Homes: Kitchen and bathroom updates that pack a punch

Homes: Kitchen and bathroom updates that pack a punch
Photo/Beyond the Box Interiors

By Lanna Ali-Hassan

Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be two of the most utilized rooms in your home, so it may be safe to say that they are in need of a refresh if you haven’t remodeled or changed any features recently. If you are interested in updating your space but not yet ready for a full renovation, these tips may be just the key.

Backsplash tile for the win

Adding a tile backsplash or changing out your existing one can have a major impact on your kitchen. Tile trends have changed quite a bit over the years and unless you currently have a classic subway tile, you can most likely tell which year or span of years your current backsplash was installed. Now is your chance to add a cool pattern, color or texture to your kitchen walls – have fun with it!

Insider tip: Grout has also made leaps and bounds in the past several years so you will now be able to install a grout that has anti-microbial protection and sealant already built into it.

Countertops, oh countertops

While you are swapping backsplashes, the next logical step is to change out your countertops. Materials such as laminate, ceramic tile and solid surface are becoming a part of the past. Quartz is the most popular choice at the moment due to its low maintenance and broad selection.

Quartz is nonporous, so it is resistant to mold, bacteria and stains. It also does not require sealing or polishing like some natural stones. As with any countertop material, you do want to be careful not to place hot objects directly onto the countertop, so using trivets is a good idea.

Insider tip: If you are changing out a small vanity top, look for a remnant at the stone yard. Typically, there are several rows of partial slabs to choose from and they come at a great price point.

Brighten with light jewelry

Lighting not only serves a functional purpose, but it can also be a statement piece or the jewelry of your room. No matter which aesthetic you are trying to achieve, it’s guaranteed there is a decorative light fixture that will fill your needs.

This is your chance to be bold and create a “wow moment,” whether you are swapping out pendant lights over your island, bathroom vanity lighting or a chandelier above your table.

Insider tip: Lighting is the perfect place to mix finishes or even introduce a new finish into your space. Mixing black with chrome or brushed nickel works wonders.

Get out your paint brush

Paint is one of the easiest ways to update any room – as long as your ceilings aren’t 14 feet tall. The color of your walls can range from bright and bold to mellow and chill depending on the vibe you are trying to achieve. Repainting a room can also be one of the most transformative things you do during your updates. It is so simple yet so effective.

Insider tip: Don’t forget about the fifth wall, also known as your ceiling. Often, the fallback or standard is a white ceiling, but it definitely doesn’t have to be. Try a dark gray ceiling or even a splash of color up there – you will be amazed.

… And keep it out

While your paint brush is out, you might want to tackle painting your cabinets next. Out of date, scuffed up cabinets can really make a kitchen or bathroom look less than pleasing. If new cabinets are not in the budget, a few coats of paint can make them look modern and give them new life.

Insider tip: It is important that your cabinets are prepped properly for painting, otherwise the results will be subpar. They need to be cleaned and a good primer must be used. It is always a good idea to have a professional perform the labor to ensure they are prepped and painted correctly

Handle it

Whether you are painting your cabinets or keeping your existing ones, swapping out your cabinet hardware is another simple yet highly effective refresh tactic. And there are so many fun options. Think outside the box and incorporate a finish you never thought of like burnished brass or black. Take it a step further and look into hardware made of leather or crystal.

Insider tip: Coordinate finishes or elements with your new lighting for a well-rounded look.

Shower time

Shower glass and doors come in all shapes and sizes. Frameless shower doors with clear glass are by far the most popular option as they have minimal metal surrounding the glass plus, and they look the most modern. Clear glass also allows you see to all the amazing tile in your shower and helps make the room look larger.

Insider tip: Always upgrade your shower glass to the version that has soap scum and mildew resistance – you will thank us later.

The writer is owner and principal designer of Beyond the Box Interiors, a full-service interior design firm located in Alexandria, Washington D.C. and Frederick, Maryland.