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Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your home interiors projects.

Updating your kitchen on a budget

Modern-looking kitchen. Photograph by Graham Soult

If your kitchen is looking dated and tired but you cannot afford to completely fit out a new kitchen - a considerable investment - then there are some budget-friendly ways to give your existing kitchen a new lease of life that don't require major DIY skills. All it takes is a little imagination and before you know it you have given a tired kitchen a new lease of life.

Your kitchen cabinets and drawers are a major focal point as they take up a lot of space around the perimeter of your kitchen. If they were installed many years ago, they are one of the first things to look out of date as trends move on quite quickly. So, if you have the money to invest in a new set of doors and drawer fronts, you can instantly give your kitchen a face lift without ripping it out and installing a new one. Don't forget your door and drawer handles - there are many quirky and eye-catching modern designs on the market today. Doors with paned glass are a good idea for a small kitchen as they reflect light and will help open up a small room. If you cannot afford to replace your doors and drawers, another option would be to buy some specialist paint that you can use to repaint certain types of doors and drawers.

Less expensive than replacing doors and drawers, but still a good way to give a kitchen a completely different look, is to simply repaint the walls and ceiling. Kitchen paint can look tired quickly because of steam and grease damage, so make sure you use a good-quality kitchen paint which should stand up better to stains. With paint the options are endless. Choose a light colour for small kitchens, paint a feature wall in a different colour, or choose bright sunny colours if your kitchen does not get a lot of natural light.

Splashbacks can look tired, dated and grubby too, ruining the overall look of the kitchen. You can buy special primers and paint to re-invigorate splashback tiles. Worktops can also show the age of a kitchen and while these are not cheap to replace, they can be disguised with interesting chopping boards, such as old wooden block-style boards or modern and colourful types. In fact, just updating with colourful appliances such as toasters and kettles can draw the eye away from shabbier-looking sections of the kitchen.

A bad floor is easily disguised with eye-catching washable rugs, or a large dining table and chairs if you have the space. Don't forget that good lighting can be used to take attention away from certain areas. Use mood lighting or concealed lighting in places you would like to highlight and keep bright task lighting for under cabinets. Lighting can be a focal point in itself with dramatic light shades or chandeliers.

If you have a lovely view from your kitchen window - perhaps of a beautifully landscaped back garden - then make that a focal point. Replace solid back doors that block light and the view with patio-style doors to extend your kitchen right out into the garden. If you can, use double doors - perhaps making use of the convenient sliding door hardware options that are available - to give easy access to the outside area for dining. Then no one will notice a less-than-perfect kitchen!

Photo credit: Graham Soult

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