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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Does your kitchen scream 1980’s? Mine does. I’d love to do a complete renovation, but total kitchen renos cost as much as a year of college at an Ivy League school. Today Jeanie has some tips for sprucing up a worn kitchen without breaking the bank. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia! For those of you hooked on HGTV, you probably drool over stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and solid cherry cabinets while you stare glumly at your old appliances, chipped Formica countertops, and laminate cabinets. Even if you can’t afford the stainless and the granite and the cherry, there are ways to spruce up a tired kitchen for very little money.

For the cost of a can of primer and a can of paint, you can give your cabinets new life. The secret is knowing how to prep the surfaces properly. Home improvement centers offer classes. Invest a few hours in learning how to do the job right before tackling the project at home, and you’ll be ecstatic with the results.

Don’t stop with the cabinets. Consider painting your kitchen table and chairs. Then add new seat cushions. Upholstered kitchen chair seats are simple to reupholster. All you have to do is unscrew the seats from the bottom of the chairs. The fabric is merely stapled in place. Remove the staples, and use the old fabric as a pattern to cut new fabric. Staple on the new fabric, then screw the seats back in place. Ta-da! You’ll have a brand new looking table and chairs. Buy a little extra fabric, and make matching valances and/or curtains for your kitchen windows.

If you can afford to put a few extra dollars into your make-over, consider replacing the handles and drawer pulls on your cabinets and updating the lighting.

Finally, consider tiling your worn Formica countertops. If you have your heart set on granite, but your wallet won’t cooperate, consider granite tiles as an alternative. Once again, you can get how-to’s and advice at your local home center.

Great tips, Jeanie!
Have you tackled a home improvement job around the house? How did it turn out? Let’s hear from you. 
Post a comment to be entered in the drawing for a crafty giveaway from our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP


Kathy said...

Luckily, my husband can do carpentry work and made all new cabinet doors for my kitchen. Also re-panelled, re-painted, re-papered and put down a new floor. Went form dark paint and panelling to cream and bright colors. If you can only do one thing in your kitchen, I'd go with paint. Fresh paint always brightens a room.

Barbara said...

I removed the wallpaper in my powder room. The huge lilacs only annoyed me when we first moved into this house. Each year, the flowers seemed to grow larger until I decided I'd had enough. I've removed wallpaper before and it wasn't a problem--holy moly not this stuff. It must have been glued on with regular glue instead of wallpaper paste. It took me literally months of spraying, soaking and scraping but I won. And lost. Until the wallpaper was off, I didn't know the wall was damaged. Oh, well. I painted it anyway. It's a lovely shade of blue and I hung a quilt and a wreath in there to distract the eye.


Kathy, you're lucky to have such a handy husband.

Barbara, I think removing wallpaper is one of the worst DIY projects. Not only is it difficult, no matter which method you use, you then have to make sure the walls are washed very well. It's hard to see that paste, sometimes, but leave some on, and your paint will flake off.