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    It used to be that a kitchen was a utilitarian space used only by the person cooking a meal. Nowadays, though, kitchens are often the focal point of a home and the main gathering place for friends and family. Whether you’re enjoying a quiet conversation over a glass of wine with a loved one, having a coffee date with a friend or helping the kids with their homework, your kitchen should reflect the kind of lifestyle you want to maintain.

    A few things you can do to make an old kitchen look new again include:

    Change the countertops

    Switching from an old scratched laminate counter to granite will not only give your kitchen a completely new look, it becomes more utilitarian. Granite is heat- and scratch-resistant, so you can place items directly on the counter while cutting and dicing. It’s also easier to maintain. A simple wipe with a damp cloth will do the trick for spot-cleaning. Granite is available in many different colors, so your kitchen will have a whole new look.

    Replace your cabinets

    If your cabinets are dull or outdated, you can install new ones to give your kitchen a fresh look. Often it’s not necessary to replace the cabinet frames; just replacing the doors will change the look of the room. Whether you choose to paint the cabinets a new color, add glass fronts or replace your old pine cabinets with cherry wood, new or updated cabinetry will make your kitchen pop.

    Add an island

    If you have the space, an island gives you more space for prep and can double as additional seating. You can also install sinks and cooking surfaces in your island so you have more room to work your kitchen magic.

    Buy matching appliances

    If your olive green dishwasher from the ’70s is leaking and the avocado-colored fridge just doesn’t keep things as cold as it used to, it might be time to go shopping. Not only will new appliances create a new look for your kitchen, the new appliances are much more energy efficient, so you’ll save money on utility bills.

    New table and chairs

    If you have an eat-in kitchen, buying a new dining set or simply refinishing your existing chairs can add style and color to your kitchen. Don’t forget to update the barstools, too.

    Don’t forget the lighting

    Before choosing your indoor LED light fixtures, you should get an idea of how you want to use your kitchen and what kind of lighting is best for that particular situation. If you only plan to use your kitchen to cook, a kitchen with completely utilitarian lighting would be suitable. If you plan to have an eat-in kitchen for the family or close friends, lighting over the seating area can be ambient, and utilitarian lighting can be used throughout the rest of the kitchen. If you’ll be doing a lot of entertaining in your kitchen, a combination of ambient lighting with sconces, hanging lamps and chandeliers combined with recessed and track lighting can create the lighting moods you want to achieve.

    Changing the look of your kitchen doesn’t always require knocking out walls or doing a complete rewire to accommodate all new lighting. Simple changes can make a space look new as well. Take a look around your kitchen to determine what you’d most like to change and start there. Once that’s done, pick another item or area. Before you know it, you’ll have a kitchen you enjoy.

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