How to give your kitchen a makeover on a budget

By Julie Ryburn
In Home Loans

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. But that lime green Laminex circa 1983, teamed with classic cork floor tiles and early 90s beige cabinetry is making yours feel a little less heartwarming and a lot more like a great big step back in time.

Sure, major kitchen renovations can be all kinds of time-consuming, not to mention expensive. But there are some things you can do to bring your kitchen into the 21st century without breaking the bank.

Here are our top four tips to help get you started.

Update the lighting

Getting the lighting right in your kitchen is a crucial first step to reinventing the heart of your home. Our number one piece of advice? Say farewell to fluorescent lighting… immediately. From there replace any dated light fittings with simple downlights and, if you have an island bench or breakfast bar, consider adding some modern pendants to create a key feature in the room. Bar pendant lights above the dining room table is also a bold, modern move.

Replace cupboard doors and handles

There’s no need to gut your whole kitchen to free yourself from those 90s beige cabinets – all they need is a facelift. Update the doors and handles to instantly create a fresh, new feel. There’s a tonne of affordable options on the market where you can mix and match different styles and colour palettes. Just remember, keep it simple for a clean, modern vibe.

Tackle those tiles

Tiles can be pricey, no doubt. But there are ways you can breathe new life into the tiles you’ve already got. Updating the grout is a quick, simple way to modernise your splashback – dark grey or black grout works especially well against white tiles and is very popular right now. No white tiles to work with? No problem. If the existing tiles are in good shape (that is, not chipped or cracked) why not paint over them using tile paint? While you’re at it, you could even grab a laminate paint to give dated benchtops a new lease of life.

Embrace the classics

As the saying goes, what’s old is new again – and the same goes for interior design. So before you get to work with a sledgehammer, make sure you’re not throwing retro fittings and fixtures on the skip. Against a new, modern backdrop, those taps or door handles might just shine. As for that cork floor we mentioned earlier – turns out cork is the current darling of the interiors world. Sure, the old oil-based sealants may have turned the tiles an orange colour, or they’ve faded in sunny areas, but this can all be fixed. Give a timber flooring specialist a call to discuss restoration options such as sanding and resealing. Those tiles you once loathed might ultimately serve up a distressed, vintage feel that brings authenticity to the new and improved heart of your home.

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