Does your home need a fresher look for the new year, but you’re not ready for a complete makeover? Small changes can make a big difference in how a living space looks and feels, or even in how well it works.
Meredith Shaver, who designs kitchens and bathrooms for Markraft Cabinets of Wilmington, suggests these 10 economical ideas that can bring new sparkle to familiar spaces.
- Give your kitchen a new look by replacing the hardware on your cabinets. New knobs, drawer pulls and hinges cost a fraction of what new cabinetry would run. “You can have a whole new look for just a couple hundred dollars,” Shaver said.
- Install new light fixtures above the bar or island. This not only gives the entire space a fresh appearance, but also offers an opportunity to upgrade to new energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting.
- Install under-cabinet or in-cabinet lighting. Or both! Providing better illumination of work spaces, being able to find things in cabinets more easily, and creating a dramatic new atmosphere are all benefits. Shaver recommends the Hafele line, which offers choices of filters to create different hues, depending on whether you want a warm or cool feel. Power-thrifty LEDs are the standard for these lights, too.
- Update your faucets. You might choose a popular new “touchless” model, which turns on and off with a wave of the hand and costs little more than conventional faucet sets. Or simply choose a new design to give the kitchen or the bathroom vanity a more up-to-date look.
- Not especially noticeable but almost a necessity today is a charging station for gadgets like mobile phones and tablets. A popular trend is to incorporate this in a drawer, which hides both conventional house-current and USB outlets.
- Another unseen improvement to a kitchen’s functionality is to add organizing inserts to bare cabinets, drawers and pantries. Plate holders, acrylic dividers, roll-outs and spice inserts are a few of the drop-in or easily installed options that Shaver recommends. All can make a kitchen easier to use, and both kitchenware and food items easier to find.
- On the higher end, new appliances can give a kitchen an entirely fresh look. Premium brands like Bosch, Thermador and Sub-Zero have all introduced new models for 2016. A bonus: Newer models are normally more energy-efficient. If your design doesn’t include custom face panels for the appliances, consider one of the newer finishes, like “black stainless.” The finish’s dark, rich metallic color, Shaver explained, hides fingerprints and harmonizes with just about any cabinet and countertop design.
- Another bigger-ticket strategy is to replace just countertops and bar surfaces, or bathroom vanity tops, leaving the cabinetry unchanged. An updated material like one of the new quartz colors can radically renew a room’s look and feel.
- New bar stools can make a dramatic difference to a kitchen. A popular recent trend, Shaver said, are stools with short, cut-down backrests, “a little more modern look” than high-backed versions. Another simple upgrade is to change the ornamental supports under the bar top, replacing them with new wooden or metal brackets.
- If your budget doesn’t permit other upgrades, Shaver suggested, “You could do something as simple as switching out your hand towels.” Just a few dollars for new linens, and maybe a new bathroom rug, gives you new accent colors for the entire space.
Visit Markraft’s Design Center to browse the latest kitchen and bath looks, and meet its team of professional designers. The showroom, full of sample layouts, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off Castle Hayne Road.
Since 1985, Markraft has specialized in cabinet and countertop design and installation in residential and commercial construction and custom remodeling. To learn more about Markraft, go to www.markraft.com. Contact Markraft at 910.762.1986 and like Markraft on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MarkraftCabinets.