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10 Easy Kitchen Updates

Posted 02-04-2010 at 07:13 PM by faucetman886

In past I have discussed various short cuts to update a bathroom, your house to make it ready to sell, to freshen up a bathroom, a bedroom and many other approaches to week end DIY projects. Two recent projects, one in my own kitchen and on that my best friend (Crash & Burn Hennecy) did his, brought to mind some ideas to pass on. Here are 10 things you can do to update your kitchen without having to get one of those now non-existent home equity loans. I will include some pics and details of our two projects also.

1. Update Your Cabinetry Hardware
These small items say big things about your kitchen style. Changing out your old knobs and pulls to brushed nickel or bronze will create a whole new decorative touch. This was one of the first things we did to my little Florida home where I live now. It’s a typical 1980’s manufactured home and the kitchen was still as it was built. A quick look through Ebay found some brushed contemporary pulls at a bargain price. I think we spent less than $100 for all of them (see pic in #10 )

2. Repaint The Walls
Nothing changes the face of a room like a fresh coat of paint. A splash of color can help set a new tone for your kitchen style - warm reds and yellows for a Tuscan feel, neutrals to make a traditional classic or vibrant greens and blues to modernize your look. Don’t be afraid of color. Avoid dark colors for a small space.Cost for my kitchen, $20 gallon of paint and a weekend

3. Change Out Window Treatments
One of the first changes that will get people talking is new window treatments. There are many fabrics and materials to choose from, including bamboo, roman shades or a bold graphic print. I have gone with plantation style shutters throughout the entire house. Fabric curtains in a kitchen are hard to keep clean and have an old fashioned look. I found my whole house of plantation shutters (pic on right) on “Craigslist” (11 sets new still wrapped) with a retail value of $3800 for (pic on right) $250. An unfortunant result of a foreclosure sale. Although you may not find that good of a deal I see deals online most every week

4. Put Up Some Shelves
Installing shelves is an easy, innovative way to add space with a decorative touch. New wooden or glass shelves over the sink or next to your cabinetry will allow you to clear counter space from small appliances you don't use everyday. You can also showcase decorative and sentimental items on your new shelves. I took it a step further and solved an awkward corner formed by the refrigerator and an oddly angled wall. I simply went to the “Habitat for Humanity” recycle store and bought a small based cabinet. Made a top out of plywood covered in ceramic tile. Total cost less than $200. Note that I made the back side with a hang over for barstools and place to tuck the dogs dishes and the trash can.

5. Replace Your Faucets
It's one of the most frequently used items in a kitchen, so it should be one you love. You can update your faucet relatively inexpensively, adding a refreshed look to your sink area and also lowering water and energy costs. My friends at National Builder Supply have hundreds to choose from priced for ANY budget.

6. Sweep It Under the Rug
One way to update the look of your floors without the cost of new flooring is with a rug. You can find many rugs that are durable to high foot traffic, but also attractive to compliment your kitchen style. Painted floors have also been around since pioneer days before floor coverings were ever invented. Get creative and paint a design or border on a tired or worn out floor.

7. Set The Mood With New Lighting
Make your kitchen a friendly, inviting space with a new lighting system. Consider updating the existing fixture or installing track lighting. You can also add ambiance with under-the-cabinet task or puck lights that are easy to install. Pendant lights over a bar area or sink can also add a lot to the décor as well as needed extra light. This is another thing to check NBS for. They are a Progress Lighting distributor.

8. Put Up a Faux Backsplash
You don't have to take on a tiling extravaganza to refresh the little space over your sink. Add galvanized steel flat sheets as a backsplash and make a sleek, seamless effect that compliment your appliances. Although don’t be afraid to tackle a ceramic tile backsplash. Here is what Mike did in his kitchen one weekend.
Here is the process in his own words:
"Our backsplash was not only plain and white it had some repair work that had been done that left the surface with uneven swirls of drywall compound. In a word it was ugly. After a couple of visits to our big box home centers we chose a travertine tile in a 2"x4" subway pattern. We had wanted glass tile but could not justify the cost. Our compromise was to put a glass mosaic tile accent insert in the travertine. This gave us some of the glass tile we wanted but kept our cost down. I have limited experience doing any tile work but it is something that the average person can tackle with a little patience. A premix mastic was used to adhere to wall and a no-seal grout was used that eliminated the need to seal the grout. However since travertine is covered with tiny holes, and indentations it was necessary to seal it with a stone seal prior to applying grout. If this had not been done the grout would have filled in all the texture of the travertine. This made for easy clean up and no problems having to remove grout that adhered to the surface of the travertine tiles. Does it look like a professional tile job ? Probably not. Is the wife happy ........... yes!" Total material cost..$215.00.

9. Add a Kitchen Cart
Your kitchen can appear more spacious with less items on the countertops. A small kitchen cart can house small appliances and cookware for easy access and free up counter space from clutter. Here is where you can shop around and find one at many of the big box stores or on Craigslist or simply improvise one utilizing a surplus base cabinet on wheels with a top that matches your existing kitchen counter or simply butcher block. Use the cart as a center island and roll it out of the way when you need more floor space.

10. Refinish Your Cabinets
You'll be surprised how easy it can be to reface your cabinets. Try a faux finish for a rich, antique look. Add some detailed painting to create highlights and shadows that give the sense of depth. Or take out the center face of a cabinet door and install a glass front. When replaced the cabinet hardware in my little kitchen we painted the cabinets a warm cocoa brown, giving a dinky little kitchen a warmer look.
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