Update Your Kitchen Without Installing New Cabinets

Is it possible to update your kitchen and improve the value of your house without installing brand new cabinets? House flippers and real estate agents will tell you that the kitchen and bathroom are what sell a house; however, installing new cabinets can be costly, especially if you aren't that handy.

You don't have to be handy to update and increase the selling value of your home, and you certainly don't have to install brand new cabinets to increase the beauty of your kitchen. Whether you are planning to sell your home or just looking at updating your space, you can do it simply and easily with some paint and imagination.

The first step is to decide on a color palette for your kitchen. One of the best ways to choose a palette is to go to a fabric store and find a fabric you love. Take colors from the design as your color palette. Purchase enough fabric to make curtains and a table cloth for your kitchen. Take a swatch of fabric with you to the paint store to choose coordinating colors. Or, if you aren't handy with a sewing machine, head to the store and buy kitchen curtains and a matching tablecloth and use that pattern and colors to choose your palette.

Pick a light color from the fabric that isn't very prominent. This will bring that shade out of the fabric and really match your decor nicely. Choose a second color from the fabric that is darker and matches well with the lighter shade. Decide which will be your primary color and secondary color. Perhaps you may want to make the darker color the primary color if your kitchen is quite large, and use the light color for accents.

Clean out your cabinets. Get everything out of the cabinets and give them a good scrub with cleaner. Remove the cabinet doors and lightly sand them. Fix any breaks, cracks or holes with putty and sand even and level. When the cabinets are clean and fixed, prime them and the cabinets in and out with primer paint, which is usually white.

Here is where your imagination comes in. You can create a three-dimensional effect on your plain cabinet doors by taping off a 2 or 3 inch border and painting primary color on the inside and secondary color on the outside. You will want to use the lighter shade to paint in the cabinets. Paint the outer side of the cabinets with the primary color you put on the doors if you are creating three-dimensional effects. Otherwise, paint the doors primary and the rest of the cabinets secondary.

You can put more than one border on the doors and alternate the colors, or use a third color as an accent. It would be best to take that accent color, whether bright, light or dark from the fabric you have chosen.

If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can easily make curtains and a tablecloth to match your decor. A tablecloth is a simple square, rectangle or circle that fits your table. Curtains can be as simple as a square with a loop hem at the top to slide over a curtain rod.

You shouldn't neglect the walls in your kitchen either. Choose your color from your fabric wisely. You probably don't want to choose a color the same as what you used on your cabinets, or they will blend into the décor too much. Choose an accenting color - for example, if your cabinets are blue, choose a light yellow for your walls. The contrast, as long as it's not too drastic (primary blue and primary yellow would be a very "loud" kitchen), will be very pleasing to the eye.

Have fun with your cabinets. There is a lot you can do with the doors to make them different and new. Updating the look doesn't need to be expensive, it just takes some paint, some time and your imagination.

Other ideas for your cabinets are:

  • Trompe l'oeil, where you paint to fool the eye into thinking things are what they are not using shadow and shading.
  • Cutting out the center of your cabinets and replacing it with glass, frosted glass or stained glass. (Glass can be purchased and cut to your specific size at a hardware store or glass store.)
  • Don't forget the knobs on your cabinet if you have them. You can either clean the ones you have and shine them up or purchase new ones. Knobs are an inexpensive addition or change to your cabinets that can really change the entire decor.

Have fun with your kitchen renovations. Take your time and even the most serious of home buyers will be fooled into thinking the cabinets are new and updated.