Reinvent Your Kitchen

As promised, here’s the follow up to my Hub, Tips for a Sparkling Clean Kitchen. Now that you've cleaned things up, it's time to reinvent the space!

Your kitchen is probably the most used room in your house (next to the bathroom!). Years of wear and can take their toll. Say, your kitchen has good bones and really doesn’t require anything more than minor tweaking. Consider giving your kitchen a much-deserved ‘reinvention’, rather than a renovation. A kitchen reinvention involves improvements on a much smaller scale. You will maintain your sanity and avoid taking a major hit to the pocketbook.

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Face it, many of us don’t have the budget or skills to tackle a full-on, in-your-face kitchen renovation. A reinvention will update the look while keeping your marriage, family and friendships in tact. Most of these ideas can be accomplished in a few hours by the average do-it-yourselfer.

If you need a little help before diving into to your kitchen reinvention, make a trip to your local home improvement center for advice or to ask questions about techniques and products to make the job easier.

Reinvent With Paint

Flooring

I know this sounds like absolutely lunacy, but home improvement sites say you can paint vinyl flooring, laminate counter tops and backsplash tile. If you are really in a budget pinch and can’t stand your 70s era kitchen any longer, I see no reason why you shouldn’t try these kitchen reinvention tips. Just be darned sure you follow product directions by the letter.

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If your vinyl flooring is chip-, crack- and tear-free, paint will cover up age-related wear, scuffs and stomach-turning colors. Be aware that this is a quick fix that won’t stand the test of time, but it will buy some time until you can replace the offending surface! Since vinyl flooring is glossy, you need to prepare the flooring so it will accept and hold the paint finish. Sand the vinyl flooring with 220-grit sandpaper to dull the finish and roughen the surface, then wipe clean. It is highly recommended to follow with a liquid deglosser and latex stain blocking primer.

Don’t settle for regular latex paint. Instead, purchase what is known as a modified epoxy latex paint, designed for use on porches and floors. It contains a special binder for glossy surfaces and is much more durable than wall paint. This paint creates a super hard surface that holds up to foot traffic. Finish with clear polyurethane to further protect the floor.

Counters

Next, let’s freshen up your outdated laminate countertops with a coat of paint. Yes, you heard right. Your countertops! Don’t expect this to be a long-term solution either. However, painting your counters may again give you time to save up for replacements, like new laminate, stainless, quartz or granite.

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Before you begin, clean the laminate with a degreaser to remove any residue buildup that will interfere with paint adhesion. Start with a coat of primer for laminate surfaces and follow with a couple of coats of acrylic latex enamel. There are even paint kits available the will give your counters a faux granite paint finish.

Backsplash

If your tile backspash is in good condition, i.e.; no cracks or chips, break out the paint to mask ugly patterns and colors. You can use an oil-based primer and paint and finish with a protective coat of polyurethane. Just remember, oil-based paints require longer drying times, so don’t rush the process.

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To avoid the fumes and mess associated with oil-based paints, you may want to look into acrylic craft paints specially formulated for glass, ceramics and porcelain. They are great for stenciling over solid color ceramic tiles.

Walls

Nothing changes a room quicker than a new coat of paint on the walls. Determine a color scheme for your kitchen and head to the paint department at your local home improvement center. Step one involves cleaning wall surfaces that are exposed to cooking grease or little fingerprints.

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If you are painting over dark or saturated colors such as, navy blue, red or lime green, neutralize them with a coat of tinted primer (have the paint specialist add a small amount of the top coat color)--it will save you time and money. You’ll need fewer coats of paint to cover the underlying color. Choose a latex semi-gloss that will hold up to moisture. The glossy surface also allows you to easily clean dirt and grime with a sponge and soapy water.

New Backsplash Panache

Another common way to reinvent your kitchen space involves installing a brand new backsplash. These vertical surfaces are on view for everyone to see, and a dated backsplash can detract from an otherwise attractive kitchen. With the right materials, you can completely change the look of your cooking area inexpensively in a few hours in the evening or over a weekend.

If you are a little concerned about your ability to install tiles, consider using peel and stick tiles that install quickly over almost any existing clean backsplash surface. Made from durable, waterproof materials, these “tiles” come in a variety of finishes, styles and colors. They are self-adhesive and require no mastic, grout or special cutters, like traditional tile.

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Proficient do-it-yourselfers can easily take on a real tile backsplash installation. Opt for basic ceramic tile to save money. You can get the look of stone, wood or a traditional glossy finish. The most difficult part of this project will be removing existing tiles without damaging your drywall.

A pressed tin backsplash provides the perfect look for a vintage or country kitchen. For a sleek take on metallics, a stainless backsplash will give your contemporary kitchen additional sparkle and will coordinate with stainless appliances. You can purchase sheets of pressed tin or stainless steel directly from fabricators, restaurant supply stores or maybe even at the home improvement center.

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Measuring and making precise cuts to accommodate light switches and electrical outlets is tricky and may be better left to DIY experts or the pros. Research price and techniques before attempting this type of backsplash reinvention.

Note: You can get the same effect with peel and stick or ceramic tiles, if you think this project is too advanced for your skill level.

