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Clever ways to make your kitchen look expensive

We probably spend more time in the kitchen than in any other room in the house, and yet often the heart of the home looks shabby and unloved.

If you can't afford a full refurb, here are some simple tips and tricks to give your kitchen a high end makeover on a budget:

Get rid of clutter

The most luxe kitchens have clutter free worktops, with every appliance stowed away for a sleek and minimalist look. That's not always practical in a busy family kitchen, but keeping your surfaces clear of keys, receipts, toys and shopping lists will definitely give you that slick finish.

Add art - and flowers

A carefully chosen piece of art - a light box is ideal - and some simple flowers in a jug or mason jar are a quick and inexpensive way to add instant style to a kitchen. Clear off the fridge and have those precious childhood artworks framed and hung on the wall. And don't forget to arrange some fresh herbs in pots on a shelf - they're practical, as well as pretty.

Pay attention to details

Think of the handles you use as being like earrings, designed to really show off your cabinets. A clever trick is to use different styles of handles for drawers and cupboards while keeping the finish consistent. Replacing your kitchen tap is another simple way to give your space an update - look for brass and copper hardware as the most on-trend metallics for the modern kitchen.

Be floored

Another quick fix for a tired-looking kitchen is to use new flooring, and there's a huge range of choice. Luxury vinyl tiles can be an excellent option if you want the look and feel of wood or stone without the expense and maintenance, while large format ceramic tiles laid on the diagonal add a real high end finish. Engineered wood can also be an excellent option, as the wood is less prone to expansion and contraction than solid wood flooring. Whatever you choose, make sure you install underfloor heating for ultimate luxury.

Light up

One quick way to add some instant pizzazz to your kitchen is to get creative with your lighting fixtures. If you're crafty, then try creating a bespoke chandelier from copper piping, or take a look on auction and craft websites for a vintage or bespoke light fitting that will give your kitchen the instant wow factor.

Add an island

Even the smallest kitchen has space for a simple bar and a couple of stools. Invest in cool and funky stools in interesting shapes and materials to add visual intrigue and get creative with your island - a floating shelf can make a fabulous minimalist breakfast bar, or re-purpose a beautiful old cabinet with some casters and a worktop so it can be wheeled out of the way when not in use.

Upgrade your worktop

If your laminate worktops are looking a little bit chipped and tatty, try using a paint kit to fake the effect of granite worktops. If you have wooden counters, then sand them down and either stain them darker for a totally new look, oil them for a natural finish or paint and varnish them. If your budget stretches to replacing your worktops, opt for a hard-wearing composite stone for a high end finish that won't break the bank.

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