top 10Through all the years of designing kitchens and baths, the number one request is “How can I update my kitchen without doing a full blown renovation”?

At first the immediate need was to fix it up as inexpensively as possible so that the homeowner could put it on the market to sell.  You see, the economy was booming.  Clients were excited to cash in on the fast home sales and increased value. Remember those days?  But then, the economy crashed.  No one was doing anything…except sitting tight.

Flash forward to today.  We’re finally ready to invest a little and update our homes.  But I’m finding that homeowners are more interested in enjoying their investment for a few years, and then trying to sell.  Their ROI, for the present, is enjoyment!  Some will stay a year or two and others still aren’t quite sure.

But before you make any type of investment in your kitchen, you need to take a good, unbiased look at the space and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the space plan working for you and your work habits?
  • Are the cabinets in good condition?
  • Will you REALLY love the cabinets enough after you paint them?

Asking yourself these questions is extremely important.  Adding new granite countertops to worn out cabinets is a waste of your money.  If you even think that you might want new cabinets a year from now….WAIT UNTIL YOU CAN AFFORD IT!!!!  Countertops cannot be taken off  to install new cabinets.   But, if you’re comfortable with your answers, then it’s time to move forward with some updates that will let you love your kitchen again.

1.  Replace the countertop with a new surface.  This also morphs into a new sink, faucet, and sometimes, garbage disposer.

2.  Paint your cabinets a fun color.  I especially love painting oak cabinets because the grain of the wood comes through.

3.  Change the cabinet hardware.  If you’re painting the cabinets you don’t need to worry about making sure you replace with the same size hardware.  You can even add a knob in place of a pull.

4.  Paint your walls and trim, especially if you still have the typical  80’s floral wallpaper and dark wood trim.  This will really brighten the space.

5.  Add roll out shelves to the inside of all base cabinets.  This will make life much easier!

6.  Change your backsplash to something neutral and calming or fun and colorful.

7.  Take care of clutter inside your drawers by adding dividers.

8.  Look for lower price point cabinets to make the big change.  They won’t have as many bells and whistles or modification options, but will get you a new look and a new plan at a reasonable cost.

9. Change the lighting.  Remember, though, that the popcorn ceiling might need to be fixed.  But buyers don’t want that or the fluorescent box in the ceiling.

10. New appliances with up-to-date technology like Energy Star rating and excellent food preservation.

Design Homework:

Take a personal assessment of your kitchen to see how you can implement some of these tips to update your space.

If you’ve enjoyed reading these tips, and would like to learn more, leave your name and email in the box at the right.  Every week I send design tips, trends, and the latest product information for your kitchen, bath, and…more!