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slides: DESIGN LINE: 10 Kitchen Upgrades On A Budget

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


This week I photographed a house I have been working on for the past year.  If you’ve never been on a photo shoot, this may sound very simple, but it is anything but.  I buy and borrow props, move things around, straighten shelves and when the camera shoots, the frame is precisely composed.

As we shifted objects, added pops of color and arranged flowers, it occurred to me to wonder—why don’t our kitchens always look this good?  They can and they should.  This is not about huge moves like painting your cabinets and replacing your countertops.  This is about something you can handle in a weekend on a budget that will make an enormous difference in your space.  And what better time than before you host your holiday feast? Photo: Kelly Taylor Interior Design.

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Upgrade 1:

Clean up your refrigerator.

Believe me, as the mother of two young boys, the doors of my refrigerator can get way out of hand.  But nothing changes the feel of a kitchen more than simply removing all of that fuss and muss from the fridge. 

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Upgrade 2:

Upholster your old tackboard.

Most of us have a cheap cork bulletin board laying around in the attic and if you don’t, it’s time to hit Staples.  Find a discount fabric store like Artee Fabrics in Pawtucket, buy a colorful fabric (make sure it’s lightweight) and wrap your corkboard in your new fabric.  Now, place all those fridge items neatly on the board and voila! Photo: maisonwares/etsy

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Upgrade 3:

Buy a small area rug.

A rug under a breakfast table or in front of the sink can add a huge breath of fresh air to a tired kitchen.  The kitchen tends to be a land of hard surfaces, so an area rug can really help to warm things up.  Plus, rugs help balance acoustics and provide some cushion underfoot. Rustigian’s Rugs in Providence is having a fantastic sale right now, so there’s no better time to buy!

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Upgrade 4:

Hide the things you dont use.

If you aren’t using an item every day, get it off of the counter!  Find a place close-by to house the toaster and blender and clean up the tops of your counters.  You would be amazed by how different a kitchen can look by handling this one simple task.

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Upgrade 5:

Consign some of those cookbooks and magazines.

For the hoarders out there (you know who you are), it is time to treat your cookbook shelf a bit like your closet.  If you haven’t cooked anything out of that book in the last year or two, consign or donate it!  Photocopy your favorite recipes, tear out pages from Bon Appetit and organize them into one clean binder.

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Upgrade 6:

Create a chalkboard.

If you haven’t discovered chalk board paint, now is the time. Available in black, white and 107 colors, ECOS Chalkboard Paint is 100% non toxic, VOC-free, allergy safe and friendly to both the indoor and global environments.  You can paint a calendar on it, draw lovely pictures of fruits and vegetables, or write out your holiday menu so guests can have a quick preview of what’s to come.

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Upgrade 7:

Place some herbs on your window sill.

Not only do herbs looks pretty, but they are useful to cooking and also smell nice.  This is a win win win.  Find a couple of cool pots at any one of Providence’s florists, like Jephry Floral Studio, grab a few different potted herbs from Whole Foods and presto! You have instant ambience.

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Upgrade 8:

Hang your pots and pans.

If you have nice cookware, hanging your pieces can add some texture, drama and life to the kitchen.   And you don’t have to hang them from the ceiling either.  Get some pegboard and hooks at Adlers Hardware (even spray paint them if you like more color), hang the pegboard on the wall, attached the hooks and the pots are instantly hung!

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Upgrade 9:

Replace your cabinet hardware.

This is something you should really splurge on and the best selection in Providence is at Brassworks.  New hardware is to cabinets what a fresh coat of paint is to a room: transformative.  Don’t forget to be eclectic with your choices.  Mix pulls and knobs from the same family, or mix two different coordinating styles.

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Upgrade 10:

Add something that smells good.

It’s easy to forget that our sense of smell is also very important in our perception of spaces.  Adding a candle that smells like vanilla, fragrant flowers or a small evergreen, will certainly please the eye, but also add to that sub-conscious sense of a complete space.

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You're done

We all know that no matter how many times we ask our guests to cozy up in the living room, the congregating will happen in the kitchen.  So take the next week and a couple of these tasks and clean up the room that you and your guests will spend the most time in this holiday season. Photo: Kelly Taylor Interior Design.

Kelly Taylor is the 2012 recipient of New England Home magazine’s “5 Under 40” award for excellence in design as well as Rhode Island Monthly magazine’s 2012 Gold Award for residential interior design.  She practices residential and commercial interior design in Providence, Rhode Island.  Please find her on twitter at @ktidnet or visit her website at www.ktid.net


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