December 18th 2010

Three easy (and budget-friendly) ways to update your kitchen

The kitchen is the perfect place for an update in your house. Why? For one, foodies and chefs love spending time in there, creating, testing, and preparing meals, snacks, and treats…. And we all know that their workshop needs to be as good (if not better) than the food they create.

Another reason? If you are ever going to sell your house, the kitchen is the first place to update.

Updating your kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to have a state-of-the-art range, granite countertops, and expensive cabinets in order for it to be chic and functional.

Paint Your Cabinets

A fresh coat of paint on the cabinets can go a long way. To begin prepping them, start by cleaning the cabinets. This is important to ensure they are free of any debris, such as grease and food residue. You may want to remove the cabinet doors and lay them flat to do this. Then dry them thoroughly.

Once clean and dry, give them a good sanding. Use fine grit sandpaper (150 or finer), and sand over all of the flat surfaces of the doors, including the thin facing pieces on the boxes, too. This will allow the primer to stay on the surface.

Next, apply the primer. Primer is an important step, and the paint will be less likely to chip or peel over the course of the next few years. Choose a primer based on what paint you are using. Our recommendation? Talk to the people at the paint store, and be sure that oil-based paints are used with oil-based primers, and latex paint is used with shellac primer.
After the primer as dried, it’s time to paint the cabinets.  Use a pneumatic sprayer to get a smooth, glossy finish. Otherwise, be sure to have a  high quality paint brush. Use very thin coats, letting it dry completely between each one. To make it even better, use 400 grit sandpaper and very lightly sand the flat surfaces between each coat. Usually two coats will be enough.

Update the Flooring

Ugly, aged tile can make any kitchen floor look less than stellar. There are many options for a kitchen floor update. Our favourites include:

Hardwood

Hardwood comes in a variety of colours and styles, is warm, and is quiet. Maintenance depends on the wood used and how it is finished, and they are ideal because although they can scratch, they can easily be sanded and refinished.

Laminate

The look of wood without the price–what can be better? Laminate floors and very durable and require little maintenance. Even better, installation is super easy because they can be put in over existing floors. However, unlike wood, it isn’t very warm and tends to be a little noisy.

Vinyl

This option is a little more budget friendly, is easy to install, and comes in a variety of patterns and colours. The disadvantage? It can also easily start to curl.

Ceramic Tile

Tiles are easy customized and easy to clean, but can eventually lead to grout that can get pretty dingy. It is also hard on the legs, is noisy, and often cold.

Bamboo

Looks like wood, and is made from a renewable resource, this eco-friendly option is warm, easy to install, and good to the environment.

Cork

Another eco-friendly option, cork floors are available in sheets and tile, is soft and warm and  extremely quiet. It can also withstand moisture and is easy to clean.

Change the Walls

If you don’t want to go all out but need a fresh look, changing the walls is the perfect option. Here are some tips for making them look fresh, new, and exciting:

Look at the wood: If you have wood cabinets, choose light, cool colours on the wall. White cabinets look best with warmer colours.

Go neutral: Colour looks best everywhere other than the walls. For example, choose a simple neutral for the wall and make the colour pop on the countertops, backsplash, and accessories.

Or not. Bold colours do look good; you just have to do it right. Since appliances are generally stainless steel, black or white, add a splash of colour on an accent wall without overpowering or closing in the room. But they are best in minimal amounts interspersed with some neutrals to keep it calm. Choose a few colours that come together easily and work with them, such as red, pale yellow, and white.

Don’t go commercial: Anything that you see in a restaurant (say, burgundy tied with beige), is too overdone. Look for fresh, new ideas… Similar to what will come out of your kitchen.

Old + New: combine old looks, like warm yellow and simple green, with a splash something new, such as hot pink. Not really your style? Think more of a chocolate brown, which will go easily with almost any bright colour.

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.