25 Kitchen Update Ideas That Don’t Require a Hammer

Kitchen renovations can be expensive and time consuming – and usually, you can’t cook in or even access the space until the reno is over. While everyone loves the look of a newly-renovated kitchen, it’s not always necessary to knock down walls, rip out cabinets and spend a mint on new appliances. However, we’ll make an exception for high-end coffee makers and grinders to make you forget about Starbucks,

Sometimes, just adding the right items and updating the finish on your existing appliances can breathe new life into your kitchen. We found some really cool items to help you accomplish that goal, and also rounded up some design experts to provide practical kitchen update tips.

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When updating your kitchen, be sure to infuse it with your personality and style. “The worst thing you can do is invest any amount of time and money in something that is just okay,” says Andrea Lively, creative design consultant at FBC Remodel in Denver, CO.

To be truly stunning, Lively says your kitchen should have something special.  “A statement should be made, so be bold,” she says. “Choose that copper sink or those purple crystal drawer pulls.”  Lively says you will never regret adding the special touch that makes your kitchen unique yours.   

These are some of the elements that go into upgrading your kitchen.

Backsplash

Depending on your skill level and how much time you plan to commit, adding a backsplash can take on many forms. For a simple, more temporary upgrade perfect for renters, you can apply peel-and-stick wallpaper, which comes in a wide array of styles from subway tiles to marble to terrazzo,” says Michael DiMartino, senior vice president of installations at Power Home Remodeling. “Or if you're feeling more creative and looking for a project to show off your artistic skills, you can use a tile stencil to paint a specific pattern onto your backsplash.”

Hardware

Michael DiMartino recommends swapping out your hardware since it only requires a screwdriver, but can have a major impact. “For example, if you have outdated drawer pulls or knobs, switching them out with more sleek or modern hardware can completely transform the look of your cabinets,” he says. “Even updating your cabinet hinges is a small detail that can add a ‘wow’ factor to the room when your eye is taking in all of the furniture and room elements together.”

Colored Appliances

Stainless steel appliances are popular, but colored appliances are gaining in popularity. “Several years ago, colors other than white or black - and stainless - were offered by just a handful of manufacturers,” says Tony Dowling, vice president of Elmira Stove Works. But today, he says there are only a few appliance brands that don’t offer color options.

“The range of available hues runs from bolds to pastels to richer complex tones, and styles run the gamut from antique- and retro-inspired models to professional grade versions,” Dowling says. In addition, he says custom colors are in demand. “While plenty of homeowners still gravitate toward stainless steel or matte black appliances, many are looking to bring a personal touch to their kitchens, and colorful appliances are a great way to accomplish that.”

Cabinets

Kitchen color extends to cabinets as well. “All-white kitchens will always be a timeless choice, but the true dominant force we’re seeing more and more of (and loving!) is colorful kitchen cabinets,” say Claudio Faria, director of Ornare USA. “The best way to add contrast and character to the kitchen is through playful shades – like greens, blues, and dark browns/black – that create the ultimate warm social space for every guest to enjoy spending time in.”

Organization/Storage

Whether you have a kitchen pantry or not, organization and storage are important.  “As a kitchen designer, I deal with base corners in every design,” says Brooke Eversoll, owner and principal designer of Bee Studios, a full service interior design studio in St. Petersburg, FL.   She likes base corner storage with double kidney trays that operate independently of one another.  “They pull out fully into the kitchen, making them extremely functional, and there’s no more digging in an awkward corner cabinet,” Eversolls says.   She has incorporated this type of storage in the last 6 kitchens that she’s  designed.  “Clients use them for everything from small countertop appliances, food items, or cookware – anything that would normally go in a pantry but you might not have the pantry space for,” Eversoll says. “A base cabinet should never be overlooked for supplemental pantry storage.”

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