7 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen without Spending a Fortune

We have all heard time and time again that the kitchen is the heart of the home. But does this still apply today? Do we still congregate in the kitchen, helping to make dinner? Do we spend this precious time chit-chatting about our daily affairs? Perhaps, perhaps not. Times may be different, but family units still remain the same.

We can re-capture those precious moments. If there is a will to achieve something, there will be a way to do it. If your kitchen looks fresh, warm, and inviting, everyone will want to hang around it. On the contrary, if the space is not-so-great, drab, and plain, you need to infuse some cheerfulness and style into it. And you do not require a high kitchen upgrade budget to achieve this. There are ways you give your kitchen a facelift for a lot less than you can envisage. While some upgrades will cost you nothing except elbow grease, others will cost you no more than a few hundred dollars.


Make sure you do not crowd your countertop with stuff that should be kept away in designated storage spaces. There is nothing as unpleasant as a surface littered with cereal boxes, jam jars, cutting boards, bottles, plastic containers and fill-in family recipe books. These can be stored in wall-mounted racks, floating shelves, and decorative storage baskets. Some will also find their space in kitchen cabinet compartments, pull-out spice racks, pigeon-holed drawers, or the pantry if you have one. 

Clean and De-Grime 

Put the sparkle back on your kitchen countertops. Give them an in-depth clean and de-grim process. A beautiful shiny surface is so inviting. Everyone will feel "the clean". 

There is no universal method for putting the shine back on your countertops. All you need are the general cleaning techniques stipulated for whatever material you have. Wood, marble, granite, laminate, or slate. How to clean each material differs. However, most require just soapy water or an ammonia-based cleaner like SoftScrub. If you desire a polished shine, your counter will need a refinish. This is still much cheaper than replacing the entire countertop.

Replace the Existing Kitchen Countertop

If you can comfortably afford to, replace the existing kitchen countertop with some modern or traditional material. For a modern touch, quartz is an attractive and hardwearing material. Additionally, it is a natural stone. It is less expensive than granite and, surprisingly, more durable. Quartz stone comes in many attractive colours without the streakiness of granite. You can choose a colour that contrasts with or complements your colour scheme. 

For a classic country theme, you can opt for a kitchen worktop made from reclaimed wood, oak slabs, butchers' blocks, or soapstone. And do not forget to add a farmhouse sink. Few kitchen design ideas compare to the warmth, aesthetic and charm of a farmhouse style kitchen. 

Infuse Some Style

If you plan to create a show-home look for your kitchen, style it. After de-cluttering, de-griming, or replacing the kitchen countertop, make the kitchen space a focal point of the living spaces if you have an open-plan kitchen. Ensure the style flows seamlessly with the adjacent room/area. 

For a dose of glamour, introduce some glass door cabinets (the wall units), and finish the remaining in high-gloss. If you have beautiful keepsakes to display, omit the doors in some areas and create open shelving that shows off your memorable pieces. Pretty-up the kitchen island (or breakfast counter) with attractive d├ęcor items like an eye-catching vase with fresh flowers or an ornamental platter with fruits. 

Hang a framed wall art that draws in all colours in the scheme. Using artwork is a great way to elevate any room. Add potted herbs placed on decorative racks, colourful cacti in terracotta pots, or stainless-steel utensils containers.

To create a traditional concept, use wall murals or special painting effects that can replicate any look from hardwood and bamboo to marble or limestone. These methods are inexpensive and easy to apply.

Bring in the Outdoors

If you love nature, you can upgrade your kitchen by bringing the outdoors in. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have much floor or counter space. A creative solution to adding foliage to a small space is to go vertical or use wall murals with lush foliage as the focal point of the kitchen. You can hang small potted plants from the ceiling or have hardware that projects them from empty wall spaces. If you have a nice deep windowsill, you can turn it into a mini herb garden or utilize it for vine plants.

For the ceiling hung variety, you can decide how low (or high) you want the hanging cords. They can be adjusted to the appropriate length you desire 

Give your Cabinets and Appliances a Makeover

You can rehabilitate your kitchen cabinet door and drawer faces (front). You can also give your old and drab appliances a brand new look. There are unlimited numbers of styling possibilities that, if you have a knack for DIY tasks, you can apply by yourself. These are great low-budget design options that will transform any kitchen space from looking ordinary to becoming aesthetically pleasing.

If you don't have stainless steel appliances, you can use paint-on stainless steel (liquid stainless steel) finish to upgrade your existing appliances. Change that dated look to a modern minimalist style. You can change the cabinet fronts by painting them. You can laminate them or apply some complimentary textured covering. You can apply decals to give them a totally refreshing look. You can also varnish them with coloured lacquer/stain.

