Make Your Kitchen the Heart of Your Home Without Having to Renovate

(March 12, 2014)

Kitchens are the most common spaces for major renovations, but these renovations are also among the most expensive. Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, custom-fitted sinks, and hardwood flooring add significant value to properties because, well, they cost a lot. If you're in the market, you may be factoring in pricey kitchen renos when considering the older homes typical of the Vancouver area. You may also be avoiding houses or condos with outdated kitchens because of this added expense. While the amenities and fashion-forward elements of a kitchen should not be overlooked, you may find these expectations are adding prohibitive restrictions to the array of properties under consideration, or are quite simply putting you out of budget in the relatively expensive realm of Vancouver real estate. Not to fret! By using tried-and-true interior design tricks and adding some thoughtful and personal touches, you might be surprised how you can transform even an aging kitchen into a warm, inviting, modern-esque environment that reflects your own unique sensibilities. Here are a couple quick tricks for making any kitchen the true heart of your home without renovating.



Focus on Fixtures for a Modern Finish

Fixtures don't have to be expensive to be fresh and interesting, but the dime-a-dozen, big-box chandeliers with visible light bulbs or gaudy shades are likely the biggest giveaway of your kitchen's age. If you have a budget for anything, update lights, as well as handles on drawers and cupboards, to match a cohesive vision and palette. Pseudo-paper shades look nice and fresh without breaking the bank, while modern chandeliers are great at disguising the cold light of halogen bulbs in warm textures and tints, creating light that is reminiscent of candles and classic lanterns.

Less Is More When It Comes to Colours: Streamline Your Style

Nothing adds to a perception of disorganization more than a cluttered collection of colours. Painting simple accents like vases, frames, and candleholders so they match the walls, floors, or appliances is a simple and affordable way to restore a cohesive, calming kitchen environment. Consider updating blinds and curtains as well to reflect the streamlined palette of your choosing, or experiment with removing them altogether to embrace any natural light and night-time hues visible through the windows.

Divide and Conquer: Changing the Layout Doesn't Have to Cost You

When you think of changing the layout of your kitchen, you probably think of rewiring, plumbing, and carpentry costs. But layout (and the resulting sense of space, including an improved flow that's both functional and visually appealing) can be altered dramatically simply by moving tables, chairs, and counter-top accessories. For example, if your kitchen has an island or extended counter, try creating virtual divides or expanding the area using visual centerpieces or movable surfaces like standing trays and rolling trolleys. This will help with organization and visual clarity between areas for cooking, cleaning, and socializing.

Kitchen renos are largely so popular because changes in appliance technology and the availability of new materials outpaces the relative interior design trends of other spaces. But the things that really matter in a kitchen—the layout, colour style, and organization—have more to do with creativity than technology. Kitchens are one of the areas that many homeowners spend the most of their time, and they're increasingly becoming multi-purpose areas, where homeowners not only prepare food, but also dine, relax, and entertain. Taking some simple steps to breathe new life into an older kitchen is well worth the effort, even if you hope to renovate in the near future.

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