Big Ideas, Small Budget
If your kitchen is begging for a facelift but your budget begs to differ, try focusing on some key details instead of a major overhaul.
DIY Cabinet Re-Surfacing and Re-Painting
If the cabinets are still in good shape, you can change the look of your kitchen just by changing the color of the walls and re-surfacing or re-painting the cabinets. Cabinet re-facing, which involves replacing the veneers, is more expensive but still saves 50 percent over a complete remodel. As long as your cabinets aren't laminate or melamine, you can re-paint them yourself. De-grease them with a citrus oil-based household cleaner, remove the doors and hardware, and apply a primer-sealer first though you might still have to sand them down before painting. New drawer and door pulls will make a huge difference as well.
Selecting Your Color Scheme
In rethinking your colors, go for a 60-30-10 color scheme, which means 60 percent of a main color, 30 percent of a complementary color and 10 percent for an accent color like a backsplash or a trim detail. Recommended kitchen colors often include shades of tan, peach, yellow and all the many off-whites. Keep the big-ticket items like cabinets on the neutral side and accent with easily interchangeable elements like wall paint, window treatments, and small appliances. That way, changing the look of your kitchen in another few years won't have to be a major investment.
Fluorescent under-cabinet lighting strips are an easy and inexpensive way to brighten up. And since you use it so often, spending a couple hundred dollars to upgrade the kitchen sink or even just the faucet can also go a long way for short money.