Linda is a seasoned writer and bedroom authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.
Easy DIY Kitchen Upgrades
Your kitchen is probably the most used room in your house. Years of cooking (on top of regular wear and tear) definitely take their toll! If your kitchen has good bones, it may not require anything more than minor tweaking: consider giving it a well-deserved updating rather than a full renovation. You can make small changes to help maintain your sanity while avoiding taking a major hit to the pocketbook.
Many of us don’t have the budget or skills to tackle a full-on kitchen renovation. Not to mention, renovations can be stressful. A simple update will improve the look while keeping your marriage, family, and friendships intact. Most of these ideas can be accomplished in a single weekend by the average do-it-yourselfer.
If you need a little help before diving into your kitchen update, make a trip to your local home improvement center for advice or ask questions about techniques and products to make the job easier.
Here are just some of the simple updates you'll learn about in this article:
- Painting vinyl flooring
- Painting laminate countertops
- Painting an old tile backsplash
- Painting your kitchen's walls
- Installing multiple types of new backsplashes
- Refinishing and/or painting the cabinets
- Installing new cabinet hardware
Paint Vinyl Flooring
If your vinyl flooring is in pretty good physical shape, paint can cover up age related wear, scuffs, and stomach turning colors. Be aware this is a quick fix that won’t stand the test of time, but it will buy some time until you can replace it. Since vinyl flooring is typically glossy, you need to prepare the flooring so it accepts and retains the paint finish.
Sand the vinyl flooring with 220-grit sandpaper to dull the finish and roughen the surface then wipe clean. It is highly recommended to follow with a liquid deglosser and latex stain blocking primer.
Don’t settle for regular latex paint. Purchase what is known as a modified epoxy latex designed for use on porches and floors. It contains a special binder to cover a sheen and is much more durable than ordinary wall paint. Epoxy latex creates a super hard surface that holds up to foot traffic. Apply with a paint roller and finish with clear polyurethane to further protect the surface.
Resurface Laminate Countertops
Update your ugly laminate countertops by resurfacing with a specialized coating. This is a temporary solution until you can make permanent changes. Resurfacing your counters may again give you time to save up for replacements like new laminate, quartz or granite.
This countertop coating can be tinted at a home improvement store or use the original white color. Start by sanding the laminate countertop and backsplash. Remove the dust, wash the surface with soap and water and let it dry completely.
Mask off the perimeter to prevent splatter on the walls, cabinets, appliances, and floor. Apply thin layers of coating with a paint roller and let each one dry to the touch before applying the next. Once the finish looks smooth and even remove the tape and plastic sheeting and let it cure for at least three full days.
Transform Walls With a New Color
Nothing changes a room quicker than a new coat of paint. Determine a color scheme for your kitchen and head to the paint department at your local home improvement center. Start by cleaning wall surfaces exposed to cooking grease.
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If you are painting over dark or saturated colors, neutralize them with a coat of tinted primer—it will save you time and money. That way you'll need fewer coats to cover the underlying paint. Choose a latex semi-gloss that's easy to clean grime and fingerprints.
Add Backsplash Panache
Another update involves installing a brand new backsplash. These vertical surfaces are on view for everyone to see and old tiles can detract from an otherwise attractive kitchen. With the right materials, you can completely change the look in a few hours.
If you are a little concerned about your ability to install tiles consider using the peel and stick version that installs quickly over almost any existing clean backsplash surface. Made from durable, waterproof materials, these tiles come in a variety of finishes, materials, styles and colors. They don't require mastic, grout, or a wet saw.
While not technically difficult, refinishing or painting cabinets can be time consuming and messy. But both types are probably the least expensive ways to breathe new life into your cabinets. It is the perfect solution as long as your cabinets are solid and in good shape.
Refinishing involves removing old varnish or paint by sanding or using paint strippers. The goal of refinishing is to bring the wood back to its natural state or applying a different stain to change the wood color. Both require polyurethane sealer to protect your handiwork.
Painting doesn’t require stripping. If your cabinets are relatively clean, a light sanding is required to rough up the surface to ensure proper paint adhesion. Apply a one-coat, stain blocking latex paint to eliminate extra steps.
When removing cabinet doors and drawers, keep track of the position of each by numbering them and their corresponding openings. This will avoid the frustration of ill-fitting doors and drawers when reinstalling.
New hardware is the finishing touch for your refinished cabinets. Choose rubbed bronze, brass or brushed nickel to make them pop. Create a cardboard template to make sure the knobs and pulls are in the same position on each door and drawer.
Incorporate New Accessories
New rugs, window coverings, canisters, dish towels, pot holders and decorative items are small things that give your kitchen personality and make a big impact. Work within the room's color palette and purchase items online and at discount stores to find the best deals.
Switch out your older small appliances that have seen better days. Go with stainless, copper, crisp white or dramatic black. If you’re daring, choose a quirky color like orange, turquoise or bright yellow.
More Updating Ideas
For a few hundred dollars, you can give your kitchen an entirely new look by gradually changing out appliances, plumbing fixtures, and lighting.
If you have appliance colors that don't match, order new front panels from the manufacturer. Your dishwasher may be the quickest and cheapest fix of all. Most come with a reversible front panel (typically one side is black and the other is white).
Here’s a chance to give your sink area a new look. Shop online for the best price for a kitchen faucet. A new one can add a sense of style to the room and is a vast improvement over the old, leaky faucet you’ve been putting up with for years.
Adding the latest in light fixtures puts the spotlight on your updated kitchen. Pendants provide a wash of light over a breakfast bar or table. Halogen track lighting offers targeted illumination for work surfaces. Under-cabinet lighting brightens your countertops.
How to Refinish Cabinets
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Linda Chechar
I'd Love to Hear Your Comments!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on May 28, 2013:
Good luck, jessesToons! I'm sure whatever cabinet project you attempt will turn out beautifully! Let us know what you decide to do and the results. Thank you for visiting today! :)
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on May 04, 2012:
Glad you stopped by my Hub, teaches12345! So happy I could provide you with some kitchen reinvention ideas. You'll have to let me know how the backsplash turns out. Thanks so much for the read!
Dianna Mendez on May 04, 2012:
This would really make a kitchen look new. The ideas are simple and would cost very little. I have been wanting to add a nice backsplash to our kitchen and you have just inspired me to suggest this to my husband. Thanks for the ideas and for sharing.
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on May 03, 2012:
Be Pain Free, thanks for the lovely comment! I look forward to reading your Hubs! Glad we're following each other and will get to experience the Apprenticeship program together. Cheers!
Be Pain Free from Florida on May 03, 2012:
Wow, when you make a hub, you don't mess around. Great info!