Change Hardware and Fittings

From cabinet knobs and drawer handles, to switch and socket plates and pull-out systems, hardware can completely change the look of any space, including a kitchen. You can replace drawer and cabinet pulls for a style that will instantly update the room. And if you prefer the minimalist look of hidden hardware, that’s a great idea too. 

Switch and socket plates are no exception. You can choose from a vast number of colors in both modern and traditional styles. Although light fittings are not hardware per se, they can still give a kitchen a dramatic effect on a low budget. There are ways you can upgrade existing lighting; paint, change of shades, etc... If you have the standard run-of-the-mill type, you can combine (or replace) them with decorative sconces, spot, or dramatic pendants lights. Light fittings and fixtures can be the perfect accessory if used correctly. They not only brighten up the kitchen; they also change the mood and feel of the room.

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7 Essential Interior Design Student Resources – Back to School 2021 to 2022

It's back-to-school or college soon and if you are a student of interior design, there are some vital resources that you will find beneficial and helpful during your study and beyond. 

Every year before the school holidays draw to a close, design students and their teachers' must commence back to school preparations. So, whether you are in high school, in your freshman year of college, graduating in a year or two, or a new entrant in the interior designing and building industry, there is a lot to make ready. And if you are an art and design teacher getting ready for a new set of students, these books are worth recommending. They can help you and your students ensure the new school year will be one of the best you all have ever had.

1. Interior Design Student Portfolio and Imagery Journal is a physical imagery workbook specifically tailored to serve as a student planner and organizer, a sketchbook, and a mood and vision board portfolio journal. It does not matter if you are a first-year student, mid-way through your course, or a soon-to-graduate one. You will need a book like this to fill in design concepts, creations and relevant notes that you have selected from your first to the final year studies. The book is arranged in a structured manner that indicates neatness, professionalism, and thoroughness. 

2. I Design. And That’s Fulfillment in Itself is a multi-purpose workbook/journal suitable for planning, sketching, designing, doodling, and scribbling art and design subjects. You can also utilize it for concept art forms, zen doodles, tangled art, and just about anything else that is creative and design-related. It comes in an easy-to-carry size with a striking cover design.

3. Graph Grid Paper Notebook for Design Students - Design students require grid paper notebooks to create design concepts, art forms, and craft ideas. With graph sheets, the guidelines that appear like a mesh pattern are required for drafting, sketching, plotting, stenciling, and pattern making. They can also be utilized for data and function structures, building forms, sketching curves and circles, and drawing architectural layouts.

4. Architectural Sketchbook for College Students - If you study (or plan to study) architecture, civil engineering, or interior design, this book will help you imbibe the habit of keeping records of your school projects from inception. It will allow you to track your progress through your years in college. It is an essential tool that is just as important as other architectural tools like mechanical pens, drafting table, CAD programs, tracing paper, butter sheets, scale rulers, etc... And whether you develop your ideas and concepts into fully-fledged architectural designs or not, this book will soon become your cherished possession. 


5. Isometric Drafting Paper - 8.5” x 8.5” Square 3D Sketchbook is a great workbook/journal to have if you want a change from the standard quad graph paper. This especially if you desire to draw more dynamic, realistic, and un-distorted three-dimensional drawings. So, whether you draw engineering structures and buildings, or rooms, comics, furniture, product concepts, logos, or cityscapes, this notebook will ensure you draw professional 3D linear perspectives at all times.

6. Space Planning Sketchbook for Interior Design Students - Room Layout Drawing Book - As a student of interior design, interior architecture, or home and office decoration, learning how to plan the layout of an interior space is an important course in the study of interior design. Being an essential facet of the interior design course, space planning requires a sketchbook cum journal that is created specifically for this purpose. This sketchbook will not only serve for class lectures, but it can also work as an organizer of home studies, class projects, and even as a collection of works to form part of your portfolio.

7. Student Lookbook for Interior Design Period Styles: Art Sketchbook for College Students (Hardcover) – Create a lookbook of interior design styles with this hardcover journal. It will serve well as a resource for your design studies, prospective clients, or future employers. Find your style. Learn how to apply it to your own unique conceptions. Add clippings of images and illustrations that inspire you. Sketch your concepts and do a write-up about your creations. Make this lookbook display your creativity.

Interior Designer's Planner, Organizer, and Design Sketchbook: 2021 to 2022

Interior designers planner/organizers must offer more than daily, weekly, or monthly recordings of mundane everyday activities. It should have space where a designer can develop design concepts and room to brainstorm ideas. It must also feature doodle and sketch pages, design layout canvases, note-taking sections, space to record client data, and vendors and wholesalers details. 

