The kitchen: it’s one of the most-used rooms in the house, where families congregate, where memories are made and where you provide fuel for your household.
When I’m working on home renovations, I always prioritize kitchen improvements. Kitchens are such a focal point of a home, they can make or break a home sale and add (or take away) lots of value.
When I renovated my first historic home in the Phoenix Fairview Historic District seven years ago, I learned a ton about how to effectively upgrade kitchens. Working on kitchens in both the main house and guest house of the first historic home I renovated, here are five tips I learned.
1. Match the Color Palette to the Home
With my first home renovation, this was a small-space, ‘90s style kitchen. I wanted to bring in the color palette of the rest of the home to create more flow and cohesion. But doing all-black or all-gray cabinets would close in the space.
I opted for two-tone cabinets, which made the space look bigger while still unifying the overall style of the home. When you’re considering color for a kitchen, a two-tone design can motivate the eye to wander. That provides the illusion of a bigger space.
Using classic colors like these also gave the kitchen a sleek look, while making it fit right in with the rest of the home.
2. Keep the Style Consistent
This tip is especially important for older and historic homes: maintain a consistent style in your kitchen. The hood I was working with in this kitchen was in complete style conflict with the historic architecture. It was way too modern and looked really out of place. That’s not a good vibe to have when you’re whipping up something tasty in your kitchen.
I switched out the hood for a more classic range hood style. You can see what a huge impact this simple change made to make the kitchen look more cohesive.
Try to keep a consistent style throughout all the appliances and fixtures. Create cohesion in your kitchen by:
Your design aesthetic may be all over the map, but to add value to the kitchen, you want to make sure it looks united as a room in itself, and that it also makes sense within the context of the entire house.
3. Pay Attention to Details
With small-to-medium spaces like kitchens, details are super-important and can really make a kitchen shine. When it comes to hardware, this is your opportunity to make a unique statement. Have fun with it!
In this renovation, I have to admit, the hardware was a little basic. If I were redoing this kitchen today, I would upgrade cabinet hardware to be more attention-grabbing. Some styles I love:
Whatever your aesthetic, there are endless ways to customize kitchen hardware and hinges. Since you likely use your kitchen several times a day, you deserve to love all the elements in it, right down to the hardware.
4. Be Strategic with Backsplash
I learned a lot about installing backsplash in this first Phoenix historic home renovation. A couple major tips when it comes to kitchen backsplash:
Backsplash is another kitchen detail you can get really creative with. But if it’s not installed correctly, it can throw off the whole kitchen design.
5. Find Unique Solutions to Problems
Finally, embrace your creative side when renovating a kitchen! In this historic home, I had an issue with needing to hide mechanical equipment in the laundry room that could be seen from the kitchen. My solution? A saloon door!
Saloon doors are so functional. They make it easy to move between rooms while also creating a separation when you need one. I gave the saloon door in this home a modern look by painting it teal to really make it pop against the classic colors of the rest of the kitchen.
Why saloon doors in a kitchen? They let natural light through and provide privacy. Compare that to a regular door that blocks light or a door with windows that would expose anything you don’t want seen on the other side.
Some other ideas for unique solutions in kitchens:
Want to see more kitchens I found unique solutions for? Check out my Phoenix home design projects, where you can shop the exact products I used in the many renovations over the last 10 years.
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