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Update a Kitchen for the Holidays

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Update a Kitchen for the Holidays

A clean, well-organized and freshly updated kitchen will help you sail through your holiday baking with ease.

Photo © Thinkstock/Getty

Updating a kitchen can be expensive, and money is often tight during the holiday season. However, the kitchen is typically one of the busiest rooms in the home during the holidays.

Since guests often congregate in the kitchen, it pays to update a kitchen before the holidays begin. By evaluating your upcoming needs, decluttering and replacing worn items, you can give your kitchen a fresh, cared-for and welcoming look.

A few simple yet inexpensive updates can take your kitchen from worn out to “wow.” Follow our tips below to help you – and your kitchen – sail through the holidays with style.

Evaluate your china and serving dishes.
Take a good hard look at your everyday and special occasion dinnerware. Is it scratched or chipped? Usually there is no need to replace the entire set; inexpensive decorative salad plates or glassware can dress up most everyday dinnerware … and cover a multitude of flaws.

Inventory your pots and pans.
If you plan to entertain, now is the time to plan your menu and see if you need any additional cookware or appliances. Most dishes can be made without fancy appliances, so to save money, plan your menu around your existing pantry and cookware. Only purchase something if it’s an item that you will continue to use.

Replace your dishtowels, cloth napkins and hot pads.
These are the items in a kitchen that most quickly show wear and tear. Since they are the most inexpensive to replace, there’s no reason to use that worn out hot pad on your holiday table. When you purchase cloth napkins, buy an extra two or three to have on hand to replace those that get stained.

Consider the lighting.
Many times we make do with whatever lighting is available, but adequate lighting is elemental to having a bright and functional kitchen. Replace worn-out appliance bulbs or outdated overhead lighting. Inexpensive fluorescent lighting works well in a kitchen, and the newer fixtures look great, too.

Organize that junk drawer.
I know you have one! And I guarantee that this will be the drawer that guests will always open when looking for a fork or serving spoon. Pretty drawer liners (think scrapbook paper!) and organizing trays can be purchased on a dime, or if you are handy, consider adding a few built-ins.

Do a “fall” cleaning.
Forget spring; fall is a better time to do a kitchen deep cleaning. Before the holidays hit, invest in one day of thorough cleaning of all surfaces, inside and out. Clean out the fridge, oven and pantry, washing the drawers and shelves and discarding outdated food. Vacuum out kitchen drawers, wash the windows and curtains and/or shades, and dust the tops of cabinets and the fridge.

Replace or clean stovetop drip pans.
These parts tend to gather a lot of grime and goo throughout the year, and since they are so inexpensive to replace and can be hard to clean, I recommend buying new ones. Flanges and drip pans are available for most models at major appliance and hardware stores.

Wipe down or clean cabinet fronts.
It’s amazing how many spills and splatters congregate on cabinet fronts. Use a soft cloth dipped in a mild degreaser or diluted dish soap then rinse with a moist sponge. Don’t forget to wipe under the edge of the countertops and along the bottom edge of cabinet doors where grime tends to hide.

Create a yummy ambiance.
Scented candles that release a pie, cookie or holiday baking smell can do a lot to enhance a kitchen’s vibe. I’ve found that the more expensive candles are worth the extra money; they don’t tend to smoke as much and the fragrance is better, too.

If you have the time and the budget…
Discover more budget-friendly things you can do that will really take your kitchen over the top. These things may cost a bit extra, but if needed, will go a long way toward creating a smooth and stressful working environment in your kitchen.

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