Many new and established homeowners believe that the kitchen of their dreams will remain just there; in their dreams. After all, who has up to $10,000 to reinvent their cooking space? Our answer to that question is that anyone can make subtle changes to their kitchen to make it a happy place to be, rather than an unfortunate flashback to the ‘70s when it was built. The important thing is not to get stuck on the idea that hiring contractors to rip the place apart and start from scratch is the only way to go. On the contrary, we educate our customers every day on the in’s and out’s of the hardware industry and the best ways to avoid spending hundreds on new hardware. The key is to highlight the character of older fixtures by applying a fresh coat of paint and making a few repairs to the existing hardware.
Another hurdle that often comes up is that kitchen upgrades tend to be put on the backburner in favor of other household projects. Things like plumbing and electrical demand attention with age and use, but it’s easy to ignore the drawer that doesn’t slide smoothly or the cabinet door that hangs a little crooked. Although this is a valid fact, it’s also important to consider how much time most people spend in their kitchen. Anyone who sees cooking as a passion or hobby rather than a necessity to sustain their families deserves to have a functional, as well as an enjoyable, kitchen space.
To make the ideal kitchen a reality, there are plenty of things that any homeowner can do to make the area pop while distracting from any outdated aspects of the room.
Before making the kitchen into a replica of the stage from your favorite Food Network cooking show, the first step is to make sure that everything works as it should. Once you’ve checked and double-checked that all of the appliances are in working condition, we’d recommend doing a walkthrough of the room and making note of any other issues that need to be addressed. This means drawers that stick, cabinets that don’t hang straight and especially window functionality.
Even the best chef is bound to leave something on the stove or in the oven a few minutes too long. Kitchen fans are useful but aren’t the same as having an open window to clear out a smokey room before you’re left standing under a blaring fire detector waving a kitchen towel like a maniac. Most kitchen windows have prime real estate right above the sink but aren’t often used to their full potential. After years of remaining unopened, or even just over an especially wet and frigid winter, most windows will need a little bit of TLC.
There are a few pieces of hardware that are the most likely to break or malfunction over time. Drawer slides and smaller hardware like sockets and guides tend to be made of nylon or thin aluminum and can cause opening and closing drawers to become taxing, becoming crooked over time. These repairs are straightforward and generally inexpensive once you determine the kind of hardware that you need. Our complete drawer track kit can make an easy replacement option for most under-mounted drawer slides.
Along the same lines, you’ll also want to check older cabinet hardware that may need to be replaced. The most common culprit that we encounter would be the need for replacement hinges. With new, well-lubricated hinges cabinet doors will hang straighter while operating smoothly and silently.
As for window repairs, there are a few pieces of hardware that you’ll want to check on, depending on the type of windows that your kitchen has. For the most common single or double-hung windows, balance replacements may be needed if the window will no longer stay open. For security, also ensure that the window locks are still in working condition.
Aside from replacement hardware, a deep clean and maybe a fresh coat of paint will allow guests to enjoy your new and improved kitchen without the sight of cobwebs that tend to build up in and around the window over time!
All of the kitchen updates that we’ve touched are predominantly inexpensive and can be done by the homeowner with minimal difficulty — which the joy of having a fully functional kitchen will undoubtedly outweigh.
Making the Room Your Own
Fresh Coat of Paint
After your repairs are done and everything in the room is operating as it did 20 years ago, the next step is making sure the room matches your personal style. Older kitchens tend to start as white and evolve into a chipped, yellowish color over time. I’ve come across some older kitchens where white walls would be considered a big improvement. A fresh coat of paint that compliments your taste, the appliances, and ties the rest of the house together is a tall order. The Spruce offers advice to this challenge with a list of color options and the atmosphere that they tend to create. Before starting the painting process, make sure you have all of the supplies you’ll need to apply the paint evenly and to protect the surrounding areas that don’t need a color change. Once a decision has been made on the color theme that you want for your updated kitchen, you’ll have a good foundation for making other, small stylistic decisions.
To add to the attention-grabbing aspects of your kitchen, there are a couple of easy add-ons that can be made to completely change or add to any kitchen motif. Adding geometric shapes and designs will help draw the eye to certain parts of the room, as well as using complementary and contrasting colors in certain areas. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use a backsplash over the counter with a color arrangement and design of your choosing.
“Tile Stickers are becoming a popular solution for homeowners seeking affordable ways to spruce up their kitchen,” according to Ivelina Ivanova of Fantastic Services. “The peel and stick tiles come in a variety of shapes, colors, patterns and sizes. The advantages of these stickers are that they’re easy to install and maintain. Peel off the back of the tile and stick it to the wall. They are easy to clean – wipe them up with a damp cloth. The tile stickers have a great texture that makes them look real.”
Drawer Pulls and Knobs
Once your drawers are all in working condition and your fresh coat of paint has dried, you’ll be free to install new drawer pulls or knobs. Depending on the style that you’re going for, this little add-on comes in every shape, color, and material that you can think up. Whether you want imitation diamond knobs to add some sparkle to your white kitchen or black pulls for a more modern space with chrome appliances.
At this point, I’m sure there are a thousand ideas running through your head now that we’ve unlocked the unmet potential of your kitchen space. You may already be scrolling through Pinterest for further inspiration. Before we wrap things up and leave you to begin your kitchen makeover, we have a few bonus updates sent to us by experts in their respective fields with hands-on experience sprucing up outdated kitchens.
“If you are a coffee lover, a creative way to add color to your kitchen is by displaying your favorite coffee mugs on a DIY stand,” said Ivanova. “This way you’ll be able to organize them and enjoy your favorite mugs. You can easily create a coffee mug stand by using a pallet and hooks. You can create an open shelf next to your coffeemaker using wood planks. Paint them in a color complementary to the whole kitchen. You can also use metal racks, a pegboard. If you’re a professional DIYer, you can even create a carousel with hooks. It all depends on your free space and creativity.”
For a more practical addition to your kitchen, there are things that you can do to make the most of even the smallest spaces and leave more room to display your fun DIY projects.
“For those who want to downsize on clutter, under the sink sliding garbage and recycle pails are a must,” according to Jake Lizarraga, a writer for InteriorCharm. “They keep the kitchen less cluttered and make throwing things out a breeze. They easily screw down to the cabinets.”
These are just a few of the many budget-friendly options that homeowners interested in updating their kitchen have available to them. It’s also a good project to tackle before the holiday season rolls around and you’re trapped in the kitchen for days on end preparing food for friends, family, extended family and neighbors who are drawn to your house by the delicious smells. With all the hustle and bustle that happens in the kitchen, make sure it’s a place you want to spend time.