Quick tips for heart of home

Seven tricks to freshen kitchen

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Daniel Dro­let

THERE was a time when it was thought that the eas­i­est way to breathe new life into a kitchen was to change the cur­tains.

I know this be­cause ev­ery so of­ten my mother would set­tle down at her sewing ma­chine and do just that. The old change-the-cur­tains prin­ci­ple of cheap and easy is as valid as ever. But th­ese days, there are more small­bud­get things you can do to give your kitchen a lift.

Paint­ing 101

Paint­ing the walls is at the top of any list. If you choose your wall colours wisely, they can even soften or lessen the im­pact of kitchen cup­boards you don’t like.

I say there are no bad colours, just bad colour matches. If you have pink cup­boards, don’t paint the walls or­ange. Find a colour that com­ple­ments the cup­boards.


Take the colour idea one step fur­ther by dress­ing up the kitchen with ac­ces­sories in one colour. Lime green is pop­u­lar right now, and pur­ple is com­ing on strong.

Think can­is­ter sets, bowls, even toast­ers in one colour to give your room vis­ual bang.

Fin­ish­ing touches

To give your kitchen a pol­ished look, add crown mould­ing. You can also add more lighting, per­haps for the counter.

Without chang­ing the coun­ters or even the sink, you can add a funk fac­tor with slick, new kitchen faucets.

Knobs and pulls

Chang­ing the knobs and pulls on the cup­boards is an ef­fec­tive way to give your kitchen a quick up­date. For max­i­mum punch, con­sider looking be­yond what you find in the hard­ware store.

MacKen­zie-Childs (www.macken­ziechilds.com), a U.S. firm that spe­cial­izes in high-end table­ware and home fur­nish­ings, of­fers unique, colour­ful and whim­si­cal prod­ucts. They’re a good ex- am­ple of what you can do if you want to push the en­ve­lope on kitchen knobs and pulls.

But a word of cau­tion: Don’t for­get about the holes.

If you’re do­ing a straight sub­sti­tu­tion of one knob for an­other of ex­actly the same shape, holes may not be an is­sue. But new knobs that are shaped dif­fer­ently may leave ugly holes that de­feat your whole pretty-up man­date.


There are many cool, eas­ily in­stalled sys­tems and gad­gets that will im­prove the util­ity of a kitchen. Favourites in­clude in-cup­board or­ga­niz­ers, fit­ted cut­lery trays, drawer spice trays, slide­out garbage cans and lazy su­sans. You can also in­stall draw­ers in­side bot­tom cup­boards so you don’t have to bend down to look for things.

Think about adding an is­land if there is room. At its most ba­sic an is­land can be a solid old wooden ta­ble. Screw on some wheels — the kind with brakes — and add some hooks on the side, and maybe un­der­neath.

You now have a mov­able is­land and some ex­tra stor­age.

Look for bar­gains

Look for scratched and dented ap­pli­ances, maybe check­ing out the bins for over­stocked or dis­con­tin­ued tiles that may be on sale. There may be just enough for your project.

For paint, look through mis-tints to find two or three that work to­gether.

And good kitchen tow­els bought on sale can be made into Ro­man shades for the win­dows or used to re-up­hol­ster chairs.

Paint­ing 202

Be­sides the walls, freshen the cup­boards with splashes of paint.

Paint­ing outdated wood cab­i­net doors in the newer colours gives your kitchen a more up-to-date look. Many hard­ware stores sell equip­ment that will al­low you to spray paint doors in a more pro­fes­sional fin­ish.

To add in­ter­est, use two colours — one for top cab­i­nets and an­other for the bot­tom. There’s even paint that can be ap­plied to old back­splash tiles.

Old lam­i­nate coun­ter­tops can also be tem­po­rar­ily fresh­ened up with a coat of paint. This is not a long-term so­lu­tion as you have to be care­ful about get­ting the coun­ter­tops wet, and chop­ping on them is a no-no.

But a quick coat of paint can give you a year to save money for a big­ger fix, such as gran­ite coun­ter­tops.

Which brings up a fi­nal is­sue: Know­ing how far to go with quick fixes.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Crown mould­ing and ac­cent colours are quick, easy ways to re­fresh a kitchen.

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