The journal must have room to write down business goals, record achievements, and plan, organize, and track routine habits. The documentation of notable trade, market, and interior design festival events is also essential to note, including monthly task lists, goals achieved, and some more.

This hardcover planner, organizer, and sketchbook all rolled in one will cover 16 months of interior designing activities. It is an interior designer’s answer to having an efficiently created niche-specific workbook planner with space to strategize, record, and document all details and activities of an interior design business.

Interior Designing Monthly Task Planner, Organizer, and Design Sketchbook - September 2021 to December 2022 is also available in paperback format.


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Must-Have Interior Designing Workbooks for Students of Interior Design Education 

Interior Design Task-Specific Workbooks, Planners, and Journals

Interior Designing Workbooks and Sketchbooks for Students of Interior Design

Students of interior design and interior architecture require some niche-specific workbooks throughout their study. Some of these books, which include interior design-specific sketchbooks, school project planners, mood-page portfolio journals, site-measurements logbooks, and even home design colouring books are important tools for the creative process.

Interior designers create functional and aesthetically pleasing indoor spaces that must meet their clients' needs and specifications. They create design concepts, draw plans, elevations, and sectional working drawings, search for furniture and furnishings that work with their concepts, and structure cost estimates for prospective clients. As a student, you are required to learn all these and tons of other stuff too. That is the multifaceted nature of the profession.

The following must-have workbooks and sketch/drawing books were created especially for students, freelancers, and beginner designers by professional interior designers who know exactly what's required to learn and excel in this high-flying lucrative sector of the building industry.

Space Planning Sketchbook for Interior Design Students - Room Layout Drawing Book

Learning how to plan the layout of an interior space is an important course in the study of interior design. Being an essential facet of interior design education, space planning requires a sketchbook cum notes writing journal that is created specifically for this purpose.
Space Planning Sketchbook for Students

Graph Grid Workbooks

Most design students require isometric, graph grid, and one-point room perspective grid workbooks to create their art and design concepts. With graphing sheets, the guidelines that appear like mesh patterns are used for plotting not only design concepts, stencils, and patterns, but data and function structures, building forms, drawing curves and circles, and architectural layouts. While grid workbooks are necessary for students' creative arts classroom and home assignments, they are also useful to artists, interior design professionals, and enthusiasts who have a feel for articulate art.

a)One-Point Room Perspective Grid b)Graph Grid Paper Notebook for Design Students c)Isometric Drafting Paper - 8.5” x 8.5” Square 3D Sketchbook

Student Lookbook for Interior Design Period Styles - Art Sketchbook for College Students (Hardcover)

Find your style. Learn how to apply it to your own unique conceptions. Add clippings of images and illustrations that inspire you. Sketch your concepts and do a write-up about your creations. Make this interior design student Lookbook display your creativity. Use it for art history class notes. Present it as a class project. Show it off to your future employers or clients as a portfolio collection of traditional and classic home styles.

Student Lookbook for Period Art Collections

Interior Design Student Portfolio and Imagery Board

Interior design students require a strong visual presence in the form of a well-crafted, professional-looking design and imagery portfolio where they can organize and unify their works in a way that optimally conveys creative talents and designing skills. A well-structured interior design portfolio journal will invariably prove traits of neatness, professionalism, and thoroughness without the designer having to utter a word.
Student Portfolio and Imagery Journal

Bathroom Design Ideas for the Future - What Innovations Shall We Expect?

Even with the modern innovations in bathroom designs, it can be said that bathroom interiors haven’t changed drastically over the decades. Save for some modern additions like spa baths, custom vanities, body jets built into Jacuzzis, wet rooms, heated towel rails, stylish storage ideas, underfloor heating, and thermostatic shower systems the changes are generally in bathroom styles, interior layouts, and finishes.

With today’s speedy technological advancement, what should we expect from bathroom designers in, say, a couple of decades into the future? How radically different will they be from our own bathroom designs in our homes today?

Just as people never imagined the magnitude of today's technological revolution a hundred years ago, the future of our bathrooms may be equally unimaginable. But we believe there is more to come. The technical revolution we continuously experience is awesome and is a pointer to the fact that future bathroom designs will be equally revolutionized.

Features to Expect in Future Bathroom Designs

The basic elements and common features that make bathrooms designs are shower enclosures, whirlpools, bathtubs, bidets, vanity units, water closets, and accessories like faucets, caddies, bathroom mats, towel rails, storage cabinets, toilet roll holders and soap dispensers.

These common features of this early 21st century will probably remain unchanged, just as they have been for over half a century.

