For smaller, more simple kitchen decorating tips, online companies have some great suggestions.
That stainless look
If you are not willing to commit to the cost of stainless steel, there are ways to modernize your kitchen with a stainless look without the stainless cost. A coat or two of Thomas' Liquid Stainless Steel can quickly add a metallic finish to your appliances — visit www.liquidstainlesssteel.com for product details, pricing, and instructions.
Now, if the thought of wrangling with rollers and brushes makes you bristle, try adding Faux Steel Film (available at www.fauxsteel.com), self-adhesive sheeting that can easily be applied to any smooth surface, or create a sleek backsplash by slapping up self-adhesive metal tiles, reasonably priced at www.mileskimball.com. The look is stainless, and the process seamless.
Roosters aren't the only subjects suitable for kitchen art. Get creative and become the curator of a new kitchen collection. Try framing the vintage recipe pamphlets that are always up for grabs on eBay, or remove pages from affordable paperback art books, like those published by Taschen. Frame your findings with inexpensive and easy-to-change clip frames from frameusa.com and launch your own exhibition de cuisine. You can change seasonally or by holiday or special occasion.
Often times you can tell the age of a kitchen in its details. A quick update idea is to swap out tired hardware for stylish new handles and pulls. You can choose finishes that match existing visible hinges to quickly achieve a pulled-together look. Add a modern design or select more traditional pieces — hundreds of shapes and finishes are available, so you’ll find the perfect accent for whatever look you have in mind. Check out www.myknobs.com for a gazillion options.
Designers from www.ivillage.com suggest the one change to rev up the entire room lies in rethinking window treatments to give a kitchen a new attitude with minimal effort and cost. If your curtains compliment the wall color, try hanging a contrasting hue or a fun pattern or playing with texture.
You can cheer up a dull kitchen with this Kitchenette Curtain and Valance set ($38 for two curtain panels, $12 for matching valance at urbanoutfitters.com), which not only brings fun retro flavor but lets plenty of sunlight in.
And if you can't afford to toss your old standbys, try adding rows of pom-pom trim, rickrack, or grosgrain ribbon — you'll find a wide variety at www.mjtrim.com.
Search your cupboards
Unexpected style may be hidden in your own kitchen cupboards. Consider the gorgeous platter that comes out only for the holidays — wouldn’t it look great displayed on the wall? Vintage egg beaters, pancake flippers, and even present-day cookie cutters can be hung in delicious arrangements. Keep your eyes open for these treasures at yard sales and antique shops, or take a trip to www.cookiecutter.com, which has a huge selection of whimsical designs that can become part of new kitchen decor.
No need to schedule a complete kitchen overhaul. Revive dated cabinets in just an afternoon by simply painting or wallpapering their front panels. Whether you opt for room-lightening white or primary-color pop, select easy-to-wash glossy paint or visit www.americanblinds.com for a large selection of wallpaper possibilities. Be sure to remove hardware before the refurbishing begins, and finish papered cupboards with a couple of coats of clear polyacrylic to make them sponge-able.
Lighting sets the mood in any room, but kitchens can become harsh habitats when it comes to the amount and type of wattage used in them. Sure, you need to see just where the carrot ends and your fingers begin, but don't be afraid to add nontraditional lighting in the kitchen to create a pleasing atmosphere. An appropriately sized table or desk lamp placed on a counter top or kitchen table will add warmth and encourage folks to congregate around its glow.
Liven up your kitchen instantly with a splash of color from pots of bright flowers and leafy plants. If you need some extra sill space, simply install a couple of window shelves, created from painted boards and attractive brackets. Choose your favorite fragrant herbs that do double duty as fresh ingredients and natural accents. You can get started with a Six Pack Specialty Herb Garden, which comes with six potted plants and a related book, $28.95 from www.mountainvalleygrowers.com.
Whether you are planning a full, blow the roof off renovation, a big or small remodel job or some quick do it yourself updates, the kitchen is a great place to start.