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Move? Or fix the Kitchen?

Check out these tips from HGTV Canada!

Move, or Fix Up the Kitchen

By: Barb Dingle, co-author of Debbie Travis' books

Many kitchens, especially those in older homes, don't work well with today's busy lifestyles. Major kitchen renovation aside, there's a lot you can do to make your kitchen more comfortable and functional; and there's no need to throw in the dishtowel and go house hunting, call a professional renovator, or blow all your savings.

So what can one do? Take on smaller projects. To update or upgrade your kitchen, it's not necessary do full makeover all at once. Take it in stages. Make one change at a time. You'll be amazed at how fresh and new the room feels at each step!

The first thing you should do is examine your kitchen with a clinical eye to determine the problem areas. Then have a look below for our solutions.

No Storage

The lack of adequate storage equals overcrowding. This makes it difficult to find supplies for cooking, and to tidy up afterward.

What you can do:

· Get rid of (or move to another storage space) everything you don't use regularly, including spices, canned goods, cereals, and snack foods.

· Keep one set of dishes. Dispose of chipped and mismatched crockery. Get rid of your collection of coffee mugs that have seen better days. Keep only what you have room to store.

· Shop more regularly and don't buy extras other than the staples.

· Build in more storage by adding stock cabinetry or open shelving for frequently-used items.

· An open Shaker-style dish rack is perfect over the sink and will free up some space.

No Surfaces

Limited counter space is a definite problem for anyone who cooks.

What you can do:

· Add a small, wheeled island to your kitchen.

· Buy a freestanding preparation or serving cart. This source of extra space can be tucked into a corner when not in use.

· Clear what do you have off the counter.

· Build half shelves under the kitchen table or eating counter to hold the toaster, mixer, or other appliances.

Unattractive Cabinets

Since cabinetry takes up most of the wall space, outdated cabinets or those in poor repair can leave the kitchen feeling depressed.

What you can do:

· If your budget allows, replace the cabinets new stock or custom-made cabinetry designed to make the most use of space.

· Renew drab, existing cabinets with a fresh coat of paint.

· Change the style by adding trim detail to flat-faced doors.

· Insert glass or metal panels.

· Combine open and closed storage ideas to maximize eye appeal.

· Change the cabinet hardware for a new look.

Flooring Woes

Any surface, especially a floor, that is worn out or stained will ruin the overall effect of a room. Your kitchen floor should be durable, slip-resistant, and easy to clean.

What you can do:

· With damaged floors, replacement is the best option. Check out the variety of flooring available. Options include:

· Vinyl - The least expensive. Its quality increases with thickness. Choose a colour or pattern that suits.

· Linoleum - Soft and warm. Extremely durable and hygienic. Modern colour options have brought it back in vogue.

· Prefinished wood or laminate floors - Easy to install. Durable. You can design your own look by combining two colours to make border detail.

· Cork floors - Naturally beautiful and comfortable.

· Tile and stone - Both stylish and hardwearing, but the unforgiving surface is hard on feet.

Lack of Focus

Is your kitchen fading into the woodwork? Without a focal point, any kitchen will look like it has a case of the blahs.

What you can do:

· Make the backsplash the kitchen's focal point by putting up some new tiles or painting it a cheery colour.

· Paint your dated laminate cabinets or countertops with Melamine paint.

· Paint an exuberant colour on the walls.

You'll never go wrong investing in your kitchen space. It will improve your daily outlook and, if you do decide to sell, it will make the house that much more appealing to buyers.