VICTORIA - Saying goodbye to an '80s kitchen can be as easy as applying a coat of paint, modernizing lighting and installing stone countertops.
Though kitchen renovations can often require a serious financial investment, painting kitchen cabinets is a relatively inexpensive way to give the space a new look, says Lana Lounsbury, Victoria interior designer.
"If you've got old wood cabinets that are beat up or need to be refinished, painting them can bring them up to date," says Lounsbury.
But she warns that homeowners should be aware of the kind of wood their cabinets are made of before they paint them, and what kind of paint they use.
"You cannot paint oak — the grain is too deep — and when you put lacquer over it they look fake and gross because you can still see the grain," she says.
"Homeowners should also contemplate having them professionally sprayed in a booth to avoid having the marks of brushes and rollers seen in the end product."
Lounsbury says homeowners shouldn't cut costs on paint and are advised to use a high-quality, semi-gloss sheen after applying a primer.
While quartz, stone and marble countertops can be a major investment in a kitchen an impact can be made by installing a new countertop on a smaller space like an island.
"If you go to any of the granite or marble yards, they might have off-cuts of other jobs and you could buy pieces," says Lounsbury. "But I would say when it comes to marble and stone you should pay for it."
Marina Hildebrand, an interior designer in Regina, and Lounsbury both say updating lighting fixtures can change the look of a kitchen.
According to Hildebrand, homeowners are replacing the '90s trend of three small pendant fixtures with two more dramatic lights.
"Lighting is dramatic and pretty inexpensive considering the options out there right now," she says.
Lounsbury points out that a mix of ambient and task lighting is important in a kitchen.
Incorporating colour and pattern in a kitchen is another effective way to update the space and Hildebrand says this can be done using fabric on chairs and bar stools.
"Get some new chairs and if they are inexpensive, get them reupholstered," she says. "You don't have to choose expensive fabrics. You can go to the fabric store and pick out some wow stuff, and create a bit of punch."
For homeowners who have more experience in home renovations, or who are interested in learning, Hildebrand says including a new backsplash in the kitchen can make an impact.
"There are so many products online and at home improvement stores that are pretty inexpensive, but they still require a bit of skill," she says. "Many home improvement stores offer classes on tiling if homeowners are willing to invest some time."
Both Hildebrand and Lounsbury say there are many ways homeowners can update their kitchens on their own, but they should be aware of their own skills and abilities when it comes to home improvement.
Homeowners shouldn't overestimate their skill because if they tackle projects out of their comfort zone it could take away from the final result, notes Hildebrand.
"Sometimes they just need to come to terms with what they have and recognize that a lot of the world would love to have our problems with out-of-date kitchens. Maybe sometimes smaller is better because homeowners can afford to treat their space well, and that is well appointed and well done."