How To Update Your Kitchen Without Renovating
Senior design editor Joel Bray shares eight easy ways to revamp your kitchen.
If your kitchen is in need of a facelift but a full renovation isn’t in the cards, there are ways you can update the space without committing to a full overhaul. Here are eight easy and budget-friendly ideas to bring style to the hardworking room.
This kitchen designed by Julia West is a perfect example of how paint can really transform. A rich blue-black shade on the lower cabinets breathes new life into a very traditionally designed kitchen.
If you choose to paint your cabinets, consider having them professionally sprayed. The difference it makes is worth it. You can save money by painting the remaining parts of the kitchen (cabinet frames and panels) yourself. If you go that route, make sure to use a good quality primer and multiple light-finish coats, lightly sanding between each coat.
Changing out hardware is another go-to way to update a kitchen. I love the small scale, peg-like proportions of these knobs by Anthropologie. When selecting new hardware, make sure it’s the same size as the old hardware so you’re able to use the same holes. If you are having your cabinet doors painted, fill any holes to allow more flexibility when selecting new hardware.
Designer Cameron MacNeil used a vinyl grasscloth as a backsplash in his Toronto home. I love this idea because it adds subtle color and texture while being very practical and wipeable. It’s a great option for someone who doesn’t already have a backsplash because it can be easily installed, or for someone who wants to remove an old backsplash without replacing it with tile.
A kitchen faucet is great way to make a design statement in a kitchen. A contemporary faucet can create nice tension in a more traditional kitchen, and vice versa. When choosing a new faucet without replacing your sink or countertop, make sure to go with one that has the same spread and requires the same amount and size of holes to ensure easy installation.
Butcher block countertops are, for the most part, inexpensive (compared to other countertop materials) and easy to install. In this kitchen designed by Mazen Studio, a drop-in sink and cook top work seamlessly with the warm wood tones.
When updating a kitchen, it’s important to think about improving function in addition to the aesthetic. New kitchens often incorporate large scale drawers and pull-outs that offer flexible storage options for things like pots and pans, in addition to pantry space — something most older kitchens lack.
Thankfully companies like Lee Valley sell drawer systems that can be fitted to most lower cabinets, adding more useful drawer-style storage. Even just adding drawer organizers can help improve a kitchens’ functionally, creating a designated place for everything.
I’ve always loved the charm of a skirted lower cabinet and it’s an easy and inexpensive way to update a kitchen. Designer Montana Burnett updated this rental kitchen with paint, new hardware and a simple burlap curtain across the lower cabinets using small scale drapery hardware and clip-style loop rings.
Open shelving is a fail-proof way to add visual interest and character to a kitchen. Not only do open shelves act as a design element displaying favorite pieces, they are a very functional way to store everyday items like go-to glassware and dinner plates. Add a few shelves, or even a wall-mounted bookcase to a blank wall in your kitchen for an instant and on-trend, unfitted look.