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5 Easy Ways To Spruce Up The Kitchen
By Stefan Walther | March 5, 2023
Without a doubt, the kitchen is the most important room in any home.
Although some men might argue it is the garage, some women might say the walk-in closet.
The kitchen is the beating heart of a household, a family’s hub — where they meet and gather, where they discuss their lives today, and their plans for tomorrow.
Each day begins in the kitchen. (Okay, maybe quickly in the bathroom first.) We pour a first cup of coffee in the kitchen, we return at lunch, then again for dinner, and many times in between. Hey, everybody loves a snack.
After all, the kitchen is where we store our food, prepare and cook our meals, grab a tasty beverage, nourishment we all require to stay alive and healthy, and successfully go about our daily lives.
While most other rooms in a home have four walls, some paint and some trim, a kitchen is far more complex so that it can best perform its most important functions.
A kitchen can feature cabinets and counters that are finished in various types of materials, built-in appliances that are basic or highly sophisticated, plus many little extras and add-ons. A kitchen can be cheap or expensive, it can be old and outdated, or new and state-of-the-art.
As such, a kitchen is also the most expensive room in a house.
And a kitchen can also truly make or break a home sale.
A complete renovation can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, even over $100,000 if the kitchen is very large, very old, or if a home owner simply just wants everything to be high-end.
But ThunderBayHouses.com has come up with “5 Easy Ways To Spruce Up The Kitchen.” They don’t cost much or take much time to complete — they could be tackled over a weekend.
They can not only improve the function of this most important room, but also its form and flourish, and enhance the enjoyment for you and your family for years to come.
Or, if you’re planning to sell, enhance and boost the resale value. Take note, that improvements to the kitchen are widely known and often proven to add the most value back into a home. Spend a little bit now for quite a bit more later.
Stylish gold hardware and a unique gold faucet contrast the sleek white cabinetry and white ceramic-tile back splash, highlighted by two accent light fixtures over the island.
1. Swap Out Hardware — Replacing knobs and the pulls for cabinets and drawers can transform a kitchen in mere minutes. The styles are endless and the finish options include black, white, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, brass, chrome, stainless steel and more. All that is usually needed is a screwdriver. Note how and where your current knobs and pulls attach to the cabinetry, and head to the hardware store to seek out some options. Tip: Remove some of what you have, bring them along to the store, ask an associate for some help. Or do a Google search and shop from home. Don’t forget the hinges — if they are exposed and visible, you should replace these too so they don’t mismatch.
Another, larger, piece of hardware that can be replaced to perceptible positive effect is the faucet. Again, there are many styles and finishes, as well as many nice convenient features like pull-down and pull-out, plus various types of handles. A good-quality, high-feature faucet could cost a couple hundred dollars, so not quite as “easy” to swap out as knobs and pulls. Have a look at Home Depot’s selection, prices range from as low as $40, around $200 for some nice style and quality, to $500 for touchless, motion-activated.
2. Add A Back Splash — It used to be that to install a back splash, it meant a lot of time and dusty work with tiling and grouting, as well as higher expense, but this is no longer the case. While we here at ThunderBayHouses.com are still big fans of the traditional tiled and grouted back splashes with materials like ceramic, porcelain, glass and stone, other easier options are out there and can dramatically makeover a kitchen. These include peel and stick wall decals, decorative panels, faux wood, faux brick, stainless steel sheets, or even some stylish wallpaper. Tip: Whichever way you decide to go, make sure the product is sealed or otherwise easy to wipe clean — they call it a “back splash” for a reason. Get inspired with Home Depot’s amazing and extensive section on back splash ideas.
This kitchen’s back splash is a rustic faux brick wall.
3. Lighting And Counter Lights — Shed some new light on an old or tired kitchen. Perhaps some of the existing light fixtures are getting a bit drab and outdated, or maybe they’ve always been pretty basic and humdrum. Make a style statement by selected and adding an accent light fixture to go over the sink, over an island, or over a peninsula. Once again, the options are plentiful. Check out the hardware store, do a Google search, or get ambitious and find a shop that specializes in lighting (might have to be online as local stores in Thunder Bay can be limited). Tip: If you have one light with one connection but would like more lights, check out what’s available for track lighting.
