How To Cost Effectively Upgrade a Kitchen

Don't "Break the Bank" with these Easy Tips to Freshen up your Kitchen

Food budget check

Remodeling prospects can be daunting. Especially when the costs involved add up so quickly, many people shelve the project even before it can begin. But would you be more encouraged to make changes in a room if it would not “break the bank” or cause months of disruption?

The kitchen – the room most used and most abused – can get a quick face-lift in just a few hours with these simple ideas.

Step 1

Clean-up.  First off, stand back and take a good, long, hard look at your kitchen. Do things look a little dull? A bit cluttered? Clean up and freshen up all surfaces before deciding what to replace.

  • Cupboards – Most cupboards can be cleaned with soap and water, then thoroughly dried. For natural wood-faced cupboards, once cleaned, re-moisturize with an oil-based cleaner such as Murphy's Oil Soap. After gently rubbing the oil soap into the wood, let dry for about an hour, then wipe off any excess.
  • Counter tops – Thoroughly clean. This means removing everything off of the counter tops, putting a little elbow grease into your scrubbing with soapy water and a sponge, then drying. By wiping the counter tops with a dry towel, you can check for any other streaks or marks left behind. Before putting the items back on the counter tops, consider what is necessary and what is creating a cluttered look. You may find yourself putting little used items away or even tossing out some of these items.
  • Windows – Let the sun shine in. It is sometimes too easy to clutter a kitchen window with plants and trinkets to the point natural lighting is lost. Boost the brightness in this room by downsizing or eliminating what is blocking a whole new and different lighting possibility.
  • Walls – Refresh. Paint wears out and it is one of the first things to dull a kitchen. Consider removing everything off of the walls and washing grease marks, handprints, scrapes and scratches. This alone will encourage you to reconsider what and how much you want to hang back up on the walls.


Step 2

Replace.  Take a critical look at the smaller things in your kitchen that can be replaced, instead of thinking that the larger appliances, if replaced, will solve your decorating update.

  • Faucet – Update. Usually the faucet is one of the first parts of the kitchen to show the most wear. Some of the enamel may chip off or scratches begin to show up from constant use. This can make the entire sink area look worn out. If the sink itself is still in good shape, you will freshen up the look with a new faucet. So, head to your local hardware store and pick up a new faucet. But before you do that though, check the connection below the sink to make sure your trip to the hardware store is a one-stop shopping experience. Older sinks may have unusual fittings and some adjustments may need to be made before installing the new faucet. One of the best ways to help explain the fittings below the sink is to take a picture (preferably with a digital camera) and show your hardware salesperson. Their expertise will be invaluable in helping you make any adjustments.
  • Door and Drawer Pulls – Update some more. If the cupboards are still in good shape, think about replacing the door and drawer pulls. Chances are, unless you have a very old house, the pulls on doors and drawers are standard sizing – usually 3” wide and 3 1/2” wide. Before you head to the hardware store for new pulls, remove a sample of each size you have in the kitchen. Make sure, when picking out new ones, to match the contact points for installation.
  • Paint – Change the color scheme. Painting is one of the most highly visible ways to change a room. Go from muted earth tones to bright primary colors, or vice versa. But beware – think about the other rooms connected to the kitchen and think about the flow of colors. If you stand back and see there are three or four walls of color combinations, make sure those colors will be pleasing to your eye. Avoid clashing colors, unless that is the statement you are hoping to make! And then think about painting just a portion of the kitchen. A perfect way to add an accent color is to paint the inside sills of any kitchen windows. Maybe use the wall color in the dining room as the accent color in the kitchen. Or use a main color and then a secondary color on a wall for pictures, knick-knacks, or even where you might place a rack for hanging pots and pans.


Now that wasn't too difficult, was it? And none of these projects will break your bank. So choose a weekend and get busy updating your kitchen, then be ready to enjoy cooking in your “new” kitchen and accepting numerous compliments from friends and family.


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