In terms of improving your home, getting a new kitchen is one of The Big Ones. Although not everyone's prepared to put up with the cost and upheaval of ripping out whatever's there and starting again, thankfully there are loads of ways to give your space a facelift without investing in a whole new kitchen.
If you're essentially happy with your layout, consider replacing just the cabinet doors. Several companies now specialise in this service, offering every style from colourful high-gloss to simple, uncluttered Shaker. New worktops, tiling and splashbacks take more work and may require some professional help, but really will give your kitchen a brand-new look. Alternatively, spray-paint existing doors: the paint goes on thinly and evenly, with no brush marks, and comes in scores of colours and finishes. Finish with new handles, and your doors will be unrecognisable.
Your counter-top gadgets – kettle, toaster, blender – are on show all the time, so why not make them stylish? Match them to your overall look for a really coherent finish, from 50s-retro for vintage fanatics to stainless steel for the minimalists.
The joy of these ideas is that they can be done piecemeal, over the course of a number of weeks. Less stress, less money, and a good-as-new kitchen in the end.
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This kitchen was made over using Plast-kote spray paints: a matt brown for the door-fronts, and gloss orange for the fridge door.
Plasti-kote paint, £5.98 for a 400ml can from B&Q www.diy.com
Window film makes a really good alternative to curtains in the kitchen, where odour-absorbing fabrics aren't such a practical idea.
From £25, The Window Film Company www.windowfilm.co.uk
Here, tongue-and-groove panelling (painted in 'Polkadot' eggshell from eco-friendly brand Earthborn Paint) has been used to create a feature wall.
Paint, £25 for 750ml, from www.paint-paper.co.uk
Kitchen taps are becoming increasingly sleek and design-led, and can give you an almost instant update.
Livaro monoblock tap, £99.70, www.justtapsplus.co.uk
Hanging rails are a boon when you might need lots of utensils to hand, and can turn ordinary objects into an interesting display in its own right. IKEA's modular Grundtal system is flexible enough to accommodate everything from parsley to pans.
Grundtal rails, £4,99, www.ikea.com
Glass splashbacks in the latest colours, once the preserve of the designer kitchen, have now trickled down to the high street, with great prices to match.
Lime green splashback, from £84.99, and upstand, £64.99, www.toppstiles.co.uk
Retile surfaces in the latest subway-style tiles for a clean, semi-industrial look.
Metro tiles, from 31p each, www.thetiledepot.co.uk
Complete your upgrade with a smart new dinner set – Tesco's new striped range is inexpensive enough for everyday use, and fits in with both traditional and modern schemes.
Hand-painted stripe dinnerware, from £2 a piece, www.tesco.com
The latest must-have gadgets look great on your countertop as well as making your life that bit easier. Try a hot-water dispenser, and you may never go back to the kettle...
Tefal Quickcup, £79.99, www.greenstamp.co.uk
Details matter, so tie in any scheme with a matching apron and tea towel, like this sweet graphic sheep print from Objects of Design.
£6.75 from www.objects-of-design.com