6 Easy Ways To Update Your Kitchen

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Home renovations can be pricey, stressful, and time-consuming. Kitchen renovations can be the worst. Regardless of how much sprucing up your kitchen needs, there's a good chance it's inconvenient for you. You can, however, ditch the contractor and update your kitchen yourself--one piece at a time! Here are six simple, and affordable ways to give your kitchen that brand-new appearance without much effort or a large budget.

1. Break Out The Paint

Roll up your sleeves and grab a brush. Before you do anything, clear off your walls and paint your kitchen. The paint that's currently on the walls may very well have been there since you moved in. So, you'd be surprised at the effect one little coat of paint can do. Pick one or two colors (perhaps that complement some of the newer, nicer furniture and appliances that already occupy your kitchen), and get painting!

2. Add A Chair Rail

One of the most simple yet often overlooked additions to any room is a chair rail. A chair rail is a thin strip of wood that runs horizontally along the middle of your wall. It breaks up the space and adds a decorative flair. Chair rails are also great if you have the ambition to paint your wall two different colors. Setting up a chair rail is easy:

  • Determine wall and wood measurements
  • Mark up your walls with pencil on a level line
  • Attach finished or unfinished wood molding
  • Paint (if necessary)
Ready for Planting Finished Product


3. Include A Backsplash

If you've spent any time watching home and garden channels, you'll understand the importance of a backsplash. What you might not know is how easy it is two create one yourself, by hand. This can be a longer project, if you have the time or energy. Spend time picking out the right tiles and measuring an appropriately sized backsplash for your kitchen. You can make the backsplash as simple or as elaborate as you'd like. Before you start, make sure you have:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Tile
  • Strong adhesive
  • Putty knife

4. Add Wall Decor

The kitchen is a really fun place to decorate. There are countless kitchen themes that can serve as inspiration, and it's easy to find affordable decorative pieces at outlets and thrift stores. Some popular kitchen themes include

  • Farm-style (Country kitchen)
  • Vintage/Mid-century kitchen
  • Modern kitchen
  • Tuscan Kitchens
  • Cape Cod Kitchens

Farm style kitchens can be created with a few wooden crates and strategically placed red and white wallpaper. If you're going for a vintage look, old signage is always fun. Modern kitchens are much more suited for contemporary art and pieces with less color. If inspiration has yet to strike, take a few pictures, buy a few nice frames, and cover your walls with pictures of your family and friends doing kitchen activities. This is especially fun, if you have smaller children who are learning their way around the kitchen.

5. The Dreaded Cabinet Update

Cabinets can be the most difficult and expensive update you can make in the kitchen. If yours are looking especially dingy, but you don't want to tear them out and replace them, you can try just updating the doors. Especially if you do your shopping online, affordable cabinet doors aren't that hard to come by, and can be replaced in three to four easy steps.

  • Properly measure your current cabinets and any extra available space in your kitchen if you decide to install larger ones.
  • Unscrew doors at the hinges (double check for screws and hinges that need replacing)
  • Screw in new doors
  • Paint (if necessary)

Another option is to remove doors completely, sand down the edges, and turn the space into shelving. This gives a much more open look to your kitchen, and makes your cabinet items far more accessible.

6. Buy New Appliances

If you haven't updated your appliances in a while, you might be surprised at the amount of flair new appliances add to a kitchen. Since they are the most visible items on your countertop, they make a quick and impactful aesthetic change. The easiest items to update are:

  • Blender
  • Toaster
  • Electric can opener
  • Microwave
  • Coffee maker

You can try color coordinating your appliances to give a polished look to your kitchen, or mix and match for a homier feel. If you're feeling particularly savvy, you can purchase one or more luxury appliances to serve as the focal points and design inspirations for your kitchen. If you find that your cabinets are getting too cluttered, you can also ditch a few items to be stored elsewhere. Updates can be fun, easy, and affordable if you know where to start. Make yourself a list and a budget before you hit the stores, and have fun playing with design ideas.

Last Updated: August 17, 2011
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for IdealHomeGarden.com.

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