House Tips

kitchen lightingAs part of Fairway’s continuing efforts to make sure that our clients and readers have the best possible information about the housing market, home advice and more, we have asked some local experts to write articles for our website. Today’s guest writer is Barbara Green, Interior Designer and owner of Sensibly Chic Designs for Life who gives us some great insights on how kitchen updates can make all the difference in the home you own or the home you are planning to buy.

7 Kitchen Updates That Won’t Break the Bank

Is your kitchen looking tired and outdated? Would you love a new kitchen but believe that it simply isn’t in the budget? Are you preparing to sell your home and know how much value there is in a kitchen? Here are seven easy updates that can improve the look of your kitchen without busting your bank account.


  1. painted cabinetsPaint – Paint is the quickest and most affordable way to completely transform the look of your kitchen. Since kitchens don’t typically have a lot of visible wall space (most of the walls are covered by cabinets and appliances), I always recommend going with a more dramatic color since it will add drama without overwhelming. Another recommendation for kitchen paint colors is to select a color that is a favorite food. Think chocolate brown, cherry red, or sage green. Sounds delicious!
  2. Cabinets – Replacing cabinets is very expensive, but they, too, can be transformed with a coat of paint. Be sure to clean them thoroughly before starting. Remove the doors and hardware and coat all surfaces with a quality primer. The final step is 2 – 3 coats of semi-gloss latex paint. White is a popular cabinet color and very safe if you are planning on putting your home on the market. Gray is a trending color that is gaining popularity for cabinetry, also.
  3. Flooring – Kitchen floors take a beating from heavy traffic and spillage, so they tend to age faster than other areas of the home. While it is a more expensive fix than a can of paint, it is well worth the investment if your kitchen floor has seen better days. Vinyl is the most affordable floor, and the quality and style has improved tremendously. Many homes are moving toward hardwoods in the kitchen but you have to be vigilant against water leaks and spills. Ceramic tile is durable and waterproof, but the downside is it is more expensive and unforgiving if you drop something on it.
  4. Lighting – Kitchen lighting can serve as a functional element (helping you cook and maneuver) and also as a decorative element. There are so many beautiful pendant lights and chandeliers that can really elevate the look of your kitchen. If you’ve got fluorescent lights or the brass fixtures all the builders used to install you need to run, not walk to the lighting store to get those replaced! Accent lighting installed under, inside, or above cabinets will also give a fresh new look to your kitchen and aren’t a huge expense to install.
  5. Faucets – It may seem like a minor detail, but you will be amazed by the effect simply changing out your kitchen faucet will make. With a small renovation, you have to make sure your new faucet still has the same footprint as your old one (one hole, three hole, etc.) but you can change out the metal type or the shape or how it functions or all three! Handy homeowners with a wrench can easily do this themselves. The hardest part is laying on your back inside the cabinet!! DIY challenged can hire a handyman or plumber relatively inexpensively to do the work for them.
  6. kitchen granite and flooringHardware – Cabinet hardware is like the jewelry for your kitchen. If your hardware is old and dated you can give your cabinets an easy update by switching it with something new. If you are looking to create a modern look, sleek, tubular or rectangular hardware in brushed nickel or chrome would be perfect. To create an old world look, stick with more curvy or ornate styles in oil-rubbed bronze. Glass knobs can add a touch of glamour if that is the look you’re aiming for.
  7. Counters – Granite is far and away the most popular counter in real estate today. It will be a major expense replacing your current counter with granite, but if you are thinking of putting your home on the market it could be the difference between selling quickly and sitting on the market for a while. Also, sticking with the more common granite colors will help keep the cost down. Counter space is at a premium, so I recommend keeping it as clear as possible. If you are short on counter space, invest in a cart that you can roll up to your workspace when cooking but roll into a corner when not in use. A super cheap cheat for extra counter space is pulling out your drawers and laying cutting boards on top to squeeze out every bit of surface area possible!