So we’ve all  heard the general grumbling about the economy and how it has impacted everything from toothpaste to telephones. Kansas City and the interior design world haven’t been immune to the effects of the economy but thanks to our penchant for listening to and working with the needs of our clients, the team at Design Connection, Inc. have been keeping busy with projects big and small. (See our latest Before & After projects here!) We know there are lots of people out there who would love to do a whole house remodel but are a little hesitant given the economic climate, so we decided to tackle one room at a time to show you some ways you can achieve that fresh new look in your home without breaking the bank!

The Hardest Working Room In The House

Ahhhh, the kitchen. The hardest working room in the house has become a central point or gathering place for family and friends to nibble and nosh. With such a hardworking space, no wonder it’s typically the first place people look at when they consider any updating in an existing home! On this particular kitchen, the client bought an older home that was in need of some serious updating. We had a lot to accomplish so we found ways to help trim costs so that they could achieve the look they wanted but also incorporate the things that were important to them.

During: Kansas City kitchen remodel - refinishing the wood floors

Kitchen Update Idea #1: DON’T OVERLOOK THE FLOORS

We started with one of the basics.  The floor is often an easy area to forget about when considering a kitchen revamp. If you don’t have it in your budget to actually replace the flooring, there are several things you can do to update your existing floors-especially wood floors like these. From painting a pattern or a rug (to cover flaws) to a full refinish. Your wood floors can and should give you years of use. We decided that these floors needed a dose of a different hue to help them reach their full potential without costing a fortune. We accomplished this by completely stripping and refinishing the floors in a different hue.

Kitchen Remodel Before and After: Faux Finish on the Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Update Idea #2: CREATIVE CABINETS

We didn’t have it in the budget to completely replace the cabinets and in many cases it’s simply not necessary. Cabinets are among the most expensive items in most kitchen remodels. Here, we helped the cabinets reach their full potential without costing a fortune by changing the color with a quality faux finish. It’s amazing what you can achieve with that basic design staple, paint. Some other ideas you could incorporate to update your cabinets is to take the doors off and paint the back a different color for a modern and hip “open shelving” feel to your kitchen.

Pretty Potential: New Tile Backsplash adds texture, color and visual interest

Kitchen Update Idea #3: MAKE A SPLASH

A backsplash to be more specific. We removed the original tile backsplash that looked dated and replaced it with a new one comprised of darker tiles that added a natural stone texture along with greater visual interest with the introduction of a hint of color and the slim horizontal lines of the tiles.

New Life for an Old Kitchen Island


If you don’t have one already and have the space, adding an island to your kitchen can add tremendous visual appeal plus give you additional space to gather ’round, prep food and store kitchen items. This kitchen already had an island which we reintroduced to modern times by adding a new curved granite countertop, a beautiful new range AND a faux finish to match the beautiful “new” cabinets.

Granite Countertops set off a gorgeous kitchen work area


Gorgeous granite isn’t always the most affordable option out there but is sure is pretty. The new granite countertops in this kitchen definitely add visual appeal and with the money we saved by refinishing the cabinets and flooring, it enabled us to splurge in other areas like this. There are several options for affordable countertops that include the great new finishes in traditional laminate countertops as well as manufactured stone countertops that can mimic the great look of granite without costing an arm and a leg.

Introduce new applicances in your kitchen remodeling project


Last but not least, it’s the details that count.  Newer appliances and fixtures can make any kitchen feel modern and fresh. They certainly made a world of difference in this one. Stainless steel goes with anything and can help give the space that popular “professional” kitchen look that’s all the rage! Even if you can’t afford all new appliances all at once, the beauty of it is that you can replace them one by one, as needed. You should consider new lighting fixtures or replace that drippy old faucet. Even new, upgraded drawer and cabinet pulls can add that extra special bit of detail that will contribute to the overall feel of the room.

After: The gorgeous results of our kitchen remodeling project

 While these are just a few of the things you can do to update your kitchen, we think that you’ll agree that big or small it’s one of the projects you can undertake with the maximum potential for making a huge impact on how your home feels for you and your guests. Even if you take a few hours and update with a fresh coat of paint and some new cabinet hardware, we think that there are plenty of ideas here that you can incorporate bit by bit or as a whole to achieve the kitchen you desire most.  Of course if you’re just not that good with visualizing or taking home improvement projects from concept to completion, you can always count on us at Design Connection, Inc. to hold your hand and help you through the process from start to finish. Having a designer who listens to what you want and helps you to accomplish your vision and stay in budget is something we pride ourselves on doing for our clients. It’s all about the service and there’s nothing better than having a client tell you how happy they are with the work you’ve done after the project is completed! This particular project was extra special because not only did we receive feedback from the client, but we also heard from people on facebook who were familiar with the original home!  It was such a treat for us that we just have to share.

“I would like to thank Arlene and team for turning a daunting task into a fabulous reality. When we recently moved into our new home we loved the floor plan but knew it needed some updating. Having gone through the process of home makeovers in our previous homes we had some experience, but found ourselves struggling to prioritize where to begin with this home. Arlene stepped in and helped us determine the most important steps over the “nice to haves” in order to keep within budget. The result was a well implemented and executed plan with amazing results. Arlene and Cindy kept us informed, minimized the disruption to our family and kept the creative juices flowing. Friends and neighbors who saw the before and after cannot believe the transformation. Thank you!” – Randy M.

I know this house… what an INCREDIBLE transformation! My husband & I are in shock seeing these pictures (knowing what it looked like with the previous owners.)” – Lori M.

As always, if you need help with your design whether it’s starting from scratch, remodeling or restyling, we hope you’ll think of us.  Take advantage of our complimentary in-studio interior design consultation or if you’re just wanting to say Hi we hope you’ll pipe up here on our blog or on Facebook or Twitter. Until next week- have fun with those kitchens, dear friends!