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May 25th, 2017 | Posted in Insights

Does your home need a fresher look for the new year, but
you’re not ready for a complete makeover? Small changes can
make a big difference in how a living space looks and feels, or
even in how well it works.
Meredith Shaver, who designs kitchens and bathrooms for Markraft
Cabinets of Wilmington, suggests these 10 economical ideas that can
bring new sparkle to familiar spaces.
1. Give your kitchen a new look by replacing the hardware on
your cabinets. New knobs, drawer pulls and hinges cost a fraction of
what new cabinetry would run. “You can have a whole new look for
just a couple hundred dollars,” Shaver said.
2. Install new light fi xtures above the bar or island. This not
only gives the entire space a fresh appearance, but also offers an
opportunity to upgrade to new energy-effi cient technologies such
as LED lighting.
3. Install under-cabinet or in-cabinet lighting. Or both! Providing
better illumination of work spaces, being able to fi nd things in cabinets
more easily, and creating a dramatic new atmosphere are all benefi ts.
Shaver recommends the Hafele line, which offers choices of fi lters
to create different hues, depending on whether you want a warm
or cool feel. Power-thrifty LEDs are the standard for these lights, too.
4. Update your faucets. You might choose a new “touchless”
model, which turns on and off with a wave of the hand and costs little
more than conventional faucet sets. Or simply choose a new design
to give the kitchen or the bathroom vanity a more up-to-date look.
5. Not especially noticeable but almost a necessity today is a
charging station for gadgets like mobile phones and tablets. A popular
trend is to incorporate this in a drawer, which hides both conventional
house-current and USB outlets.
6. Another unseen improvement to a kitchen’s functionality is to
add organizing inserts to bare cabinets, drawers and pantries. Plate
holders, acrylic dividers, roll-outs and spice inserts are a few of the
drop-in or easily installed options that Shaver recommends. All can
make a kitchen easier to use, and both kitchenware and food items
easier to fi nd.
7. On the higher end, new appliances can give a kitchen an entirely
fresh look. Premium brands like Bosch, Thermador and Sub-Zero
have all introduced new models for 2016. A bonus: Newer models are
normally more energy-effi cient. If your design doesn’t include custom
face panels for the appliances, consider one of the newer fi nishes, like
“black stainless.” The fi nish’s dark, rich metallic color, Shaver explained,
hides fi ngerprints and harmonizes with just about any cabinet and
countertop design.
8. Another bigger-ticket strategy is to replace just countertops
and bar surfaces, or bathroom vanity tops, leaving the cabinetry
unchanged. An updated material like one of the new quartz colors
can radically renew a room’s look and feel.
9. New bar stools can make a dramatic difference to a kitchen.
A popular recent trend, Shaver said, are stools with short, cut-down
backrests, “a little more modern look” than high-backed versions.
Another simple upgrade is to change the ornamental supports under
the bar top, replacing them with new wooden or metal brackets.
10. If your budget doesn’t permit other upgrades, Shaver
suggested, “You could do something as simple as switching out your
hand towels.” Just a few dollars for new linens, and maybe a new
bathroom rug, gives you new accent colors for the entire space.
Visit Markraft’s Design Center to browse the latest kitchen
and bath looks, and meet its team of professional designers. The
showroom, full of sample layouts, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off Castle
Hayne Road.
Since 1985, Markraft has specialized in cabinet and countertop
design and installation in residential and commercial construction
and custom remodeling. To learn more about Markraft, go to Contact Markraft at 910.762.1986 and like
Markraft on Facebook at