Revitalize Your Kitchen Cabinetry
The kitchen can be one of the most expensive areas of the home to update. New cabinetry can cost a fortune. If a complete remodel is not in your budget for now, get some more mileage out of your current cabinets by painting them and updating the hardware. These interior decorating tips can have a wonderful, transforming effect on your kitchen space.
If you’re not sure on paint color, consider white. It’s timeless, clean-looking, and continues to be a popular choice in current kitchen trends.
To prepare the surface of stained, wood cabinetry prior to painting apply a sealer/stain killer to get a nice paint job without stain bleed through. For this I recommend Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Latex Primer Sealer It’s amazing! It adheres without the need to sand the surface first. The primer will create a nice base for the paint topcoat.
And don’t forget this important interior design tip: replace your outdated door and drawer pulls with new ones. You’ll be surprised at how much better your kitchen will look with up to date hardware and a beautiful, new paint finish.
If you have more money in your scaled down budget consider glass panel inserts for the doors on the upper cabinets. This can really give you a look that is beautiful and sophisticated. It’s a popular feature in current kitchen design. The glass can be fluted, frosted, or clear. There are many options.
Have appliances that work well but are stuck in colors that date into the past? Update them, too, with paint. There is appliance spray paint that can work wonders in this situation. You don’t have to be saddled with that “Harvest Gold” refrigerator from the 1970’s while the rest of the kitchen has a new, updated feel.
Whether your kitchen is the family gathering place or a place to “refuel,” you’ll find loads of information here for a workable and beautiful space.
What to Consider Before a Kitchen Remodel
Fast Fixes for the Top Kitchen
Identify and Eliminate
Does your older kitchen have one of these outdated features? Then perhaps it’s time to banish the throwbacks from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s!
Here are the some of the worst features of outdated kitchens along with some cost-conscious solutions to get a high-end look on a low-end budget.
Kitchen Updates on a Shoestring
Get a Fresh Look : Do a Little Work and Save a Lot
Simple new hardware can wake up a kitchen.
You don’t have to feel stuck with a dingy and drab kitchen that was last decorated in the 70’s. No matter what your budget, you can make changes to freshen it up and bring it into the 21st century.
The key is the floor plan. If the floor plan is bad, you’ll be stuck unless you have a big bank account. If it works, the rest is a breeze.
If you’re not sure what to do with the money you have, whether it’s a few hundred dollars or several thousand, you might find that hiring a decorator to consult for an hour or two is money well spent. You could probably find someone who would work for $75 to $100 per hour for a consultation. She can help you prioritize your project, select colors for the transformation, and help you focus your work.
So, pull your numbers together and choose your project. Even if you have under $500 to spend, you can still have a fresh-looking new kitchen.
Replace the Cabinet Hardware
Sometimes the simplest changes make the greatest impact. It’s like finishing off a wonderful dress with the perfect piece of jewelry. For kitchen cabinets, you can see an amazing change by replacing the old cabinet knobs with new ones. Get rid of dingy, greasy knobs in favor of trendy brushed nickel or antique brass, and voila! fresh new look. Be sure to count carefully before you head out to the store. Prices of cabinet pulls can vary widely, so set your budget, divide the amount by the number of pulls you’ll need, and stick to that figure.
Brighten Things Up
You can find a good-looking decorative light fixture at any hardware or home improvement store. Get rid of the ugly recessed fluorescent light in the middle of the ceiling. Be brave and consider a chandelier. Or consider focused track lighting. A new light fixture will brighten up the space and add a decorative element. Get rid of your ugly fluorescent fixture that’s hanging in the center of the kitchen ceiling. There are so many fashionable fixtures available from $50 to $200. Choose a fixture that matches the drawer pulls for a coordinated look. And don’t just think about a fixture that hugs the ceiling. A chandelier will really dress up the space!
Buy Some Paint
A fresh coat of paint is one of the least expensive ways to transform any space in your home. And the kitchen is no exception.
