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Update your Kitchen with Simple Cosmetic Refreshes {Guest Post}

So, you just bought a new home, and the possibilities are endless.  You can’t wait to put your own stamp and style on the place.  With such a huge to-do list, it is easy to get overwhelmed, and then there are the budgetary constraints pulling you quickly back to Earth.

Start in the Heart of the Home

The kitchen can be a great place to start because everyone spends so much time in there, and the more pleasant the space, the more you’ll want to cook at home.  This will save money in the long run for all of those other projects you’d like to tackle.  Do a once over of the kitchen and make a list of things you would like to change and things you can live with.


Do you like the colour?  Paint can do wonders to changing the look of any room, including your kitchen.  Pick a colour palette that you love, and pull it in through accents such as dishes, towels, pots and pans, and small appliances.

Many people like to mix and match light and dark colours.  Dark cabinets work well with light walls and countertops, or a darker wall colour works well with light coloured cabinets.  When choosing paint, buy one that is durable and washable.  The kitchen takes some abuse, with family gatherings, children, and pets, so walls that can be washed with a rag and soapy water without damage or repainting will serve you well.

update your kitchen

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Update Cabinets

An easy refresh for outdated cabinetry is simply replacing the hardware.  Pick a modern hardware and swap out all of the old ones.  It’s amazing how much of a difference this small change can make.  If the cabinets need a bit more updating, painting the cabinets can make a huge difference for a fraction of the price.  Make sure to pick a colour that you’ll like for a long time.  The cabinets will need to be sanded down well before painting, but renting a power sanding tool can make this work go much quicker.  Off white cabinets, grey, or even a pretty colour will transform ugly cabinets.  Make sure to buy paint samples and try them in your kitchen to make sure you like the colour at different times of day, as the light in the evening is much different than mid afternoon.  Spend a few days reflecting on the colours to make sure you are happy with them before painting.

Refresh Existing Appliances

Do you have older appliances?  Many manufacturers sell replacement panels, so you can inexpensively update an ugly appliance without spending a fortune.  They also sell paint to touch up scratches, or dings, which will freshen up battered appliances.  If you have an appliance that stopped working, or that needs a repair, there are many online tutorials to help you diagnose and tackle any appliance repair yourself, saving lots of money in the process.

Maximize Counter Space

Make sure to stock your kitchen with tools that can do more than one job.  Specialty kitchen tools that only serve one function take up space, and unless you plan to use them weekly, will take up valuable real estate in your cabinetry and hardly get used.  One of the keys to a bright and inviting kitchen is having plenty of counter space.  Put everything possible away, but in a spot that you can get to when you need it.  For items that you will use every day, such as stirring spoons and tongs, find an attractive holder in your accent colour and place those in a convenient spot.

Think about ways to make more counter space such as hanging your microwave under a cabinet.  There are inexpensive hanging kits depending on your model.  If your cook top is near your fridge, there are magnetic spice racks, so spices are easily accessible and stored on otherwise unused space.

Slowly pull in your accent colour with dish towels, and other functional pieces while shopping at discount home good stores.

mirrored backsplash

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Installing a Backsplash

If you don’t have a backsplash, this is a great way to tie in colour and functional style to your kitchen.  There are many options for materials:  tile, stone, glass tiles, granite or other durable stones, and even metal such as stainless steel.  Is your style contemporary with clean lines, or more traditional?  Pick a material based on the overall style of the room.  Most of these can be installed yourself with a little research and will add an amazing pop of style.  Make sure to use a material in your new colour palette.

A Refreshed Kitchen

Smart organization with clean countertops will create a feeling of spaciousness.  A few pops of colour will create a coordinated look.  A fresh coat of paint on the walls and/or cabinets will give the room a brand new look, and refresh any tired or outdated space.  Changing the hardware will also pull together and update the room.  Updating appliances with new panels or touch up paint will also provide an inexpensive update.  A bright and clean space can provide inspiration to any home cook, and can be done with some simple cosmetic updates.  The best part is all of these updates can be done yourself even if you are a DIY novice.  Roll up your sleeves and have fun personalizing your new kitchen.

Erica Hill wrote this post, about how to update your kitchen, on behalf of PartSelect, an online retailer of appliance parts for DIY appliance repair

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