Fresh paint and some nice fabric make all the difference

Here are some tips for an instant kitchen make-over.

Here are some tips for an instant kitchen make-over.

l Repaint the cabinets. Unless you have high quality wood cabinets, chances are they could use some rejuvenation and painted finishes are very hot!

There are many techniques you can easily learn to give your kitchen cabinets an expensive designer look. Cracking and glazing are quite simple and also cost effective.

Check the Internet for guidance. Most major paint manufacturers have websites with great instructions.

l Paint those walls. Kitchens are the hub of the home and we all feel more comfortable in rooms that offer mood and character. If you have wood cabinets, colour on the walls will make the wood appear richer and emphasize accessories.

l Make carved-look moulding and appliqués. There are several techniques for creating beautiful mouldings and architectural embellishments for very little money. You can use joint compound and a cake-decorating bag to create beautiful designs on plain wood strips, then prime and paint, or use my "salt dough" method.

Use the salt-dough recipes that children often use for making Christmas decorations. Cut the dough into simple shapes such as leaves, ropes or scrolls. Then let dry or bake as the recipe dictates. Then use a glue gun to attach to wood strips, prime and paint. This gives you a little more control over the finished piece and also is a lot cheaper. If you use this method for appliqués, paint before you attach.

These are great attached to the front of cabinet doors or over doorways

l Use fabric. Years ago, there was a belief that you shouldn't use fabric in a kitchen because of the grease and food splatters and the difficulty of cleaning. Nowadays, most fabrics can be washed in a washing machine. Fabric softens the kitchen, can add romance or charm and makes it feel like a warm connection to the rest of the house.

Curtains or valances, appliance covers and table runners can all be easily stitched at home. Fabric does not have to be expensive either. Keep an eye out at garage sales for sheets, quilts, tablecloths and even clothing that have your home's colour schemes.

l Give yourself stone counters for next to nothing. The secret again? Just paint. Stone counters will not cost the earth if you go to the library or search the Internet for instructions on stone faux finishes. Practise on cardboard first