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  • Writer's pictureJames Bingham

9 Ideas For Updating An Old Kitchen (2019)

We tend to spend quite a bit of time in our kitchens, but we probably don't spend as much time updating their appearance as we should.

Your kitchen is the heart of your home, and it shouldn't be neglected.

No matter how well your kitchen functions, if you don't like its appearance, you won't use it as much.

We make food, friends, and memories in our kitchens, so doesn't your kitchen deserve a little TLC?

It can be difficult to know where to start though when updating an older kitchen, so here's some ideas to help.


1. Revive Your Floors

If you're able to put a bit of money into your kitchen update, flooring is a great place to start.

With kitchen walls being occupied by cabinets and appliances (which can also be up-cycled), floors tend to have a good portion of the visual real-estate in the average kitchen.

Updating your floors can be expensive though, depending on what materials you use.

But whether you choose wood, tile, or laminate, new flooring can offer patterns and colours which will tie the rest of your kitchen's appearance together.

2. Cabinets & Presses

Something else to consider are your kitchen cabinets.

Stylish cabinets and presses can really add to your kitchen, but grubby old cabinets won't do it any justice.

Cabinets can be completely replaced if desired, but this won't be cheap.

Full replacement isn't the only option though.

You can also choose to have your kitchen cabinets repainted or refinished.

Hand-painted kitchen cabinets and surfaces allow you to upcycle your current kitchen suite but without breaking the bank.

Open shelving can also be a great way to showcase decorative dinnerware, or any vintage kitchen utensils you own.

3. Look Outside

Updating your windows can also add a whole new look to your outdated kitchen. In addition to allowing lots of natural light to flow into the room, they also set the overall tone for it.

If you have PVC windows then consider new blinds as a way of changing the look and feel of the room.

This is doubly true if your kitchen windows feature heavy curtains or drapes. Replacing them with Roman blinds can instantly make any kitchen look and feel bigger - it's amazing how much wall space even small curtains take up.

Wooden window frames can be repainted or refinished to help your kitchen look and feel more modern.

Whatever you do, don't neglect your windows.

4. Let There Be Light

While we're talking about light, another option is to update your light fixtures.

Most of the lighting you find in older kitchens is mostly about function, with very little thought given to form.

But the right types of light fixtures are important in giving your kitchen a fresh feel.

So replace those grubby light-shades if they don't fit in with your décor plan.

The flipside of this coin is if your kitchen currently doesn't have enough light - that's your queue for adding more lighting.

This additional lighting can be subtle under-counter lights, or additional spots to bring light to those darker corners.

5. Have a Seat

Another (somewhat) smaller element that can be invaluable in creating a distinct style in your kitchen is seating.

There's very little point though in having retro chairs in a modern minimalist kitchen, or vice versa.

The neat thing about kitchen seating is that it can be as cheap or expensive as you want - including everything from upcycled bar stools to Paris bistro chairs.

So you can let your imagination run wild, but stick to your overall decor plan.

Also bear in mind whatever seating you choose needs to be actually comfortable to sit on.


6. All the Colours of the Rainbow

It's amazing to see how much life you can add by having your kitchen walls and ceiling repainted.

Painted walls in kitchen tend to discolour more quickly than in other rooms because the paint is exposed to steam and other elements.

You can choose to go for a single uniform colour on each wall, or opt for a feature wall painted in a different colour.

You can then choose different tones and accents for your cabinets, windows and backsplash, but all based around the same basic palette.

If you don't feel confident enough to paint the kitchen then simply hire a local interior painting company to take care of that for you.

While it might seem an expensive option at first, it can actually save you time and money in the long run, especially if your painting skills aren't quite up to scratch.

7. Update Your Backsplash

That worn, chipped and cracked backsplash doesn't just look bad, it can also become home to the types of bacteria you do not want lingering in a food prep area.

So it's time for a change.

It's probably been several years since you last even looked at your backsplash, but if it's using outdated tiles then it's going to stick out like a sore thumb in your newly repainted kitchen.

Again, just having a freshly painted backsplash can make your kitchen feel almost brand new.

Just bear in mind that crazy designs or colour schemes might look good right now, but they tend to age very quickly.


8. Your Appliances

Kitchen appliances are the most often overlooked aspect of updating the look and feel of an old kitchen.

It's not always practical however to update your fridge or cooker because they don't match your current paint scheme.

That could cost you a small fortune in replacing major appliances every time you have your kitchen repainted.

But what you can update are those smaller kitchen appliances that can act as an "accent" for the rest of the room.

If you decide to install an ocean blue backsplash, you can look for a kettle or toaster with blue trim, for example.

Those little touches can really make your kitchen come alive.

9. Don't Be A Cookie Cutter

All home owners want the same thing - the "ideal" kitchen.

And while that's entirely possible if you have enough money, your "new" kitchen is probably going to look like a carbon copy of something you found online or in a magazine.

You'll have the same cabinets, presses, chairs and table as hundreds of other homes.

While there's nothing wrong with the "copycat" approach, what does this style say about you or your home?

Probably not very much.

That's why there's no harm in thinking outside the box.

A handful of additional accents and flourishes can make any cookie cutter kitchen look truly unique.

You could add a vintage clock, or a driftwood centrepiece for your table. Or even choose a 100% rustic theme instead.

Your choices are limitless.

Which brings us to our final point.

You Have Lots of Options

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, and it should show in how much care you give it.

But no matter what way your kitchen looks right now, you don't have to let it stay that way.

And if you'd like a little help with that don't be shy about calling in a specialist.

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