Between summertime gatherings of friends, and bored teenagers spending hours in front of the fridge looking for snacks, you may have noticed your kitchen getting more use than normal recently. Are things starting to look a little dated or dingy? Could the most popular room in the house use some freshening up? Luckily, there are some quick fixes and tricks that can make a big impact in very little time.
Time to get your hands dirty! You may be surprised at how big of a difference a good deep cleaning can make. It’s the first step to get everything looking good. Start with the appliances — all of them. Get the toaster cleared of crumbs, the dust off the stand mixer, and the layer of grease off the stove. (We’ll get to the fridge in a minute.) Thoroughly clean floors, wipe down cabinet doors, and get into the crevasses of your counter. If you have granite countertops, finish with a spray of glass cleaner to bring them to a shine.
Pull everything out of cabinets, sort and throw or give away anything you no longer need, then put what you want to keep back on shelves. You’ll find you now have room to put away items that have been sitting on countertops for months. If you need some extra help, we suggest organizers for your cabinets to maximize space, and keep everything properly sorted and stacked.
Switch up lighting
Here’s another easy idea for making a big impact. The brighter your kitchen, the bigger it will look, the easier it will be to use, and the more enjoyable it will be to spend time in. Switch out any remaining incandescent lighting for more efficient LED bulbs. Add pendants over an island or a more dramatic chandelier over an eating area. Look around the room for dark corners or areas underneath cabinets that would benefit from additional lighting.
Clean out the fridge and defrost the freezer
This is the coolest tip on our list — literally. The key here is to be mindful of what product(s) you use to clean. You should always avoid getting strong cleaners and disinfectants near food. We suggest using your typical dish soap and water, or make your own solution by filling your kitchen sink with a gallon of warm water and mixing in 1 cup of ammonia, ½ cup vinegar, and ¼ cup baking soda. The solution will be powerful enough to cut grease and food spills, but still keep you safe. Cleanipedia has more tips on the best ways to clean your fridge.
If it’s been more than a year since you’ve defrosted the freezer, now is the time. A neglected freezer will run more efficiently and save on energy once it has been properly defrosted. The warm weather will help move the process along quickly, just take extra care to keep food cold while the ice is melting away. We like Good Housekeeping’s suggestions for defrosting your freezer, including how to prevent future icy build up.
It’s one of the most used items in the kitchen and it likely shows. Faucets can lose their shine quickly thanks to water spots, grime, and even rust. Or maybe everything is working and looking fine, but you’d prefer something with a modern twist or those pots and pans are calling for one that’s commercial grade. Either way, a new faucet can be easier to use and add a contemporary touch to the kitchen. Plus, it’s a fairly easy project to install a new one yourself.
Touch up cabinet doors
The length of this project depends on how much needs to be done to get your cabinets looking good again, but is definitely doable in a weekend. If they’ve received years of dings and chips, they may require a full overhaul. (Get those teenagers off the couch to help) Otherwise, it may be as easy as touching them up with leftover paint or a paint pen, which is easy to use and can do the job in less than an hour.
Sure summer weekends are meant for pool parties and camping trips, but if you have some time in between and are looking for an easy way to spiff up your home, make the kitchen your key target. You'll be able to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time and reap the rewards for months to come.