How to Update a Tired Kitchen

Like it or loathe it, we all tend to spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen, and there’s nothing worse than watching yours date before your very eyes. Kitchens can really show their age, but thankfully in these tough economic times, ripping it all out and starting again is not the only option. Whatever your kitchen design, and whatever your home decorating skill level, there’s a wide range of great ways to breathe life into a tired kitchen, beyond a new lick of paint. A project like this can be as expensive or as thrifty as you make it, which means there’s no excuse not to get stuck in!

Everybody on the Floor

Replacement flooring is a fantastic way to decorate a lacklustre kitchen. There is a huge mix of textures, finishes and colours at your feet. Your choice will naturally depend on the look you have chosen to create, but whatever your preference, this is a good time to consider the practicalities of your kitchen. While ceramic tiling can look stunning, unless it is teamed with under-floor heating it will feel cold under foot – lovely on a hot summer day, not so great on a freezing winter morning! Also, be prepared to bid a dramatic farewell to anything accidentally dropped on to a hard stone floor. Happily, vinyl and laminate flooring has come a long way and means the budget option need no longer equate to a budget look. Call in at your local DIY retailer and choose from a range of finishes, such as wood effect, slate, and many more contemporary finishes. If you are prepared to spend a little more, investigate a specialist vinyl flooring retailer and check out the stunning designs offered. Bold patterns, metallic finishes, and daring colours – you’ll be surprised at the selection available, and you might even find a free sample or two. The advantages of vinyl flooring are many, the biggest being that you can easily wipe it clean. It’s also extremely kitchen-friendly, being durable and long-lasting.

A United Front

A cheap and cheerful way to spruce up kitchen units is to paint the cupboard and drawer fronts. You can replace these altogether easily, but a simple coat of paint alone can have a striking effect. Remembering that the kitchen can be a steamy place at times, it’s best to buy a specialist paint for this job, just as you would for your walls. Make sure surfaces are properly prepared before painting, following the product guidelines carefully – wooden and melamine surfaces will require quite different treatment to keep the paint looking fresh in years to come. Next, choose some new cupboard and drawer handles to complement your kitchen’s new look. These are widely available in an array of different designs, materials and colours and will make an impressive difference.

Work It

Whereas kitchen units are relatively easy to decorate, worktops are better replaced. Painting an existing laminate worktop is a false economy – the paint will not adhere to the surface and will quickly look shabby, making for an unhygienic environment. If you are lucky enough to have wooden work surfaces, some TLC and a new coat of oil will help update their look and extend their lives, but any other material is best exchanged for something new. Marble, granite or similar aside, a swap need not blow the budget. New laminate worktops can look stunning, and it is easy to find a look that perfectly imitates a more expensive material. Work surfaces can really make a kitchen, and the best are resistant to stains, scratches, burns and just about any other day-to-day punishment they may face.

Create a Splash

If you fancy trying your hand at tiling, the kitchen is a good place to be inspired. Along with the units, tiles can spectacularly date a kitchen, so be brave and give yours a facelift. If that sounds like a DIY job too far, specialist paint can be used to add a new splash of colour to existing tiles. Transfers or stencils are another good and flexible option, enabling you to bring out your own personality as you decorate. Alternatively, create a contemporary look with a modern splashback. Splashbacks are available to complement any kitchen design, from country kitchen tongue and groove, to minimalist laminated glass in high gloss shades. Never has practicality looked so good – explore different textures and materials to create a look that is truly individual to your home.

Finishing Touches

Accessories are the icing on the cake for any room’s new look. Light up your hard work by getting rid of that old 1970s strip light fitting, and take a look at some task lights that fit under kitchen units. These are fantastic for creating a warm and cosy look, while providing ample light for cooking and eating. New lighting will also show off your new work surfaces superbly, so shop for some smart containers to store dry goods in style.

Like it or loathe it, we all tend to spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen…with these tips you’ll be well on the way to loving yours.