Updating Your Kitchen on a Budget

Your kitchen is often the biggest and most costly room in your home to renovate. However, if your kitchen has good quality cabinets and a decent layout, you can save money by reusing your cabinets (with some minor updating) and making other small, less costly changes that will give your kitchen a refresh without breaking the bank.

Updating Cabinetry Colour

Changing the colour of your cabinets will give your entire kitchen a whole new feel, and, if you are lucky enough to have solid wood cabinetry, then your kitchen refresh just got a whole lot easier. There are a couple of routes you might choose to take with your cabinets. You can either 1) sand down your wooden cabinets and update with a modern stain, or 2) give a light sanding and update your cabinets with a modern paint colour. Don’t worry, if you are reading this and wondering how to update your MDF cabinets, then we are here to tell you that you can still give your cabinets a makeover – you just need to do a little bit of extra prep and make sure to use the proper type of primer and paint.

Door Profiles

Do you know what we mean when we say door profile? It has to do with the detailing of your cabinet door/drawer fronts. A few common profiles are shaker, slab, single or double arch raised panels. There are MANY different profiles to choose from, and we couldn’t possibly list them all here, but they are generally different variations of the three styles above. The single or double arch is now considered dated and typically clients want that profile replaced. Shaker style is very popular and a good choice as they are quite classic.

Change the Hardware

Hands down, the EASIEST way to change the look of your kitchen is to change the knobs and pulls on your drawer/door fronts. There are hundreds (thousands?) of options out there and you can often find some for reasonable prices at your local hardware store. Since hardware is so easily replaced, you can have some fun here and not worry as much about whether you will be happy with your decision five years from now. The main thing to consider here is the scale of your knob or pull compared to the size of your cabinet door or drawers. They are definitely not one size fits all, so you might need to grab the same style in a few different sizes.

Update the Lighting

One of the best ways to update your kitchen is to add lighting. Many outdated kitchens only have one light fixture in the centre of the room, and that is just not enough! Your kitchen should have a combination of general lighting (such as evenly spaced pot lights), task lighting (like lighting over your sink, stove and under your cabinets), accent lighting (to showcase what is inside glass cabinets or on floating shelves) and most importantly pendant lights over your island.  Honestly, we sometimes encounter homes that don’t have lights over the island. Remember lighting is the jewelry in your home!

Updated Lighting

Update the Countertops

Changing out your kitchen’s countertops will have a HUGE impact on your kitchen’s style. Our favourite material to use in a kitchen is engineered quartz. It is a mix of natural stone and man-made resin, which comes in hundreds of different colours and patterns. It is highly durable and typically is what you will see in today’s new home builds. As pretty as marble countertops are, they are just not practical in a frequently used kitchen as they stain easily, and acidic foods will remove the polish resulting in certain areas looking matte instead of glossy. When it comes to granite, although it is a beautiful and durable natural material, it still requires regular sealing. It also chips easier than quartz and it is harder to hide the seams where the fabricators and installers join the pieces together. All in all, quartz is more durable than granite or marble, and there are endless colour and pattern options which make it hard to beat.

Countertop Update


Change the Backsplash

Last but not least, to give your kitchen a new vibe, update the backsplash. Like countertops, there are hundreds of options to choose from and many different materials. It is also not uncommon today to see the countertop material continuing up the wall for a clean, modern look. That might not be feasible if you are on a budget, but the good news is that backsplash tiles can be found at extremely affordable prices and makes it one of the best ways (along with new hardware) to update your kitchen for a low to moderate cost.

The low-down on IKEA kitchens

Considering an IKEA kitchen? Get the low-down from local contractor, i love renovations.
i love renovations recently completed a major home remodel for a beautiful Kingswood property. Having the pleasure of staging the home after renovations were complete, I was able to see first-hand the quality workmanship provided by the company. The kitchen was definitely one of my favourite rooms in the house. I sat down recently with Chris McMullin, co-founder of i love renovations to get the low-down on designing, ordering and installing an IKEA kitchen.

i love renos IKEA kitchen-01

Q. What were some of the reasons your client chose an IKEA kitchen over a local cabinet company?

A. We always give our clients options when selecting their preferred route for a renovation. There are wonderful local kitchen companies we would highly recommend and have worked with on multiple projects. On this particular project, the cabinets were IKEA and the countertops were provided by a local vendor. Our clients were attracted to IKEA’s ease of ordering, the many options and styles available and the price point fit perfectly within their renovation budget. The turnaround time is also phenomenal. Upon confirming their order, our clients received their product in-hand in about two weeks.

Q. One of the biggest complaints about IKEA kitchens is their kitchen planner software. Did you design the kitchen for your client or just do the installation?

A. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to using the IKEA kitchen software. If it’s your first time, the program can seem cumbersome and daunting. As we’ve installed several IKEA kitchens, we are now able to navigate through each step with ease. We worked with our clients using IKEA’s kitchen planner software to create their ideal culinary oasis. What we love about the program is the ability to see multi-angle visuals of your design. We were able to move cupboards around and switch out colours and materials. It feels like you’re in a virtual showroom and our clients felt at ease knowing they had seen and approved the layout before installation began.

