A scary-easy kitchen update in five fast steps

Guestpost by Julie F. on Feb 17th
Large Order Of Toast

Photo by JD Hancock. Used under Creative Commons license.

These scary-easy suggestions will help you give your kitchen a facelift. Whether you don't have the time or money for a full-on kitchen reno — or you just don't need one — everyone likes a fresh view.

1. Change the cupboard door handles

If you're renting, be sure to keep the old ones so you can leave with your shiny new buttons when you move. Be prepared to pay about $1 or $2 per handle.

2. Create a fancy backsplash with self-adhesive vinyl tiles

These tiles are easy to use, with a great variety of designs available. They're less than than half the price of tile and have none of the mess. Vinyl tile is a great way to dramatically change your kitchen's look.

3. Paint laminate countertop

Renting? Always ask the landlord first! If you have basic crafting skills and patience, painting your old countertop might be just what your kitchen needs. There are some great tutorials on the web. I suggest sticking with melamine paint!

Here are some of the things I wish I knew before I painted my first counter:

  • Using a foam roller to paint will ensure a smooth finish to your painting. You can buy cheap foam rollers, but never use a cheap traditional roller — it will leave brush hair behind!
  • No, you can't decide to use something less than melamine, unless the clerk at the hardware store specifically recommends it (like other polyurethane products). Melamine is a toxic paint, but it will dry very hard and will really stick to your counters. Since it's place that needs to hold up, you can't cheat and choose another kind of paint.
  • For a really clean look around the sink, remove the basin if you can.

4. Clean the counters

We tend to have too many things on the counter. Try putting away everything you don't need on a daily basis. Stash them over the cupboards or even in other parts of the apartment if there's no other place!

Once the mess is out, choose a couple of colourful objects to display on the counter that will complement the room. Look through your bowls, vases or cooking book to find the perfect match, but remember: adding color is NOT as excuse to bring the clutter back!

5. Change or update the lighting

Start by checking that you have the proper light color in your kitchen. Light bulbs come in warm or cool white. Choosing the right white for your room will have a big impact on the room's atmosphere. For a calm or cosy feeling, install a warm white bulb. For an aseptic, clean feel go for cold white.

Secondary lightning will really complete a room. In a kitchen, adding lights under the cupboards is a great addition to style and convenience! Find a counter light that you can affix and simply plug in the wall — new lights without learning to do wiring.

These are a great start. If you use these tips to make updates, add your photos to the Offbeat Home Flickr pool. How have you managed a quick update in your home? Do share!

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About Julie F.

Julie is a gamer, cook, larp prop maker and law student, but not necessarily in that order.