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Tips for renovating your kitchen

Kathryn Kates is an internationally known Canadian journalist, and CEO of Kathryn Kates Public Relations. She writes on travel, décor, lifestyle, fashion/beauty, food and entertainment. Kathryn brings years of showbiz experience to her w...

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For good tastes in the kitchen try cooking classes; for good décor, try spicing up your kitchen style with a professional renovation.

kitchen renovation

Settling on a budget

When the decision to renovate is put on the table, David Courtney, president of Kitchen Court in Pickering, Ont. and a certified kitchen designer [CKD], says you should know your budget in advance.

A high-end full kitchen renovation can range from $75,000 to over $100,000. A partial renovation in a small kitchen can be done for under $20,000. "If you are looking to clean up your kitchen on a budget work within the room,  don't change doorways, bulkheads or remove walls because that gets expensive."

Pick your lighting

A good place to start the renovation process is with the lighting. There are three kinds of lighting used to create different moods in the kitchen: task lighting is used under the valance; esthetic lighting is found inside cabinets; and general lighting, which normally includes pot lights or track lights.

Appliance style

As for appliances, stainless steel is timeless, the new generation is brushed not polished -- making marks less visible.

When it comes to backsplashes for contemporary kitchens try glass tiles. They come clear or frosted in shapes of little circles or bricks, like a subway tile. Granite still remains a popular pick for countertops, although many are now turning to quartz. Courtney says he doesn't advise using concrete, it's not a practical top as it can shrink, crack and chip. Courtney says gooseneck faucets are a good addition to a kitchen's esthetics.

Traditional and Contemporary picks

If you select a traditional or contemporary kitchen, glass door cabinets are popular such as exotic veneers, maple, rosewood and ebony woods. Courtney says when installing dark cabinetry, go with a lighter countertop for contrast.

With walls, Courtney says bold is better because it makes dark cabinets pop. For those who prefer a more subtle look, try an antique white finish.

Finishing touches

Complete your kitchen makeover with flooring. Most consumers gravitate to dark-stained hardwood. "We are still seeing cork in contemporary kitchens. Ceramic is still very popular, as well. And, as for vinyl… not so much," says Courtney.

In the past you would see traditional kitchens in the suburbs and the country and contemporary looks in the city, but in the last five years, Courtney says the contemporary kitchen has crossed the boundaries into the 'burbs. This trend was influenced by European products, magazines and the Internet, which continues to shape what we do in North America.

Courtney strongly suggests enlisting the support of an experienced certified kitchen designer in your area, which can be found through the National Kitchen and Bath Association's website.

More tips for your home:

More kitchen basics

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