A major kitchen renovation can be very expensive and disruptive to everyone in the household.

But you can still make some minor changes that have major impact on the way your kitchen looks and funtions. Today’s new kitchens have fewer upper cabinets and islands. Both of these updated features are attainable without calling in the demolition squad.

Starting with your upper cabinets. What do you really need that you store in these cabinets? If it’s dishes and glassware consider replacing your upper cabinets with attractive shelving. Storing these items on open shelving makes them easy to access when setting the table and quick to put away when unloading the dishwasher. Shelves add style to your kitchen when displaying color-coordinated dishware.


Legacy Classic’s Metalworks Collection

The secret to transiting from upper cabinets to wall shelves is a two apart proposition. First select the right style of shelves and brackets that will blend seamlessly into your existing kitchen décor. Second, make sure they are strong enough and well installed. Dishes are heavy so make sure they can handle the weight.

You don’t have to remove all your wall cabinets; just removing the ones that extend into your site line will do the trick. Example, the cabinets on each side of the sink or the last few cabinets on the wall leading to another room like your family room or breakfast room. You will be amazed at how removing this a few wall cabinets will open up you kitchen and make it feel more spacious.

What about the backsplash? This is your call. It can get to be a little tricky, depending on the type of material, layout pattern and how it’s mounted to the wall. The easy solution is to leave the backsplash and install your lowest shelf right at the top of your existing backsplash.

If this is a DIY project, make sure you are careful when removing the cabinets and backsplash. Take time to properly patch any holes and carefully prep the walls before you repaint. You don’t want any tell-tell signs of the old cabinets.

Tear Down Those Wall Cabinets
Left: Rachel Ray Collection / Right: Paula Deen Home Collection by Universal Furniture

A few styling tips for adding your dishes to your shelves, stack all like dishes together. Pitch out all those miss matched glasses. Spend $20 and buy yourself new matching glassware. Incorporate color coordinated pitchers and bowls to your dish shelves to create a more interesting display. The secret is to display items that you actual use on a day-to-day basis.

My second trick for updating a kitchen is to add an island. They don’t’ have to be constructed from the same materials as your wall cabinets. In fact they are more interesting if they are a different color and constructed from a different materials.

Today’s furniture manufacturers have developed some outstanding options. These beautiful, freestanding pieces of furniture are available in a variety of sizes and finishes. If space allows, consider islands with seating options. They can provide additional prep space, the perfect breakfast or lunch spot as well as a great location for your kids to do their homework while dinner is being prepared.

Tear Down Those Wall Cabinets
Miss Yearwood Kitchen Island by Klaussner

TV chefs, Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and Trisha Yearwood have each introduced free standing islands that blend beautifully into any style of kitchen. Another get feature is these island can go with you when you move so apartment dwellers don’t have to forgo an island any longer.

If you are working on a budget consider purchasing an old table. Lift the height of it by adding 4×4 blocks of wood to the bottom of the legs or replacing them with sections of wood columns. You can even close in the bottom of the table with wooden shutters or even old doors. There are lots of options that you can employ when you switch on your creativity.

Don’t lament over how bad your kitchen looks. Do something about it. Even a small change can have a big impact on your attitude and your kitchen.

KLAUSSNER

Country singer and cookbook author Trisha Yearwood is hosting her fifth season of “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen” on Food Network, while her first collection of home furnishings for Klaussner Furniture is just entering its second “season” in retail stores. The Miss Yearwood Kitchen Island is shown in an off-white, lightly distressed finish, but the piece also comes in a burnished brown wood tone and an indigo blue painted finish. Four drawers, including two deep bottom drawers provide ample storage, while the stainless steel top provides an easy-clean work and serving surface. Shown with Trisha’s “Cowboy Bar Stools,” the island retails for about $999.
 

UNIVERSAL FURNITURE

Freestanding kitchen islands are so popular that furniture makers are including them as integral pieces in new “whole home” furniture collections – particularly those that are licensed by celebrity chefs! The Dogwood Kitchen Island is a signature piece in the Paula Deen Home Collection by Universal Furniture. Shown in the “Cobblestone” finish, the island is 56 inches wide, 36 inches deep and features a stainless wrapped metal top. The base offers five storage drawers, two cabinet doors and towel rods on either side. About $2,190.
 

LEGACY CLASSIC

The kitchen island in Legacy Classic’s Metalworks collection has a stainless steel top and two drawers plus a double-door cabinet in the base. Locking casters are an added bonus, allowing the piece to be mobile. It is 60 inches wide and 30 inches deep and retails for about $1,999.
 

RACHAEL RAY HOME

Celebrity chef, television personality and cookbook author Rachael Ray extends her brand into the home furnishings category this fall with the introduction of her Rachael Ray Home Collection by Legacy Classic. The collection includes three groups, the most contemporary of which is called “Highline.” With clean lines and a soft gray finish on quartered oak veneers, the collection features a highly functional kitchen island with towel bars on each end along with wine storage and deep storage drawers. The butcher block top features a removable square that allows cutting board waste to drop into a trash can hidden below. The more traditional “Upstate” and modern “Soho” collections also include kitchen islands. The Highline version will retail for about $2,999.