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Updating traditional kitchen details: achieve a different look with a few small changes

By tweaking the details of your traditional kitchen, you can quickly transform the entire space.

With a few simple changes, you can instantly refresh or even transform your kitchen, whatever your time and budget. After all, it is individuality that gives the heart of the home its soul. Here are a few simple ideas.

1. Rejuvenate the sink area

Small details make all the difference. Unusual antique or reproduction pewter taps act as a real focal point, particularly against a white ceramic sink, and tiles – from white utilitarian rectangles to pretty coloured or patterned designs can really lift a cooking or food prep area.

2. Update your kitchen floor

Give floorboards a new lease of life with a lick of hardwearing white paint. Alternatively, apply a dark vintage-look varnish, or completely replace floorboards with a new wooden floor, which is warmer and easier to keep clean than gap-prone original boards.

3. Change your worktops

On kitchen worktops, replace tired laminate with naturally beautiful chunky wood which has an integrated drainer, or transform a scratched and stained surface by sanding it down and applying restorative oil to bring out the best of its colour and texture.

If you are tempted by a bolder finish, you do not need to replace every work surface:

  • A single area of marble can make a real style statement.
  • A striking black quartz countertop can be used to define a specific area without overwhelming the room.

4. Update kitchen doors and traditional kitchen cabinet details

If your internal kitchen doors have seen better days, but you do not want to completely replace them, there are other options. For example, swapping uninspiring handles for a decorative new set can make a remarkable difference, giving cupboards a lift in a matter of minutes.

Where cupboard exteriors have suffered significant wear and tear but the interiors remain intact, you will only need to replace the doors – painted shaker styles are a great fit for most traditional kitchens.

5. Make small changes to your colour scheme

If you just want to update or refresh the colour of your units, your local builder may offer a re-spraying or painting service. Make sure the plinth under the cabinet doors gets the same treatment, and perhaps take the opportunity to install a plinth drawer to make the most of all your storage space. Meanwhile, do not forget to refresh your other paint work, from walls to window frames, to create a crisp backdrop.

6. Add an island unit

An island unit is a good investment for a traditional kitchen. It can include plenty of traditional features such as tongue and groove end panels, and a marble or sturdy wooden top.

An island can also double the area you have available for food preparation and be a useful place to house appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines, as long as the necessary plumbing and electrics are in place.

Take a look at our kitchen island ideas article for more inspiration.

7. Create a sense of history with unique design details

For a relaxed, homely atmosphere in your traditional kitchen, try to include a selection of pieces that create a sense of history.

From a classic range cooker which has not changed much in appearance for generations, to hand-made objects such as earthenware or carved wooden bowls, heirlooms and even the simple beauty of candlelight, there is a distinctly romantic appeal to objects that seem to come from a different era.

Taking the time to collect your pieces and bring them together can really help to enhance the design choices you have made in your kitchen, and create a look that is unique to you and your home.