Fed up with tired cabinets and dated decor? It’s easy to give your kitchen some sizzle with these on-trend style updates and mini makeover ideas
1. Modern luxe
This look is all about luxurious materials that feel amazing to touch and also create lots of contrast. Think statement marble, warm oak, glitzy brass, matte black fittings and glam lights. If you want to make some changes to a stock-standard kitchen, choosing a few of these features and applying them to your space can be enough to make it feel like a million bucks.
Nothing says luxury like a slab of beautiful marble – not only does it look stunning, it’s extremely durable. There is a wide range of types and grades of marble, and lots of different looks can be created from dark and moody to bright and clean. Pure marble isn’t a cheap benchtop option but if you stick to a 2-3mm thickness it will help to keep the cost down. A new benchtop is an easy kitchen update and using marble will add a luxe look and feel that no other material can match.
Tapware and sink update
While stainless-steel sinks have been the norm for years, we are now seeing sinks in new colours and finishes coming into play. If you are changing your benchtop, now is a great time to update your sink as well. And while you’re at it, why not revamp the tapware, too? Changing taps to a gold or black alternative will instantly make your kitchen feel more modern.
2. Country style
The country-style kitchen is a classic that will always stand the test of time. The look is all about the details: cabinetry should be Shaker-style and drawer pulls and handles should be ornate and traditional. Natural textures are also important, so be liberal with white linen, rustic rugs, wooden tables and, if you like colour, pastel hues and floral patterns.
Shaker-style cabinets are a key element of country kitchens. This style typically features recessed cabinet panels and sometimes glass-fronted doors. The best way to quickly achieve this look is by replacing your cabinet fronts, which is a cost-effective way to revamp your kitchen as long as the cabinet interiors are in good working condition. Work with a kitchen designer or simply measure your door and drawer fronts and order replacements for an update that will make your kitchen feel brand new.
If your cupboard doors are still in good condition, changing the hardware could be all it takes to give your kitchen a lift. Pull handles are often seen in country-style kitchens; cup handles (pictured middle left) would also be perfect and are nice and easy to grip. Wrought-iron decorative handles or simple round knobs are other options to consider. While replacing all the handles in your kitchen does add up, this is a great way to create a refreshing change in your kitchen at a fraction of the cost of redoing all the cabinets.
Industrial-style kitchens are still as popular as ever. This look involves lots of hard, functional surfaces such as stainless steel and concrete, and subway tiles really complete the look. Fittings should be tough and hard-wearing, including lights. Vintage and reclaimed furniture and fittings will add authenticity and a sense of history to your industrial-style space.
If your splashback is dated or damaged, replacing it with tiles can make a big impact for a moderate spend. There are lots of online tutorials about how to remove old tiles and grout, but
if this is a job for a tradie and you have a tight budget, choosing a cheaper tile will help to keep costs under control.
You can’t go wrong with subway tiles and a nice dark grey or black grout (darker grout is much more practical). Simple white subway tiles come in many different sizes and styles, but if white isn’t for you there are some great stainless-steel or silver options which will still give your kitchen that industrial look. Glass panels with a subway tile design printed onto them give the same look with a cheaper price tag.
Industrial kitchens can seem cold and clinical but they don’t need to be. Bring in some warmth by introducing wooden chairs, but choose a style that has an industrial look and feel. Wooden accessories such as a collection of chopping boards on display, or a metal canister or jug containing wooden spoons and utensils will also add a friendly, welcoming touch, as will a vase of flowers or little pots of greenery.
A classic mid-century kitchen features wooden cabinets teamed with bold, bright colours (typically yellow or orange). Two of the easiest ways to create this style of kitchen are to add some mid-century lighting over the island or in the kitchen area and to carry the kitchen feature colour through to other areas in the home for a more cohesive look.
We all know that paint works wonders, so if you have a pop of colour in your kitchen, try carrying this colour through by painting some nearby doors or a feature dining nook in the same shade. If painting a door feels like too much, consider painting some wooden door or drawer knobs in this colour in an adjacent space. This will link the kitchen to other areas and add freshness to its overall look and feel.
You can never have too much lighting in a kitchen. If you have an island bench, hanging a group of mid-century lights above it can add instant impact. Try a bubble or lotus pendant or even a cluster of small lights in the hue of your choice. For a great selection of mid-century lights try iconic.co.nz or retrolights.co.nz.
Another way to carry out a mini makeover in your kitchen is by refreshing your decorative accessories. Depending on your interior style, you could update your tea towels, canisters, fruit bowls and so on. Try grouping a collection of kitchen essentials – such as salt and pepper shakers, a candle, a small pot of herbs or plant – on a tray on the bench. Small changes like these can make a big difference for a minimum spend.
Words by: Vanessa Nouwens.