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Before giving your kitchen a makeover so drastic that your family is worried they are in the wrong place the next time they come home, think about the simple changes you can make. Sometimes a kitchen just needs a little affection and sprucing up, and it is often the small adjustments that are most effective.

You might only need to reorganise your kitchen furniture. If this is the case, remember the ‘golden triangle’ – the position you place the three things you use most in the kitchen; the cooker, fridge and sink. Make sure that there is enough space between these different elements so that you can work comfortably but that they are not more than three metres apart.

Making your kitchen neater is often an easy change to make. Hide appliances in drawers or behind doors. You can even use invisible ‘finger pulls’ to make cupboard handles disappear. Make sure that your kitchen has enough storage space. Deeper and wider drawers can create more space, as can tall cabinets and other freestanding pieces like hutches and armoires. If you want to fit cabinet drawers, make sure that you fit them with solid melamine bottoms so that the bottoms don’t sag or come loose. You can also utilise the space above your walls and tall cabinets.

By simply installing a hook in your kitchen, you can hang kitchen utensils on the wall. You can use a kitchen cabinet handle as a hanging utensil rack. All you need is a drill and appropriate bit, handle and screws and hooks. Simply drill through the bottom of your upper cabinets to install the handle, which should come with the mounting hardware necessary for installation. Don’t overdo hanging utensil racks however, as this will make your kitchen appear cluttered once again. You can also use your walls to mount cookbook holders for your recipe books or install a wine rack.

A wonderful addition to the kitchen, if you have the space, is to add an island. Other than providing plenty of storage space, kitchen islands are great spots to socialise around. Kitchen islands can be anything from a row of kitchen cabinets or an ordinary table to an assortment of built-in islands with various uses, such as a place to prepare food, make food or wash dishes.

For a change that is perhaps less drastic, a simple paint job might be in order (although this can be drastic in some cases, depending on the colour chosen!). You can paint your walls, or only certain parts of your kitchen, e.g. the cabinets. You can simply change your curtains or add elements of colour to your kitchen, for example, a pot plant in an attractively painted pot. Look at your general colour scheme and see what colours can improve your kitchen’s overall look. This year, experts have suggested creamy neutrals, veiled violets, greys, greens and bold turquoise.

Another way you can add colour to your kitchen is by installing a backsplash, which is a shield of an easily-cleaned material (usually ceramic tiles) that is placed behind an oven top or kitchen sink to catch slashes of liquid. One has to make the appropriate measurements, set rows of tile, grout the backsplash and install tiles around the inset frame. You will need a trowel, ceramic-tile adhesive, spacers and/or shims, grout, vinyl gloves to spread the grout, a float, nails and chalk (to create a starting line for the diagonal field tile).

Another simple way to improve your kitchen’s look is by changing or improving the lighting. You can use cabinet lighting, ceiling lights with dimmers and spotlights above the cooking and dining areas. Diffused lights can make a kitchen look cosier and more attractive.

Look at the smaller things in your kitchen and see what needs replacing. An old pair of curtains could be past their due date, or perhaps a shiny pair of new kitchen taps is in order. These smaller accessories and appliances are cheaper to replace but still make a big difference to your kitchen.


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