Moving into a new house is both extremely exciting and one of the most stressful things you can do. Getting used to a new place is hard, and it can be especially difficult if the place your food is prepped doesn’t feel like home.
So, why not take on a renovation project to perfect your new space? There are plenty of fun reno projects you can take on, but these are a few go-to choices. They cover everything from the drastic and dramatic to the subtle and environmentally conscious.
Try these eight amazing kitchen renovations to make your new kitchen feel like it really is yours.
Make Your Kitchen More Eco-Friendly
Older kitchens may be equipped with less efficient appliances that can be costly, both in terms of actual money and in terms of the environment. Replacing them with newer models can save water and electricity and give your kitchen the eco-friendly upgrade it needs.
When shopping for eco-friendly appliances, you’ll want to look for the Energy Star rating, which shows how efficient it is. You’ll also want to consider the safety features it includes (such as safety burners on a stove) and how easy they’ll be to clean.
You can also opt for more responsible products in the kitchen. Switch paper towels for fabric and plastic dishwashing bottles with refillable glass. Swap your plastic cutting boards for solid wood (these are healthier, too!) and your Teflon pans for cast iron. You may even consider installing your own home herb garden on the windowsill, which gives the added benefit of adding fresh foods into your diet.
Check with local environmental initiatives to see if they have any recommendations for keeping your kitchen green. There you can find likeminded homeowners who will have more ideas that you can work with. They can suggest local companies and materials to source, which is even better for the environment!
Zone Your Kitchen Space
Love to entertain but don’t want to end up tripping all over your sous-chef? Set up specific stations in your kitchen for prep, cooking, cleaning, and serving. This method of zoning can help to make meal times more efficient and less stressful.
The easiest zoning method is using the “work triangle.” This means setting up three main stations. The first is prep, which holds everything needed to pre-wash, cut up, peel, and measure ingredients. Then you have cooking, which includes the stove and ready-to-use ingredient storage such as spices. Finally, your serve-and-clean station, which includes your sink and utensil storage.
You can also try zoning by routines. If you tend to grab coffee and breakfast fast on the way to work, make the trip from your room to the coffee maker and out the door as efficient as possible. If the kids are grabbing a snack on their way in to do their homework, set up a grab-and-go snack station they can access on their own. Little things like this can personalize your kitchen instantly.
Consider how you enter and exit the kitchen, and in which order your zones would make the most sense. Then, add in organizational items that will help your kitchen stay in its best shape, from a turning or hide-away spice rack to hangers for your pots and pans.
Add an Island to Your Kitchen
Islands are freestanding counter structures that can be added to kitchens long after they’re made, and they offer a ton of benefits for doing so. Most islands will offer storage space beneath them, which you can use for hide-away trash and recycling, spice racks, or extra utensils.
An island to the middle of your kitchen can make zoning it significantly easier. They offer extra counter and prep space for your “work triangle,” so you can work across from your cooking partner rather than on top of each other side-by-side.
Some islands also include space for seating, which can be helpful if you’re a frequent entertainer. These can either be high-leg chairs or classic bar stools, depending on your style, and will usually tuck away right under the counter so you still have plenty of walkway room when they’re not in use.
If you’re working with limited space, a rolling island can offer all these benefits plus adaptability. Rolling islands can be locked into place when in use, then rolled out of the way for cleaning and moving larger dishes around.
Revamp Your Kitchen Countertops
If you feel like your workspace is lacking in personal style or even in basic function, then a revamping of the kitchen countertops might be called for. This can be as simple as revarnishing or re-staining older wooden counters or placing a simple contact paper or laminate wrap over the existing counters.
Doing something even as simple as this lets you completely change the look of the kitchen and make it your own.
You can also opt for full counter replacements if you feel the need. Change out wooden counters with more stable stone counters for a longer-lasting worksurface or change out stone counters for more lightweight wooden counters to keep the space light and eco-friendly. It really depends more on your style than anything else, as both kinds of counter will give you solid use and come in wide varieties.
If you’re really going all out, you can add an upstand in a matching material to the space where the counter meets the wall. This gives the added benefit of containing messes and protecting your walls.
