There are some spaces in a home that have to work harder than others, in particular, the hall, living room and kitchen. This is where traffic tends to be heaviest and where general day to day wear and tear has the greatest effect. If a hardworking space arrives at the point where it’s shabby but not chic, then it must be makeover time.
This doesn’t have to be a glaringly expensive undertaking, however, as there are many ways to give a kitchen a fabulous facelift even on a modest budget. Here are some top tips to whet the appetite for clever kitchen facelifts.
Just as crafty ideas can help improve general home décor, so in this age of recycling, upcycling, repurposing and generally taking a creative approach to every task there are plenty of ways in which kitchen refurbishment can be handled to impressive effect and at modest cost. Let’s start with the areas that should be targeted first.
- Kitchen cabinets and countertops are generally in need of revival after a few years and there are several ways to tackle this.
- Walls and floors often suffer over time and need to be refreshed and revitalized.
- Lighting makes a tremendous difference in any room and learning how to control both natural daylight and artificial lighting is a big help.
- Simple finishing touches will add glamour and elegance to achieve a dream kitchen.
Walls and floors
A kitchen stuck with tired vinyl from the 1970s or 1980s is not going to make a desirable style statement so it makes sense to do a little research and seek out some affordable alternatives online. Remember that a kitchen gets rough treatment compared to the rest of the house, so while stone and wood can be very attractive they are also likely to gobble up a large chunk of the budget.
Brick flooring is a viable alternative and much cheaper than the other options. It doesn’t need specialist installation although some expert advice could prove very useful. Also, it must be properly sealed after it is put in place and the seal must be regularly renewed over time. Concrete flooring is also relatively cheap and very hardwearing, while inexpensive cork flooring is coming back into fashion again for 2017.
A fresh coat of paint on kitchen walls will makes a huge difference to the ambiance of the room. Muted, neutral shades are elegant and by adding a cheeky splash of color on one feature wall, the space can be transformed.
Another trick is to make the most of openings including doors and windows. Swapping fussy floral drapes or door curtains for the smooth, clean lines of inexpensive full height shutters increases the feeling of space, and there is the added bonus of better insulation and improved control of both daylight and external noise.
Key work areas
When it comes to replacing kitchen cabinets it’s not necessary to rip everything out and spend a fortune on replacement units. These days you can replace the doors only, repaint them and/or simply change the door furniture such as handles and motifs, to achieve a different look. All these options save money and the same applies to replacing countertops and backsplashes. Making changes without resorting to expensive professional installations merely takes some basic do it yourself skills and lots of common sense.
Lighting a kitchen effectively can transform the atmosphere and improve the efficiency of the working spaces. Architects work on the principle that there are three types of lighting – accent, ambient and task lighting. Accent lighting is used to emphasize a feature and create a little drama, just like lights that are focused on china or glass in display cabinets, houseplants, paintings or sculptures. Ambient lighting is the general lighting used to illuminate a room, usually from overhead.
Finally, task lighting is positioned so as to make it easier to undertake specific jobs: in the kitchen, perhaps for reading a recipe and preparing food. Lighting units that shine on countertops from underneath wall cabinets are a good example of task lighting. Additional lamps for the kitchen are usually cheap to add and can make a real difference to functionality.
When the flooring, shutters, painting and cabinets have been overhauled and the lighting has been adjusted it only remains for those personal, creative finishing touches to be put in place; perhaps some new house plants here or brighter candles there will do the job so the kitchen makeover is completed without the need to empty the family wallet.