Affordable Ways to Fix Up Out of Date Kitchens and Bathrooms

December 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm Interior Design

By Caroline Fuchs

Too often house hunters and home owners alike think the only solution to fix up an out-of-date kitchen or bath is to do a costly and labor intensive renovation. However, with a bit of creative thinking and resourcefulness along with minimal investment there are many ways to spruce up a drab and dreary space without so much as uttering the word ‘renovate’.

Take for example, this one bedroom apartment located in a prewar brownstone on the Upper West Side. With its exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, decorative fireplace and a balcony, this apartment is loaded with charm and character.  Although one look at the kitchen’s yellow laminate counter top and tired wood cabinets and all that charm is quickly forgotten.

Upper West Side 1 BR

Your first thought maybe to gut the entire space. However, there are ways to decorate around what currently exists.  With the help of Google and a few clicks of the mouse, I discovered this fabulous wallpaper that emulates exotic tile. Not only do the colors in the print work well to tie together the yellow counter-top and the dark wood cabinets, but using it along the wall above the counter top creates the illusion of a vintage tiled backsplash and a more finished look in the space.  Another great idea is to add decorative hardware to the cabinets. I found these vintage-style ceramic and zinc knobs at Anthropologie that add a jewel-like effect to the cabinets and perfectly blend in with the wallpaper and counter top!

Gardening Indoor Knobs, $8.00 each at Anthropologie

A great tip for small kitchens that lack counter space is to position a chunky cutting board over the stove. Choose a substantial one like this sturdy, solid walnut boardfrom William-Sonoma. It not only distracts the eye from a dated oven but also provides you with some much needed extra counter space.  Set a large ceramic bowl filled with your favorite fruit and you’ve created a multi-functionally and visually pleasing work area.

Boos Walnut Reversible Carving Board, $199.95 from William Sonoma

Lastly, splurge on a few kitchen essentials that you use often but are aethestically pleasing…a timeless design espresso maker alike this Nespresso Model also available at William Sonoma.  A wall-mounted spice rack, white ceramic jars to hold coffee, sugar, flour, are all nice touches.  If you love to cook with fresh herbs, try planting a countertop garden potted in clay or white ceramic pots!

Nespresso Maestria Espresso Machine, available for $549.95 at Williams Sonoma

Hopefully these ideas will ignite your creative side and get you to go outside -the box and make you think before you tear out that old kitchen sink!


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1 Comment

  1. Frank says:

    I hear that these are the 2 rooms that you will get your money back on when you sell. Go to to help you accessorize these spaces.

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