5 ways to create a new look kitchen for less

Budget Kitchen Décor

by Kathy Woodard

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Decorating your kitchen can be one of the most expensive projects you ever undertake as a home decorator. It is also the room where we spend the most time, and therefore it needs to be a warm, inviting space for your loved ones. Here are easy and creative ways you can update your kitchen decorating no matter how tight your budget or time!

Customize Those Cabinets

Unless you have expensive solid wood cabinets, don't be afraid to use paint to create a custom look in your kitchen for just a few dollars. There are so many more options to painting kitchen cabinets than just white. Do a little internet research and find easy techniques for antique washes, glazing and crackle finishes just like you see in the designer showrooms.

If your cabinets are too damaged even for paint, remove the doors and paint the cabinet base. You can hang inexpensive fabric panels to cover the cabinet opening. Consider decoupaging pretty tissue paper over the cabinet doors with polyurethane and then replace the doors. This will create a handmade paper look that's very elegant, yet covers scratches, dents and flaws. And the cost is minimal!

Stone Counters for a Fraction of the Cost

Stone counters are highly popular in designer kitchens due to their beauty and durability. However, they are extremely costly for the average home decorator. You can learn a painted faux stone technique from the internet or from your favorite home improvement store, and then transform your kitchen counters with these tips. First, prep your counters well. This means a thorough cleaning, sanding, and priming with a specialty primer. I recommend Kilz Original. Then, apply your faux stone finish with paint of your choice. Practice first! Finally, seal well with a water based polyurethane, such as Minwax Polycrylic. Use four to six coats, and allow it to cure several days before using.

Update Those Floors

If you have always wanted stone floors for your kitchen, but it always has been out of reach, there are options. Create a paper bag floor! Use torn brown paper bags and polyurethane to create one-of-a-kind, faux stained concrete floor for a fraction of the price! Simply tear brown paper into sections, brush onto the floor with the polyurethane, and then seal with four to six coats of the same polyurethane. Add a new coat or two once a year for wear. This floor is also easily repaired; just paste another piece of torn brown paper over a damaged area.

Accessorize With What You Own

Adding charm and warmth to your kitchen is easy and requires nothing more than looking through the items you already know and love. Pretty dessert plates hung along the wall make a perfect art display. Create a backsplash. Use that pottery set your sister gave you that is full of chips and cracks; just break the plates in a pillowcase and then glue the pieces to the wall and grout. Bring some picture frames from the family room in and prop on the counter, or mount frames onto each cabinet door with Velcro. Remove the glass for safety and then add pretty fabric or children's art to the frame to personalize your space. Create one-of-a-kind cabinet pulls with a drill and your old flatware, or create a window valance with all your pretty teacups hung in a row.

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Little Touches, Big Reward

Finally, remember there are many small things you can do within your kitchen that make a big difference in design. Fresh flowers are inexpensive at your local grocery and can be displayed in unusual ways. Use those pretty perfume bottles you just can't throw away, or bring out the pitcher from your mom's wedding to fill full of roadside daisies. Add molding to the cabinets, or pick up small wood carving embellishments available at your home improvement center and glue to the center of each cabinet door. Add a little black to your kitchen in small doses to add elegance; add some little black and white check tea towels, or try a throw rug with a black background. Pick a stencil in your kitchen's theme and use it to add focal points around the room with paint. No matter what rules you've read in those decorating books, take a drawing or two created by the children in your life and put it in the middle of your refrigerator. After all, who are we decorating for?

For more home decorating ideas, please visit Kathy at her websites, TheBudgetDecorator.com and DecoratingYourSmallSpace.com.

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