8 Kitchen Fix-ups

Remodeling the kitchen will certainly add to the value of a home, however, it can be very expensive. Any of the following projects will give your kitchen a pick-me-up without breaking the bank!

1. Refinish your cabinets.
In many cases, the finish on your cabinets will soften around the handles -- this is the result of body oil breaking down the finish. Most finish can be stripped off fairly easily, and on one of our recent shows on our PBS series HandyMa'am, we showed how to do this. We used one of the newer citrus-based strippers and layered it on. After the finish was removed, we applied a poly and stain combination that gave a totally new, fresh look.

2. Freshen up your walls.
A fresh coat of paint does wonders. Try your hand at one of the faux techniques that are so popular, including sponge painting, the ragged effect or the fresco effect. There are roller covers now available that will help make the task go faster and even striping rollers, which give the illusion of striped wallpaper at a fraction of the cost. You might also consider a new wall covering or even a simple border

3. Replace the countertops.
Cabinets in good shape? How about the countertops? Countertops take a lot of abuse and can look worn and drab. Replacing the countertop is certainly more expensive, but often worth the effort. New countertops will really make it feel like a new kitchen.

4.Decorate your windows with color.
Does your window treatment need updating or a little color? Here's a quick remedy: Hang a curtain rod and simply fold fabric placemats or napkins over it. If they are square, hang them on the diagonal. For rectangular fabric, fold lengthwise. Another option is to fold all of the rectangular fabric the same length, or fold in half on each end, allowing it to drape in the middle.

5. Change the cabinet fronts.
There are several ways cabinet fronts can be embellished or totally changed. If the doors are flat, add molding to give the illusion of a paneled door. This can be done very inexpensively using screen molding. Draw a line around the door (1 1/2 to 2 inches in from all sides is pretty standard).

6. New flooring.
There are so many types, styles, patterns and colors of flooring to choose from it will make your head spin. A couple of points to keep in mind when looking for flooring: Ceramic tile is thick and will make your cabinets lower (about 3/4 inches or more) than you are used to. For me that was a good thing -- I'm 5'1" and standard cabinets are a bit too tall for me. Self-adhesive vinyl tiles have come a long way over the years and are very easy to install, not to mention they are much less expensive than some of your other choices.

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