Low Budget Kitchen Modifications


As we have indicated several times in this website, the kitchen is the most important room in the home. The kitchen has been the gathering place for families for hundreds of years. This is where the majority of the conversations occur within a family as well as arguments and solutions to life’s problems. The kitchen is a catch all for items carried in from the exterior, it is a general area for bills and mail to gather, and it is normally the least maintained area of the home, due to traffic and activity.

Thinking back to childhood memories, favorite food, learning to cook, homework, discussions about work, relationships, as well as tragedies were discussed and communicated in the kitchen.

Therefore, if there is going to be money spent on any room in the home, chances are the room will be the kitchen. If the budget is low, and the energy high, what are some ideas that can be used to modify our existing kitchen?

1.) Repaint the kitchen. Repainting of the kitchen walls and ceilings can resurrect an old tired kitchen into an extreme statement. Don’t be shy when it comes to selecting a color or colors that will enhance the overall feeling of the kitchen. If bright and airy is the goal, a combination of yellow and bright white will enhance the cheeriness of the kitchen. If a more homey and calming charm is the goal, a dark tan with corresponding soft white trim may be the combination. Simply painting the walls and the ceiling of an existing kitchen can change the entire ambience of the space. Don’t forget the possibility of stenciling the walls and / or the ceiling. Stenciling is an inexpensive method of decorating that can add charm and creativity without breaking the budget.

2.) Replace the floor. The floor in an existing kitchen could possibly be the old linoleum floors that were installed in one piece. If this is the case, the removal and installation of a new floor will transform the existing kitchen. The new kitchen floor can be any material that is presently used for flooring. Wood, ceramic tiles, mosaic tiles, Mexican tiles, concrete, vinyl, composite materials, or any combination of these materials can be used for the new installed flooring in an existing kitchen. The combination of several materials can be a creative method for adding drama and customization to your existing kitchen.

3.) Replace the cabinet hardware. Many times, the existing cabinet hardware is the factory provided hardware. This is fine, however, to add a designer quality to the cabinetry, sometimes the simple replacement of the pulls and hinges can make the difference. Also the changing of round knob pulls to elongated pulls, or the application of a backer plate to the hardware might add that drama that is lacking. There are several different selections of cabinet hardware and specialty stores can actually customize the hardware to meet your aesthetic tastes.

4.) Remove the cabinet doors and repaint. The removal of just the cabinet doors to repaint them can also be a simple and economic method of changing it up in the kitchen. The resultant boxes left on the walls, can also be painted to accommodate the repainted doors. To add drama to the appearance, the framing can be painted black and the doors a totally different color. If creativity is used for this application, the total look of the kitchen can be modified. Painting the doors different from the frames will add a creativity that is customized to your own kitchen.

5.) Cabinet replacement. Obviously the replacement of the cabinets is a dramatic step in the renovation of a kitchen. This is moving away from the low budget ideas relative to this discussion, however, the replacement of the cabinets with different style and functioning cabinets, will change the overall appearance of the kitchen. In most cases, if the cabinets are replaced, the countertops are also replaced, definitely taking the entire process out of the ” low budget” category.

6.) Add a wall finish to the backsplash between the top of the counter and the bottom of the upper cabinets. The backsplash in the kitchen is in many instances, merely painted. If this is the case, or if this area is decorated with a tile or another product that is easily removed, the replacement of finishes in this area can make a big impact. The installation of ceramic tile or other masonry products to the backsplash area is both economical and affective. If economy is key, the simple painting and stenciling of this area can add creativity and charm to the existing kitchen.

7.) Refinish the existing countertops. If the existing countertops are ceramic tile, the re-grouting of the tile maybe just enough to rejuvenate the countertop and the kitchen. If the countertop is plastic laminate the re-lamination of the countertops will also add energy to the kitchen.

8.) Replacement of the countertops. Just like the replacement of the cabinets, the replacement of the countertops will add drama and change to the kitchen. There are several new additions to the material being used for countertops. The common plastic laminate is being replaced by composite resins and epoxies that have been formulated to resist cracks movement and deterioration. Concrete has been introduced as a new element to the countertop market. Poured in place concrete countertops have been introduced in various colors to add drama to kitchens and bathrooms. Ceramic tile is still being creatively used for countertops as is granite, marble, limestone and soapstone. The replacement of the kitchen countertop will add color and new drama to an old kitchen.

9.) Simple removal of the cabinet doors. The removal of certain cabinet doors and the introduction of colorful plates and dishes to the interior of the cabinets will offer a different look to the kitchen. An open cabinet has a tendency to open the kitchen up by appearing larger than when the cabinet doors were installed.

