A bold statement piece for style-savvy risktakers, the Timmons Banquette features an exotic embossed leather in “Lizard Chic Anthracite.” Vertical striping across the width of the piece gives the illusion of extra height, while long, slender legs finish off the look.

A bold statement piece for style-savvy risktakers, the Timmons Banquette features an exotic embossed leather in “Lizard Chic Anthracite.” Vertical striping across the width of the piece gives the illusion of extra height, while long, slender legs finish off the look.

Stop putting roadblocks between you and the decor you’d love to have. Instead of thinking about a project as a major undertaking, try breaking it up into doable phases that won’t stress you or your budget. If you’d love a new kitchen but can’t afford it, you can still get a running start on a new look by starting small.

Begin in an area where you spend a lot of time – perhaps your breakfast room or casual dining area. I like starting here because for most of us it’s where we kick off and end our days. It is the one place the entire family gathers on a daily basis. Redoing it can be affordable and a great springboard into larger projects.

Start with the color scheme. Buy paint samples and test them. If you make it a family project, you’ll get lots of support, maybe some free labor and a bigger budget. If your table is in decent condition and the right shape, you might want to consider refinishing or painting it. Painted furniture is making a big comeback, and the new chalk paints can be applied without sanding, making the process so easy and fast.

Adding new dining chairs is a wonderful way to change the look of your space without spending a fortune. For a more contemporary look, try replacing wooden chairs with metal ones. Europe2you has a wonderful collection. I adore the metal chairs in shiny silver, but they are also available in a dark metal patina. This might be an optimal choice if you are trying to capture that industrial look or marrying them with an antique table.

Check out Europe2you’s wooden dining chairs with a cane bottom in a natural finish. These will work well if you love the Parisian café look. The strips of wood in the back of the chair are more interesting than the traditional Paris café chair.

Fabric can take any piece of furniture from casual to dramatic. Taylor King’s Timmmon’s banquette is an example. Snakeskin upholstery creates a look of high style. Take this same banquette and upholster it in linen, and it fits easily into the most casual breakfast room or beach house. Brightly colored leather upholstery instantly reads as contemporary.

Give your kitchen island an update by replacing your bar stools with a design that reflects the new direction of your decor. If you don’t have pendants over your island or snack bar, replace your recessed lighting with new pendants. There are so many wonderful styles that I could change mine every couple of years.

If these suggestions still seem too pricey, don’t despair. I know you can afford this one: new placemats, napkins, dishes and glassware. The bargains at today’s home stores make it easy to freshen your table linens each season and your dishes every couple of years. Instead of gazing into your old coffee cup wishing for a new kitchen, refresh what you have little by little. Bon appetit!