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Achieving different looks

After all, it’s individuality that gives the heart of the home its soul.

With a few simple changes, you can instantly refresh or even transform your kitchen, however limited your time and budget.

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, which can really lift a cooking or food prep area.

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

On 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’re tempted by a bolder finish, you needn’t replace every work surface. A single area of marble is ideal for pastry making while a dramatic looking black composite can be used to define a specific area with no danger that it will overwhelm the room.

Where wall and base units have seen better days, but you don’t want to completely replace them, there are other options. At the most basic level, swapping uninspiring handles for a decorative new set can make a remarkable difference at relatively little cost, giving uninspiring cupboards a lift in a matter of minutes. Where cupboard exteriors have suffered significant wear and tear but the carcasses remain intact, you’ll only need to replace the doors – painted shaker styles fit sympathetically with most traditional kitchens. And if you just want to update or refresh the colour of your units, there are several companies which offer a re-spraying service. Make sure the plinth under the base units gets the same treatment and perhaps take the opportunity to install a plinth drawer and claim back an extra slice of all-important storage space. Meanwhile, don’t forget to refresh your other paint work, from walls to window frames, to create a crisp backdrop.

Structurally, an island unit is often a good investment, which can include plenty of traditional features such as tongue and groove end panels and marble or sturdy wooden top. An island can 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. For a relaxed, homely atmosphere in the kitchen, try to include a selection of pieces that create a sense of history. From a classic range cooker which hasn’t 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’ve made in your kitchen and will create a look that’s unique to you and your home.

Large or small, whatever transformations you decide to undertake in your kitchen, make sure they include a clear reflection of your own life and personality. After all, it’s individuality that gives the heart of the home its soul.