Upgrading a kitchen can be daunting for a few reasons: It's not something most of us do often, it feels more permanent than swapping out pillows seasonally, and it can seriously impact the value of our homes. No wonder it can lead to some serious questioning and doubt. Only professionals who are seasoned renovators can adequately anticipate issues and provide solutions to maximize the value of a kitchen. So when we heard that Martha Stewart herself was launching PureStyle Kitchens, a new line of cabinets for Martha Stewart Living with state-of-the-art storage solutions, we were compelled to ask the homemaking maven about all things kitchen renovating.
Instead of asking her questions at random, we turned to our Instagram community to find out what their burning kitchen renovating questions were. Ahead Martha Stewart herself answered 11 of them. From her favorite neutral paint colors for cabinets to her thoughts on open shelving, here is everything the TV host wants you to know before updating your kitchen. You'll be glad you read this before your next renovation.
Do you believe there is a way to lighten up a kitchen without spending on new cabinets?
"You could repaint the space, consider updating the lighting, remove cabinets to create open cabinetry, or switch out countertops with quartz or Corian for a quick fix. If you don't have the time to do a full renovation, cabinet refacing might be the perfect option for you. You can keep the footprint of your kitchen, but add new cabinetry and functional elements. The installation process takes three to five days, and you can continue to use your kitchen and appliances throughout!"
What is a timeless kitchen cabinet color besides the typical white?
"Gray. Our Sharkey Gray is the perfect universal color—it is neither warm nor cool, and it's a neutral and easy-to-live-with color. We developed it so that it would work in a variety of environments."
I am getting ready to remodel my kitchen, and I want to avoid anything that may look dated in five years. Are there certain timeless, classic elements or finishes you recommend? Anything you would avoid?
"When it comes to kitchen remodeling, people are so afraid of making mistakes. Whether you're seeking the opinion of a friend or a professional, don't be afraid to ask for help! Most people regret not spending more when remodeling their kitchens, ignoring small details, and not fully taking in the needs of the family, so be sure to keep those things in mind. Also remember to consider the architecture of the home. Think about cohesive colors, styles, and other elements that will complement the rest of your home.
Our Seal Harbor kitchen is the perfect transitional look. It looks great in both a modern and a more traditional setting."
What do you think of butcher-block countertops as an affordable but stylish option for kitchens?
"I prefer quartz because it is heat- and moisture-resistant. With quartz, you don't have to worry about everyday stains or spills."
How do you feel about removing kitchen cabinets and replacing them with open shelves? Do you think it looks too busy?
"Open shelving is truly a matter of personal taste. Glass door cabinets that showcase your glassware or china collection can be beautiful. However, it depends on how neat and organized your items are. If you choose to do open shelving, then you have to commit to keeping everything in its place."
What cabinet inserts are a must in making a kitchen the most efficient?
"You want to use cabinet inserts that maximize your storage capacity and make your kitchen tasks run smoothly as you cook and entertain. A few of my favorite solutions from Martha Stewart Living Kitchens are the bases with roll-out trays, the corner cabinets with a lazy Susan door, the spice pull-out cabinets, the deep drawers with peg dividers, the pull-out knife blocks, and the utensil organizers. As a dog lover, another one of my favorite solutions is the pet feeding center. The pull-out portion features roomy bins for dry food and treats, as well as shelf space for grooming products and accessories, and the feeding drawer has a toe-kick control, giving you easy access to food while containing messes."
What's the best way to make a rental kitchen feel personal and stylish?
"You could buy a pantry or an island—something that you love and could take with you when you leave."
What changes can we make on the smallest budget that will make the biggest difference or the most impact?
"First, come up with a budget, and decide what features are most important to you and the needs of your family, and then allocate your finances accordingly. I think upgrading your storage options makes a huge difference in any kitchen. Do you entertain a lot? Do you bake often? Do you have a large family? All these factors are important to consider when selecting storage options for your kitchen. It's a small change you can make for maximum impact."
In a small kitchen, is it better to go bold with the backsplash or keep it simple? Is it okay to choose a bold cabinet color in a small kitchen or is it better to keep it neutral?
"Elements of the kitchen that are harder to change such as the backsplash should be more neutral. Something that you can be a bit bolder with is your choice in hardware. If you regret your decision or your taste evolves over time, you can go back and change the hardware easily enough."
How do you mix black, silver, brass, and gold in kitchen hardware/appliances? How many is too many finishes/colors?
"Accents are great when it comes to hardware and appliances. It is your moment to do something bold. They are easy to change as your taste evolves. Backsplashes, countertops, and cabinets are more difficult and costly to change."
What is your ideal combination of cooking elements? A gas range with ovens or a double oven and cooktop? What are your thoughts on steam ovens?
"I like an electric oven for the wall because it keeps baking more consistent. A gas stove top with a gas oven—with a convection setting—is good for roasting meats. I believe that steam ovens are a little too specific. It's much better to get a gas stove with a convection setting."
And now, inspiring kitchen backsplash ideas for your next renovation.