Design & DIY

Easy cottage kitchen upgrades

It’s rare that I speak to someone who doesn’t want to redo their cottage kitchen, with the exception of people who have just finished renovating. But a complete overhaul at the cottage is quite the endeavor (and it can ruin a great vacation). There are a lot of upgrades, however, that are quick and cheap but have a huge impact on your space.

Painting the floors is a great one. I can’t say it enough—a lick of paint can solve most décor issues for the least amount of money.  

Painted floors

And if you’re like my father and you want to save more money, paint stripes on an already stained floor and use less paint. Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m certainly not saying you are cheap—careful with money is more polite. In addition, when stripes are used properly they can even make the space feel larger. People might even think you knocked down a wall to enlarge the kitchen. (OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch!)

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Another great way to get huge impact for little money is to install a new backsplash. And the trick to saving the most money is to go to the sale section of a tile store or the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and pick a variety of colours or off-colour dye lots. Then get creative!

back splash
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Cabinets really take a beating at the cottage. They start to come off the hinges or peel, making everything else look crummy. A great solution is to just take off the doors and go with open shelving. This works best for upper cabinets. Fill the holes from the hinges, re-paint, and voila! You have a whole new look.

doors removed
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Or if the entire upper cabinet is starting to break down, take the whole thing off the wall, patch the holes and hang shelves on brackets. This is such a classic cottage look and can add a lot of fun to the room by painting them a great colour.

open shelves
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In fact, I am going to propose this for our cottage kitchen for the mere fact that my brother-in-law has the inability to close the cabinet doors once he has opened them.   

Sometimes there is no way around it, but a whole section of cabinets need to be replaced. In this case, a more feasible solution might be to use a piece of furniture that has lots of storage and can fill in until the budget is there to replace the cabinets. Who knows? You may even fall in love with this and decide to use it forever.

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Although replacing hardware isn’t always an inexpensive solution, it’s definitely less expensive than replacing all of the cabinets. Sometimes new hardware can make the cabinets look brand new.    In the same vein, a new faucet or countertop can update a space and increase functionality.

Worst-case scenario, you don’t have the budget to replace anything in the kitchen—my advice is to paint your furniture really bright contrasting colours. Who would notice the cabinet doors dangling from their hinges with this table and these chairs? If you say you would, you aren’t invited to my cottage—sorry!

table chairs
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Most importantly, don’t forget the huge resource you have in all of the friends and family that regularly spend time at your cottage. Nothing says “thank you for the use of your cottage” like picking up a paintbrush, or a trowel, or even better, a sledgehammer. Feel no shame in beginning your reno with a full cottage for the weekend. Happy renovating!