Cook Up a New
Whether it's a minor cabinet shuffle, wall-to-wall paint
job or complete renovation, any upgrade to your kitchen is
sure to raise the market value of your home.
Regardless of size, today's kitchens are no longer merely
places to cook a meal. Instead, most new kitchens are
bright, airy and sizzle with all kinds of activity. They
are often extensions of family rooms, dining and other
With the variety of materials, unique design ideas, colour
choices and modern appliances available today, you can
transform almost any kitchen into an attractive, pleasant
and efficient hub of activity.
Improving a kitchen can, however, be costly and
time-consuming. A kitchen is typically the most expensive
room in a house to remodel - appliances, cabinetry,
counters, floors, walls, plumbing and wiring - it all adds
The key to spending your money wisely when contemplating a
complete kitchen renovation - or even just some upgrades -
Begin by taking an inventory of your present kitchen -
what do you like and dislike about it? Is it too dark, too
big, too stale-looking, too small to work in or eat in?
This list will quickly give you a good idea of what you
want in a new kitchen.
Next, ask yourself how your present kitchen fits in with
your family's lifestyle. Do you want your kitchen to be
the hub of your home? Do you want to look up recipes on
the Internet when you cook, or entertain friends as you
chop vegetables? Or do you like to cook alone, away from
the noise? If you don't want people migrating to the
kitchen, you may not want to knock out walls and extend
the existing space into other living areas.
Also consider the time of year you plan to start
remodeling. If you are going to be knocking down walls and
windows, stay away from cold months like January. As well,
you should avoid remodeling before many family or holiday
Finally, decide what kitchen style you like most. The
old-fashioned country kitchen is one of today's popular
designs, but you may prefer something more contemporary,
or even a combination of styles. If your budget is tight
and bite-sized projects are what you are aiming for, here
are a few ideas:
Resurface or repaint old cupboards
Paint is inexpensive and can
transform wooden cupboards in a matter of hours. Try a new
painting technique, a textured look or a zesty combination
of colours. You can also resurface old cupboards with wood
laminate or one of the new, non-traditional plastic-based
materials that resist chipping, denting and staining.
Formica counter tops, for example, provide the look and
feel of expensive solid surfacing at about half the cost.
Use more glass Replace a few cabinets with glass ones.
Glass and mirrors in a room add the illusion of more
space, as well as glamour - especially if you add interior
lights to your new cupboards. Go ahead, display that 18th
century tea set you inherited from your great grandmother.
Say it with hardware
It's amazing how new cabinet
and drawer handles can change the look of a kitchen! With
the many choices in colour, size and style of drawer knobs
and handles, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
From gleaming chrome to floral ceramics to unique designs
in the shape of spoons, forks, roosters and rabbits, you
can easily find something that will give your kitchen that
Floor and wall facelifts
Paint, wallpaper and flooring
in a variety of textures, styles, colours and patterns can
easily spice up a bland kitchen. Add a matching border
around a window, below a ceiling or between the cupboards
and the counter tops and you can change the mood
Flooring options feature a wide variety of colours and
styles in do-it-yourself, easy-to-install linoleum sheets
and tiles, or trickier ceramic and wood floor
applications. Be careful not to go overboard. Too much
contrast in a small kitchen can make it appear even
smaller and more cluttered.
Vary counter heights to suit the task and the person.
Dough-kneading and pie-crust rolling need a special
height; so do eating and cooking areas.
Whenever possible, incorporate counter space next to each
Try to achieve a "work triangle" where the stove,
refrigerator and sink/dishwasher are within easy reach of
If you are replacing cabinets, go for the "custom"
approach, even if this costs a little extra. Under the
customized approach, cabinetry is designed and built
specifically to fit your particular kitchen space.
A good kitchen should not only look great but stand up to
daily wear and tear. It should function well and enable
people to move freely between it and related areas of the
If you plan to completely remodel the kitchen, be honest
about your ability. You may want to leave this important
job in the hands of an expert who can do the work quickly
A kitchen designer/contractor can suggest unique ideas and
come up with creative solutions to particular problems. Be
sure to get at least two quotes on the work you plan to do
and compare them carefully.