Top 5 Most-noticeable Kitchen Renovations

By: Savi Decoursey

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most renovated rooms in houses today. This is because a few simple changes can transform the whole look and feel of these rooms.

For kitchen renovations the trend is leaning towards sprucing up rooms that function perfectly but that are showing signs of age and wear and tear.

Kitchen cabinets, countertops and flooring show the most wear and tear, but other easy-to-do renovations in the kitchen include the addition of islands and changing out the lighting.

1. Lighting

Perhaps the most overlooked and easiest way to change the look and function of the kitchen is changing the lighting. This can be done in three simple ways.

First, add some task lighting, which will illuminate a specific work area. Each work area should have its own task lighting. An easy way to accomplish this is by adding under-cabinet lights. These light up all countertop stations and make it easier to see what you're working on.

Ambient lighting is the second type of lighting that should be considered in a kitchen. This will set the mood of the room and should come from one functional fixture that gives a soft light to the entire space.

Finally, there's accent lighting, which highlights architectural elements or other features in your kitchen. For example, adding over-cabinet lighting will emphasize high ceilings.

2. Cabinet refacing

Once the lighting is in, the next kitchen renovation that's popular to make is cabinet refacing, which is a great way to refresh and update the look of a kitchen.

Essentially, the process of refacing kitchen cabinets consists of affixing a thin layer of real wood or laminate veneer to the cabinets and is about 60 per cent cheaper than replacing kitchen cabinets.

Plastic laminate comes in a variety of colors and wood grain effects. But because it is a non-flexible product, it is not suitable for cabinet doors with raised or decorative surfaces.

Rigid thermo foils are similar to plastic laminate, but is very flexible so it can be applied to any style of door.

Real wood veneer is available in all natural wood species and is best suited to flat surfaces as it does not adhere neatly to curves.

3. Countertop replacement

Unfortunately, most kitchen counters cannot be resurfaced the same way cabinets can, so they must be replaced. But when it comes to replacing countertops, don't make the decision based on looks alone. It's important to take durability, maintenance and cost into consideration.

The most sought-after countertop and also the most expensive is granite. This natural stone looks beautiful and is quite durable, but requires regular maintenance with special sealant to keep it protected and looking gorgeous.

A less expensive and more common countertop is plastic laminate. This surface is less durable than granite, but also requires far less maintenance.

Solid surface or engineered stone combines the best in durability and maintenance. But it's expensive - comparable in price to natural stone.

Tile is a cost-effective countertop option and while quite durable, it too requires some extra effort in maintaining the grout, which will absorb stains, odors and bacteria.

Wood is a beautiful option for a kitchen countertop, but isn't always the best surface for all jobs. Most often, wood is found in the form of a butcher block island surrounded by countertops of another surface.

This idea of mixing and matching counter surfaces is gaining popularity because it's a great way to create a kitchen that suits all needs and saves money by isolating expensive options like granite to a small baker's station, or wood to an island.

4. Island addition

Islands are a very popular option in kitchen renovations and can be a fabulous way to maximize open floor space and increase useable counter space.

Today, islands can be permanent or portable, house sinks, ovens, even cook tops and can provide much needed storage. From multiple doors to wine racks and bookcases, islands can hold it all and look great, too.

The most popular and practical island top is the wooden butcher block, which holds up well for food preparation but also makes a suitable eating surface for islands that double as breakfast bars or tables for casual meals.

5. Flooring re-do

When it comes to kitchen flooring, it's no surprise that the best kinds contain the same materials as countertops. This is because they are designed to provide durability and stain resistance.

Stone and ceramic floors are the most durable and easy to clean, but can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. This can be alleviated by strategically placing throw rugs in front of sinks and stoves where cooks spend a lot of time.

Wood has more cushion to it, but requires more maintenance and can dent if heavy or sharp objects like pots or knives are dropped.

That leaves vinyl, laminates and linoleum, which are the most affordable flooring. But be aware that vinyl is a petrochemical product and its production and disposal produces dangerous toxins to be released into the environment.

Linoleum, on the other hand is an all natural product made of linseed oil. And while laminate looks good, it may not be the best option for a kitchen where spills occur regularly because it can be damaged and warped by moisture.

Kitchen Design
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