Start with the ceiling. If the surface overhead is yellowed and greasy, clean it carefully and paint it a bright, clean white. The whole room will light up.
The next easiest project with paint is to change the color of the walls in the kitchen. Choose a color that will blend with the tone of the cabinets and flow into the adjoining rooms. We recommend an oil-based enamel semi-gloss paint for a kitchen, making clean-ups easier and providing a longer life.
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, painting the cabinets would be the most time-consuming, yet still inexpensive, project. Remove the cabinet doors and sand them carefully to remove the finish. Sand the frames and interior of the cabinets. Paint the interiors first, preferably in a fresh white or cream. Then carefully paint the visible frame areas, ending with the cabinet doors. When dry, replace the doors on the frames.
Add Some Work Space
If your kitchen has an open floor, place a small table in the center of the room. This space will provide extra counter area, provide seating, and give you more work space.
For dingy floors that are smooth, clean, and level, you might consider covering them with a fresh self-adhesive vinyl flooring. This can be purchased in strips or 12″ square tiles. Read installation instructions carefully, then place one tile at a time until the room is finished. You can cut the tiles to shape with a scissors or straight blade. What could be easier?
Show Off Your Treasures
If your upper cabinets are have a center panel, remove the solid wood and replace one or two with panels of glass. Install lighting above and show off your collectibles and beautiful crystal or dishes.
Add a Touch of Mother Nature
You’d be amazed by the change you’ll see just by adding a bit of green in plants and flowers. Don’t clutter the counter, but find space above cabinets or in corners. Your space will look fresh and new.
Expand Your Work Space and Storage
Add extra work space and decorative interest to your kitchen by installing an island. The kitchen island can be as simple as a small table or as elaborate as a custom-build, electrified, plumbed, tiled cooking center. Find ideas for how to add an island to your kitchen and see photos of great islands.
It seems as though families are getting smaller and at the same time, kitchens are getting bigger. Designers are using industrial appliances, state-of-the-art cabinets and countertop materials, and including a kitchen island whenever possible.
A kitchen island looks beautiful in most settings and adds work space, storage area, and room for additional appliances.
If you look through decorating magazines or attend Decorator Show houses, you’ll see that most kitchen islands are longer and wider than ever before. A flat surface island (rather than mulit-level) is a simple solution and contributes a simple elegance to a kitchen. Architectural details such as bump-outs, corner posts, inset areas, and open shelving add personality and style to the kitchen.
While a kitchen island can be as simple as a table with open legs, many new kitchen islands are being designed with useful and decorative touches, making a kitchen island a focal point in the kitchen.
Some kitchen islands are elaborate custom-built pieces of fine cabinetry and include a sink, granite counters, a cook top, cabinets for storage, a second dishwasher, a warming oven, or a small refrigerator. The sky’s the limit if you have room.
The simplest and most common kitchen island has a single surface , like a tabletop. But a multi-level island can incorporate both food preparation and eating areas, wine racks, cookbook shelves, bar sinks, deep fryers, and other amenities. A step-down or step-up surface adds interest and separate work areas.
A large kitchen can, in some cases, accommodate multiple islands. A food preparation island near the sink or stove serves as a work space. A serving or eating island can convenient and useful.
Spend a Few Thousand Dollars to Transform Your Kitchen
Spend a Lot, Get a Lot
While you can make a lot of changes to your kitchen even if you’re on a really small budget, with some savings and some personal labor you can transform your dingy, boring kitchen into a real showplace.
Some projects you can do yourself, but others might require the help of professionals. Some projects you can get started yourself, then have the pros come in to finish them off. Whatever you decide, your kitchen renovations will make your home more comfortable and more workable. And in the long run, they’ll pay off almost dollar for dollar when it comes time to sell.
Read about what you can do to spruce up your kitchen on a budget of $2000 to $5000. You’ll be amazed at the change!