Q. Did you customize any part of the kitchen design?

A. We wanted to optimize any dead space with personalized features. One of our favourite custom elements in this particular reno is the custom wine rack. It was a simple addition and a nice surprise for guests when they walk through the home.

We were also able to customize the size of each box (cupboard) to work with irregular walls and desired heights. IKEA kitchens come in standard sizes, so we worked with our clients to trim each box as needed and create a truly unique space.

Q. As a contractor, what do you think of the quality of IKEA kitchens over ‘traditional’ manufactured cabinets and would you install them in your own home?

A. We would definitely recommend and have installed IKEA kitchens in our own homes. For the price point, you’re getting solid materials and excellent mechanical hardware. But it’s important to mention that it’s not really a fair comparison to put the IKEA product against custom, quality crafted, genuine pieces. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. In its class (similar price point and material used), IKEA is at the top and rivals those brands with similar components and price tags.

Q. Do you have any tips for people thinking of installing an IKEA kitchen?

A. Many assume ordering a kitchen “out of a box” means the client has no space for creativity or customization. One of our favourite aspects of an IKEA kitchen is having the freedom to customize and personalize each selection. It’s best to work with a contractor who can give you thoughts on dimensions, materials and the best design for your space. Having the proper measurements is key to a smooth installation, so you’ll want to make sure you have your numbers nailed down before ordering. The key is to work with a general contractor who is familiar with the product and its capabilities. This will avoid unwanted frustrations with the final design and will save you money in the long run.

ikea kitchen renovation i love renovations
ikea kitchen installataion
kitchen update with ikea kitchen
ikea kitchen update

Want to learn more about i love renovations? Visit their website at www.iloverenovations.ca.
i love renovations

Transforming a Vintage Side Table

So many people have a piece that was handed down to them from a relative that they don’t use as part of their decor. They don’t want to part with it, but they don’t want to use it either – so it gets tucked away in storage or a corner of the house somewhere out of site. That was the case with my clients beautiful side table. It has been passed down from my client’s grandmother and wasn’t being used or displayed. I don’t necessarily blame them, I’m not a big fan of it in it’s original condition.

However…some Annie Sloan Chalk paint and some clear and dark wax…and well, we have an amazing transformation!

My clients have purchased a new home that is undergoing a big transformation as well – walls have been removed to create an open concept throughout the main living areas, bathrooms and the kitchen are getting a complete makeover. This side table, previously tucked away in their old house is now going to be positioned in the entry way and will be the the first piece that you see when you enter their home!

Please excuse the after photos, I still need to get some good photos of this piece! This piece was painted with a custom colour, I started with Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey but wanted it darker so I customized it. The top was refinished to a darker colour and I used clear and dark wax on the base to give it an antiqued look. Quite the transformation if I do say so myself! 🙂

Before:

before side table

After:
side table makeover

Decorating, yes we do that too!

Interior design services HalifaxI’m often asked “do you also do decorating?”, and the answer is yes, we also do decorating!  Many decorating, or interior design projects actually come from past home staging clients. One of the greatest compliments I can get from a home staging client is, “I don’t want to move now’, or if it’s a vacant property “I want to move back in!”

You don’t have to wait until you’re listing your home to have your home look amazing. Everyone should love their home while they’re living in it…make it ‘home’ while it’s yours! A place you can’t wait to get back to at the end of the day. Many clients wonder why they didn’t make the changes years ago.

Perhaps it’s just a room or two you want help with decorating, or you’re looking to make some updates and need help more interior design services in selecting products, colours, fixtures, flooring, etc.  Maybe you’re moving into a new home and doing renovations, or just need some help pulling the space together. I believe in utilizing what you have when at all possible and keeping costs to a minimum.

I’d love to help you love your home…now.  Contact me for more information or if you’d like to book a consultation.

Lighting when selling or updating

Lighting updates are a reasonably inexpensive improvements that can create an amazing difference in the overall appearance of your home. As a home stager I’m always looking at existing lighting fixtures to see if new fixtures should be considered to update the home for sale. When I’m wearing my interior decorating hat this is almost always an area that requires updating to bring a fresh new look and style to a home.

Local hardware stores are terrific sources for great lighting options that won’t break the bank. Consider updating pendant lighting over an island or the dining table overhead fixture. Under cabinet lighting in the kitchen is a dramatic possibility that costs very little to achieve. A home stager can help you pick out lighting, and some can even coordinate the installation with an electrician.

Here’s an example of a great light that was chosen for a client with an older home in the south end of Halifax. It really fit the style of the home adding elegance.

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And here is a photo from a vacant staging project where all the lighting was updated by the client shortly before listing.  Wow…love the lighting!

home staging halifax dining room

Need some help – contact me for a home staging consultation or decorating consultation. I’m here to help!