Open Up Shelving
Remove upper cabinet doors to give a narrow kitchen a sense of openness. Then set off the revealed shelves with a decorative treatment.
Here's how: Remove cabinet doors and fill in holes with wood filler. Sand until smooth, and paint or stain as desired. If you plan on an applied interior treatment such as wallcovering, prime the interior walls of the cupboard where the covering will be applied.
Add Bold Color
Even the most lackluster space can be energized with a vibrant color. Paint the walls or cabinets a lively hue. Re-cover chairs or stools with bright, patterned fabric. Hang new curtains in a can't-miss-it shade.
Add Furniture Details
Give cabinetry a furniture look with purchased bun feet. You can find a big selection of feet about 4 inches tall at most home improvement stores and Web sites.
This once-ordinary kitchen island was transformed with corbels, beaded-board paneling, turned legs and fresh coat of country-blue paint.
Soften the Cabinets with Fabric
Fabric helps soften a kitchen's lines, adding a cozy touch that harder surfaces can't offer. Fabric panels behind glass-front upper cabinets add personality and hide content clutter. Cloth skirts attached to a countertop are a fast, easy way to conceal unattractive lower cabinets.
Here, a gauzy off-white fabric skirts the built-in buffet, suggesting cottage flair while keeping kitchen items out of sight. To achieve this look, simply remove lower cabinet doors, gather fabric on a tension rod, and mount the rod to the cabinet frame.
Paint Select Cabinets
A new coat of paint is a cost-effective way to make your kitchen spaces feel more expansive and imbue them with freshness and cleanliness. A little prep work makes the results long-lasting, so prepare your walls and cabinetry before painting.
If you don't want to paint the entire room, consider painting just a section of cabinets. For instance, painting three or four cabinets on a short run will create the illusion of a built-in hutch. Or create variation by painting the lower and upper cabinets contrasting colors.
How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Give cabinets a quick, affordable makeover with paint. See our step-by-step video for tips and techniques.
The sink area is among the most hardworking of kitchen spaces, and faucets, especially, get a workout from daily use. Because of its constant use, an updated faucet would provide an immediately noticeable kitchen improvement. In addition to being practical, kitchen fixtures can add style and enhance the overall design.
Add architectural interest to your walls with molding or wainscoting. For wainscoting, add an extra-deep baseboard or beef up the existing baseboard so it's at least 3/4-inch thick at the top. Then nail 1x3s vertically around the room, spaced 8 inches on center and butting the baseboard. Top the vertical 1x3s with a new piece of molding. Paint or stain the new molding to finish.
This attached breakfast nook gets an extra dose of style with wainscoting below and oversized chalkboards above.
Replace Window Treatments
The right window treatment can transform a flawed kitchen space into a place that reflects your style and your sense of beauty. It can highlight your kitchen's best qualities or turn problem eating areas into sleek, sophisticated spaces.
Kitchen window treatments usually need more frequent washing than those in other rooms. Choose blinds or curtains that are easy to remove and replace.
Add Vintage Appeal
Dress up your kitchen with colorful flea-market finds. Vintage pottery, kitchenware, and knickknacks create instant charm.
Update Cabinet Hardware
Think of hardware as kitchen jewelry. Add new metal or glass knobs to highlight kitchen cabinets. If you're using metal hardware, choose one metal (gold, brass, silver, stainless steel, nickel, chrome, etc.) for the scheme and, as much as possible, stick to it when adding hardware.
Be sure to count the number of doorknobs, handles, or drawer pulls before heading out to stores, garage sales, or flea markets. You don't want to be caught empty-handed when you get to the last door or drawer.
And here's an easy solution if the new hardware doesn't fit the old holes: Buy some backplates to cover the gaps, then drill new holes.
Create a Wall Display
Open kitchen wall space provides wonderful opportunities to bring in personalized elements, such as collections, photographs, and favorite artwork.
Here, hanging utensils within easy reach paired with kitchen-centric art creates an interesting display.
Install or Update Pendant Lights
From incandescent bulbs with vintage glass shades to ultra-chic halogen cones that pack brightness into tiny fixtures, hanging pendants are popular ceiling fixtures for the kitchen. Place pendants over an island or countertop where low-hanging fixtures don't interfere with traffic flow.
Don't be afraid to go bold. The unique salvaged light shown here adds texture and interest to this casual farmhouse kitchen.
Create More Storage Space
Turn a kitchen closet into a pantry by removing the door and painting the interior.
This closet is loaded with shelves of varying heights to accomdate everything from tall cereal boxes to canned goods. Add pegs and hooks on the backs of doors to hang shopping lists or coupons.
Paint the Wood Floor
A painted area rug is perfect for a wood floor that isn't in great condition. It helps hide faults, turning a rough, inconsistent plane in to a surface rich with color. A painted rug also defines an area, turning it into a focal point.
To create a slightly transparent paint that would let the wood grain show through, a mixture of 1 part latex paint to 1 part water was used for each color. Once the design was dry, it was lightly sanded to give the paint a worn look and to smooth the slightly raised surface. After vacuuming residue, two coats of polyurethane were applied to protect the painted floor.
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