No room in any home sees as much action as the kitchen does. From office space to bistro by way of homework and pet-feeding zone, conference hall, party room and – let’s not forget! – an open all hours cafe and restaurant, it has to combine form and function in an innovative but inviting atmosphere around the clock; little wonder, then, that your workhorse space might be looking a bit weary.
Whether you’re setting the scene for a sale or having a general household revamp, treating your kitchen to a mini-makeover doesn’t have to be a complicated recipe.
Most people have more available space in their kitchen than they think.
The slow cooker, the kitchen scales, the electric steamer; the flask that you took on last week’s picnic, the laptop… and that handbag? Only the essential items that you use every single day (for most of us, that’ll be the kettle/coffee maker and toaster, then) should enjoy permanent residence on the work surfaces in your kitchen – and if they’re not food- or drink-related, they have no right to be there at all, so hang that handbag up somewhere else.
If you’re short on under-counter cupboard space for equipment and appliances that, although perhaps vital to preparation for certain meals, aren’t used on a daily basis, think laterally: the spiffy stand mixer could live on that free shelf in the cloakroom in between bakes; the air fryer really won’t mind hanging out in the utility room until the next time you crave guilt-free fries.
As you undertake your mission to free up available space, be cruel to be kind: if you haven’t used the sandwich toaster for the last two years, you’re unlikely to use it this week… so why are you keeping it?
But your newly-spacious kitchen doesn’t have to be clinical. Fresh flowers in a beautiful vase, large glass jars filled with day-to-day ingredients such as pasta, rice or lentils and easy-on-the-eye kitchen kit such as a pestle and mortar or vintage recipe books soften hard lines and add interest to erstwhile practical vistas.
If your cabinets are in good structural shape, a fresh coat of paint and new handles can give your kitchen a whole new lease of life. But if you’re showcasing your kitchen for a sale, keep the colours neutral; potential buyers want to see a backdrop against which they can set their own scene.
There’s a little bit more prep involved in painting in the kitchen than there may be in any other room in the house (thorough degreasing of the surfaces before you begin is an essential task as is using a bonding primer on most laminates, while specialist sealers offer protection from steam and make inevitable splatters and splashes easy to clean off), but multiple online guides will tell you all you need to know on the subject.
Similarly, replacement worktops and countertop overlays are a speedy, budget-friendly way to give the whole room a facelift in less time than it takes to prepare, cook and eat a Sunday roast.
And it may sound really obvious, but… when did you last scrub the backsplashes, polish the sink and taps with limescale remover and give the kitchen windows a really good clean? Go on; bring the sparkle back!
Take a seat
Rickety furniture and worn out cushions are not a good look in any room of the home and – unless your kitchen is rocking to the artful, shabby chic beat – a tired-out table doesn’t look tasty. Regardless of whether you’re planning on moving on or staying put, a decent kitchen table with suitable chairs to match are absolutely essential to your modernisation menu. Top tip: if you need new kitchen furniture and you need it now, let the terms ‘ex-display’ and ‘clearance’ be your search engine watchwords – you’ll be amazed at the amazing bargains to be found, even from some of the highest high end retailers on the block.
Fluorescent lights belong in the garage, table lamps bring a side order of clumsy clutter to a dining table and dining in the dark isn’t an option.
Task lighting or downlighters that target the workspaces such as under-cupboard spots fitted directly above the hob, sink and preparation areas, or ceiling-mounted lights with directional spots, are essential in any kitchen, and can easily sit alongside ambient light options that can change the mood from busy and practical to chilled out and intimate at the flick of a switch. Pendant lights with dimmable switches, meanwhile, offer a one-size-fits-all, super-speedy solution.
The writers of this feature are long-standing experts in all property-related issues. If you require further guidance, inspiration and expert advice on revamping or scene-setting your kitchen (or any other room in the house, for that matter!), please do not hesitate to contact Vivienne Hayes or Jess Goldsmith directly:
Vivienne Hayes firstname.lastname@example.org, Jess Goldsmith email@example.com.