5 Ways to Personalize Your Kitchen Remodel (No Matter the Scale)

Mix colors and furniture styles plus cabinet and countertop materials to make a kitchen makeover of any size unique and lively.

From: Karin Beuerlein

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Courtesy of IKEA®

All too often, the average kitchen suffers from FSS: Furniture Showroom Syndrome. The symptoms? Cabinets all in the same color and finish, monotonous appliances, a wall color that picks up on the flecks in the laminate countertop, all of which flows into an adjoining eating area that's matchy-matchy, from the chairs to the china cabinet. Sound painfully familiar? If your kitchen could use a little makeover magic, here are some ideas for introducing unique personality with harmonious results.

Know What to Mix and What to Match

Remember that you don't have to stick to any one style, color or even era  but try to connect different items with a single common thread. If you mix modern and traditional patterns for your dinnerware, for example, link them with a common color.

In the image above, the wooden countertop on the island picks up the brown wall treatment and floor without matching them perfectly. At the same time, it works nicely with the white countertop used elsewhere in the kitchen, adding another layer of interest rather than using the same countertop material everywhere.

Keep an Eye on Geometry

If your kitchen feels monotonous, it may be in the lines. Look around at the surfaces of countertops, appliances, the table  is everything square-edged? All curves? If either is the case, pick an accent piece and throw it into reverse. For example, if the breakfast bar is rectangular, opt for stools with rounded or even whimsically shaped backs. If the table is round, try a square glass vase as the centerpiece or a boxy light fixture overhead.

Free Upper Cabinets From Lower Ones

If you've been eyeing a change but don't have the budget to replace all your kitchen cabinets, consider going halfway. If you have dark wood cabinets, replace a bank of the upper cabinets with metal, white or glass versions for a dramatic new look. Or replace the doors only on the lower ones for another budget-minded update.

The same goes for countertops  a quartz island topper in a contrasting color/tone from all the other countertop material can dress up the old look without redoing the entire space.

Separate Your Table and Chairs

There's no rule that says these have to match or that you have to keep a set together. A dark teak table, for example, can look amazing with white painted chairs. If you have a great table and chair set you love, don't despair  use different chairs with the kitchen table, but scatter the original chairs all over the house with seat cushions in various patterns and colors to tie them into each different space.

Even in formal eating areas, you can get away with the old switcheroo. Take just the end chairs away and replace them with grand upholstered versions for a luxurious look or chairs with tailored slipcovers for understated elegance.

Finish Off the Identical Finishes

The very simplest kitchen update can be a swap of cabinet knobs and pulls. Try mixing modern shapes for upper cabinets with more traditional versions in a similar finish for the lower ones.

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