Baltimore Sun Sunday - - REAL ESTATE -

can let go of the melon baller,” En­gel­bach says. If you find later that you do use the waf­fle-maker quite of­ten, you can put it back on the counter. Toss that col­lec­tion of mis­matched glass­ware too. “Be­ing an adult means let­ting go of free pint glasses from col­lege,” she adds.

2. Put ev­ery­thing in a log­i­cal place

When you put things back onto your shelves and into your draw­ers, or­ga­nize for the way you use your kitchen. Put knives near cut­ting boards close to the sink. Gather cof­fee sup­plies to­gether on a tray. For one of her clients, En­gel­bach made a sta­tion for the school-age kids to put their lunches to­gether, with draw­ers for snacks and con­tain­ers.

3. Paint some­thing big

If you can’t stom­ach the work or don’t have time to paint cab­i­nets, paint some walls. One bold ac­cent wall might re­quire only a half­gal­lon of paint and an af­ter­noon of work, Ben­nett says. Or paint your floor. “If you have a wood floor but you hate the wood’s color, you can paint it white,” she adds. With the right paint, you can also paint tile floor­ing or a back­splash. Ben­jamin Moore and Sher­winWil­liams have good op­tions, she says.

4. Up­date hard­ware

Both Ben­nett and Soria sug­gest in­stalling new cab­i­net hard­ware. “One of the most com­mon ques­tions clients ask is whether all of the met­als have to match,” says Soria, who is based in Los An­ge­les. “But I think you can re­ally mix it up.” He says that black fin­ish looks good with brass fin­ish, or even with nickel zinc. Mix up shapes too.

Try knobs on the up­per cab­i­nets and pulls on the low­ers, a strat­egy Ben­nett em­ployed for her own kitchen. For even less money, you can spray paint your ex­ist­ing hard­ware. “I am a spray-paint queen,” Ben­nett says. “Un­screw those knobs and take them out to your garage.” She sug­gests matte or brushed gold.

5. Change out light fix­tures

Up­dat­ing fix­tures may seem like a project only for home­own­ers, but Soria was able to change out the lights in his rental with his land­lord’s ap­proval. When choos­ing a new fix­ture, con­sider how much light you want. In a dark kitchen, Ben­nett says, the lamp­shades should be translu­cent or glass. “Then you’ll get a lot more light and not just di­rec­tional light” shin­ing down­ward.

6. Ac­ces­sorize well

“Even just the type or amount of ac­ces­sories you have in your kitchen can com­pletely change the look,” Ben­nett says. With a clas­sic white kitchen and black coun­ter­tops, she’d add nat­u­ral wood in cut­ting boards leaning against a back­splash or wooden bowls on a shelf. “A cop­per or terra-cotta plant pot looks amaz­ing,” she adds. If you’re look­ing for more vi­brantly col­ored ac­ces­sories, Ben­nett says to use the color in no more than three ac­ces­sories. Think, too, of how those ap­pli­ances on your coun­ter­top can be ac­ces­sories in their own right. En­gel­bach says Smeg’s ap­pli­ances in par­tic­u­lar are at­trac­tive, and adds that even a new ket­tle and toaster can re-en­er­gize a kitchen.

7. Put down a wash­able throw rug

“They’re mak­ing some re­ally good wash­able rugs for the kitchen now,” Soria says, point­ing to Hook & Loom as an ex­am­ple. Try a 2-by-3-foot rug in front of the sink or a 2-by-8-foot run­ner down a long kitchen. It adds “soft­ness and color,” he says. “And you want a wash­able rug be­cause, in a kitchen, there are sauces fly­ing every­where.”

8. Hang art

“Some­thing you don’t see all the time is putting up art,” Soria says. “I’ve put up art on my back­splash us­ing self-ad­he­sive foam tape.” He says it can help an­chor those or­ga­nized sta­tions, mak­ing them look vis­ually united. En­gel­bach agrees. “I think it’s nice to have fab­u­lous art­work,” she says. “For peo­ple who have open floor plans and open kitchens, they need to be cog­nizant of the fact that the kitchen is part of the liv­ing space.” If you can see a kitchen wall while you’re sit­ting on your liv­ing room sofa, you’ll want it to be aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing.

9. Try re­mov­able wall­pa­per and tile

For renters and non­renters alike, En­gel­bach rec­om­mends tem­po­rary wall­pa­per. Many com­pa­nies make th­ese, in­clud­ing Tem­pa­per De­signs and Chas­ing Pa­per. En­gel­bach says that while many of her New York clients are in rented apart­ments, even those who aren’t don’t know if they want to com­mit to the ex­pense of fully ad­he­sive wall­pa­per. For a “very-bud­get up­date” for a back­splash, Soria sug­gests self-ad­he­sive penny tile, easy enough to find on Ama­zon, at Home Depot or at Bed Bath & Be­yond. “If you don’t have the time or the money to ac­tu­ally tile, you can ac­tu­ally use this wall de­tail.”

10. Change out a win­dow treat­ment

Soria just fin­ished his par­ents’ kitchen re­model and added a pat­terned Ro­man shade. “It’s a small up­date that you can do,” he says. To save even more, Ben­nett sug­gests, sew the shade your­self with rem­nants or go­ing-out-of-stock fab­ric.

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