Four fast, easy kitchen projects you can complete this weekend

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Focus on projects that will have maximum impact with minimal time invested. These would be projects such as restoring existing tile work or installing a tile backsplash, switching out cabinet hardware, or painting an accent wall or the ceiling rather than the whole room. Here are four simple kitchen improvements that you can do in a day or two:

1. Rejuvenate existing tile and grout – Old, stained tile and grout can make an entire surface appear dated and dingy, even if the tile itself is in good condition. Cleaning or recoloring grout can breathe new life into existing tile work, whether its countertops, flooring or a backsplash. Products like the Aqua Mix brand of tile cleaners and sealants can help remove stains and brighten surfaces without damaging grout. If your grout is in good shape, but you’re just tired of the off-white or gray color, try updating it with a grout colorant. Aqua Mix makes an easy-to-use water-based epoxy available in 24 different colors that recolors, seals and renews existing grout.

2. Create a trendy tile backsplash – Tile without hiring a professional. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer with the right tools and a little bit of know-how, you can easily add a tile backsplash featuring colorful glass or metallic tiles for that designer look in the kitchen.

“Adding a backsplash with decorative tiles creates a new focal point and at the same time brings in a fresh accent color to the kitchen. Follow through with additional touches and inexpensive accessories such as towels, a new curtain or decorative glass jars to complete the transformation,” says independent interior designer Ann Borsheim.

Products like the SimpleMat brand tile setting mat make it easy to install tile – on a backsplash, countertop or shower wall. Because the mat’s double stick adhesive sheets eliminate the need to apply mortar, so you can work at your own pace. Start with a smooth surface – you can even tile over existing tile surfaces – place the mat in position, cut as needed with scissors or a utility knife, press the tiles of your choice in place and grout immediately using a pre-mixed or single-component grout product. SimpleMat is available exclusively at Home Depot in sheets or as a value-size role for larger projects. Never installed tile before? No problem – check out the manufacturer’s instruction videos at

3. Replace dated hardware – Cabinet replacement can be costly and time-consuming – and best left to professionals. But you can easily and quickly give your cabinets a whole new look by replacing outdated hardware. If your cabinets are still builder-bare of knobs, handles or pulls, adding them can not only make them look fresh, it can make them much easier to use. It’s easy to find hardware to suit virtually any design theme or taste, with many home improvement stores carrying a wide range of designer styles from sleek, modern metallics to Victorian-inspired glass.

4. Get creative with paint – Painting is one of the most powerful, cost-effective ways to recreate the look of a room, but painting the entire space can be time-consuming. If you’re not up for a full day of painting four walls and all that trim, consider painting one wall in an eye-catching accent color. Or, for something really different – albeit a bit more work – paint the ceiling in a hue that complements the current wall color. No design rule says your kitchen ceiling must be plain white, so spice it up with a color that speaks to you.

Updating your kitchen is a rewarding home-improvement job, and can enhance the kitchen’s appearance and your enjoyment of it, as well as boost your home’s value. In fact, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, even a minor kitchen renovation will return more than 75 percent of its cost when you sell your home.

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