Erica Dean | Dean Cabinetry
Author: Erica Dean

Does a full kitchen gut and remodel make sense for you, or does it make more sense to find ways to freshen up your kitchen? 

Just this morning I spoke with a client who is at the tail end of her full kitchen remodel. She was over the top thrilled with her new look, ecstatic with how the new layout has transformed the first floor of her home, and so excited about the increased functionality of her cabinetry. These are all wonderful benefits, but there are also “costs” you’ll want to consider. 

For a full kitchen remodel, there is a significant financial cost, an investment of your time and energy, and the inconvenience of being without your kitchen for a period of time. If this sounds like more than you are interested in taking on at this point, then this article is for you. 

If you are simply looking to freshen up your kitchen, transform outdated cabinets, and create a fresh new look, get creative with one or more of these ways to add new life to your space.

Cabinetry Hardware to Freshen Up Kitchen

1. Adjust the Cabinetry

a) Hardware

Adding new or changing old hardware is an easy update that would allow you to create a fresh look. Whether you go more modern or traditional, there are many choices in the market. You could try mixing and matching styles, or finding exciting knobs and pulls of unique shapes and sizes to transform the feel of your cabinets. Hardware is like jewelry for our cabinets; it is a great way to accent what you love or hide what you don’t. 

Another option is to switch out your faucet hardware, and possibly even install a new sink. If you decide to change out the entire sink, be mindful of how it may affect your counter layout. If you are keeping the same dimensions and are able to find a model that fits, you shouldn’t have much trouble with the switch.

b) New furniture or sections of cabinetry

If you are having functional issues with your kitchen, you may consider adding new kitchen cabinetry, such as a wet bar, shelving, an island, or a table, that will contribute additional storage and workspace.

c) Crown or accent moldings

Adding or replacing moldings can help to turn a plain, simple, bare-bones kitchen into a fully finished space. Maybe you recently bought a home with outdated or inexpensive cabinetry. Adding crown and other hardware details will make a simple kitchen look more professional.

d) Painting

If you are ambitious, painting or refinishing your cabinets may be something that you want to tackle. However, please note that this is a major project in and of itself, and it takes some serious dedication, especially if you would like to do it yourself.

If you are considering it, don’t feel that you need to repaint all of the cabinets. Simply refinishing only the uppers, only the base cabinets, or the island will give your kitchen a fresh new look, as well as create contrast and balance between the sections of cabinetry.

f) Open shelving

One simple adjustment to freshen your kitchen is to remove one, or a set of, cabinet doors to test out the open shelving trend.

g) Hooks

Adding hooks, whether on the interiors or exteriors of your cabinets, will introduce a new dynamic into your kitchen, as well as create new storage opportunities.

Updated Kitchen Light Fixtures

2. Introduce New Lighting

a) New light fixtures

Replacing or adding new light fixtures to your space can completely change the feel. You may consider adding multiple levels of lighting, to set different moods, or for various times of the day.

Considering the influence of lighting can be especially helpful in situations when there are not many windows or other sources of natural light to freshen up your kitchen.

b) Under cabinet lighting

Having under cabinet lighting is a must. It makes workspaces much more enjoyable to use and adds life to the kitchen. 

There are many types of under cabinet lighting, from puck lights to LED strip tapes. They are often very simple to install yourself, and some can even operate with a remote control.

c) Supplementary lighting

Candles and other additional sources of light are also a great idea, and may even add a fresh new aroma, or a cute touch to your space.

3. Enhance the Surrounding Surfaces

a) Backsplash

Replacing or adding a backsplash is a fun way to add both color and texture to your kitchen walls. There are countless ways to create fun designs, mix and match different tiles, or simply keep things traditional. Changing a backsplash is simple enough that you can manage the job on your own, or if you wish, you could always hire a professional.  

b) Paint

Giving the walls a fresh coat of paint is one of my favorite ways to spruce up a room. It could completely change the look, and gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you complete the project on your own.

c) Countertops

Installing new countertops is certainly a feasible task. There is a large variety of available countertop materials, including laminate, granite, quartz, wood, soapstone, and even bamboo.

You will certainly be able to find an option that is affordable and meets your budget.

d) Carpets or rugs

Throwing down a carpet or rug is a great way to add color and texture to your space. They are also great for keeping your feet warm on cold or rainy days!

Kitchen Accent Rug

4. Add Creative Accents

An easy and inexpensive way to freshen up your kitchen is to add creative accents.

You may consider hanging photographs or artwork. A fun idea is to take your children’s drawing or painting and frame it to look like an expensive piece. Or, maybe you found something at a flea market or auction that you really love, and would love to show off in your kitchen.

You can also add color and texture to your kitchen by adding new functional pieces, such as jars that you leave on the counter, or colorful pot holders and dish towels.

One of my favorite additions to any space is plant life. Potted plants are great for introducing color, improving air quality and concentration (which is always super important for cooking a meal for a big, active family), and possibly even adding a pleasant fragrance, such as in the case of herbs or flowering plants.

5. Do Some Good Ol’ Fashioned Cleaning

A solid session of spring cleaning will provide the opportunity for you to get rid of some of the clutter and rethink your storage. Be creative or find hacks that will work well for your lifestyle and living situation.

Notice those things that you always seem to be moving around and out of the way, but never actually putting to good use. Ask yourself, “Do I actually use / need / want this? Would it be a better resource for someone else to have?” Donate items that are still in working condition, but you no longer use or need, and dispose of or recycle items that are no longer functioning or completely expired.