The kitchen is often dubbed the heart of the home, and we get that – it’s a special space where we constantly find our nearest and dearest gathered to celebrate life’s milestones, big and small. Whether it’s kiddos doing homework after school or sipping on cocktails with friends while putting the finishing touches on that dinner party entrée, countless memories are made in this room. So, it comes as no surprise that most of our clients include a “dream kitchen” on their wishlist and, because the holiday season is quite the busy one for any culinary space, many of them want it ready before December comes a-callin’.
Of course, mastering a full-scale kitchen renovation before Aunt Edna and your in-laws hit the tarmac would be superb, but November and December are fast approaching…so, where do you turn when you don’t have the time (or the budget) to renovate? Never fear – we’ve compiled a selection of tips that will help you refresh your kitchen’s style and function regardless of timeline or price point. No renovations required!
Update Your Hardware
New pulls and knobs will go a long way in modernizing the look of your kitchen and, with a screwdriver and a little bit of elbow grease, it’s an update that can be made quickly and affordably! From shape to finish, there are countless options available, so it’s worth hunting through inspiration images to get an idea of what speaks to you before you start shopping.
Expert Tip: Measure the size of your existing handles accurately on the interior of the drawer or door, and take note of the way they actually attach to the cabinet front. You’ll need to ensure that the dimensions and installation method of your new selections match your current ones to avoid any extra holes or repairs to your millwork.
Rejuvenation is one of our favorite places to shop for hardware! With a wealth of finishes to choose from (nickel, brass, bronze), it’s a breeze to coordinate your selection with your existing plumbing and lighting.
When designing the Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse kitchen, utilizing these Amerock pulls was an easy choice. From the oil rubbed bronze finish to the squared cup-pull shape, the characteristics were on point with this kitchen’s modern farmhouse vibe. And we love that hardware doesn’t have to be expensive to make a dramatic impact!
Why limit yourself to home improvement stores and online shopping when you can peruse other uber-fashionable retailers like Anthropologie? Though primarily known for clothing, they also offer unique home décor collections! We love knobs like these and these, which are very similar to the brass and porcelain selections seen above.
Swap Out Seating
Central to any kitchen, islands and peninsulas serve as the hub around which daily activities revolve. Thus, our bar and counter stools experience more wear and tear than almost any other seating arrangement in the house! If you’ve been living with stools that are showing their age or you’ve simply fallen out of love with what you’ve got, incoming holiday guests are the perfect reason to upgrade! Check out a few of our favorite options below…
These metal and wood stools bring warmth and pizzazz to an otherwise subdued color palette.
Dust Off Your Dishes
Now that your guests have a stylish place to perch, it’s time to think about what they’ll be looking at while they nosh and mingle. It could be our southern upbringing, but the first question you’re gonna hear when someone drops in for a visit is, “What are you having to drink?” And we all know presentation is key – how you serve a drink is just as important as the way it tastes! Most of us have elegant servingware hidden away in a buffet or china cabinet somewhere, and we’ve decided it’s time to dust those beauties off and [dis]play!
We know it takes a teensy bit more time and effort, but pouring cocktails from a pretty pitcher and serving light bites on an heirloom platter lets your guests know that they’re special – it always feels so nice to be entertained with the “good stuff.” If your current collection is lacking or outdated (and not in a way that feels this-is-so-old-it’s-vintage-and-looks-cool-again), you have the perfect excuse to purchase a few new pieces that will be used for years to come.
We personally love the combination of practicality and opulence that a traditional serving platter provides. Offer up appetizers for all of your holiday guests in style, and then display the piece on a shelf once the celebrations come to an end.
Silver pieces displayed on open shelving bring a lovely shine to this kitchen’s more rustic demeanor. We’re naturally inclined to use whatever’s within reach, so why not ensure special serving pieces are easily accessible?
Platters and bowls don’t need to be crafted from silver or china to make a statement. An antique wooden bowl or even a simple cutting board can lend a dose of warmth and texture, especially if your countertops are made of a cooler stone like marble or quartz.
Spruce Up Your Storage
A wonderful way to revamp your existing kitchen is to re-evaluate your visible storage spaces. Do you have open shelves or cabinets with glass fronts? Even a rarely used portion of countertop can be reworked to incorporate items you may already have in other rooms. Try swapping out your usual stash of white bowls or plates for pretty pieces that are less focused on function and moreso on style. Creating special vignettes using small pieces of art, metallic candlesticks, or a tasteful collection of mementos will be lovingly appreciated by you and your visiting guests. In the words of lifestyle blogger Sue De Chiara, moments created “purely for good looks” are as important as their more utilitarian counterparts.
“Zhushing,” or making our living environment more attractive and pleasing to the eye, isn’t just a fun and fancy term HGTV hosts enjoy throwing around. Sprinkling moments of pure beauty throughout your home can actually increase the satisfaction you feel when interacting with it.
Is it necessary to have fresh flowers and a cute carafe next to your coffee bar? Probably not…but if enjoying fresh blooms and a tall glass of water while you wait for your latte to brew is wrong, we don’t wanna be right!
We love how playful pieces of art inject color and charisma into this monochromatic kitchen corner! Create nooks and crannies that are reflective of who you are and what you’re passionate about – proudly displaying cherished collectibles prompts conversation and allows your home’s distinctive personality to shine.
Let Your Light Shine
We know, we know, when do we not suggest an update to lighting!? But swapping out kitchen pendants can make a significant impact on the look and feel of your space! And don’t forget about natural lighting as well! If your windows are currently outfitted with blinds and heavy drapes, consider swapping those out for lighter sheers or Roman shades. Greeting your guests with beautiful lighting is a surefire way to make an impression!
Strive for Subtle
We like to remind clients that it’s often the smallest details that make the most dramatic impact. There is nothing wrong with allowing the season to inspire you; but, if your goal is sophisticated serenity, it’s important not to get carried away. Instead, set the mood with quieter accessories like decadent hand soaps, lush greenery, tea towels, pillows and throws outfitted in luxurious fabrics. These special accents are readily available and relatively inexpensive, making them a great way to quickly transform your kitchen and breakfast nook for any season.
If you have a banquette, swap out lighter pillows for heavier ones that make your seating warm and cozy. We love pillows from Square Feathers – you can’t go wrong with a nice herringbone, plaid, or velvet for the holidays!
Similar to throw pillows, a thoughtfully placed runner can instantly enhance texture and comfort. Added perk? Vintage Turkish and Oushak rugs have that perfect “worn-in” feel that helps disguise dirt and mess!
Refreshing hand soaps that are beautiful to boot will leave a lasting impression [and lingering scent] on anyone who makes a trip to your kitchen sink.
Bringing the outdoors in is always a refreshing way to change the look and feel of your space. Potted herbs and succulents not only look beautiful but they appeal to the senses, and we particularly love fresh rosemary as it immediately stirs up memories of home cooked meals!
Swap out those timeworn kitchen linens in favor of fresh, new ones for an instant lift!
Fresh greens, like eucalpytus and olive branches, instantly add height and texture to your kitchen and they live much longer than floral arrangements. Natural beauty + low maintenance = yes, please!
Did we miss any of your favorite “refresh without renovation” tips? If so, drop us a line in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you! The busy season is upon us but we hope you will discover simple ways to rejuvenate your most lived-in spaces, and we can’t wait to support you with tips and inspiration along the way!