5 Ways to Update Your Kitchen {Without a Major Remodel}

White Kitchen with Black Counters and Blue Patterned RugBHG

Dreaming about a remodeled kitchen (or what it might feel like if you tore out a few walls here and there) can help you to imagine how you might love your home even more. I love dreaming! But dreaming big isn’t the only way to love the kitchen you have. In fact, sometimes the smaller projects bring as much joy (or a more special kind of joy!) as the bigger ones.

It is all in the way you look at what you have, isn’t it?

To really love your kitchen and be happy with what you have, I think the actual decisions about how to update it have to spring from reality. Questions like what we can live with and what do we think is essential or are reasonable updates for this kitchen, this house and this season of our life?

Remodeling isn’t always an option or even necessarily the best choice in every situation, but I believe every kitchen can be made more lovable.

There are always tips in magazines and blog posts that might seem pretty boring (like, DUH! I know I can do that) but let’s explore how to take an idea that might seem obvious and actually use it to make a kitchen fabulous.

Here are five ways to show more love to the kitchen you have, without a major remodel!

Chalkboard Door -Week At A Glance - Lemonade Makin Mama

A painted chalkboard door via Lemonade Makin’ Mama

1. Fix What You Don’t Like.

It is funny how a feature we don’t like becomes almost like a beacon of light, pulling our attention right to it. Every day we think about it. Even if no one else would notice it, WE DO. If you don’t like it, it might seem like an obvious question, but what CAN you do about it? What we CAN do might not be as perfect as what we WOULD do if circumstances were different, but it is what we actually DO that will make the difference.

So many times over the years I have found all it took for me to love my room more was a little creativity to conceal features I didn’t like. Chalkboard paint is one of those concealing miracle workers, isn’t it?

I had a door in my English kitchen that just felt like it was out of place. It was a ho-hum brown oak door when the rest of our house had more charming painted doors and wood work. I dreamed of a new door for years until one day I had an idea, instead of hating it for one more day I could fix it! We painted it with chalkboard paint (we used this brand) and it went from being an unfortunate feature to a feature I really loved.

Brick (Wallpaper) a Feature Wall BHGBHG

2. Feature walls are still cool.

Extensive remodels can be amazing, but you don’t have to remodel the whole kitchen to get a new look. Focus on one wall and give it the WOW factor! Brick walls are always a dramatic focal point. Try a brick veneer product for a DIY treatment (like this brick) and even great looking brick wallpapers (I think this brick wallpaper looks pretty realistic, doesn’t it?). A feature wall might be the best thing that ever happened to your kitchen!


Update a dark kitchen with paint via Julie Blanner

3. Freshen it up with white.

A dark kitchen might tempt you to gut the whole thing to get your dream kitchen. But as cliché as it might sound, it’s true. White paint can do wonders. It can prolong the life of your kitchen, offer a fresh backdrop to the heart of your home, or give you your dream kitchen on a budget that you can live with. What would it take for you to love your kitchen more? If it is within your budget and makes sense for your home and family, it might be worth the investment. Appliances aren’t cheap, but they too can freshen up an outdated kitchen. There are many ways to update a kitchen without a complete remodel. Simple changes can give you what you really want, the opportunity to love working in your kitchen on a reasonable budget.

The Inspired Room Kitchen Island DIY - Better Homes and Gardens

My kitchen island in BHG!

4. Add a cheery personality with pattern.

Perhaps the simplest way to bring your own personality to a kitchen is to add a pattern you love through runners, throw rugs, window treatments (tea towels can make adorable cafe curtains) or hand towels on hooks. Yes, this tip might seem to be one of those updates that doesn’t work as well if you don’t have a perfect backdrop to show off the tea towels. But I can say after touring hundreds of houses for sale online and in person when we were house hunting, there were many original “unremodeled” kitchens or more basically updated (i.e. boring or standard) kitchens that would have improved (or benefited) from cute towels and rugs! Kitchens will always feel more lovable if they are cheery!

