In this Ask A Designer™ column, Gillian Atkins’ shares advice for updating a 1990s kitchen.
Question: I’m doing a budget-friendly refresh on my kitchen. I’ve already painted the walls and done a subway tile backsplash. I’d like to keep the cabinets, but how do I leave the orange behind? Do I paint, or do I strip and whitewash to show the grain? — M.B., Scotland, Ont.
Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to . [email protected]
Answer: Good question! Many of our readers will recognize your kitchen — it’s pretty typical of homes from the ’90s.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to do some major updates to make this kitchen feel fresh, and not all of them are budget-friendly. I would replace the dated arched door fronts on the uppers with plain slabs or simple raised panel doors to match the lowers.
Photographer: Marina Storm, Picture Perfect House
Designer: Lauren Collander Interiors
Save yourself the aggravation of sanding and staining all that oak and just paint everything a slightly darker white than your walls.
Moonlight White (2143-60) Paint Color,
There are many counter-depth fridges on the market that won’t break the bank, and it will make all the difference in this space. Choose stainless steel or white to match your dishwasher.
33" French Door refrigerator with Water Dispenser in Matte White by Café, $3,350.
Consider going charcoal on the island, and change your hardware to small brass knobs.
Overland knob in Satin Brass by Emtek, $15.
ADH Fine Hardware.
New squared-off countertops will give you the opportunity to disguise the awkward angles on the island, allowing you to replace the sink with an undermount version and bring in a new faucet.
Trinsic Single-handle Pull-down Sprayer Kitchen faucet with MagnaTite Docking in Champagne Bronze by Delta, $492.
The Home Depot Canada.
I love this new taupe slab from Caesarstone, which would tie in to your existing floors.
Surface in 1002 Wyndigo, pricing upon request.
If you can’t replace the floor tile, disguise it with a washable runner.
Inkdrop rug in Camel and Ivory by Jonathan Adler, $269.
Finally, opt for a circular or asymmetrical pendant that won’t compete with the positioning and shape of the island.
Hanks pendant in Satin Bronze, $295.
Montreal Lighting & Hardware.
I realize the numbers are adding up, so pick and choose which upgrades to do first. Remember, money spent in the kitchen is never wasted and, sometimes, it’s worth it to start from scratch!
Gillian Atkins is a senior designer at Lynda Reeves Design Studio.
Photographer: Alex Lukey