Update your kitchen for under $100
Quick and easy kitchen fix-ups that won't break the bank.
If your kitchen is looking a bit blah, there are lots of ways to spruce it up without breaking the bank -- or taking on a full renovation. Here's a rundown of ideas, all of them under $100, which will help to cheer it up.
1 Paint is one of the most versatile decorating tools there is. Painting the walls in a lovely new colour will do a lot to lighten and brighten, but don't stop there. Repainting the cabinets can completely transform your look -- after all, cabinetry takes up most of the wall space in many kitchens. Melamine paint is best for kitchen cabinets, since it's tough, easy-to-wash and can be tinted any colour you like, and it's now available in easy-to-use latex formulations. Some types of flooring, such as wood and sheet vinyl, can also be painted.
2 Change the backsplash. Peel-and-stick mirror tiles are available at most building stores, for an instant brightener. Ceramic subway tiles are another trendy backsplash look that's surprisingly easy to do, especially if you can adjust the design to avoid having to cut them. (If you want or need to cut tiles, you can rent a tile cutter at a rent-all store.) Ceramic tile is also a great do-it-yourself way to update worn-out counters.
3 Make a shirred café curtain for your window. Cut a piece of pretty sheer fabric, half the height of the window plus 2 inches for hems, and 1-1/2 times the window width. Sew 1” hems on all four sides and thread it onto an adjustable curtain rod. Mount rod across the centre of the window, leaving the top half of the window bare.
4 Thin slatted blinds in wood or PVC make a clean-looking (and easy-to-clean) kitchen window covering. Wood blinds have the added advantage that you can paint them to match your colour scheme.
5 Change all the cabinet and drawer hardware. You can get all kinds of great designs, from forks and knives to sophisticated modern looks.
6 Change the faucet. Many of the new looks are specially designed for do-it-yourself installation, using just basic tools, and there are many styles to choose from that cost less than $100.
7 Add new mouldings. For instant elegance, new crown mouldings, chair rails or beefed-up baseboards (either to replace existing skinny ones, or added as an extra course above them) are another done-in-a-day job. For a glamourous look, you can also add crown mouldings to the tops of plain cabinets. Nowadays, some types of mouldings feature premitered corners, removing the trickiest aspect of the job.
8 For a low-cost mood lifter, simply treat yourself to new tea towels, oven mitts, and potholders in a bright colour or cheery pattern.
9 Update your accessories with stylish new ones. Canisters in graduated sizes, a tall pottery jar filled with wooden spoons and cooking utensils, or a beautiful antique breadbox are lovely additions for your countertop. Add a few hanging plants for a fresh look.
10 Finish a wall with a beautiful framed posters that coordinates with your kitchen scheme, or create a vignette with a series of frames from an art or photo supply store, filled with family photos or pictures taken from an old botanical calendar. If the frames are unfinished, paint them in your signature colour palette.