerate your pile. This will also allow for faster results.

So…does it smell?

Ordinary composting does not smell. If a compost pile smells, something is wrong and it’s usually simple to diagnose. The microbes responsible for breaking down your compost pile need a balanced diet of nitrogen and carbon. Nitrogen comes from green materials such as food scraps and grass clippings. Carbon comes from brown materials such as dead leaves and newspaper. A ratio that contains equal portions by weight (not volume) of both works best and will reduce smells.

Only two sorts of smells usually affect a pile: rotten smells and ammonia. A compost pile that smells like it’s rotting has gone anaerobic. This means that there is not enough oxygen to support aerobic microbes and the anaerobic ones have taken over. Unfortunately, they produce hydrogen sulfide which smells like rotten eggs. The solution is simple: turn the pile. You can also add large sticks in the center to help air flow.  When a compost pile smells like ammonia, it is giving off excess nitrogen in the form of ammonia. This problem occurs most often if high-nitrogen products have been added. The short-term solution is to turn the pile to help the excess ammonia to vaporize. Mixing in brown material can also restore the carbon-nitrogen balance. To fix this issue long-term, add less nitrogen filled products.

How can you tell when the pile is decomposed

It usually takes four to six months for compost to turn into dark brown or black soil with a nice earthy aroma. Once the majority of your pile fits this description take away the bin and let the finished pile continue to break down in your yard for a few weeks. Place the bin in a new spot to begin a new pile. Start It off by removing any pieces from your previous pile that aren’t quite decomposed and adding those.

Helpful tips and tricks

  • Grass clippings add necessary nitrogen to a compost pile, but be sure to mix with the “brown” materials that add carbon. Both are necessary for quick decomposition and rich compost
  • Do not compost fats, pet droppings, or animal products; they will attract pests to the pile
  • Newspaper or plain white paper is excellent for composting – shred it first to speed up the process
  • If adding ashes to your pile, add them sparingly as they are alkaline and can affect the pH of the pile.
  • During the winter keep your compost pile in a black plastic bin and in direct sunlight to continue the composting process. Hay bales can be used to further insulate the pile.
  • Place a lidded container in your kitchen where you can place compostable items; similar to the idea of a trashcan. Get into the habit of tossing all compostable items in this container and dispensing them once a day or every other day.