Kitchen Renovations

9 hacks to totally transform your kitchen

No budget for a full kitchen renovation? No worries!
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You don’t need to spend a pretty penny for an impressive kitchen. From door handles and appliances to fresh paint and splashbacks, these easy, creative and cost-effective kitchen hacks will transform your space.

Add a splash of colour

Add a lick of paint to your door frames, cupboards, splashbacks or even a few bold accessories like a bright red wall clock. Paint, or colour, can instantly brighten your space and transform the look and feel of your kitchen. Use bright colours for energy and a fun or quirky feel. Softer pastels tend to create a sense of calm, whereas warmer tones like terracotta and earthy tones create a welcoming and warm ambience.

Colourful VJ groove backsplash in kitchen
The butler’s pantry in this home in a leafy Brisbane suburb, designed by Anna Spiro, features VJ panelling painted in Dulux Pool Bar. (Credit: Photography: Eleanor Byrne | Styling: Anna Spiro)

Overhaul your kitchen with a brilliant benchtop

The three most popular materials used for benchtops are laminate, timber and stone. But, laminate is around a third of the price. Even better, it’s hard-wearing, durable, water resistant, easy to wipe down and clean, and you can get anti-bacterial and finger-print proof finishes – great for grubby little fingers eating afterschool snacks! It also contains little to no silica

Today’s laminates come in a whole spectrum of finishes, from mattes to glosses, marble and mineral looks to woodgrains, metallics and a plethora of accent colours to suit – and transform – any kitchen space.

Kitchen with Laminex benchtop
(Credit: Image: Laminex)

Incorporate feature cupboard door panels

Swapping out kitchen cupboard doors is a cost-effective way to revamp your kitchen minus the complete cabinetry fit-out – a great solution of water-logged chipboard doors ruining your kitchen look. Today’s doors come in a range of widths, allowing you to create skinny broom cupboards from awkward corner spaces, as well as materials, finishes, textured looks and colours.

You can update the door frames, opt for frosted glass doors, and use wire-mesh, timber or metals, and even paint your own doors! 

Kitchen with rattan cupboard doors
Rattan cupboard doors, set into the reclaimed Oregon door frames, elevate this kitchen instantly. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jessica Bellef)

Go for statement door handles

This small detail can have big impact! Cupboard door handles and drawer pulls can bring cohesion to a kitchen look, add quirk, personality or interest, and make a style statement.

You can choose art deco handles, urban-industrial look clamps in galvanised steel, hand-painted porcelain and fine China knobs, kooky motifs, metals from contemporary brushed black metal to shiny silver, rose gold and aged-look bronze and more.   

Open shelves and gold drawer pulls in kitchen
This classic country-style kitchen encompasses both statement drawer pulls and open shelving, easy updates that will transform any kitchen. (Credit: Photography: Ema Peter | Styling: Debbie Frederickson)

Upgrade your kitchen with open shelving

Not much space or budget to work with? Use open shelves to express your personality or to feature your favourite collectables – from your teacup collection to fine china and spoons collected from worldly travels. Or, make it more practical! With utensil holders, knives and hung saucepans.

Kitchen with zellige tile splashback
Special splashback: Moroccan zellige tiles from Tiles By Kate add colour and personality to this kitchen without being overpowering. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jessica Bellef)

Replace your kitchen splashback

Who would have thought that splashbacks would become a style statement? The oil splatter-catcher?! The spaghetti bolognese sauce canvas? But it is! That wall, which frames all those fancy (and expensive) kitchen appliances is, in fact, a feature wall that can transform the look of your kitchen. Laminates that are easy to wipe down and clean. Glass splashbacks. Bright colours like read, blue or green. Marbles featuring veins, mineral-effects. For a contemporary look, try reflective surfaces – black glass or stainless steel.

Illuminate with sconce lights

Lighting can totally transform space. And we’re not just referring to the brightness of the globe here.

Pendant lights can make a huge impact, but you can still have a lot of fun with flush-mount lights (in the ceiling) and wall sconces. If you don’t want to commit to new lighting, consider adhesive LED strip lighting that can placed under overhead cupboards. 

Classic kitchen with wall sconce lights
A lot of task lighting is necessary in this bustling Southern Highlands kitchen, hence the charming wall sconces. (Credit: Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones | Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski)

Hang art in your kitchen zone

Don’t just relegate artworks to living rooms and hallways (although, they work well there too). You can make an otherwise utilitarian kitchen feel more personal and a bit bougie with some much-loved pieces.

Kitchen with art works
Artworks by Rachel Stevens make this utilitarian space homely. Clockwise from top left: Still Life With Pumpkin, Tuscan Farmhouse and Rolling Hills. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Treat yourself to chic benchtop appliances

While they’re often concealed in a butler’s pantry, designer appliances, such as kettles and toasters, are made to be seen.

Often a permanent benchtop feature, you can get tabletop appliances featuring artworks, retro-style designs and a rainbow of colours including pastel pink, powder blue, cream, mint green, bright red and electric blue. 

Butler's pantry with stylish appliances
In the Blue Mountains village of Leura, this gorgeous weatherboard features a grey-toned butler’s pantry displaying chic Smeg appliances. (Credit: Photography: Helen Ward | Styling: Jessica Bellef)

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