By Ellen Gefen
The kitchen is one of the most, if not the most, important rooms in your home. It’s where you cook, eat and gather with your family and friends. No wonder it’s the most popular room to remodel. Whether you’re looking to do a total revamp or just a little refresh, we’ve compiled some kitchen ideas to get you started.
If you have an old, dark kitchen with damaged wood cabinets, try sanding down the rough spots and using high-gloss white paint. Paint everything except the countertops! The transformation will be miraculous. Consider painting the lower cabinets or an island in a different accent color. Paint is a great way to immediately transform a room! You could even hang a poster that has the accent color or frame a collection of menus from your travels.
Laminate Counter Tops
While this option has been available for a long time, the new selection of laminates is outstanding. There are new materials that simulate granite, stone, travertine and concrete! A kitchen remodeler may charge quite a lot to install counters, but this is generally not a job for do-it-yourselfers; laminates should be installed by a professional for a really polished look!
Available in various shapes, moldings can be applied to the surfaces of plain cabinet doors to either match or contrast. The style of the molding can run the gamut from country to contemporary, French to 18th-Century English and beyond. It’s best to pre-paint the cabinets and the moldings before you apply them. If they are the ready-made type, they can go up with a special adhesive. If they are put in place by a professional carpenter or cabinetmaker, the moldings will most likely be of a heavier scale and will be nailed in place. You will need a very steady hand or a professional painter to accent the moldings after the base coat is applied.
Another idea is to add new hardware for a quick updated look. Don’t just consider the external decorative hardware, but inquire about new self-closing decorative hardware, concealed hinges and even the possibility of using new, full-extension drawer slides. Some people like the “no hardware look,” commonly referred to as touch latch.
New lights, maybe even a skylight, can freshen up a kitchen, but take into consideration the angle of your roofline and the direction your kitchen faces. A skylight in a kitchen with a southern or western exposure can make the room very hot, even in the winter. When you are planning to brighten up the kitchen with natural or man-made light, keep in mind that this room is usually the hottest in the home due to appliances like ovens and stoves. Use LEDs that are brighter, cooler and more energy efficient. Be sure to get the type that dims without flickering. Mini lights, installed under shelves and where the cabinets meet the floor, can light the kitchen for many uses, eliminating the need for overhead lights.
A new color scheme can certainly be a brightener, but there are some guidelines for color in the kitchen that should be considered. Too much of a hot or warm color can be a problem. If you want pink, orange, red or yellow in the kitchen, try using a cool complementary color — blue, green or purple — in a subtle way to keep the room below the visual boiling point. Plants are an obvious way to introduce cool greens, but if you can’t be bothered with Mother Nature, you could cool things down with a collection of bottle-green canisters. Consider adding color through accessories and appliances like mixers, coffee pots and fun platters!
Selecting a wallpaper pattern for the kitchen is tricky. This room is one of the most used rooms in most households, with many different activities taking place. Take care not to overload the room visually. It may be best to choose a quiet background. A textured rather than patterned wall cover provides a good backdrop, but an overly textured surface may pick up a greasy film and provide a natural resting place for dirt and grime. If textures are your choice, a washable vinyl that simulates grass cloth, string or stucco may be your best bet. If you’d like colorful ceramic tile on the wall but can’t afford the hefty cost, try some of the tile-patterned wallpapers especially the easily removable wallpapers like Tempaper! Maybe apply wallpaper to a single “accent” wall and use tile as a backsplash to bring great texture and an interesting aesthetic to the room.
Finally, if one of your appliances is worn out — for instance, if duct tape is the only thing holding together the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator — consider replacing it. Many people keep putting off such a purchase until they are ready to do the entire kitchen. The cost of replacing all the appliances simultaneously is very high. A good way to get the project off the ground is to start with one appliance. A kitchen remodeler may be able to draw up a plan for a surprisingly reasonable cost, which could even be applied to a subsequent job. Or a remodeler can always design custom cabinets to fit around the new appliances if required.
Conclusion, don’t let the fear of doing it all at once keep you from starting. If you need to start small, prioritize what you NEED to do and what you WANT to do. Make the kitchen remodel a fun project. When it’s done it’ll make you smile every time you walk into the room!