More is cooking in the kitchen these days than just food. Kitchens have become the heart of the home, and for good reason: It’s where our families gather to eat, do homework, pay bills or simply just to unwind at the end of the day. Give your kitchen the makeover it deserves with simple yet effective solutions from pros.

Dana Dunbar, Lorrien Homes

•  Refinishing existing cabinetry is an excellent way to dramatically change the overall look of the kitchen. Create interest in the island with contrasting cabinets.

•  Get creative with the kitchen floor, using tile, wood, or both.

•  Decorative light fixtures and new knobs and pulls are simple, but effective, changes.

•  In older homes, open up the space by eliminating the wall that separates the kitchen from the family room.

Kelly Schellert, Sedoria

•  Paint the wall a bold, funky color.  

•  Make the kitchen feel more like a family/living room with technology, like an iPod dock, and with furniture. 

•  Incorporate sentimental pieces that add character. We recently incorporated an old sideboard with Bakelite handles onto the end of an island.

•  Think of purging. People really want to live more simplified lives. Really assess what you’re storing, most of it just collects dust!

Bob Burmeister, Marc Christian Fine Cabinetry

•  If your cabinets are in bad condition, paint is a quick fix. Glazing hides aging and gives cabinets a three-dimensional look.   

•  Install under-cabinet and over-cabinet lighting to add ambience and accentuate a new backsplash.

•  Enhance the kitchen’s overall look with stainless steel appliances.

More Special Features articles.