Not just beauty but value as well is in the eye of the beholder, and adding value to your surroundings does not have to mean adding the price tag to match. Few areas in the home are as diverse and highly used as the kitchen is. All that activity can cause wear and tear and make your kitchen space feel cluttered. This is exactly how I had been feeling about my own kitchen for years when my oven and my over-the-range microwave both took a dive a few weeks ago, within 48 hours of each other. Given the fact that all of the indicator lights had long since gone out on my dishwasher, leaving me to guess which wash options were in use, I willed my refrigerator to hold on a little longer. I was finally forced to make decisions about replacing my aging (and severely outdated) major kitchen appliances. I figured while I was at it, I might as well see if there are any other ways that didn’t involve demolishing the entire room, in addition to my four new major appliances, that I could improve the value of my kitchen.
The three best trendy, inexpensive ideas I found…
- CREATE TURN-KEY ORGANIZATION
Becoming frustrated with your kitchen space is an easy way to lower your value perception of that space. Always feeling like you can’t find what you need or forgetting you had it in the first place are easy ways to become frustrated.
Revamping your kitchen storage with some smart solutions can:
- free up counter-top real estate, making your kitchen seem larger and more open
- help make your cabinetry feel spacious and new again
- keep everything you need well within reach
- make accessing difficult spaces more convenient
Here, we talk about some of the ways to improve kitchen organization.
– Shelving Organizers –
If you have open wall or door space available, hanging tiered shelving can be a great way to get containers off of counter space. There are a couple of different design choices for this type of organizer; they can mount directly to the wall or door, like this attractive one, or they can be installed behind an existing door using the door’s own hardware, like this one.
– Cupboard Space Organizers –
There are many kitchen organizers on the market today, such as pull-out racks and baskets, that are designed for easy installation into your existing cupboard spaces. Adding these pull-out racks and baskets under your counters is a great way to keep all of your food and supplies easily accessible.
Similarly, rotating baskets and blind-corner organizers make deep or difficult-to-reach spaces more convenient and useful. Blind-corner organizers make accessing the recesses of these spaces a breeze by moving the nearest layer aside and drawing the deeply recessed contents to the forefront for easy reach. Check out this one at Lowe’s.
Country Living predicted in December 2020 that vintage plate racks would be a big trend in 2021. Whether inside the cupboards or showcased out in the open, you can retrofit the plate rack concept to fit your kitchen needs and décor. This one from Country Door is stylish and useful.
- REFRESH YOUR KITCHEN LIGHTING
Jason Gelios from Community Choice Realty in my home area of Southeast Michigan, and creator of The AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show says that “one of the best ways to add value to a kitchen is by updating all the fixtures and having plenty of lighting which should include a combination of recessed ceiling lights and hanging lights for ambience and added style. Adding these types of updates should be the main focus of any kitchen.”
Bob Vila explains kitchen lighting choices in terms of three layers; ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting:
- Ambient Lighting
This layer of lighting refers to the soft overhead lighting with the fixtures mounted into ceiling recesses and terminating flush or semi-flush with the ceiling. Ambient lighting is meant to softly illuminate the floors and walls, making it easy to move through the kitchen area at low-light times of day.
- Task Lighting
This level of lighting is meant to illuminate kitchen work stations. This can include large overhead lighting as well as cabinet, pantry, and drawer lighting. Pendent lights have been a popular choice in overhead lighting for several years and this is only heating up. This year, rather than the smaller pendant lighting looks I’ve seen in past years, large industrial styles and bright colors are the look for 2021.
Improvements to LED lighting technology have made LED strips and tape that mounts to or sticks onto the underside of cabinetry or inside pantry and drawer spaces a very popular option. These lighting choices can be permanent or nonpermanent and have color changing features.
- Accent Lighting
This lighting is meant to highlight decorative features in kitchen décor. The brightness of this lighting should be in between that of ambient and task lighting.
- REVAMP EXISTING CABINETRY WITH A COAT OF FRESH PAINT
This is definitely the most involved and laborious task on this short list. However, it is also the one that will give you the biggest bang for the fewest bucks. I’ve known several people in the last five years who have painted their existing cabinetry with results just as astounding as a total remodel. The prep work involved in painting kitchen cabinetry is the most intimidating aspect of this project. I found this blog from The Palette Muse to be the most comprehensively informative place to start researching which products would be best and what tools would be needed.
The amount of work aside though, this is also the idea on this list that gives you the most inexpensive creative freedom. If you don’t love the outcome, you can paint it all again. While I was drudging up ideas for my own kitchen, many sites reported that the two-tone look is very trendy right now. What’s nice about painting existing cabinetry is that you can try out bold looks like this on a small cabinet space before committing to the full scope of the design. If you are creatively inclined, you can even free-hand or stencil on some modern art-deco looks as well.
- Low cost
- Almost limitless color choices
- Creative freedom
- Can test colors and designs before fully committing
- Extensive amount of work
- Puts your kitchen out of commission for the project duration
But, most importantly…
My most important advice though, is not to get overwhelmed. Only accomplish what you have time for and can afford. The kitchen is where we nourish ourselves and our families, adding stress is counterintuitive to that objective.
Remember to always make a conscientious effort.