Updating a kitchen

img_1726An unexpected blog on updating a kitchen from a company that designs, builds and installs bespoke interiors like kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and all sorts of utilities, boot rooms, dressing rooms, games rooms, home cinemas and so on we are most accustomed to new installations. It’s because we respect the need to update a room or rooms when they become tired or old-fashioned.
This is particularly relevant for kitchens which get a lot of use and where designers and appliance manufacturers are always coming up with something new. Here are some suggestions of ways to add a bit of zing to that old kitchen (and some can be adopted for other rooms too).
Upgrade your worktops and splashbacks
These days there are many materials that can be chosen for worktops and splashbacks. We often install Corian, granite, quartz (Cimstone and Caesarstone) and wood worktops which can make an instant improvement to a kitchen.
updating a kitchenSplashbacks do a great job in protecting kitchen walls from grease and other splashes. They can be made of the same material as the worktops or glass or stainless steel. Alternatively tiles can be a cheaper way to add colour and texture, although they and the grout used need to be kept clean. There are a great many styles and shapes to choose from including ceramic, glass and stone and designs are limitless so it pays to shop around. As with all of these suggestions we are here to help if you need inspiration.
Reach for the paint pot – cupboards and walls
updating a kitchenRepainting is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get a ‘brand new’ kitchen. This can be painting the walls and ceiling or the kitchen cupboards – or both.
Our previous blog on Kitchen Colours runs through how to approach selecting a colour for your kitchen. It doesn’t focus upon repainting kitchen cupboards although the process of selecting a colour for these is much the same as you would follow for selecting wall colours. With all paining preparation is critical and time well invested if you’re going to do a good job. We can always advise – our cupboards are hand-made by us and so we know the materials we have used and can recommend the best paints and process if you’re giving them a freshen up.
Something you might consider is to create a feature wall. We have noticed a number of clients creating a strongly coloured wall to provide an eye-catching focus within the kitchen. This can also be wallpapered if you spot a striking design. Be sure to ensure that any wallpaper in a kitchen environment is steam and moisture resistant.
Update your kitchen floor
updating a kitchenWe discuss kitchen flooring in Kitchen Flooring Options. If your current floor is letting you down, you don’t need to go to the hassle of taking it all up as you can lay new flooring on top. Some kitchen designers might suggest that you lay it up to the plinths, instead of wall-to-wall, which cuts your costs further. Of course we can help suggest the best way to move cabinets to allow you to lay flooring wall to wall.
Introduce a seating area
updating a kitchenWhether it’s removing a cupboard under you island or buying a second hand sofa for the corner – adding a seating area, dining or not, recognises the modern place for the kitchen as the centre of the home. A seating area gives visitors to the kitchen a feeling of being welcome and encourages them to stay and keep the chef company. Modern stools and fabrics can blend in with the normally light, clean lines of a kitchen or they can give a contrast – providing bright colours to give a cheery countenance to the plainest décor.
Don’t forget your kitchen’s main function. As the heart of the home it provides food. A place to eat is therefore fundamental so creating or up-dating a dining area is important. Family and friends can eat and mix in the social centre of the house. The smallest of kitchens can usually squeeze in a table or bar and stools. It you’re really pressed think about a fold away or collapsible eating surface. If there’s an outside wall then maybe a large glass door and patio can become your summer dining room or, all year round if you can run to a small conservatory.updating a kitchen
Update or remove cabinet and drawer handles!
There is a wide range of handles to choose from and designs will also have moved on since you originally build your kitchen. These alternatives are available to you now and especially if you’ve repainted your cabinets then it’s high time you refreshed the door furniture. Nowadays you also have the option of handle-less doors and drawers although these may be difficult to post –fit without new cabinetry.
Liven up your scheme with new fabrics and accessories
update a kitchenModern ceramics, crockery and fabrics can really liven up a room. You can use glass-fronted cabinets, open shelves and Welsh dressers to show colourful and beautiful items off. If you want a greater change then consider new items of furniture that display items to best effect; natural wood, metal and stone tables, old sewing tables….eye-catching statements that add a quirky note to your old kitchen. How about a stained glass window?
New cushions can brighten up tired old chairs and replacement blinds, napkins, curtains and tablecloths can lend a refreshing novelty. Textures from hessian, velvet, plastics and wool can contrast with smooth new worktops and cupboards.
Storage can be fun
storageWe recently had some thoughts on storage and realised that storage can be both practical and fun. As we say ‘hidden storage has moved on from a curtain on a wire to sunken spiral wine cellars. Modern materials and bespoke kitchen cabinetmaking allows a cornucopia of drawers, racks, rails, cubbyholes, bins, hooks, cupboards and shelves. Whereas these used to be largely rectangular customers are increasingly asking for curves so storage has taken on a flowing grace in some kitchens following swooping worktops and islands’.
Clutter can build up over the years so it’s worth having a clear out. Our blog covers a lot of the angles but the first place to start is a thorough clear out. Removing rubbish, out-of-date appliances, never-used implements and other space-wasters will give you an idea of what needs to be accommodated. We can create cabinets that fit the most challenging of spaces giving you shelves, racks, bins and drawers to make your kitchen look new and clutter-free.
We didn’t mention an old favourite of ours – the over-island rack. This is a good place for storing attractive pots and pans as well as implements. Hard lines can be softened with dry flowers and herbs but be warned – these will need to be cleaned quite often for fear of dropping dust onto your surfaces.
See your kitchen in a new light
bespoke kitchenAs our previous blog stated kitchen lighting has changed a lot with modern design and technology. Larger kitchens require more light and even when they incorporate large windows and doors that allow light to flood in careful lighting design can make a big improvement.
Something we have seen a lot of in recent years is pendant lighting over islands and work surfaces. Consider this for your kitchen – pendants come in many different designs and can make a big impact.
LED strip lighting has also transformed kitchen lighting making it possible to illuminate nooks and corners without bulky bulbs – even kickboards can be lit to make it seem as if your kitchen units are floating.
Renew your appliances and think about that sink!
Updating a kitchenAlthough aesthetically they may not make an instant modernising hit on the appearance of your kitchen – especially if hidden behind matching facias – fitted appliances can make your life easier and quieter. Some other appliances that sit on top of worktops are more visible and the Kitchen Aid mixer is an obvious one – available in a variety of subtle – and not so subtle colours they are an immediate focus for the eye. Others like Dualit toasters,  Magimix mixers and Kenwood Chefs also say a lot about you!
Sinks, like the cooker, are a much-visited part of the kitchen and you can improve the look of your kitchen as well as give yourself a change by adding a white butler sink for that country look, a seamless Corian sink that blends with your tops, a modern stainless steel design with built-in rubbish disposal or a tiled or copper sink to be different. Whatever you do make sure it can take the largest of your cooking implements as well as a dirty dog if you ever have one!
Car boots and auctions
Updating a kitchenEye-catching class comes from creativity and taste – not just piles of cash. The best talking points need not be expensive – or cost anything at all. Driftwood from the beach, dried flowers, old signs, shells etc. can be found for nothing.  Second hand furniture from auctions or ebay may be bought for a song and yet bring something that sets your kitchen aside from anyone else’s.
Similarly art from your local art club won’t cost the earth and yet it can bring a genuinely ‘home-made’ touch to your kitchen. The bigger and brassier the better!
It hung on the wall it can be changed but better still it might be leant against the wall to beg the inevitable questions for which any answer is correct.