Weekend kitchen updates

Walls

Try a different look with a fresh coat of paint in a cheery new colour. You don’t necessarily have to paint the entire room to get the updated look you desire. You can paint just a focal wall or paint a band of the new colour on the wall near the ceiling. If you have a bank of cupboards with an open header then paint the wall behind the cupboards to make them stand out and place accessories along the top of the cupboard for a decorative display.

Create more drama by painting a design on a focal wall. A wall of wide stripes or a large geometric design might work.

Wallpaper is another option if you prefer not to paint. Wallpaper has come a long way and there are lots of great patterns, textures and designs available so keep your options open.

Wall decals are another décor item that might suit your kitchen. I found a new product at sears.ca called Snap — decals that can be repositioned, which is great because they can be easily removed. You can purchase anything from letters and sayings to graphics like coffee cups. They could even be used to update kitchen cabinets doors.

Cabinets

Along with the above-mentioned wall decals, you can update your cabinets with paint or other self-adhesive products. Painting the cupboards inside and out is definitely not a quick weekend job but you can update just the doors, which will give the kitchen a lift.

Changing the hardware can make a huge difference as well. Keep in mind that all of the hardware doesn’t have to match. Upper cabinets can be different from lower cabinets. Keep the finishes the same but change up the actual designs, or go eclectic and mix it all up. You may find a clearance bin full of glass knobs in various colours and sizes, for example. This could work to your advantage if you have a brave design spirit. The thing you want to keep in mind is the size of the spacing of the holes in your existing hardware. Bring the old hardware with you when you shop and ask for advice before you buy. This will keep you from having to drill new holes or fill old holes in your cabinets.

You can update your current hardware by painting it with the proper metal paint in a new colour or finish. It’s best to remove the hardware before you paint it so the job will be clean and neat. Ask your paint supplier for advice on the right paint for the job. Again, it’s a good idea to bring a piece of the hardware with you to the store when seeking advice.

Furniture

An eat-in kitchen is a great family gathering spot. If you have wooden furniture, consider giving it a lift with some paint. Two-toned dining sets are popular and might just be what the kitchen needs to give it a fresh appearance. If your eating area is crowded, consider replacing the table with a snack bar, installed along one wall and bar stools that can be tucked beneath when not in use.

If not paint, then new table linens are definitely an easy option. Chair covers, a new tablecloth and placemats in a new colour palette can bring much needed cheer to a dreary kitchen. Co-ordinate kitchen towels, oven mitts and dishcloths to complete the new look.

Windows

Create a little drama with a new kitchen window treatment. Consider using kitchen linens to make café curtains or toppers that will co-ordinate with your table. Simple café curtains made from tea towels can be quaint. Use clip-on café rings for a no-sew treatment that can be updated with ease.

Create a mini herb garden on a windowsill to add some greenery to the space, or hang colourful suncatchers to the windowpane to take advantage of natural light.

Have some fun

Add some whimsy to the kitchen by including unusual items to the décor. A vintage mailbox might be fun to hold cookbooks, for instance. Small birdhouses or birdcages are charming touches. Use items like cookie cutters, jelly moulds and serving platters as wall ornaments.

Simple but effective changes

Declutter a crowded kitchen to give yourself breathing space. Hang items that might otherwise fill up a countertop. Create a hanging pot display to free up cupboard space and give your kitchen a professional chef’s touch.

Replace a dated ceiling fixture with a dramatic new one. Replace old switch plate covers with something more decorative. Sometimes, buying something like a new cutting board can give the kitchen a lift. Install a magnetic knife rack to free up drawer space and keep the knives within easy reach. (Hanging knives versus housing them together in a drawer helps protect the knives from dents and dings and keeps them sharp.)

What bugs you?

Have a look around the kitchen. What is the one thing that bugs you about it? Is it the dripping faucet? Then replace it with something new and sleek. Is it too dark? Perhaps a new light fixture and removal of the heavy window treatment is needed. Is the room crowded? Use some of the tips above to declutter the space. Do you find the room stark and cold? Add some whimsical touches to warm it up a bit. There’s usually a solution to every problem. Sometimes just identifying the problem is the answer.

About the author

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Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Gimli, Manitoba.

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