In the future, we can only speculate on the shapes and forms all of them may take, however, what is certain is that future bathroom will evolve into bathing and relaxing rooms with series of built-in hi-tech implements.

If you have watched the movie “Fahrenheit 451”, a sci-fi drama movie based on a dystopian future, it is certain you must remember that bathroom scene where the leading actor, Michael B Jordan was swiping across a mirrored-wall that served as a screen that displayed everything from reading and responding to messages, to speaking and planning with his colleagues at the fire department.

Future bathroom designs may be so advanced that we may find that we spend more time in our bathroom than we do in the kitchen.

Bathroom Innovations to Expect  

These are some thoughts on what to expect in bathroom innovations.

1. Information hub - Receiving information as we take a shower or soak in the bathtub while interacting effortlessly with others.

2. Watch television – You can listen to your favourite news channel or get updates and breaking news.

3. Display screens – Perhaps shower curtains may also serve as display screens where we can catch up with our social media sites like check on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook (or whatever applies in the future) while doing our bath time regimen.

4. High-tech lavatories - Lavatories with display monitors that can measure your blood sugar level, body temperature, and blood pressure. This innovation will be a great way to monitor our health. right there as soon as we sit on the toilet.

5. Remote controlled faucets - Taps that can be controlled remotely, so you can run a soapy bath on your way back from work. Run a bath and add your favourite bath salts or gel as you drive into your street.

6. Movie screens – You won’t require a television or projector screen in a futuristic bathroom because the walls will be a movie screen. Watch a movie while having a long soak in the bathtub.

7. Interactive mirrors - Wall mounted mirrors will also serve as monitors that for instance, offer tips on what to wear, how to dress up for the day, and how to apply your day or evening makeup perfectly.

8. Waterproof speakers - Listen to music or inspirational talks from speakers installed in the shower or bathtub and connected via a multi-room hi-fi system.

9. Self-sanitising toilet seats - This has already been invented and used in some regions in Europe and the United States. It is automatic, self-cleans, disinfects, and dry’s you up after each use. Soon, toilet seats will possess, among other features, heated seats, footrests, lids that automatically open and close, and probably integrated sound systems.

10. Water conservation systems - As water availability reduces, water conservation becomes imperative. This means that flushing systems will be designed to use a quarter of what today’s toilets use.

11. Wall mounted touch pads – Imagine if there are no more handles, knobs, and levers and these features are replaced with touchpads? You will be able to touch-control lights, faucets, devices, screens, etc....

12. Antibacterial electrolyzed water - Sanitizing will become an automatic feature in future bathroom designs. Toilet water will have “ultra-high effect and wide-spectrum disinfectant” that is colourless, odourless, and harmless to humans. Antibacterial water will clean and kill germs found in future toilet bowls.

13. Health check - Employing the latest technology to help evaluate you and your family's health and well-being at the touch of a button.

14. Robots – Imagine having robots to do all your chores including cleaning your bathroom. What if they can hand you a bath towel or robe, give you a body massage, a facial massage, or even a manicure and pedicure?

15. Background music - Pre-programmed music or playlists that understands your mood and will play accordingly so when you feel low it will detect your disposition and play music that will make you feel better. And if you feel good, it'll play music that will make you feel great.

16. Surfaces – Countertops that generate light and adjust lighting levels, depending on the bathroom activity we intend to perform.

17. Voice commands - Use your voice for every command, like lifting up toilet seat covers, commanding faucets to dispense hot, warm, or cold water, or commands to turn on the movie screen. It will be something like the command, "open sesame".

18. Sensors - That will help identify drops in your immune system, moods, cardiac rhythm, etc.…

19. Hands-free flushing system – When you are done with using the toilet, as soon as you get up from the seat, the toilet will flush and deodorize automatically.

20. Built-in bidets – Bidets and bidet systems built into toilets will produce blasts of warm air that serves as drying functions.

New Inventions Will Make Bathrooms Havens of Comfort

Future bathroom designs will incorporate functionality with health and lifestyle facilities which means the room will not only function as a place to bathe and use the toilet, it will also keep a tab on your health, give you lifestyle tips, and inspire you in ways that will make you approach each day with enthusiasm.

The room will automatically recognize household users and know who showers with hot water and who prefers lukewarm water. Modes can be set up for each member of the family for optimal convenience. For the safety of each user, fixtures will mechanically adjust heights and position to suit each family member and provide personal medical information for each person.

Future bathroom designs will not only become havens of comfort and relaxation, they will serve as a user-friendly convenience. A kind of get-away rooms that takes care of our usual bathroom routines.

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