Every kitchen should have counter lights. In this day and age, counter lights, also referred to as under-cabinet lights, are so easy to add. At one time an electrician, or someone handy, was required to install counter lights and, sometimes, a valance to hide them as they protrude beneath the cabinets. Nowadays there is a selection of sleek, low-profile “pucks” that can be “stuck” inconspicuously anywhere and are battery-powered (also electric). There are light strings and light strips. Some are dimmable, some motion-activated. Some have a remote, some can be connected to and controlled with a smartphone or tablet. Yes, some can be over the top — do you really need to check the status, turn on and off the counter lights while on vacation in Cuba? Maybe.
Another possibility in kitchen lighting, for ambiance and effect but not so much for function, is “over-the-cabinet” lighting, for those kitchens that have space above the cabinets and below the ceiling. There is often already a valance at the tops of these cabinets that would hide the placement of lighting here. Of course, the lighting should be controlled by remote, as no one wants to climb up and down to turn on and turn off. To keep things simple, lay down an LED light string — you may be surprised at how much soft ambient light this spreads throughout the kitchen.
A latest trend is ‘tuxedo’ cabinetry — or two-tone — to add interest and style. Also dressing up this kitchen are gold hardware and faucet, a ceramic-tile back splash, counter lighting and two unique accent lights over the centre island.
4. Painting Cabinets — A far-less-expensive alternative to totally remodelling a kitchen by removing the old cabinets and replacing them with something completely new, is to paint them or, if they are wood, add a fresh stain. This combined with some of the other suggestions here — replacing hardware, adding a back splash, improving and enhancing lighting — can, quite literally, make a kitchen look like it has undergone a complete redesign and total renovation. Tip: To be done right is time consuming as hardware should all be removed, cabinet and door fronts should be removed and sanded and prepped, so a bit more involving of a project.
To add interest, a latest trend for cabinet painting is called “tuxedo,” whereby lower cabinets are painted a different colour than upper cabinets. So basically two-tone. These can be subtle with black, white and greys, or bolder with blue, green, even pink and purple. Tip: The dark colour usually goes below, the lighter colour up high to brighten and visually open up the space.
5. Storage And Organization — Just like there is such an overwhelming satisfaction to having a clean and spotless home, there is a similar great gratification to having everything organized and in its place. And, once again, the options are endless. From counter-top containers to drawer organizers, from pantry canisters to roll-out cabinet shelves — sky’s the limit when it comes to storage and organization in the kitchen. One of our favourite places to visit for inspiration is The Container Store, check it out for some novel ideas. Tip: Consider see-through or labelled storage for a pantry so you know what is in where, but consider opaque for the counter top unless what’s inside adds to the style (quinoa, lentils, coffee beans, cookies, colourful Smarties).
An honourable mention to spruce up the kitchen: Add accessories like artwork on the wall, a flowering plant (could be fake) in a beautiful pot, a small accent lamp. Just don’t go too crazy because then it becomes clutter and has an opposite effect.
One other thing. Clean up the front of the fridge, get rid of any sea of magnets, children’s doodling, and you don’t need to see the trash pick-up schedule every day of your life, each time you grab a piece of cheese. Maybe limit this space to one nice family photo, one pet photo, one kid doodle. For more on this, see “5 Easy Ways To Prepare A Home For Sale.” Also see “5 Easy Ways To Add Pizzazz To Your Home.”
If you are looking at a small upgrade, major kitchen redesign, or another home renovation project, consider contacting Point Grey Builders, a new advertising partner with ThunderBayHouses.com. For a free estimate or if you have any questions, send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 807-251-8436.
Copyright 2023 — All articles appearing on the ThunderBayHouses.com Market Insider are completely original, written and created by founder and owner Stefan Walther, unless otherwise noted, and, as such, are copyright 2023 by Walther Enterprises. Material may not be reproduced in any form without express permission. All rights are reserved.
The ThunderBayHouses.com Market Insider is for information purposes only, and should not be relied upon for advice, particularly legal advice. All information herein is deemed accurate but is not guaranteed and may be subject to errors and omissions. ThunderBayHouses.com will not be liable or responsible for damages or injuries caused by use of this information. Please consult a professional for legal advice.