July 14, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

9 Thoughtful Kitchen Upgrades That Don’t Require a Full-On Renovation

2 min read

Brady also looks to modern pendant lights, chandeliers, and under-cabinet lighting to improve the aesthetics and functionality of a space. Both designers note that installing dimmer switches can also control the ambiance of the kitchen, whether you need more illumination for prep work or are perfecting the mood lighting for a dinner party.

The open storage in this kitchen designed by Elise makes room for trinkets small accessories ceramics and books.

The open storage in this kitchen designed by Elise makes room for trinkets, small accessories, ceramics, and books.

Photo: Tiani Shaye Bender

Open things up for display

Adding more storage is never a bad idea, especially if you’re considering options that allow for displaying trinkets and personality-driven picks. Replacing some upper cabinets with open shelving can add a custom touch, says Steffie Oehm, principal at San Francisco–based design studio Alter Interiors. Otherwise, integrating more open shelving can make your kitchen feel more spacious and open, Haslegrave adds, thus providing easy access to frequently used items and allowing you to display your favorite dishes, glassware, and decorative items for added hints of personality.

Raise the roof

And beyond sprucing up walls and cabinets, consider the effect of blanketing your ceiling in a contrasting or complementary hue. Painting your kitchen the same shade on all sides, including the ceiling, can create a cozy cave-like effect while a contrasting color can dial up the drama. “Since kitchens don’t always have a lot of wall space, it’s important to consider the ceiling as the fifth wall,” explains designer Sandra Lucas of Houston-based Lucas/Eilers Design Associates, who suggests either painting it or wallpapering it for bigger impact.

Two tiers of blue and white kitchen tiles add layers of visual interest to this Alter Interiors design project.

Two tiers of blue and white kitchen tiles add layers of visual interest to this Alter Interiors design project.

Photo: Alter Interiors

Tile it up

Tile is frequently used as a backsplash enhancer to bring in color and character to a kitchen. Rather than relegating tile to the area behind your stovetop, consider creating a full wall of tile, or mixing it up with two different types to draw the eye in. “Quality fixtures, hardware, and attractive tile always make a substantial difference in the overall look and feel of the space,” Oehm says. “Extending tile up to the ceiling behind the open shelves can enhance this effect, creating a stylish visual moment with a relatively small amount of tile.”

Don’t just paint, but plaster your walls

A slick of paint might be your first line of defense against a drab kitchen situation, but Haslegrave reminds us that plaster, as a durable, humidity-regulating material, makes for another alluring yet practical alternative. “Plaster walls add texture and depth to your kitchen, creating a rich, artisanal finish that paint cannot replicate,” says Haslegrave, who prefers a neutral color palette to highlight the natural beauty of the plaster.

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