Quick & Inexpensive Kitchen Makeovers & Refresheners

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Kitchens often take the most abuse and wear of any room in our homes. They are also often the last room we think about redecorating because it’s “only” seen by you. Your kitchen should be as fabulous as you are and encourage culinary creativity, great conversation and express your personality. Here are a few of my tips for quick and easy “fresheners” that will transform your kitchen from blah to hurrah for under $100.
Paint –the essential ingredient in a clean and fresh kitchen.

If your walls are dingy and stained you’re not going to feel fabulous cooking or conversing in the kitchen. Plainly speaking, paint is the most versatile decorating tool available that can so easily transform a space while being so affordable. Paint your walls in an exquisite new colour; my favorites right now are saffron yellows, celery greens and rich warm egg creams for the kitchen. A new colour will do a lot to lighten and brighten your kitchen. When you’re finished the walls, ceilings and trim, don’t forget about your cabinets. Give them a completely new look. Try painting your island or peninsula one colour (maybe a rich chocolate or a lustrous glossy black or …brace yourself… RED) and your wall cabinetry another colour (a warm cream, a fresh and brilliant white, a honey tone chocolate or again the aforementioned RED). Melamine paint is best for kitchen cabinets, since it’s so durable and easy to clean. Don’t feel limited; nearly everything can be painted with the right primer and some prep work.


Think of your backsplash like the finishing touch to a really great outfit. It needs to be sexy and stylish, yet functional and easy to maintain. By changing or upgrading your backsplash you will completely elevate the look and feel of your kitchen. For a fresh and retro look try using white ceramic subway tiles, they are readily available, very inexpensive and easy to install. Another of my favorites (albeit a bit more expensive) is to use stone tile with a pillow edge. This will give your kitchen a grand and stately feeling. Or if you’re feeling sexy and sleek pop out to a metal wholesaler (with your exact measurements) and try using some brushed stainless steel panels, you will be the talk of your neighbourhood.  If you REALLY hunt around you can usually find a glorious coloured glass 5/8 by 5/8 tile on sale…while the price will still be much higher than the other options, the minimal amounts required can allow you to splurge on this material for a sexy, urban and sophisticated look

Cabinet Hardware


By changing your hardware you can transform a dull kitchen into something sexy and eye catching. I recommend making a statement–try using oversized (12″ or 16″) stainless steel rod pulls on all your cabinetry to give you a sleek and sexy designer look. Other options might be to go to a salvage shop and find authentic retro glass knobs or bone pulls. You can literally get hundreds of great designs, just go on the prowl and find something that captures your imagination.  Try your local ReStore, Home Depot, Lowes, Home Hardware, Ikea OR go online and check out an even wider selection that will be mailed to your door.

Accessories and Furnishings

The biggest culprit in thwarting a fresh kitchen makeover is clutter, or as I so very often say, edit-edit-edit. Chances are if you haven’t touched the bread machine in three years, you don’t need it! Put away all the junky clutter, bad gifts and design mish-mash. Take everything off your counters and then only put back the things you most often use and find a home for the rest. Then add just a few design elements to the space such as an oversized glass lid jar filled with fresh ingredients and where possible upgrade a few of your counter appliances to sleek new stainless steel models.

Window Treatments

With the incredible variety and availability of sexy new window treatments you can find the perfect accompaniment to any décor. Try Zen-feeling burnt matchstick to classic wood shutters, or my favourite, clean and crisp Roman blinds. Spend a weekend and clean, prep, paint and style your fresh new kitchen. You will be amazed at the difference it makes not only to your enjoyment of your home but in how it makes you feel — Isn’t time to feel sexy, fresh and new?

by Robin De Groot

  1. Ruth AgnewRuth Agnew09-07-2011

    Love your article on kitchen makeovers and refreshers. Have been hunting for kitchen lights and have spotted exactly what I am looking for in the images shown. The metal pendants. Please can you help as to where I can purchase these.