Image: Nuevo Estilo
The kitchen is often the gathering place and focal point or hub of the home. It's where we cook, sometimes where we eat, and as home entertaining has become less formal over the years, it's often where the real party is.
It means kitchens are no longer hidden from guests, but if it feels a bit like maybe you should still be hiding it, there are a few small kitchen updates you can make. A full kitchen renovation can run up big bills, but these small kitchen updates can all be done on a shoestring, to give your kitchen a mini facelift.
1. Make your kitchen work for you
Image: Homes and Antiques
It's a bit of a cliche, but you need to think about how you use your kitchen. Do you use all the appliances on your counters? If the answer is no, tidy them away. Which of your kitchen tools do you use most? Don't hide them away, have them close to hand rather than buried in with the stuff you use once in a blue moon. Can you mount some of your countertop clutter - kitchen roll holder, spice rack etc - on your wall? You usually have three main work areas in your kitchen - the sink, hob and fridge. The distance between any two should be two easy steps - known as the kitchen work triangle. A bit of shifting around might make cooking a much easier task in your kitchen, whether it's bigger moves like the oven, or just rearranging your countertops. It can be one of the most effective ways of upgrading your kitchen.
2. Clean your appliances.
Think about how often you use appliances like your toaster and kettle - we bet it's a lot and they could do with a good polish. If you mix cream of tartar and water to make a thick paste, it's an effective polish on stainless steel appliances which can dull so easily after time. Leave the paste on for ten minutes and wipe away to reveal shiny, shiny appliances that are almost like new.
3. While you're at it, clean your sink and hob, too.
Yeah, yeah, cleaning is a drag, but chances are your sink and your hob are probably pretty gross - some hygiene experts say your sink is the most germ-ridden place in your home. A little baking soda sprinkled over the sink scrubbed with a white vinegar soaked sponge, rinsed with boiling water will bring it right back. As for your hob, if you have gas burners, soak them in ammonia to bring back their gleam.
4. Get creative with your presses.
Image: Alison Kandler
If the interior of your presses is still in good nick, you're not alone. Most people just need to give the doors a little makeover to bring a whole new look to the kitchen. If new doors aren't in the budget, a fresh lick of paint will make a surprising amount of difference. Try a bold colour on an island, or paint all your presses a fun colour. If colour's not your thing, all white kitchens will never go out of style, and you reap the benefits of the white opening up the space hugely.
5. Switch up your lighting.
Image: Marika Jarv
Under-lit kitchens are everywhere, meaning far too many of us are essentially cooking in the dark. Invest in LED bulbs for the 'big lights' which will give you natural-looking, super bright lights, and some under-cabinet lighting for those harder to reach areas.
6. Think twice about your taps.
Image: A Lovely Lark
Most people are so used to looking at their kitchen sink, that they don't even notice the taps. But take a few minutes and take a good look at it. Will a really deep clean bring it back? More cleaning, we're afraid, but it'll spruce up your sink no end. Many are beyond saving, but having your taps swapped out for new ones - potentially in a more modern style - is not a huge job and can look like a huge update on an area you previously didn't pay much heed to.
7. Hang some art
What is it about kitchens that we often neglect them when it come to art, even though we often spend a huge amount of our time there? Inject some personality by adding some art to the room. It's a simple way to update the room, and it doesn't have to be massively expensive either.