10.) Replacement of opaque doors with glass doors. If the simple removal of the doors does not represent the style and look you where hoping for, the installation of glass doors will accomplish the same openness of the ” no door ” look, but will also present a more formal appearance. The open shelf look tends to represent a cottage or country look, while the glass doors offer a more formal and prestigious appearance.

11.) Addition of special pot racks. The addition of ceiling or wall pot racks will make a big difference in the appearance of the kitchen. Especially if the racks are ceiling mounted and you hang some nice copper pots off the racks. In addition the elimination of large pots and pans from the cabinetry will open up areas for storage of other kitchen appliances and or dishes.

12.) Addition of ceiling hung lights or chandeliers. The installation of hanging ceiling light fixtures over the counter or kitchen table will offer another look to the kitchen. In addition, the light thrown by these fixtures can have an overall effect on the kitchen appearance, casting interesting shadows and illumination in different directions.

13.) Installation of ceiling hung fans and combination lights. Replacing the ceiling light in the kitchen with a fan and ceiling light will make, not only a visual difference, the fan will offer additional ventilation in the kitchen space.

14.) Installation of under-cabinet light fixtures. With the advent of LED lighting, the installation of under-cabinet lighting has advanced and very different lighting effects are possible. Under-cabinet lighting will add drama to the look of the entire kitchen as well as provide work space lighting that will enhance the cooking experience.

15.) Installation of up – lighting on the top of the upper cabinets. This concept is rarely incorporated in a kitchen lighting plan, however the effects are outstanding. If long single tube florescent tubes are installed at the rear of the upper cabinets, facing up towards the ceiling, the illumination will cause the entire kitchen to glow. The combination of this up lighting and new under-cabinet lighting will change the entire appearance of an existing kitchen.

16.) Additional countertop installation. Additional countertop installation alongside island counters can be quite striking and add to the appearance as well as the productivity of the kitchen. The use of a high quality maple, oak or hickory countertop that is table top like, projecting off of an existing countertop, will offer a new focus point as well as add drama and creativity to the kitchen.

17.) Open soffit decorations. If the kitchen has an open soffit, which is a space between the top of the upper cabinets and the ceiling, this space is ready for decorating. Baskets, imitation gourds, pumpkins, glass bowls, highly decorated plates, etc. can be displayed on this upper surface. The ability to add color and creativity to this space will change the appearance of the entire existing kitchen.

18.) Close the open soffit. If the kitchen has an open soffit, it can be closed. The enclosure can be creatively done with an ornate type of surface such as bead board, ships lap, closed lattice work, etc. The possibility of a brightly painted or mosaic look on this surface could be a means of adding drama and color to this space.

19.) Replace the appliances. Whether the replacement of the appliances includes them all, or specific ones, their replacement will add modernization to the kitchen. The most popular finish is the stainless steel finish that has become so popular. However, there are other striking finishes, such as all black, or all white, that will add drama and the look of a more modern kitchen.

20.) Replace the sinks and faucets. The advancement of kitchen sinks as well as faucets and sink accessories has added drama and stylish detail to the simple stainless steel sink and single lever faucet. Faucets now come with special fill spouts, special water controls as well as more sophisticated spray accessories for easier cleaning of dishes.

21.) Create an island. If the existing kitchen has ample space, and many of the older kitchens do, the creation of an island within the existing kitchen will add more space to accommodate people as well as revise the look of the entire kitchen. Islands are very popular, especially if a cook top or another sink are installed in the new island. The addition of seating as well as storage by the creation of a new island will change the entire look of the existing kitchen.

21.) Creative photography. Being creative is a very personal skill. I have seen kitchens transformed ,based upon the art that was installed on the walls. Photographs of food or beverages, especially the beer cans of popular micro brewery beers, could make a very creative and unique impact on an existing kitchen. Especially if the kitchen is occupied by a single male, trying to impress his friends!

Granted, some of the suggestions included within this discussion, do not fall into the category of low budget. However, there are several that do, and the combinations of several of them could make a tremendous difference in the appearance and function of your existing kitchen.

When the budget is low, and the need for economy is a key factor, creativity and uniqueness is the solution. There are several different ways to enhance an existing kitchen with common, everyday elements, such as wine bottles, beer cans and bottles, unique cooking utensils, unique pots and pans or even large plants. A kitchen is an individual’s space that is an important aspect of the home they live in. Making it unique and creative can be done relatively inexpensively and on a low budget.

Just be creative and think out of the box, you might be surprised.

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