Sure, you probably spend more hours of the day in your bedroom, and the living room may be your home’s social nexus, but the truth of the matter is that there isn’t an area in your house that is quite as important as your kitchen. Think about it. The kitchen is where food is prepared—in essence, it’s the place that gives life to the entire family.
Not only that, the decline of the formal dining room has seen the kitchen become more than just four walls and a bunch of appliances; it’s become the place where everyone gets together to eat and share their experiences. Those who are putting a home on the market are often cautioned to put as much effort into improving the kitchen as possible, because like it or not, the kitchen can easily make or break a sale. But if your kitchen is the heart of your home, shouldn’t it look the part? Here are six ways to improve the look of your kitchen (without having to go out and buy a new one).
Let’s start from the ground up, shall we? Your kitchen floors take some of the worst punishment of any floors in the house thanks to food spills and high traffic. As such, it’s all the more important for you to concentrate on making your kitchen floors as attractive as possible—they need all the help they can get. If you have wood flooring, you can rejuvenate it by making note of what kind of finish it has and then removing and reapplying it (use sandpaper to remove polyurethane and varnish, use steel wool and denatured alcohol to remove shellac, and use wax remover on wax).
If your floor is tiled, you can easily rejuvenate it by replacing the old tile with something newer and more modern. Darker tiles will not only hide scuffs, grime, and the odd spill a little better, but will also add an air of luxury to your home, especially when paired with lighter-coloured cupboards and cabinets.
Given the fact the cabinets take up so much surface area, they tend to be some of the most visible features of your entire kitchen. This can be a problem when your cabinet doors look dated or worn out. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to replace the doors to improve their look. A simple refinishing or a new coat of paint (antique white goes with most colours and is always a good choice) can turn the entire look of your kitchen around.
Make sure you consider what kind of hinges and handles you have, or purchase new ones that go with the new look. If, on the other hand, you feel as though the cabinet doors really do need replacing, consider going with particle board cabinet boxes with solid wood fronts; you’ll get the same look, but won’t spend as much money in the process.
If the overall look of your kitchen feels tired, cramped, or uninviting, you may just have an issue with your lighting. Kitchen lighting should be strong enough to allow you to be able to follow recipes and use cooking implements without having to squint. Of course, light that is too harsh can be just as big of a problem. You can find a nice middle-ground by using multiple light fixtures.
Consider smaller desk lamps or recessed down lights for task lighting, and feature lighting to give you a bit more illumination when searching through cupboards. Coupled with softer general lighting, these improvements will not only enhance the overall look of the kitchen, but will also increase its functionality.
You might be surprised at how easily bad looking taps can bring down the overall appearance of an otherwise-beautiful kitchen. Thankfully, replacing taps isn’t nearly as difficult as many people assume it to be. The only downside is that taps can be rather expensive. Still, considering how much use you get out of the taps in your kitchen, you should consider spending a little more to get something that looks better than the strictly utilitarian model.
Many kitchens suffer from the same disease: clutter. From pots and pans, to small appliances, to kettles and knife sets, etc., there is often just not enough room in cupboards and cabinets to store everything that belongs in the kitchen. As a result, more and more counter space ends up being commandeered, leaving you with a jumbled mess. However, if you’ve got some space on the walls you can easily put up some simple, elegant shelving that will give you more available storage space without having a negative effect on your kitchen’s ambiance.
Once you’ve improved specific problem areas in your kitchen, it’s time to move onto the overall look and feel. A few simple decorative changes and additions can make all the difference when it comes to the appearance of an otherwise utilitarian room. Start by considering the addition of artwork or accents. When picking pieces of art, however, be aware that kitchens are often filled with steam, and if you choose art that uses exposed paper, canvas, fabric, or unvarnished frames, you run the risk of water damage or mould developing.
Instead, things such as vinyl wall decals, backsplashes, and accent walls can all spruce up the look of your kitchen without paving the way for problems down the road. Whatever you decide upon, try to make it a personal reflection. After all, this is your kitchen; if you like the way it looks, then what else matters?