Infuse a pop of color to a kitchen - BHGBHG

5. Infuse a pop of color

“Add a pop of color” might be the most overused phrase in home decor, but the truth is if you do it right, it works. Color draws your eye towards something you want people to notice. If the rest of your kitchen isn’t bringing you rave reviews, focus on something that will! Paint an island, the walls, your table or chairs, window trim, your cabinet doors, backs of cabinets, a free-standing cabinet, rugs or accessories are all places where a new color might transform the feel of a kitchen.

5 Ways to Update Your Kitchen Without A Major Remodel - The Inspired Room

Does your kitchen need a little TLC?

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator & AddWash Appliances

Samsung FamilyHub Refrigerator

O ne of the things I’m most excited about as I plan out our remodel is the fun of getting new appliances! I haven’t bought new appliances in a long time, I just used what we already had when we remodeled our last kitchen so I didn’t even look into what was available out there. Now I’m definitely starting to research and think about what we would want and it’s pretty fun to see all the new innovations!

CES 2016 - The Inspired Room

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (my first time in Vegas!). CES is a huge innovation conference. I was invited to attend with Samsung (along with The Everyday Man and Joe’s Daily) as one of their brand ambassadors, so it was really neat to be able to see their brand new appliances first hand.

Today I thought I’d introduce you to two of Samsung’s new appliances I was especially excited about, the Family Hub refrigerator and the AddWash washing machine. I was pretty impressed at how far appliances have come since the last time I was appliance shopping. I love how these appliances could help make family life easier and more efficient.

Family Hub Refrigerator by Samsung - Touch Screen

First of all, this is the awesome Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator. The busier our family has become and the more my business has grown, the more we are learning to use technology to keep ourselves sane and organized. While I still love my command center magnetic chalkboard on the wall and enjoy using paper notebooks and calendars, for coordinating our busy life I do use electronic calendars to color code schedules, set reminders and keep everything organized.

So as a mom and business owner, imagine my delight when I saw this refrigerator. It features an electronic family organizing center right there on the fridge where everyone in the family can see it! Check out our video below for some of the highlights. It offers so many features that could be real time (and money!) savers while helping keep the family connected and organized.


I also love that it has a FlexZone where you can decide if you want it to be a freezer or a fridge at any given time, that’s brilliant. If you’re interested in seeing more about the Family Hub, check out Samsung’s promo video about it here, it’s definitely worth watching!

The New Samsung AddWash Washing Machine

Samsung AddWash Washing Machine

Next up was the AddWash washing machine. I shared about it a couple of months ago, but this time I actually got to see it in action! For those of you front loader fans, this machine takes laundry efficiency up a notch by solving one of the main limitations with previous front loaders. Samsung has added an extra door to the front design to finally make it possible to add in that stray sock you dropped, a bath towel that needs to get into your wash load, or even to add more delicate laundry later in the cycle.


Check out our video above!

Hope you enjoyed our sneak peek! I can’t wait to share more plans for our upcoming kitchen remodel, including cabinet colors, counter and layout ideas!

I am thrilled to be a brand ambassador for Samsung Home Appliances and this post was created as a part of my partnership. My experiences and opinions are my own.

My Kitchen Remodel: Windows Flush With Counter

Black Steel Windows Flush with Kitchen Countertop - Jill Sharp InteriorsJill Sharp Brinson seen in House Beautiful

Have you ever noticed kitchens with large windows that are nearly flush to the counters, often behind a sink? Well, I made an exciting discover about my own kitchen (and dining room) while I was on my Christmas break. More on that new development in just a minute!

As fun as it is for me, there are always dizzying amounts of options and decisions when it comes to remodeling a kitchen. Even when you need to work within the space you have and are on a budget (and maybe especially then), you still want your kitchen to turn out to be the best it can be so it is well worth the time to wrestle through the options.

