1. Repaint those cabinets! Unless you have high
wood cabinets, chances are they could use some
rejuvenation, and painted finishes are very hot!
are many techniques you can easily learn to give
kitchen cabinets an expensive designer look.
faux finishing, and glazing are all quite simple and
cost effective. Try the Internet for some guidance;
most major paint manufacturers have websites with
instructions! Try http://www.dutchboy.com or
2. Paint those walls! These days our kitchens are the
hub of the home, and we all feel more comfortable in
rooms that offer mood and character. If you have
cabinets, color on the walls will make the wood
richer, and emphasize your accessories.
3. Make carved look molding and appliqués. There are
several techniques for creating beautiful moldings
architectural embellishments for very little money.
can either use joint compound and a cake-decorating
to create beautiful designs on plain wood strips,
prime and paint, or use my "salt dough" method. I
the salt dough recipes that children often use for
making Christmas decorations. I cut the dough into
simple shapes such as leaves, ropes, or scrolls.
let dry or bake as the recipe dictates. Now simply
a glue gun to attach to wood strips, prime and
This gives you a little more control over the
piece, and also is a lot cheaper! Hint: If you use
method for appliqués, paint before you attach. These
are great attached to the front of cabinet doors, or
over doorways. See the two recipes I use below.
Salt Dough Recipe
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
Water added by the tablespoon until the desired
1-2 tablespoons salad oil added to help keep it from
drying and cracking
Place pieces on a cookie sheet in a 250-degree oven
1 hour, then check every 15 minutes until hard, but
(While this recipe is a little
more inconvenient because of the air drying, it yields a
much finer product, almost like porcelain.)
2 cups baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups water
Heat in a saucepan until thick, let cool, and then
knead out on a board dusted with cornstarch. Cut or
work into desired shapes, then let air dry at least
hours or more.
4. Use fabric in your kitchen. Years ago, there was a
belief that you shouldn't use fabric in a kitchen
because of the grease and food splatters, and the
difficulty cleaning. Nowadays, most fabrics can be
thrown in the washer and dryer, so go ahead and use
it! It softens the kitchen, can add romance or charm,
makes it feel like a warm connection to the rest of
your house, instead of a cold utilitarian space.
Curtains or valances, appliance covers, and table
runners all can be easily stitched at home. (Or
with an iron and hem tape available at your sewing
craft store.) Fabric does not have to be expensive
either. Flat twin sheets are always a great value,
can be gotten on sale for as little as 3 dollars.
an eye out at garage sales for sheets, quilts,
tablecloths, and even clothing that have your homes
5. Give yourself stone counters for less than $40!
ordinarily even $40 for one project is a little much
for me, but this one has such a large impact and is
easy, that it's definitely worth it! The secret?
Get a book from the library, or search the Internet
instructions on the stone faux finish of your
(practice on cardboard first!) then follow these
For this to be successful, there is one step you
skimp on. Prime your countertops with a primer
specially made for non-porous surfaces!!! Bin or
are both good brands. (I also like to use their
water-based variety, check the can carefully!) Now
paint your faux finish. Allow to dry thoroughly, 24
hours is best. Now simply give it 4 or 5 coats of
water-based polyurethane, let dry, and enjoy years
beautiful kitchen! Save some of your original paint
if you ever do get a chip, touch up is a breeze. I
promise you, visitors to your home will be hard
to tell that it isn't a $5000 counter!
Kathleen Wilson is author of Quick Decorating
Ideas Under $20: The Budget Decorator's Bible and editor
of the popular ezine, The Budget Decorator. You can
find more free ideas and information on ordering her book
When decorating your kitchen make sure the home
decor matches the kitchen decor. Nothing's worse than having different
home lighting decor from room to room when none of it matches
the overall theme of your house.
home decisions or head out to great log
homes in the forest.
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