Not every kitchen transformation has to be a total — and expensive — gut job. Making a few key changes can give the room a fresh look and sometimes make it more functional. Designer Laura Angelini of Angelini Designs suggests the following budget fix-ups:
Paint can work wonders on everything, and kitchen cabinets are no exception. Getting cabinets painted professionally is best; but if you do the work yourself, remove all the hinges. Label each door with masking tape so you remember which goes where. Prep cabinets well so paint will stick: Scrub them down, and use 100-grit sandpaper to make the surfaces very smooth. Use a paint with a satin finish, which is easiest to clean. Another tip: Wash your brush every two hours so the paint flows evenly. Consider painting lower cabinets in one color and upper cabinets in a different hue.
New knobs or pulls can help transform the look of cabinets and drawers. Schoolhouse Electric & Supply and Rocky Mountain Hardware (www.rockymountainhardware.com) offer inexpensive hardware, as do well-known local outlets such as Williams Lumber (www.williamslumber.com) and Home Depot (www.homedepot.com).
If you decide to replace cabinets, don’t think you have to buy expensive ones. Consider less costly options — then go all-out on countertops and backsplashes. If you do opt for new cabinets, add specialty systems within drawers for better storage.
Forget the microwave. Angelini doesn’t use one anymore, saying that it “disturbs” the look of the room. If you can’t live without yours, put it in an adjacent pantry.
Change a light fixture or two. Doing so can create an attractive focal point, particularly if the fixtures are oversized or have colorful shades.