Reface the Cabinets
For about half the cost of new cabinets, you can hire a company to remove the old doors of your cabinets, reface the frames, and replace the cabinet doors with new, fresh painted or wood ones. And you’ll not only save money, you’ll also save weeks of disruption to your home, your life, and your kitchen. It could take months to measure, make, and install new kitchen cabinets. Once the space is measured, it will take only three days from start to finish. And you can even have additional matching cabinets installed or spacing for appliances changed for extra money. It will feel like a new kitchen, though you’ve only added a new face.
Buy New Appliances
If your kitchen has old, outdated appliances, it might be a good idea to replace them, even if they’re working alright. Old appliances are inefficient and unattractive. Adding new moderately-priced appliances can really bring the look to today. Expect to pay about $500 and up for each appliance, resulting in several thousand dollars for a refrigerator, stove, microwave, and dishwasher. If you can’t resist a gourmet’s kitchen with $10,000 custom-front, double refrigerator, make sure that you can take it with you when you move!
Put in a New Tile Floor
A new floor under foot really transforms the whole space. Tear up old linoleum flooring and lay tiles of tumbled marble, slate, or ceramic for a real “WOW” factor. You can do the demolition work yourself, then call in the pros for the installation. Or try it yourself, following instructions from the pros. Professionally laid tile flooring, installed, can range from $5.00 to $100 per square foot, co choose carefully according to your budget.
Install a New Wood Floor
If your home has a buried wood floor, you’ll add value to your home and comfort to your feet if you get rid of whatever is over it. But for a beautiful transformation, install new hardwood flooring in place of the ugly floor that’s there. The cost can be high but many floorings are made for homeowner installation. Find a finish you like and see if you can do it yourself. If not, hire a professional after getting a satisfactory bid for the job.
Add Granite Countertops
This may seem like it would be out of the question on a budget. But you really can have granite countertops without spending a fortune. You can find remnants of granite left over from large jobs and the price is well below the cost of custom pieces. Check out what’s available at your local home improvement centers and get an estimate for having your countertops transformed.
Install Focused Task Lighting
Get rid of the ugly fluorescent fixture in the center of your ceiling and install recessed lights focused on your work areas. This will probably require the hiring of an electrician, but it’s not a hard job for a professional. You’ll pay about $100 per fixture installed so your allotted budget will go a long way! At the same time, have him install some lights under your cabinets to light up the countertops.
Remodeling a Kitchen: Getting Started
The kitchen is the hub of the home, serving many functions. Food preparation may be the main activity, but it is not the only one. Today, the kitchen serves as a family gathering spot, meal-planning area, computer base, and social center.
Remodeling a kitchen will most likely be the most expensive and longest-lasting project a homeowner will undertake. But don’t let this scare you off. In spite of the 3-day magic change-outs accomplished before your eyes on fantasy TV shows, a kitchen remodel with new appliances, flooring, lighting, fixtures, cabinets and counters will probably extend beyond three months! Of course, the time frame will be determined by the extent of the project. But in the end, the results will be very satisfying and you will have added to the value of your home.
If you’re really planning a total kitchen remodel, I’d highly recommend engaging the services of a professional space planner and kitchen expert. You may know someone who specializes in this area of interior design, or you could find someone to guide you at one of the many home improvement centers around the country. Whether you pay them just for the design or the completed job, the money will be well-spent and you’ll most likely save money in the end.
There are many elements in kitchen remodeling to consider. Your budget will determine how much you can do. You’ll have to decide what to change and what to keep. The home may have a good working space and but be unattractive. Or this may be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to create the ultimate gourmet kitchen.
If you’re a serious cook, undoubtedly more money will be spent on the appliances and food-preparation surfaces than cosmetic elements. If your idea of cooking is warming something in a micro-wave (you’re not alone), you may want to dedicate more of your funds to the look of the space.
The original purpose of a kitchen is food-preparation and the appliances selected should be of the best quality your budget allows. If you’re a gourmet cook, then this is the time to make the big investment in the finest tools you can find.
The cabinets in a kitchen are like the furniture of the room. The style of cabinets sets the style for the whole room. Because most kitchens are an extension of the other living space, they should reflect the style of the rest of the home. Whether they’re of natural wood or have a painted finish, the cabinets will be the decorative focal point.