Change Up Your Kitchen from Top to Bottom
Floor renovations are a big project to take on, but they’re well worth it in the end. If you’re redesigning your kitchen, your floor needs to match. Even if it’s the only thing you change, it can completely revamp the space into one that’s more functional and fun to be in.
Consider adding colorful tiles to spice up the palette of the room. Alternating colors or bright patterns can add some whimsy to the design. If you’re looking for something more modern, sleek hardwood or laminate can give a seamless and understated finish. You can even opt for stone or metal flooring for a truly monochrome look. There are lots of classical and modern options you can choose from.
Fine with the floor? Look up. A new ceiling or ceiling accents can also help revitalize a kitchen. Metallic ceilings are easy to clean and look sophisticated when paired with richer colors in the cabinets and counters. If you’re looking for a more minimal design, then exposed beams can give an otherwise average kitchen an industrial look, especially paired with bright metallic finishes in the appliances.
Updating your floors and ceilings can be great not only for your design, but also for your health. Replacing popcorn ceilings can clear out the air, while a new floor can make slips less frequent and clean up easier. They may be big projects, but if you stick to it, they can make your kitchen into something truly unique and original.
Update the Kitchen Cabinets
One of the easiest ways to make your kitchen feel more yours is to give it a facelift, and the fastest way to do that? The cabinets. Cabinets are one of the most obvious pieces of your kitchen, so they should be a feature, not a work-around.
The simplest way to update your cabinets is by giving them a fresh coat of paint. Paint them to match or contrast against the countertops, or to lighten and open up the space. If you’re looking for more in-depth changes, new hardware can completely change the feel of cabinets by providing accent colors or a totally different material.
Replacing the cabinets can also make for a kitchen overhaul, even if it’s a more intensive project. Changing out old or out-of-date cabinets with sturdy, stylish new models can improve not only the aesthetics of the kitchen, but its functionality as well.
Remove Your Kitchen Cabinets
It sounds slightly insane, but if you’re looking to make the absolute most out of a very small kitchen space, then completely removing large, bulky cabinets might be the solution you need. Take them down and continue the backsplash up the wall or repaint the back to a lighter color to accentuate the newly open space.
Instead of cabinets, you can install freestanding or hanging shelving, which gives you more room to display dishes you might otherwise have hidden. You can also include hanging racks for mugs, pots, pans, and other utensils. This gives you easier access to everything you need that you may otherwise have to fight to find or forget that you have at all.
Cabinet-free kitchens are a great way to include a minimalist, modern flair, or to utilize rougher wood textures in rustic designs.
Add Thoughtful Details to Your Kitchen
For a smaller-scale renovation project, consider adding little details to your kitchen to really make it pop. There are a lot of options in this category, but you might consider some aesthetic and practical improvements.
Here are some examples:
- A new backsplash can make a world of difference in opening up a kitchen or changing its entire design scheme.
- An accent wall can add much-needed color to a monochrome room. Choose a contrasting or complimentary color to make a statement.
- A well-organized tea and coffee station can make mornings easier.
- A wine rack can make evenings more fun and relaxed, as can a wine fridge if you’re feeling fancy.
- Adding in new electrical outlets along your counterspace can save you from having to reorganize your appliances constantly.
- Recessed lighting in and around your cabinets can make finding things in the evening much easier, and can bring a comfortable, warm glow to the room.
No matter what the details are, make sure they suit how you want to use the kitchen. Take the depersonalized, sales floor room and make it your own with everyday additions.
Renovating your kitchen can seem like a big commitment. Your time and energy can go toward it for weeks, and it can be difficult to get exactly what you want. Thankfully, many kitchen renovations are well worth the wait, especially for new homeowners.
A newly renovated kitchen can make a new house feel unique and special, and can go a long way toward making a house into a dream home. If you’re looking to make some awesome improvements to your brand-new kitchen, from the practical and environmentally friendly to the eye-candy options, hopefully these eight renovation ideas have inspired you.
Element Home Remodeling East Bay is an Oakland based kitchen remodeling company that turns aging kitchens into modern, open spaces you will love to cook in. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.