Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

3 kitchen remodel ideas on the cheap

by Iris Price
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Anyone can have a breathtaking kitchen remodel. Ideas are free, and if you can execute them yourself with inexpensive or repurposed items, you can remodel your kitchen on the cheap. With the help of a handy person or friend, many of these ideas can update even the sorriest kitchen.

From bleak to chic: creative kitchen remodel ideas

  1. Paint. Even if you can't afford to do anything else, a fresh coat of paint on the walls and even the cabinets can lift your spirits by putting a new face on your kitchen. White kitchens, especially white cabinets, are still all the rage. For a neutral backdrop against which you can play with any color accessories, choose white or gray for the walls, especially if your kitchen style is modern or contemporary with lots of stainless steel and granite. For the avante-garde, even inky-black colors are coming into vogue if you want to go for a "kitchen noir" look. Painting the cabinets often begs a change of hardware, which can be another relatively inexpensive upgrade.
  2. Glass tile mosaics. Your backsplash is one place you can let your inner artist out. Look for glass and stone tile sheets that feature the color accents you want in your kitchen or that match the neutral palette you already have chosen. Don't be afraid to mix it up -- a little or a lot. While it is easier to put tiles up by the sheet, take them apart and give yourself creative license to do something unique. For example, use two or more colors by buying sheets of each one and cutting them up so you can rearrange the tiles however you like. Do a checkerboard design on the diagonal. Lay subway tiles vertically instead of horizontally. Throw a few stone tiles in among the glass ones. Mix sizes and shapes. Don't limit yourself to the backsplash, either. If you have a narrow wall or want to liven up the bulkheads, mosaic them instead.
  3. Shelves instead of cabinets. More and more kitchens are eliminating upper cabinets in favor of open shelving where stacks of colorful dishware and knickknacks give the kitchen an airy feeling. Having your favorite plates and bowls out for everyone to see serves a dual purpose -- it adds color, shape, and randomly-shaped spaces -- plus an incentive for you to keep only those items you actually use. If you can't bear to part with your cabinets and you have empty space or a bulkhead above them you can demo, put a back- or under-lit shelf above the cabinets to display cherished collectibles.

These ideas might tickle your brain, but before you can really give serious thought to what you want your kitchen to look like, don some rubber gloves and give it a thorough cleaning top to bottom. Give away or recycle excess plastic storage tubs, clear off your counters and degrease your cabinets. It's easier to re-imagine the space without the clutter and dirt to distract you.

About the Author
Iris Price is a single Baby Boomer whose antidote to a lack of retirement funds was to launch a long-delayed career as a writer. While others her age concoct bucket lists and travel the world, she bought a new-construction home and obsessively creates lists of must-have home improvements and personal realization goals. She specializes in writing about home services and self-motivation.

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