For a lot of people, the school of thought is that designing your kitchen means doing a full remodel and renovation and all the hoopla you see on HGTV.
Not only are renovations costly, not everyone has that luxury -- for example, in a rental. I doubt your landlord would take to kindly to you deciding to knock down a wall. But whether you own or rent, there are a number of things you can do to turn up your kitchen. Some can be small purchases that you make and others can be larger cosmetic upgrades. Check out 3 of my favorite easy peasy kitchen upgrades.
Colored Cookware & Appliances
I'm such a huge fan of pops of color threaded throughout to give the feel of continuity, without being too "matchy". Unfortunately, people hear the phrase "pops of color" and immediately their minds go to the brightest, boldest colors of the rainbow. Your "pop" doesn't have to be pinks & yellows; it's just a break in whatever other dominant colors you have going on.
Colored cookware requires minimal effort on your part, in terms of decor, but does just enough to be impactful. It's a great way to bring personality to your kitchen & connect it to the rest of your home (especially in an open concept layout).
So let's say your living/dining room is mostly beiges & browns, but you have some maroon throw pillows that tie into the brown, tan, and maroon rug in your dining room. That maroon tone is your thread... your POP!
These are items that can live on your counters and/or on your open shelving; but in addition to that, when you're entertaining and pull out some of these items for use, you're introducing another layer of decor.
It's amazing the difference open shelving can make in a kitchen. It's mind boggling really. Just the simple act of switching your upper cabinet doors from solid to glass, can suddenly make the kitchen feel more open; it gives the illusion of more space simply because there's this visual openness. So imagine removing your uppers altogether & swapping them out for shelves. Now you're no longer "confined" by the actual casing.
"But Albie, I rent and can't just remove cabinets all willy nilly."
But you can remove doors!
Follow along with me here...
Most kitchen cabinets are attached to the casing by screws, making the door relatively easy to remove. Of course you want to remove the door as carefully as possible & keep track of your screws, joints, etc., since you'll be responsible for all of this when you move out; however, done correctly, and you'll create the same effect as having open floating shelves.
In either instance, you've also now created an opportunity for you to show off your pops of color! You're Welcome! Appliances that you normally hide away for lack of counter space, can now be showcased, along with colorful dinnerware. Because of the open shelving, you can also get creative with storage & decor, by now incorporating baskets & plants.
Now if you own, one way to offset the cost of labor is to shop around for the materials yourself. And all is not lost if you rent. I have been BEYOND pleasantly surprised by some of the "peel & stick" tile options I've seen. I know, I know. You hear "peel & stick" and immediately think say "ick!" but so many brands have created really durable, good looking backsplash options that resemble real tile work.
Whether you own or rent, go with grout or "peel & stick", adding backsplash to your kitchen is perfect for adding that WOW factor that you might've been missing. No matter what route you take, it's going to be an investment, but so many times we can only process spending that kind of time and money if there's a large pragmatic benefit. The obvious value add is protecting your walls. But beyond that, think about that feeling you get when you walk into a kitchen with a backsplash versus one without! A backsplash provides an instant visual upgrade.