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Cabinet Reinvention

Your kitchen cabinets typically represent the largest amount of vertical surface in the room. That’s why you want to make sure they are visually pleasing and compatible with your kitchen décor and appliances. A cabinet reinvention certainly beats the expense of resurfacing, door replacement or completely new units.

Refinish or Paint

While not technically difficult, refinishing or painting of cabinets can be a time consuming and messy proposition. But both types of reinvention are probably the least expensive ways to breathe new life into your wood cabinets. Refinishing or painting is a perfect solution, as long as your wood cabinets are solid and in good shape.

Refinishing involves removing old varnish or paint via thorough sanding or applying liquid paint strippers. The goal of refinishing is to bring the wood back to its natural state and simply sealing the grain or applying a different stain to change the wood color. Both techniques require the application of a polyurethane sealer to protect your handiwork.

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Painting does not require complete stripping or sanding. Only a light sanding is required to remove glossy finishes and roughen up the surface to ensure proper paint adhesion. Apply a coat of stain blocking primer prior to painting. You might want to also use fine grit sandpaper between paint coats for an ultra smooth finish.

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Cover exposed kitchen surfaces before you begin sanding. Make a sanding and painting station in the garage for cabinet doors. When removing cabinet doors and drawers, keep track of the position of each by numbering them and their corresponding openings. This will avoid the frustration of ill-fitting doors and drawers upon reinstallation.

What type of paint should you use? Painting contractors recommend the use of both oil-based and latex paints for kitchen cabinets. If you are painting over previously painted cabinets, use the same type of paint—don’t use a latex over an oil-based paint and vice versa. Rub an alcohol-based primer over your current cabinet paint. If it easily rubs off, it is most likely a latex paint.

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Before you get started, consider the pros and cons of each type of paint. Oil-based paints are more expensive, more durable, emit more off-gasses and require solvent clean up. Latex paints cure quicker, are low-odor, clean up with soap and water and cost less than oil-based paint.

Cabinet Jewelry

New pulls and hinges are simple updates you can make to reinvent your kitchen cabinets. If your current cabinetry has no hardware, add rubbed bronze or brushed nickel accents to really make your cabinets pop. All you need to do is make a cardboard template to make sure the pulls are in the same position on each door and drawer.

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Knobs consist of a single projection that attach to the door or drawer with one screw. They come in a variety of geometric and free-form shapes. Handles perform the same function as knobs, but attach with two screws and are typically arched or curved. If your cabinets have exterior hinges, replace them with a finish that matches your new pulls.

More Easy Ways to Reinvent

For a few hundred dollars, you can give your kitchen an entirely new look by reinventing your appliances, plumbing fixtures and lighting.

If you’ve collected your kitchen appliances over time and the fronts don't match, see if you can order new doors or face panels from the manufacturer. Your dishwasher may be the quickest and cheapest fix of all. Most come with a reversible front panel--one side is black and the other is white.

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Your faucet is used many times each day. But over time, it may leak, get scratched or become coated with hard water deposits. Here’s a chance to give your sink area a new look as well. Shop for kitchen faucets and sprayers in stores and find the model and finish that you like. Then do your research on the Internet to find the best price. A new faucet can add a sense of style to the room and will be a vast improvement over the old, leaky faucet you’ve been putting up with for years.

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Adding new lighting fixtures is an easy and fun way to put the spotlight on your reinvented kitchen. Pendant lights can be hardwired or plugged in and provide a wash of light over a breakfast bar or table. Halogen track lighting offers targeted task lighting for work surfaces such as countertops or islands. Undercabinet lighting will brighten up dark corners of your counters. They come in fluorescent, halogen or LED versions These can also be hardwired or plugged in to a nearby outlet.

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Reinvent Your Accessories

New rugs, window coverings, canisters, dish towels, pot holders and decorative items are small things that give your kitchen personality and make a big style impact. Work within your color scheme and purchase items online and at discount stores to find the best deals.

Switch out your older small appliances (toaster, coffeemaker, mixer, etc.) that have seen better days. Go with trendy stainless, crisp white or dramatic black. If you’re daring, go with a quirky color like orange, turquoise or bright yellow.

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Weigh in with your favorite idea!

Which kitchen reinvention idea did you like the best?

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© 2012 lindacee

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I'd love to hear your comments! 5 comments

Be Pain Free profile image

Be Pain Free 4 years ago from Florida

Wow, when you make a hub, you don't mess around. Great info!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Be Pain Free, thanks for the lovely comment! I look forward to reading your Hubs! Glad we're following each other and will get to experience the Apprenticeship program together. Cheers!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This would really make a kitchen look new. The ideas are simple and would cost very little. I have been wanting to add a nice backsplash to our kitchen and you have just inspired me to suggest this to my husband. Thanks for the ideas and for sharing.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Glad you stopped by my Hub, teaches12345! So happy I could provide you with some kitchen reinvention ideas. You'll have to let me know how the backsplash turns out. Thanks so much for the read!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Good luck, jessesToons! I'm sure whatever cabinet project you attempt will turn out beautifully! Let us know what you decide to do and the results. Thank you for visiting today! :)

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