So far I have shared my dream of a Dutch door, my intent to let my house evolve into a bit of a modern farmhouse style mixed with 1950s cottage leaning, and my desire to stay within the footprint of the original home, rather than to add on.

Kitchen Photo Before

Remember this corner with the little desk area? I had shared about the possibility of adding a built-in bench, since it would fit well under the window. The desk/lower counter area is always a clutter magnet so the bench seemed like a more useful and charming solution for our family. I love that idea.

All this time I’ve been thinking (simply because I didn’t measure it) that it wasn’t possible to have a regular height counter space below this window. But over Christmas break I asked myself (ok, so do you talk to yourself when you are decorating your house? I’m a bit weird, I suppose, my house talks to me AND I talk to myself!) if I was certain a regular height counter could not fit below it.

Of course, I was certain it wouldn’t fit because that is what I had been thinking all along. But just in case, I got out my measuring tape, googled the height counters should be and texted my mom to measure the height of her new countertops from the floor. Much to my surprise, there was actually plenty of space below the window to install regular (to even higher than regular) height counters without getting new windows. Hmmmm.

When we first saw the house we thought a sink under a new window with a view to the backyard would offer the most pleasing view. But even with the kitchen corner window accommodating a higher countertop, a sink in that location might feel a little scrunched.

Dining Room - Before

But here was my bigger epiphany, if the windows in the kitchen were high enough for a counter, it opened up an even more intriguing idea in the dining room where there is another window. Sure enough, it too was high enough for a countertop below it.

What if I actually moved my kitchen to the dining room and opened up the wall between the two rooms a bit more, and put the sink under the big window? My eyes got really big when that option popped into my head. Suddenly my heart was all a flutter!

The dining room window has the best wide open view, it would feel amazing to stand at a sink there and do dishes all the day long (well, not the dishes part, but you know what I mean)!

We had considered removing the wall before, but the placement of the basement stairs and the current stove location prevented that kitchen arrangement from feeling right. But by reorienting the kitchen with the sink towards the backyard, opening the wall a bit more makes sense. I will share more about how that kitchen configuration might work as well as dining space options in a future post.

Farmhouse Kitchen Sink - Counter Flush with Window - Jan Gleysteen Architects
Jan Gleysteen Architects

But can you do that, have a kitchen counter basically flush with a window? That’s what I was asking myself at that point. I started searching Pinterest and Houzz and the web for examples to confirm this and of course, after seeing it, I realized how much I love this look. SO MUCH LIGHT! Especially when you have a beautiful view out to the backyard!

So yes, yes you can. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is my favorite (and most practical idea) for behind a sink and with a view, especially if you have extra deep counters for breathing room behind the faucet (which would be possible in our dining room!). Big windows above a sink are always a dream!

The Inspired Room Kitchen Farmhouse Sink - Better Homes and GardensMy previous kitchen in BHG

My old house had a huge window above the sink, but it had a several inch high backsplash that was really a bit awkward to keep clean as it made the area behind the faucet a bit cramped. Deeper counters would offer plenty of space behind the faucet, limiting most of the splashing to the countertop which would be pretty easy to clean.

In my post today I’m sharing a few kitchens with flush (or nearly flush) windows and countertops to get the ideas flowing! The styles may be different than what I will have, but the idea of a big unobstructed window directly across from the sink is pretty appealing to me!

Counter Height Kitchen Sink Window - FlushTraditional Home

Kitchen Window - Flush With Counter - WesterbroekWesterbroek

Kitchen Windows at Counter Height - Liz Firebaugh of Signature KitchensLiz Firebaugh of Signature Kitchens

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on design and trends the other day, I’ve been enjoying your comments! I always love hearing from you!

Related posts:

10 Reasons I Removed My Upper Kitchen Cabinets (my previous kitchen)

7 Tips for Planning a Kitchen Remodel

My posts on eBay:

6 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger

10 Clever Kitchen Space Savers

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