3 Simple DIY Projects to Improve your Kitchen

The kitchen is the central hub of every home. It is the room where you prepare food, the room where you keep nearly all your supplies, and the room that guests unexplainably naturally gravitate towards at any party or event hosted in your home. 

We spend so much time in our kitchens that it is important to keep it updated and organized while still making it look great for your guests and yourself. 

Here are three simple DIY projects that anybody can complete to improve a kitchen and take it to the next level of form and function.

Upgrade Your Outlets

Most homes don’t have enough electrical outlets in the kitchen, oftentimes leaving you to choose between your appliances or charging your USB devices. To save room on your outlets, you may want to consider installing an outlet with USB ports built in. Each new outlet will cost about $20 to $30 dollars, which might seem like a lot, but USB technology is not likely to disappear anytime soon and you will thank yourself for the extra space you have for your other appliances.

What you’ll need: 

Voltage Detector, Screwdrivers, Needle Plier

How to do it: 

1) Turn off power to the outlet you want to replace from your circuit breaker. This may require you having to turn off power to your entire kitchen, depending on how specific your circuit breaker is. 

2) Check to make sure that the outlet is off before messing around with circuitry. You can do this by plugging in another appliance or a charger to the socket. If it doesn’t turn on or charge, you are ready to continue!

3) Take off the faceplate and check the voltage with the voltage detector. Once the faceplate is removed, use the voltage detector on any wires and the receptacle itself. If the voltage detector makes noises or flashes, double check your breaker to make sure you’ve turned off the outlet.

4) Remove the old receptacle from the wall. You will need a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the old receptacle from the electrical box, and you can use the same screwdriver to detach the wires from it. Keep track of which wires are which, and don’t use a wire cutter for this step – you don’t need it!

5) Attach the new receptacle to the exposed wires. There will be three types of wires that you will need to attach to the new outlet, a black wire, a white wire, and a green wire

The Black wire should only ever be attached to gold or black screws on the new receptacle, the white wires should only be attached to silver or white screws, and the green wires should only be attached to green screws. Use your needle nose pliers to hook the exposed wire to the appropriate screw, loop and tighten the wire, and then tighten the screw into the receptacle.

6) Put everything back into the wall, reattach the receptacle onto the wall, and screw on the new faceplate. 

This project should take no longer than 10 minutes, and you will save time and frustration in the future by having more outlets available for you in the kitchen!

Tile a Wall

Tiling your kitchen walls can be a very long process, but by doing it yourself you will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, and will have a sense of satisfaction when you see how much more beautiful your kitchen has become. The only high-tech tool you will need is a wetsaw, but if you are planning on doing more home improvement in the future, it is a necessary power tool to add to your arsenal.

What you’ll need: 

Cement mix, large bucket, Ceramic tiles, Spacers, Trowel, Wetsaw, Tape Measure, Grout, Caulk

How to do it:

1) Prepare the area you want to tile. Take measurements of the area, and figure out how you will need to cut your tiles to fit within this area depending on the design you are going for. You will also need to remove any outlet faceplates from the area and anything on the wall, and remember to leave enough space to be able to put them back once the process is finished. 

Take into account that you will not put tiles right next to each other and will need to leave about an eighth of an inch of space between each tile on the sides and the top.

2) Put cement on the bottom right corner of the area, and apply your first tile. You will want to put enough cement on the wall to cover the area of the tile with as little empty space showing as possible. Using the serrated edge of the trowel, gently scrape grooves into the wet cement. Put some of the mix onto the tile and using the trowel once again scrape grooves into the cement. 

Place the tile onto the wall and press firmly. You will want the right-hand edge to be touching the very edge of the area you want to redesign, but leave about an eighth of an inch on the bottom. Scrape away any excess cement, and ensure it is level.

3) Place the second tile to the left of the first. Using the same technique as the previous step, apply cement only to the area of the wall you are currently working on and to the tile and press firmly. 

4) Cut the third tile to size – if you are going for a brick-like design - and place above the first tile. You will want the first tile of the second row to align with the bottom row on the right hand side, and if you are going for an interlaced brick-wall-like design, you will want to cut this tile just slightly less than in half in order to make it fit correctly when accounting for spaces. 

Be sure to take specific measurements to ensure you do not have a crooked finished look. You should use your spacers to make sure it is the correct height above the bottom layer. 

5) Continue placing tiles onto the area. You will want to make sure that you do not add another layer of tiles until you have at least two tiles below the area you want to add the next. For example, when the first layer has two tiles placed, you can put another tile above it. When it has three, you can place another on the layer above it, and then start the third layer, and so on. You never want to have the same amount of tiles on each layer until the very end, as it will be harder to align correctly and you may end up with a sloppy product.

6) Finish placing, let dry, and apply grout. When you are finished cutting cementing and placing and all your tiles, allow the area to dry overnight. The next morning, gently scrape and smear grout across the surface of the tiles to fill in the spaces. Be sure to pack it deep into the tile joints, and clean the surface with a wet sponge. Let it sit for about half an hour, and take a cloth to make the tiles shine. 

7) Apply caulk. To finish the project, apply a thin line of caulk to the bottom, sides and corners of the tiled area, and smooth with a wet finger. This will help to protect the new tiles and ensure a water-safe area!

While re-tiling your kitchen may take a day or two of work, you will thank yourself for not using costly outside assistance for a project you can easily complete yourself. 

Install Cabinet Rollouts

Compared to tiling a kitchen, installing rollout cabinets will seem like a breeze. Rollout cabinets will let you use the space in the back that one usually cant reach, opening up the space available to you in your kitchen and making it easier to access all of your utensils, supplies, and appliances – especially in the bottom cabinets. You can order rollouts from just about everywhere, but you can easily make your own if you have the tools. This guide will cover rollouts that are pre-assembled, and should take no more than 20 minutes.

What you will need: 

Assembled Rollout Cabinet Organizers, Screwdriver

How do to it:

1) Assemble the rollout organizer. You will need to follow the specific instructions for the model you purchased, and ensure that the rollout will fit into the cabinet you are trying to modify.

2) Align the rollout to the bottom of your shelf. Most rollouts will be bottom-mounted, meaning they are attached to the bottom of your cabinet and not the sides or the door. Some models can be adjusted to mount onto the door of the cabinet, but for most you will be attaching the rollout to the floor. 

3) Screw in the four screws through the sliding contraption to the floor. This will ensure that the rollout does not shift or move around while in use, maintaining its balance even when extended to its maximum length.

With that completed, the rollout should be ready for your use! You will be glad to reduce any counter clutter by making full use of the space in your cabinets, and will help yourself in the kitchen with its efficient organizational function.

These three tips will help to revolutionize your kitchen in terms of its form and function, and with a little bit of time investment, you can take your kitchen into the modern day with these upgrades and aesthetic improvements. All you have to do next is renovate the kitchen to more easily fit into its new sleek, contemporary look.