Budget Kitchen Updates

Q. Can you please suggest some inexpensive ways to transform my kitchen?

— M.A., Montreal, QC

A. Your kitchen’s flooring, countertops, backsplash and appliances are all black and they create a stark, high-contrast look when paired with your white cabinets. You can easily and inexpensively soften things up with some new finishes and lighting, which will help breathe life into the space.

Consider adding some interest with a new backsplash. You can get the look of stainless steel without the hefty price tag with metallic laminate. This material is made of a plastic laminate core topped with a thin layer of stainless steel (or copper or brass) and costs around $10 per square foot. Metallic laminate is made by a number of companies including Formica and Wilsonart and comes in a range of textures, patterns and finishes. It’s also fairly easy to install — it’s applied directly to particleboard using epoxy glue.

You can further break up the black and white theme in your kitchen by painting the island a nice warm grey such as Stampede (979) from Benjamin Moore. A lighting update will also help revitalize the space — think about replacing your current pendant over the island with a fixture in frosted white glass.