Thursday, Jul 28, 2016
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It's a new year, the perfect time to redo your kitchen

  • Kitchen-cabinets

    Paint your kitchen workhorse an accent color. This dark green balances walls lined with warm-yellow cabinets and creates a strong visual impact.

    <Alex Hayden

  • Kitchen-chalkboard
  • Kitchen-pull-out-shelf

    Make the most of your kitchen's existing storage space by installing a pull-out shelf.

    <Kolin Smith


Paint your kitchen workhorse an accent color. This dark green balances walls lined with warm-yellow cabinets and creates a strong visual impact.

Alex Hayden Enlarge

It’s a new year and you want to redo your kitchen, but don’t have a hefty budget for a remodeling project. That’s OK. There are numerous ways to get a fresh look, and to save even more money, most people can do some updates themselves.

The first steps, said Bruce Robinson, kitchen and bathroom designer and project coordinator at The Andersons in Maumee, are to do your research and talk to an expert.

“If you make mistakes, you will cost yourself a lot more money,” he said.

Some updating ideas are pretty simple and could take a couple of hours. Others could take a long weekend, Mr. Robinson said.

“A lot of times people talk about replacing doors and drawers, but the problem with that is that the doors and drawers are the most expensive part of the project. A lot of times people are surprised at the price and you may as well replace the whole cabinet,” he said.

If the drawers function well, it’s probably better to refinish the doors, he added. While one can paint the cabinet doors, for a more professional look, a DYI kit with the products for a homeowner to prep and apply new primer and glaze to the doors that comes with step-by-step instructions is also available.

“It’s time consuming, but if you can’t afford new cabinets, that’s a simple way to change the look of your kitchen,” Mr. Robinson said. “I think that’s better than having somebody replace the doors and drawers because that’s hundreds up to thousands of dollars. It could be a couple of grand, and you might as well buy new cabinets.”

For a less exhausting approach, replace the cabinet and drawer hardware. Be sure to take the old handles and knobs to the store to make sure you get the right size. The wrong purchase could result in the need to drill new holes in the doors and drawers or additional trips to the store.


A wall painted with chalkboard paint can used as a menu.


“What I advise people not to do is their own counter tops,” Mr. Robinson said. “That’s something that’s really a specialty item and it’s best to have a professional replace the counter tops.”

A new kitchen floor will give a space a fresh look. If you don’t have the determination or skill to lay hardwood or ceramic flooring, laminate and vinyl tile are options. Mr. Robinson said a luxury vinyl tile is similar to the old stick-on tiles, but is heavier and is meant to look like ceramic tile or hardwood.

“You can put it right on an existing floor, as long as you use underlayment,” he said. Though it must be glued down, it can be used with or without grout. Plus, it cuts with a basic razor-blade knife. “It’s do-it-yourself. It’s tricky getting around corners, but you can do it.”

Laminate flooring that locks together is also called a floating floor that can be laid on top of an existing floor, though there are challenges.

“When cutting around the corner, that can be difficult. That’s why it’s good to come in and get some advice and ask if it’s something you can do yourself or get help with some of the trickier parts,” Mr. Robinson said.

Having the right tools for any task makes a project go easier. A pry bar and tapping block are necessities that may come with flooring kits. Also, a good miter saw and coping saw help make cuts around corners, making the installation go smoother.

For ideas that are a bit less challenging, update with new accents, such as throw rugs, curtains, dish towels and cloths, and cushions or covers for the kitchen chairs. If there’s a window seat, cover it with a different fabric. New dishes, pots, pans, and other accessories always give a feeling of freshness.

“Repainting the kitchen is something most people can do,” Mr. Robinson said. The prep work is key, so make sure the walls are cleaned well and that imperfections are sanded away before using a good primer and paint, he said.


Make the most of your kitchen's existing storage space by installing a pull-out shelf.

Kolin Smith Enlarge

DIYers with some know-how might want a new kitchen faucet. Mr. Robinson also suggests this: “Pull out your old sink and replace it with a drop-in quartz or acrylic sink. A single-hole faucet is popular now, and it has the pull-out sprayer in it.”

And some homeowners can also put in their own new back splash.

“You can choose from ceramic tile, porcelain tile, or glass mosaic tiles. It’s a little tricky to do on your own, but as long as you keep the pattern simple you can do it,” he said, adding that some of the tiles come on mesh backing, making them simple to put into place.

Loads of other update-your-kitchen ideas are available online. For some projects, an expert is necessary, such as an electrician. Here are additional ideas to consider to bring in some freshness. They depend on how much time, energy, know-how, and expense you want to give a project:

● Consider new lights and new light fixtures, and lights underneath the cabinets.

● Remove a couple of cabinet doors, or put frosted glass in the cabinet doors to display an attractive collection of dishes. Remove a cabinet door and put in a plate rack.

● Install the hardware to hang pots, pans, and cooking utensils from the ceiling over the stove or kitchen island.

● If your cabinets are plain, use crown molding on top of them for a more elaborate appearance.

● Jazz up a plain wood floor and paint it a bold or another appealing color.

● And speaking of paint, keep your grocery list and other reminders on your own personal chalk board that you paint on a wall, using the new chalk board paints that come in a many colors, not just black.

● Also, install shelves to display stemware or some other collection.

● Turn an old table or chest into the base for a island; make sure it’s not too high or too low to work or to eat on. To make it wider and longer, purchase a piece of lumber and have it cut to the desired size. Seek advice about sealing and sanding the wood.

Contact Rose Russell at or 419-724-6178.

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