The kitchen is not only the heart of the home, it’s also one of its hardest-working spaces. We spend so much time in our kitchens, that it’s no wonder this space can quickly show signs of wear and tear. “Your kitchen is so much more than somewhere to cook food – it’s a space for socialising, relaxing and entertaining guests,” explains home improvement expert Andy Prozhmi-Mason. “This all needs to be taken into account when the room is designed to ensure you get somewhere that looks stunning but is highly practical too.”
If your kitchen is starting to look tired and dated but you have a limited budget for home improvements, never mind a brand new kitchen, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we share our tips and tricks to make updates to your kitchen to give you a stylish space but without spending a fortune. What’s more, once you’ve decided where to allocate resources, most of our suggestions can be implemented in just a weekend.
Declutter your kitchen
Arguably one of the cheapest and quickest ways to make a difference to your tired looking kitchen is to give it a thorough declutter. While there are many techniques available, they’re all agreed that it’s best to focus on one cupboard at a time. For each item in your kitchen, decide whether you need to keep it, whether it should be donated to charity, or recycled/thrown away.
Even a few hours’ decluttering can bring a much welcome change, making the kitchen look sleeker and bigger and freeing up precious workspace. Organise your space according to how you use it and perhaps invest in some new utensils or tea towels to give your kitchen a lift.
Paint and colour
Refreshing a room with a new coat of paint or a colour change is an age-old interior design trick, and one that can work wonders in your kitchen, and at a very reasonable cost too. It is probably the single most transformative change you can make in the heart of the home.
Walls and ceilings are the obvious starting points but don’t forget that you can also paint wooden kitchen cabinets and freestanding timber furniture. This gives you enormous versatility to update your kitchen as often as you want, and without the need for expensive refurbishments.
Look for interesting colour combinations to take your kitchen scheme right up to the latest design trends. And if your kitchen units cannot be painted, how about adding dramatic colour in unexpected ways on the wall and on woodwork including floorboards instead?
Of course, there are other ways to alter the room’s colour accents than through paint effects. How about changing door handles or taps to matte black, adding fresh bar stools for the breakfast bar or changing your kitchen lighting, or making a statement with a bold coloured fridge?
Walls and splashbacks
Take a critical eye to your kitchen walls and update the look with new ceramic or porcelain tiles. New wall tiles can give your kitchen an immediate facelift and totally transform the feel of the room. Make a statement with affordable, on-trend metro tiles or subway tiles in a complementary colour. Why not try laying them in a vertical or herringbone pattern instead of the traditional brick arrangement? It’s a more contemporary interpretation of the style and will add a touch of luxury at budget prices.
Tiles come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Patterned tiles can soften a straight-edged kitchen and add personality to an otherwise bland space, while mixing and matching of tile colours and patterns can be used to achieve a bespoke, eclectic aesthetic.
Worktops and sinks
Next, turn your attention to your worktop and sink area. Updating your kitchen worktop can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your kitchen, and can be carried out as a standalone project. If the budget is tight, laminate worktops deliver in spades. These days, there’s a wealth of design choice including realistic timber effect and granite effect worktops that will stand the test of time.
If you are able to invest a little bit more into this hardworking area of your kitchen, consider mixing materials – perhaps a solid wood worktop on an island where people might sit and eat, and a quartz-effect worktop around the sink or hob.
A new sink need not be expensive and neither does it need to be made from stainless steel. Consider alternative styles and finishes including ceramic Belfast sinks or modern composite sinks. If nothing else, an old sink can be updated with brand new taps.
Open shelving storage
If you need more storage space in your kitchen but don’t want to spend much on extra cabinets, have you considered adding simple open shelves? Natural wood shelving is a great way to provide a contrast to sleek, high gloss cabinets and soften the overall feel of the place. Alternatively, pair wooden cupboards with metal, glass or gloss white shelving.
In addition to the functional benefits of having more storage space, open shelving also offers a great way to show off your favourite items to display, adding another decorative layer to your kitchen scheme. From pretty glasses and heirloom china to treasured objets or plants and herbs, feel free to mix and match materials, colours and textures to achieve an individual finish in your kitchen that is unique to you.