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Posted on May 23, 2011

5 Interior Design Ideas to Update Your Kitchen (on a budget!)

We all want to upgrade and beautify our homes, but the problem with making changes these days comes down to two key facts: money is scarce and tastes change. High-contrast color kitchens are trendy this year (lime green and stark white, purple and white), but may not always be. Chrome and black appliances are all the rage, as are granite counters and reclaimed wood cabinets. Some people are also really into making healthy and/or “green” changes, trying to make their spaces beautiful and functional in a way the supports long-term sustainability and health goals. You know what they say about diets: if you want to eat more healthy, stock your kitchen with healthy food, not junk. The same idea can apply to your home: if you make it easier to be good, you will be good more often. And we start the being “good” by not over-reaching our budgets. Living within your means is the hottest new fashion, and we certainly want to promote that!

This year, forgo the massive remodel, and opt to give your kitchen a face lift instead.

Repaint/stain your cabinets with VOC-free paint or stain, of course. Unless your cabinets are just falling apart at the seams, you can probably get away with simply giving them a good hard scrub and a layer of paint or re-staining them. The new look will make you see the space with fresh eyes, trust me!

Get a sink-mounted water filter. (I know, please forgive the plug.) You’ve no doubt heard the recent clarion call to abandon our national love affair with bottled water; the concerns that inform this trend are real and incredibly sobering, and we’ve covered them in other blog articles. But to get the healthiest water, you need to filter what you drink (and bathe in). And for those of you who really want the convenience of a water filter spout in your kitchen, but don’t want to sacrifice your kitchen’s feng shui, we have seven different finishes just for you!

Consider green lighting options. Some older kitchens still have overhead fluorescent bar lights. Yuck. Aren’t we a bit too old and discerning for that? We don’t all have the budget to add a new skylight (which would be the ideal green kitchen lighting) but you have options to make a few changes to the illumination in your kitchen, save some energy and update the look all in one swoop. You’ll be amazed at the difference good lighting can make.

Look into sustainable countertops. There are a number of sustainable, affordable options out there if you’re into getting new countertops. There are the reclaimed wood and recycled paper varieties like PaperStone and EcoTop. Recycled glass counters like Vetrazzo, EnviroGLAS and EnviroSLAB. Ceramic tile can be a good option if you take care when shopping (look for tiles made from recycled material) and use a low-VOC adhesive to lay the tile.

Invest in energy star appliances. You can get some really good models of fridges, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens and stoves out there that look great, don’t cost a ton, and can save you money on your house bills in the long run (and some even come with local or even national rebates for going green!). Make sure they rate well and save lots of energy (some models only barely save you enough to be considered Energy Star compliant, and I’ve avoid those), and recycle your old appliances with your local municipality (or donate them to Goodwill).

What are you doing to your kitchen this summer to improve how it looks and functions? Send us pics on Facebook and Twitter!

Up next time: redo your bathroom with a few key additions or changes and give it a whole new look and feel.


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