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1. Paint those cabinets. If your wood kitchen or bathroom cabinets are stained in hues of orange, yellow or red, they may look dated. Maybe it's time for a little painting intervention? Light-colored cabinets make a kitchen appear bigger and fresher. Just check out any major design magazine — all you'll see is painted wood kitchen cabinetry.
The kitchen above was previously a dated, 1970s wooden cave. We painted everything in this space — the cabinets, the wood paneling and the oak hutch on the left. Forty years were shaved off this kitchen with a few gallons of paint. Just make sure you hire a pro or do your homework when tackling this kind of labor-intensive project.
4. Update your trim. Whether you have box trim, beadboard or plain old drywall beneath a chair rail, the most updated way to paint is in the same color and finish as the trim. If you choose to paint a real color below the chair rail, make sure you paint the wall above the chair rail a neutral color. Two contrasting real colors on the same wall looks dated.
5. Freshen up your ceiling. Tray and coffered ceilings with the banding painted in an accent color are no longer in vogue. When tray ceilings first became popular for dining rooms and bedrooms, multiple colors and contrasting banding were used to make people take notice of the trayed effect. This photo illustrates an updated way to draw attention to the tray: Paint the uppermost, flat portion of the ceiling in a color but leave the lower portion trim neutral.
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