Kicking Up Your Kitchen Game: Where to Start When Reimagining the Heart of the Home

A smiling woman stands at a white kitchen counter with a wet sponge in her hand.
todd selby

Where does everyone congregate in the home? More often than not, people gravitate to the kitchen. No matter the occasion, somehow we all invariably end up perched around the kitchen island, chatting and snacking away.

With so much use as a central hub for our home lives, the kitchen could use a bit of a spruce up from time to time. The trouble is, few of us can just completely remodel a kitchen on a whim every time design trends or personal preferences change. So how can you tackle updating the kitchen a bit at a time? Our designers recommend looking at a range of strategic improvements, big and small, to work toward the kitchen you want.


Look around: Cabinets
Let’s start with the big move, first: more than anything else, updating cabinets can transform a kitchen and make it feel brand new. And custom cabinetry may be more accessible than you might think!

Replacing cabinets can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen and can be a manageable project when you have seasoned design pros alongside you each step of the way. At no extra cost—and without having to even leave home—you can work with one of Wayfair’s specialized kitchen designers via Zoom to collaborate on measurements, door style, finishes, and spatial configuration until you arrive at a bespoke solution that’s exactly right for your kitchen. Then, with a last review of your design with your designer, you place the order together and the cabinets are delivered to your doorstep. Start to finish, this collaborative process cuts down on the many trips to a showroom and in-person visits with a designer you would traditionally make, while still giving you one-on-one design guidance and a custom 3D rendering to ensure your kitchen gets the transformative wow-factor a custom, high-quality cabinet overhaul should deliver.

I love that we are able to help clients make their house feel like a home. The kitchen is where you spend so much time as a family; it is important to customize it to the way you live.
Samantha Perry, Wayfair Custom Cabinet Design Consultant

Look up: Lighting 
Looking for a lighter lift? Update the fixtures or add under cabinet lights that change the mood and functionality of the space.

Investing in beautiful and functional overhead and task lighting in the kitchen can bring near-instant gratification. The pendant lights inherited from previous home owners can certainly do the job for a while, but picking out lighting that speaks to one’s own personal style can really make a kitchen feel like home–and not just anyone’s home, but your home. Further, the addition of lights under cabinets or inside cabinet doors can make everyday tasks feel new–perhaps even joyful! With moderate investment, lighting can both contribute to perfecting the room’s ambiance and enhance kitchen utility, yielding quick, gratifying payoff.

Look down: Floors 
And if a quick refresh is what you’re after, add a rug to create a visual focal point and luxurious feel underfoot.

Mia Yakel

Runners or a large area rug in a bold color or print can elevate the kitchen experience dramatically: not only does a new infusion of color or pattern add visual interest, but otherwise cold, hard floors can instead offer comfort and warmth for all the foot-traffic the kitchen naturally attracts. (Extra points if the rug’s washable!) And adding a rug pad or strategically placed padded runner by the stove and sink areas can feel downright luxurious to cooks and their dinnertime helpers while prepping and cleaning up after meals.

As spring settles in, any number of home improvement projects beckon in the kitchen and beyond. Strategic updates can certainly go a long way; however, if you are ready to tackle a more ambitious total kitchen reno, check out these useful tips on how to think about the project.