Cabinets are one of the central features of the kitchen. That’s why it’s important for you to be happy with the way they look and function. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. But what if you don’t want to go through the trouble or expense of replacing them? Here, we’ll take a look at some of the ways you can update your existing cabinets.
Hardware. If you want to change the look of your cabinets, start with the hardware. This includes knobs, pulls, and hinges. With time, these components can get dull and dirty, go out of style, or become damaged. By replacing them, you’ll instantly revitalize old cabinets. Not only is it simple, but it’s inexpensive, too: replacing cabinets can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, while new hardware starts at under $10. Knobs and pulls come in a variety of finishes, including nickel, pewter, and glass, and many stores offer fun, unique designs. To get the perfect fit, bring your old hardware to the store for comparison.
Molding. While molding is usually associated with doors and walls, it can be applied to cabinets, too. Molding provides an attractive, finished look to your cabinets. Pilasters, pediments, and egg-and-dart moldings are just some of your options. If you have space between the top of your cabinets and your kitchen ceiling, crown molding can fill this gap. Onlays can be added to cabinet doors for elegant, decorative details.
Doors. Instead of entirely replacing your cabinets, replace the doors only. If you’d like to display the contents of your cabinets, opt for glass doors. You can even get rid of your cabinet doors completely and have open shelving.
Paint. Paint can transform the look of your cabinets. If the old paint is chipped, stained, or otherwise flawed, a shiny new coat is the perfect solution. Even if the old paint is in good condition, you may be tired of looking at the same color every day. A new color can liven up your cabinets and your kitchen in general.
Maybe your cabinets don’t need a visual makeover, but a functional makeover. To get your cabinets to contribute to your kitchen lighting, install under-cabinet lights. If you’re interested in storage and organization, add racks, pull-out shelves, or dividers to your cabinets.
If you’re not satisfied with your current cabinets, a complete overhaul isn’t your only option. Focus on details like hardware and molding, and your cabinets will look as good as new.
The kitchen isn’t just for cooking. Family members go in and out of the kitchen throughout the day. It’s a place where everyone can talk, relax, read, work, and play. With that in mind, here are some tips for making your kitchen family-friendly.
Kitchen safety is always important, and this is especially true if you have young children. Children can get hurt on kitchen tables with sharp, pointed corners, so opt for round tables or tables with rounded corners instead. Store sharp utensils up high and out of reach of children. Keep easily-broken items out of reach as well.
Place a mat near the sink to keep water from spilling directly onto the floor and posing a danger. When choosing a material for your kitchen floor, think twice about materials such as ceramic tiles, which can be slippery. If your floor is slippery, look into anti-slip solutions such as sprays that increase traction.
Think about safe seating, too. For example, choose chairs over stools, since children can easily fall off of stools. Chairs are also more stable than stools, which can tip over.
If kids enjoy using the kitchen to play, set up low cabinets and drawers to hold toys, art supplies, etc. You can even set up a special area for play and study. Breakfast nooks are great for this purpose, but really, you don’t need anything more than a table and chairs. Just make sure to set up the area away from the work triangle, so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of kitchen traffic.
Put out bowls of fruit and other snacks so that kids can help themselves when you’re busy. Another idea is to get a bottom-freezer refrigerator so that kids can get ice pops and other frozen snacks on their own.
Then there’s technology. If you and your family enjoy watching television, consider setting up a TV in the kitchen. You may also want to get outlets installed near the counter, island, or play area, so that family members can use laptops and other devices. Tablets and smartphones can provide portable entertainment, display recipes, and let you talk to friends while cooking.
If children or pets are moving around in the kitchen, spills and messes are bound to happen. You’ll want countertops and other areas to be made out of an easy-to-clean material. Solid surface, such as Corian, is a good choice. So is granite, stainless steel, quartz, and laminate. For floors, linoleum, vinyl, and laminate are all easy to clean.
Finally, consider setting up a family message center in your kitchen. Hang up a chalkboard or pegboard where you can display shopping lists, meal schedules, and reminders.
While good lighting can enhance any room, it’s particularly helpful in the kitchen. Poor lighting can make it difficult to navigate or work in your kitchen. It can also be dangerous, especially if you’re using sharp utensils, handling portable appliances, or working near flames or hot surfaces. If you’re eating or entertaining in your kitchen, the right lighting can enhance the mood and make the experience even more enjoyable.
There are three main types of lighting to consider: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Combining these three types will give your kitchen the optimum illumination.
Ambient lighting is also known as general lighting. It provides overall illumination to the room. Some ambient light can be gained naturally from the sunlight that shines through your windows, but overhead light is also important.
Flush and semi-flush mount lights are popular choices for overhead light. Flush mount lights are mounted to the ceiling, while semi-flush mount lights feature a small gap between the light and the ceiling. Recessed lights are also an option. These lights, also known as “can” lights, are located within openings in the ceiling. Track lighting is another way to go. In track lighting, light fixtures are placed along a track that’s mounted to the ceiling. These lights can be moved and adjusted.
Task lighting is more focused than ambient lighting. It provides direct illumination to areas where you’ll be working. In a kitchen, these areas include countertops, islands, and sinks.
Under-cabinet lights provide light to the countertop area. Puck lights, which are small round or oval light fixtures, are common under-cabinet lights. Recessed lights can also be used under cabinets.
Islands and tables also benefit from task lighting. One way to light these areas is with pendant lights. Pendant lights are ornamental fixtures that hang from the ceiling. They are typically suspended from the ceiling by chains, cords or other similar objects. They come in a large variety of shapes, designs, and colors, so they can add a decorative touch to your kitchen.
There are other kitchen areas where light can be directed as well. The sink can be illuminated by recessed lights, for example, and the range can be illuminated by a range hood.
Accent lighting highlights specific items in your kitchen, such as artwork, plate collections, and plants. You can achieve this with track lighting by focusing the light fixtures on the items you’d like to spotlight. Accent lighting is also a great way to showcase a special backsplash. The following example is a close-up of a kitchen project by BeautifulRemodel.com, in which the polished stainless-steel tiles are glowing with the light of the undercabinet LED strip. The twin cylindrical “Jupiter” range hoods by Futuro Futuro illuminate the cooktop with 6 bright halogen lights. For a complete breakdown of this remodel, visit the post “Kitchen Design Case Study: Contemporary Kitchen with Zebra Wood Cabinetry“.
Some lighting arrangements can perform a mix of functions. Undercabinet light strips are a great way to accent the backsplash and countertop, but also dispel shadows under the cabinets, letting the chef use the entire counter space for storage, preparation, and cool-down. In the following photo, an LED lightstrip shows off the dramatic texture of the wallpaper, while illuminating the countertop and sink area. The Murano Collection “Snow” range hood by Futuro Futuro adds focused lighting for the cooktop, as well as casting a soft glow on the upper backsplash.
Your kitchen lighting can be further enhanced with a dimmer switch. When you’re cooking, you may want bright light that lets you clearly see what you’re doing. On the other hand, when you’re entertaining guests or relaxing in the kitchen, you may want softer light. With a dimmer switch, you’ll always have just the right amount of light in your kitchen.
Light plays a big role in how your kitchen looks and feels. With the right lighting, your kitchen will be safe, fun, and easy to use.