Five ways to make your old kitchen shine again

Five ways to make your old kitchen shine again

Have you been spending your evenings scrolling through kitchens on Instagram and Pinterest? Then you must be fed up with looking at your own one. Perhaps it’s been five or ten years since you last refurbished your home, and the design is looking a bit stale nowadays. So, what do you do if the dream kitchen you once loved doesn’t spark as much joy anymore? It’s time to refresh it.

Completely ripping out all the fittings and replacing them isn’t always an option depending on your finances. But there are many simple ways to transform your kitchen without spending a fortune. While the best way to reinvigorate your space is to hire professionals, here are some small changes you can easily make yourself.

1.    Repaint your cabinets

Fitting new cabinets requires time, money and planning, so the best way to refresh your cabinetry with minimal fuss and cost is to repaint them. This will make your space feel crisp, inviting and modern without committing to a full refurb. Choosing the right colour will depend on the style of your kitchen and desired atmosphere.

Green is currently a popular kitchen colour trend. From sage and olive to hunter and mint, homeowners love all the different shades as they stand out boldly. You could also inject a pop of colour (especially if your kitchen is quite neutral) by painting your cabinets aquamarine, sunshine yellow, vibrant orange, or pink. You might even want to mix and match a few of these shades. “By experimenting with several colours, a pattern, or even a distressed finish you can create an array of looks from traditional to contemporary,” says designers at Harvey Jones, who also offer to repaint their customers’ cabinets whenever they want a refresh.

2.    Create wallpaper backsplashes

Wallpaper may not seem like a suitable option for a room that’s splatter-prone and tends to get hot and humid, but trust us, it works and gives your kitchen a really unique look. Adding patterned wallpaper to your backsplash, for example, will instantly add colour and interest to a simple, neutral-looking space. This could be a retro print or classics like subway tiles or geometric shapes. There are plenty of styles, patterns, colours and textures to choose from. However, if this is the design route you’re taking, remember that you need to protect the wallpaper from heat, moisture and splatters. This can be achieved with tempered glass which is easy to wipe clean should there be any splashes while cooking. Or simply choose vinyl or washable wallpaper as these can be wiped down.

3.    Add artwork

The kitchen isn’t an obvious place to hang artwork, but it belongs there just as much as it does in the living room, dining area and bedrooms. Hanging up some of your favourite pieces is a simple yet effective way to give the room a new sense of life. What’s more, art reflects your character and taste, allowing you to make your kitchen even more personal. There are so many kitchen wall art options too. You could go for a gentle landscape, something abstract or even a sentimental piece like your child’s painting — these don’t always belong on the fridge.

Adding artwork to your kitchen will make your space feel more interesting and it may even be a talking point for guests at dinner parties. You can use art as your main focal point by ensuring visitors immediately see it when they enter the room. Remember to frame your pieces to protect them. Otherwise, they could be ruined, especially if they are near the stove or sink.

4.    Rethink your lighting

Getting new lighting fixtures can really change the look and feel of your kitchen and is an easy way to make a big difference. Choose designs that complement your kitchen and desired aesthetic. For example, glass pendants over your table create a sleek, contemporary look, while opting for a lampshade with cutouts is more retro. You could go full glam with an extravagant chandelier or think practically by brightening up prep and cooking areas with under-cabinet lighting.

If you use this room as a place to entertain guests as well, we recommend adding a second light element to create a softer aura — a free-standing, warm lamp, for example. It all comes down to personal preference and the aesthetic and atmosphere you’re trying to achieve.

5.    Change your handles and knobs

Changing your kitchen hardware can have a significant impact on your kitchen cabinets and it’s a much cheaper way to refresh them without having to totally replace them. Carefully chosen handles or knobs can make even the most simple pieces of furniture seem luxurious. You can experiment with styles, shapes, colours and finishes.

Vibrant green cabinets with black pulls look very striking, while white porcelain knobs complement neutral designs, brass options add instant sophistication, and wooden styles are ideal for a rustic look. You could go all out with something more animated, such as crystal or floral patterned knobs. However, it’s worthwhile considering the practicality of these — are they easy and comfortable to grip? Remember, you’ll be happy in a beautiful kitchen, but only if it’s still functional.

Ciaran Clarke