August 17, 2011

Makeover: Now and Later

Much of my design career included working with what the client already owned. Why oh why would I ever want to throw out something that was functional or could be made more attractive??? It's simple. I wouldn't. And you shouldn't either. In today's economy and with "green" design methods cropping up all around us, using what you have - yet still making small improvements - is what it's all about. So how can you make changes in an afternoon, a day, a weekend, or even a week, in your own home? Start by taking a good long look at your room. What do you love? hate? What would you change if you could? Look at how the room is being used. Is every corner being utilized? Do you love hanging out in that space? For example, in the picture above, you see a very ordinary, white/beige/brown non-descript kitchen. It's not very functional either. The table under the painting is too small. And although I do love a breakfast bar or island in a kitchen, it's best to pick your battles and realize what your room can and can't do. My function first motto says it's best to re-purpose this room by moving the island and bringing in a table and chairs.

That's better. In just one hour, you can re-position furniture (the butcher block island now sits on the wall and allows the homeowner to use it as both storage and a functional prep surface) and bring in a table from another room. I realize you may not have a proper table, but you'd be surprised by playing with what you do have available. If the table is dented or scarred, throw a cloth over it. And don't forget to infuse a little color (flowers and fruits work well) into the room. Now this kitchen looks more inviting.

And speaking of color, if you have a weekend available, you can paint the walls and the table for more impact. The white cabinetry now pops against the blue/gray walls. The color is warm enough to invite you in, yet doesn't overwhelm. (Be careful not to use too cool a color in "cold" rooms like a kitchen or bath.) Because the wall color is a bit more sophisticated, the green table was painted white to coordinate with the chairs and cabinets. The black chair was also painted white to blend with the rest of the woodwork. Switching out artwork from room to room is an easy way to update a space.

If you have the whole weekend, and a little more money in your budget, consider hanging shelves to add style and storage. These easy-to-install shelves came from Ikea and work wonders for the space. Once they're up, pay attention to items you display. Bring in a new color into the room, like this French blue, with vases, plates, bowls, and tumblers that can be used for a variety of tasks. Move the color around the room to help balance each element. And while you're at it, add an inexpensive pendant light over the table for added drama.

Images via O Home magazine


Kathryn Bechen Ink said...

Very nice Kim!

Kimberly Merritt said...

Thank you, Kathryn. I'm glad you liked it.

Anne said...

I just found your blog today. This kitchen makeover is A M A Z I N G! I love that you don't start everything from scratch but incorporate what's already there and make it better.

I'm already a huge fan!!

Yvonne Leung said...

What is the name and brand of the color did you use on the kitchen walls? I love it!

Kimberly Merritt said...

Hi Yvonne. Just to be clear, this is not my makeover, but here are the colors you asked about.

BM Monroe Bisque and Stonington Gray.