KSK Designs Shares Small Ways To Make a Big Difference

by | Apr 2024

Kiger updated this bathroom by swapping outdated cabinet pulls for a modern design and changing the wall color to create the feeling of a bigger, brighter space.

Kiger updated this bathroom by swapping outdated cabinet pulls for a modern design and changing the wall color to create the feeling of a bigger, brighter space. Photo: Kimberly Kiger

Update your living space with small changes.

Prior Lake designer/architect Kimberly Kiger has a knack for finding easy fixes without tearing everything down to the studs. We asked Kiger, owner of KSK Designs, to provide us with a fresh perspective for fixing outdated kitchens, unattractive fireplaces and cramped living rooms without committing to cumbersome renovations.

Dated Kitchens

Depending on your kitchen’s biggest problem areas, it’s possible to get a new look with a few strategic swaps:

  • Backsplash: Adding or lengthening a backsplash to reach the upper cabinets can make a big impact. You can retile or go for an even easier option: “If you have a tile backsplash, you can do it yourself, and buy a peel-and-stick tile to go on top,” Kiger says. “Don’t forget to cut the edges to look more authentic.”
  • Cabinets Configuration: Consider removing one or two upper cabinets.
  • Microwave Swap: If your microwave lives above your range, maybe it’s time to find it a new home, Kiger says. Try taking it down and replacing it with a range hood and a good backsplash to create a focal point in the kitchen.
  • Hardware Switch: Swapping outdated cabinet pulls or knobs with something more modern offers an almost instant upgrade. “If you have knobs, a handle is a good option for a change,” Kiger says. “If you have a handle, you will want to look for options in that same size­—measure center of hole to center of hole—for replacement if you don’t want to have a fill point.”
  • Minor Changes: Update light fixtures and outlet covers.
Out-of-Place Fireplaces

If the fireplace doesn’t fit the style of the home—or the homeowner’s style—there are some options, Kiger says. Tile or brick fireplaces can get a facelift by covering the façade with a different tile or brick. There are also painting and sealing techniques to change the color of brick, Kiger says.

Tired Gathering Spaces

When it’s hard to pinpoint the problem in a room, don’t immediately jump to adding or replacing furniture. First make sure that the room’s color, artwork and accessories are creating balance, Kiger says. “Well-balanced spaces appear more luxurious and inviting,” she says. “Balance can be achieved by minimizing the use of colors, tones and textures.”

Think about the placement of art in the room, and consider moving favorite pieces or using them as inspiration for color throughout the room.

“Neutral palettes are very popular right now because they are easy to transition between holidays and appear more timeless,” Kiger says. “The right solution is what makes you happy, not necessarily following a trend.”

Commit to a backsplash by tiling up to the ceiling or upper cabinets.

Commit to a backsplash by tiling up to the ceiling or upper cabinets.

Cramped Corners

If a space is feeling small, the first step is to clear the clutter, Kiger says.

Next consider the colors in the room. Color, especially wall color, can make spaces feel smaller or larger. In general, lighter colors make spaces feel larger. “Your wall color or locations could be making your space feel smaller by itself,” Kiger says.

After clutter and color, the next big issue is furniture. Make sure there’s not too much furniture in the space, and then look at its layout. Don’t be afraid to play with furniture placement. “Removing or reorienting furniture can make spaces feel larger,” Kiger says.

Finally, review the the height and location of light fixtures. “If lights are too low, it changes the lighting quality,” Kiger says. “Lights that are too high don’t provide enough lighting as a primary source, so people are inclined to increase their secondary lighting with floor or table lamps. Removing some of these and making lighting more accurate for your space can be a simple fix.”

Worrisome Walls

Think beyond paint and wallpaper when it comes to walls and ceilings. “Molded fiberglass or plasticized ceiling tiles that resemble copper or tin ceilings can be used on the wall or ceiling,” Kiger says. “Simplified wainscoting with wood trim pieces can be laid out in simple, elegant ways.”

Adding fabric is another option. “Hanging curtains from a ceiling track or a wall-mounted track the length of a space can improve sound issues while also changing the mood and feeling in the space,” Kiger says.

When updating any part of your living space, Kiger says comfort is key. “Make your home your happy space,” she says. “If you are finding weaknesses in doing so, ask a professional and get a few opinions before settling on the one person to help you.”

KSK Designs
Facebook: KSK Designs | Prior Lake MN


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