Storage space is often at a premium in a kitchen, and the remodeling project should consider what will make the kitchen work well. Large deep drawers make it easy to find and grab pans. Pull-out shelves offer easy access. An island in the center of a large space provides added storage and workspace. Drawer dividers help to keep utensils in place. These elements should be part of the kitchen plan.
Install Kitchen Countertop Lighting
Hi, I’m Ami Young for About.com Home. Often times, the kitchen countertop is the one place in the kitchen where there just never seems to be enough light. Today I’m going to show you how to lighten up those countertops by installing an under-cabinet light fixture.
Supplies Needed to Install Countertop Lighting
For this project, you’re going to need:
- an under-cabinet light fixture, with bulb (available at home-based department stores or home improvement stores)
- a Phillips head screwdriver
- some 3/4- to 1-inch screws (be careful the screws aren’t longer than the thickness of your kitchen cabinet)
- a staple gun with 1/2-inch staples
- a number 2 pencil
Decide Where to Install the Light Fixture
First, with the bulb removed from the light fixture, line up the fixture where you want to place it on the underside of the cabinet.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get those screws started when you’re turned upside down. So first take your number 2 pencil, and make a little outline of the screw holes where the screws will eventually screw into the underside of the cabinet.
Make Holes for the Screws
Next, set the light fixture down and start to screw each of the screws in where you made marks on the base of the cabinet. You don’t need to screw them in all the way, just about halfway in, enough to get a little hole started in the wood and then reverse the process and unscrew each of them.
Double-Check the Alignment of the Screw Holes
Now, once you’ve made a starting screw hole for each of the screws, you’re going to place the light fixture back to where you want to mount it on the underside of the cabinet.
Double-check that you have aligned the screw holes on the light fixture with the holes you made earlier on the underside of the cabinet.
Mount the Light Fixture
Now you’re ready to mount the fixture to the cabinet. At first, you want to start to screw in each of the screws about halfway. Then, once you’re sure you have the alignment of the light fixture the way you want it, tighten down each of the screws the rest of the way until they’re nice and snug against the base of the cabinet.
Install the Light Bulb
Once the light fixture is in place, install the light bulb in the light fixture. Most under-cabinet light fixtures come with a tube-like bulb that will easily slip into place.
Hide the Power Cord
Next, you need to supply power to the light fixture and get the power cord up and out of the way. The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out the most discrete path for your power cord to run so it plugs into the nearest power outlet.
To secure the cord on the underside of your kitchen cabinet, hold the power cord along its path and use your staple gun to hold the cord in place by stapling one staple over the top of the power cord just about every six to eight inches as you move down the cord.
Plug in the Power Cord
Once you’ve reached the power outlet, plug in your power cord. Now that you’re all set, hit the light switch to the ‘on’ position, and voila–no more dark kitchen countertops.
What to Consider Before a Kitchen Remodel
Start by Planning Ahead
Remodeling a kitchen is a big undertaking and one that requires careful planning. If you’re thinking about redoing your kitchen, these ideas offer some important things to consider before you go ahead with your remodeling plans.
Whether you’ve already gathered information, ideas, and samples, or are in the beginning stages of looking at your space and trying to figure out what to do, it’s smart to step back and consider the larger picture of remodeling a kitchen.
Ideas to Consider:
- Call a neighborhood realtor for advice on how much your home may be worth and how much a kitchen might add to the home’s value.
- Study kitchen and remodeling magazines for budgeting hints.
- Look into a home equity loan.
- Explore financing options for cabinetry and appliances (such as, no interest for 6 months, etc.)
- Look for ways to save money by doing parts of the work yourself.
Small Kitchen Remodeling
Small Kitchen Ideas
One thing to learn right off the bat: small kitchen remodeling is a game all by itself. With larger kitchen spaces you have certain freedoms that you don’t have with smaller spaces. But by the same token, those larger spaces can make for a less effective environment for the cook. Before we go any farther into the issue of remodeling small kitchens, let’s look at a few of its ups and downs:
About Small Kitchen Remodeling
If you have a small kitchen space, you may be envious of homeowners you have large spaces to work with. Don’t be jealous! You have many advantages that they do not have.
