10 quick and easy tips for a kitchen update from design pros
Who hasn’t stared at their kitchen and wished HGTV could sweep in and update it? Well, since that’s probably not happening anytime soon, try some advice from Orlando Soria, who launches a HGTV show in the fall called , and Karin Bennett, who was a designer for . As well, professional organizer Jeanie Engelbach, founder and owner of apartmentjeanie.com, has some great ideas.
1. Get rid of excess. Go through everything in your kitchen and set aside tools or appliances you don’t use. “If you’re not making fantastic-looking fruit salads all the time, you can let go of the melon baller,” Engelbach says. If you find later that you do use the waffle maker quite often, you can put it back on the counter.
2. Put everything in a logical place. When you put things back, organize for the way you use your kitchen. Put knives near cutting boards close to the sink. Gather coffee supplies together on a tray. For one of her clients, Engelbach made a station for the school-age kids to put their lunches together, with drawers for snacks and containers.
3. Paint something big. One bold accent wall might require only a half-gallon of paint and an afternoon of work, says Bennett, who lives outside Toronto. Or paint your floor. “If you have a wood floor but you hate the wood’s colour, you can paint it white,” she adds.
4. Update hardware. Soria says a black finish looks good with brass or nickel zinc. Mix up shapes, too. Try knobs on the upper cabinets and pulls on the lowers. For even less money, you can spray-paint your existing hardware. “I am a spray-paint queen,” Bennett says. “Unscrew those knobs and take them out to your garage.”
5. Change out light fixtures. Consider how much light you want. In a dark kitchen, Bennett says, the lampshades should be translucent or glass. “Then you’ll get a lot more light and not just directional light” shining downward. She finds inexpensive pendants and more at Target, HomeSense and HomeGoods.
6. Accessorize well. With a classic white kitchen and black countertops, Bennett says she would add natural wood in cutting boards leaning against a backsplash or wooden bowls on a shelf. “A copper or terracotta plant pot looks amazing,” she adds. If you’re looking for more vibrant accessories, Bennett says to use the colour in no more than three accessories.
7. Put down a washable throw rug. Try a 2-by-3-foot rug in front of the sink or a 2-by-8-foot runner down a long kitchen. It adds “softness and colour,” Soria says. “And you want a washable rug because, in a kitchen, there are sauces flying everywhere.”
8. Hang art. “I’ve put up art on my backsplash using self-adhesive foam tape,” says Soria. Engelbach agrees with the approach: “I think it’s nice to have fabulous artwork,” she says, especially for homes with open floor plans — if you can see a kitchen wall from your living room, you want it to be esthetically pleasing.
9. Try removable wallpaper and tile. Many companies make these, and for a “very-budget friendly update” for a backsplash, Soria suggests self-adhesive penny tile, easy enough to find on Amazon, at Home Depot or at Bed Bath & Beyond.
10. Change out a window treatment. Soria just finished his parents’ kitchen remodel and added a patterned Roman shade — “It’s a small update that you can do.”