Despite the deluge of reality cooking shows on TV, not everyone has the time, ability or interest to be a gourmet cook. Some of us cook so infrequently that our kitchen counters occasionally need dusting. Others struggle daily to get a quick, decent meal on the table amidst the most chaotic hour of the day.
Does that lessen the need for a fabulous kitchen? I don't think so. The kitchen is more than where you cook. It's where you brew your morning coffee, toss the day's mail and uncork your favorite wine. It's where guests inevitably park themselves at parties, and it sets the tone for your home.
Short of any major renovations, here are some easy ways to update your kitchen:
- Add lighting underneath the cabinets - fluorescent or rope lighting work well.
- Add attractive night lights under the cabinets or a small table lamp on the counter.
- Replace that boring "over the sink" light with a funky hanging pendant. Feeling crafty? Turn a simple colander into hanging pendant!
Make a (back) splash!
- Rather than traditional tile backsplash, how about infusing a bold color with a fresh coat of semi-gloss paint?
- What about adding strips of stainless steel? Bonus - cheaper grade stainless is magnetic - add fun magnets to hold recipe cards or favorite photos.
- Curtains a bit dull? Pitch them and paint the window frame a complimentary color.
- Need privacy? You can do wonders with stylish dish towels, a pressure rod and round clips. Fold them in half as a topper, or full length as a café panel. My favorites are the Crate & Barrel dish towels in abstract lettuce and tomato patterns!
- How about using chalkboard paint on one wall? List the week's menu, sneak in a honey-do list, or play a rousing game of hangman.
- Spice up a neutral palate - frame your favorite bold print to infuse some color and oomph into the space.
- Add a series of smaller framed art underneath the cabinets.
- Write "Kiss the Cook" on your wall using acrylic wall letters. Or, how about "I kiss better than I cook?" Whatever works for you! Check out www.wallwords.com for ideas.
Whack the knick knacks!
- Retire the small chatchke stuff in favor of fewer, bolder accents. Too many distractions are stressful to the eye and harder to maintain!
- Whenever possible, go for dual purpose accents. For example, an attractive vase can hold spoons and spatulas, and glass canisters can display pastas and rice.
- Update cabinet knobs and drawer pulls
- Unsightly trash can? Swap it out for a chrome step-on can.
- Add a fresh area rug - preferably latex backed and machine washable, if possible!
- Chairs a bit blah? Add slipcovers, new chair pads, or paint them a new color (black is always in!).
While none of these ideas will improve your cooking, they will, at a minimum, make you smile when you toss the daily mail on the counter as you head to the phone to order in. Bon appetite!