Check Out These Quick Kitchen Updates

Most rooms don’t require an entire makeover, if you simply fix up a few glaring issues, some rooms can be wonderful! 

Matt and I always talk about the kitchen being the heart of the home and I know I’ve experienced that in my home and I’ll bet you have too. It is the place that everyone gathers when I have friends over.  There’s plenty of seating in the family room, but everyone seems to congregate around the kitchen, even if they have to stand…

Well, because kitchens are such a big part of the everyday life of your family, they are the one room that you should always keep up to date.  If your kitchen looks run down and dated, the entire house will look that way. And vice versa, if your kitchen is beautiful, the rest of your home will get a little pick me up from it!  So we want to talk about some simple things you can do to make your kitchen look fresher.  We aren’t going to get into too many large projects in here because we want these fixes to be easy to accomplish yet make a difference.


Let’s use this kitchen as an example.

For instance, the fruit border in here that sort of creates the theme and color story for this room extends all the way into the adjoining family room, so removing it would really be a project! Instead, if we can find little things that will change the appearance of this kitchen, we can save a lot of effort and get the update we need at the same time.

The first idea I have is at the window. I like the softness of the window treatment because it really helps in a room full of hard edges. It looks outdated though and I think it might just be the continental rod that it is mounted on.  Maybe we could remount the shade on a rod that is newer? Maybe find something like a round metal rod with interesting finials like you see everywhere today. That’s certainly a quicker change than making a whole new window treatment.

The first thing Matt wanted to do is to take down the pot and pan rack.  I know we’ve built them in the past.  But for now, removing this one will open the room up a bit and make it look different and that’s what we’re after.  Sometimes just a change is all that’s needed to freshen up a space.

Something else that makes this kitchen seem old and outdated is the silk plants up on the cabinets.   Decorators have been doing that for years, but there must be something new we could do.  Maybe we could eliminate the greenery and build an upper cabinet to go above that would take up the space, because today, most cabinets go up to the ceiling and that open space is eliminated.  It would be interesting to leave the new cabinets open and accessorize them.  Matt and I thought we could paint them a color that worked well with the rest of the room and really solve the faux greenery problem.  However, building cabinets isn’t really a quick fix.

As you can imagine, Matt didn’t mind because he loves working in the shop and I really think it would make a huge difference. Then just by updating some of the accessories, this room will take on a whole new look and feel.

Well, we made some of the quick changes we suggested and the room started to look fresher by each addition.


The upper cabinets that Matt made make such a difference in the way this room looks.  No more dusty trailing ivy thrown sporadically across the cabinets– we can now display pretty plates and bowls that can be attractive accessories or can actually be used when needed.

Also, I’m happy with the color we painted the cabinets because they blend so nicely into the oak.  It works because it’s not the cabinet that we wanted to stand out, it’s the accessories.  Of course, you could do this the other way and add some real color to the kitchen by painting these in a green, orange or deep gold!


Then, to freshen up the shade, we switched the continental rod out with a 1” round metal rod that takes up some of the space in the large pocket that was sewn into the shade.  The finials are narrow and they fit nicely into the area between the upper cabinets.  Now that whole area looks brand new.

Then, in keeping with the theme that was created in this room 10 years ago by the fruit border at the ceiling, we found some new accessories that still blend with the old, but bring the kitchen into this decade!  On the wall, right in your line of sight, we mounted a couple of light herb prints.  The design is current, and generally, you notice something at eye level in a room before you notice something at the ceiling.  And, with Matt’s new cabinets distracting the eye from the border, that old design will almost disappear from this room.

On the counter, we have the same coffee pot and mugs, but a streamlined wall mounted shelf on the backsplash raises the mugs off the counter and decorates the backsplash at the same time.

Matt did take down the pot and pan rack and stored the pots away where they can stay clean before each use.  I never really understood the idea of hanging your pots out in the room – unless they were just for show.  Everything else gets dusty, why wouldn’t they?


Anyway, it does open up the kitchen to the family room and just makes the kitchen seem more spacious.

Matt was interested in changing the lighting under the upper cabinets and that still would be a nice project.  Small halogen puck lights really give a nice updated look to a kitchen and put good task lighting on the counter tops.  The old fluorescent just looks ….old.  But instead, for this update we brought in a couple of very small table lamps and when they are placed in out of the way positions, they add soft lighting and really cozy up the kitchen.

And, if we wanted to go further in this kitchen we could add hardware like some nice knobs to the doors and drawers, or we could add a tile backsplash and that would really give this room a lift. Even adding a rug to the center of the room would be nice since we have such a large space.  For more work space, how about adding a moveable island?

So you see, there are many different things you can do to your rooms that don’t require weeks of planning, hiring contractors, or breaking the bank.  A few updates here and there can really make a difference in how others see your home and how you feel when you’re there too.



  1. Marjoycek says

    I like all your suggestions except for the pot rack. Sometimes there is just not enough storage in the kitchen. And it is just not handy to store them some place else in the house.

    • Shari Hiller says

      I see what you are saying, and whether we like it or not, function should take precedence over form, so if you need to use a pot rack, that’s what you need and you make it work! Thanks for your comment.

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