- What is a Small Kitchen? A: Definitions vary according to the homeowner, house, region, and even the country. But generally, the classic 10′ x 10′ kitchen (100 square feet or less) is considered the benchmark of small kitchen sizing.
Dimensions matter, too. An unusually narrow kitchen might still be considered a small kitchen. For example, a kitchen space that is 9 feet by 14 feet, or 126 square feet (give or take) might still be considered a small kitchen.
- What Benefits Does a Small Kitchen Space Have? A: Kitchens, on a square foot basis, are extremely expensive to remodel. Contrast this with a low-intensity, low-function room such as a living room, great room, or bedroom. In those areas, you’re dealing with few services (no running water, few electrical needs, etc.) and inexpensive materials (some drywall, trim, etc.). But the kitchen has many expensive services: garbage disposal, extra lighting, extra electrical needs, plumbing, ventilation, and more. Also, the materials tend to be expensive-think granite, stainless steel, Corian, marble, custom or stock cabinets, etc. So, less space means less cost.
- Can I Remodel My Small Kitchen Myself? A: Yes. The small kitchen can often represent the “tipping point” in the DIY vs. hire-a-pro question. Because you’re dealing with smaller spaces, renovating a small kitchen can become manageable. For example, laying 80 square feet of ceramic tile might be only a weekend project for the small kitchen; laying 375 square feet of tile can be a huge hassle requiring the services of professional tile-setters.
Steps to Small Kitchen Remodeling
Is the small kitchen remodel the same as a big kitchen remodel-except on a smaller canvas? In some ways, yes. But there are surprising differences that you should be aware of. Take these steps when remodeling your small kitchen.
- Use Kitchen Designs Appropriate for the Small Kitchen. The most common layouts for small kitchens are:
Most small kitchens are longer than they are wide (though there are many square-shaped small kitchens, including the one pictured here). But these are great designs that provide you with lots of opportunities. Forget placing a kitchen island. It won’t happen. Instead, learn to embrace designs that are right for these smaller spaces.
- Find Easy Areas to Scale Down. Big double sinks or farmhouse sinks eat up valuable counter space. Also, think long and hard about whether you really want bigger appliances. Side-by-side fridges are great, but you want to conserve width when it comes to the appliances. Are you a single person or a couple? More economical dishwashers are available, too. (i.e., can you put in a pantry around the corner?), use that for items you don’t use frequently, such as canned goods or appliances.
- Determine Your Values. Along with the above tips, you really need to make hard choices. Or, who knows – sometimes it’s an easy choice. Is storage a number one priority? Then you’ll need to maximize kitchen cabinets at the cost of appliances. Do you really want a breakfast bar? It’s possible, but you may need to sacrifice counter space for cooking to get that breakfast bar. There is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s your kitchen; you’re allow to make these choices as you wish!
- Use Stock Cabinetry. One of the great things about remodeling small kitchens is that you get to use easy-to-install DIY cabinetry. In fact, you can often find this type of kitchen cabinetry right on the shelf at home improvement stores or places like IKEA. This cabinetry is usually a simple DIY install. If you buy the cabinets flat (like at IKEA), it’s usually more work putting than cabinets together than it is to install them in the kitchen.
- Maximize Cabinet Depth. There is so much space in the backs of cabinets that we rarely use. Maximize your usage by installing lazy Susan’s and roll-out shelves.
- Use Larger Floor Tiles. It seems counter-intuitive, but larger floor tile makes your small kitchen appear larger.
- Employ Lighter Colors. Since the light you get in your kitchen is as much reflected light as it is direct light, you can increase a small kitchen’s light intensity by using brighter-colored wood species for the cabinetry and neutral tones for the counters, as well as for the wall paint.
Written by : About.com Interior Decorating