Renovate the Kitchen: You Can Do it Yourself

March 4, 2021
  1. Renovate kitchen fronts
  2. Renovate work surfaces
  3. Replace handles
  4. Replace kitchen appliances
  5. Working with colours
  6. Tear down or move in walls
  7. Adjust the light
  8. Last but not least: Accessoires

After plus/minus 20 years, you should renovate your kitchen. On the one hand, because the appliances have reached the end of their service life. On the other hand, because the kitchen no longer meets your style or your changed requirements. If you are a skilled craftsman, you can renovate and refurbish your kitchen with relatively little effort. We have compiled a list of what you can do yourself - and when you should rather commission an experienced carpenter with the kitchen renovation.

Renovate kitchen fronts

New kitchen fronts are the easiest and most impressive way to change your kitchen. Real wood fronts that are still in good condition can be cleaned, degreased, sanded and varnished or glazed. Think about the colours beforehand. In a kitchen with little daylight, for example, sunny yellow fronts work wonders and totally change the feeling of the room. If the kitchen fronts are too worn, it is best to replace them. The fronts and built-in appliances of fitted kitchens are standardised and are 55 centimetres wide in Switzerland (Sink/CH standard). The height of the fronts can vary from kitchen to kitchen and from manufacturer to manufacturer.

The easiest and safest way is to order the fronts from the manufacturer of your kitchen. New fronts should be compatible with older kitchens, and thanks to the Sink/CH standard, usually also with other manufacturers. Play with colours and materials. Real wood, veneer, glass, plastic film, matt or glossy lacquer, melamine resin coatings or laminate can completely change the ambience and style of a kitchen. If you have special wishes or your kitchen is not a fitted kitchen with standard fronts, you can hire a carpenter to measure the fronts and cut them to size. Such custom work is of course more time-consuming and more expensive than standard fronts.

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If the fronts are in good condition, you can also sand them down and coat them with self-adhesive films. Then they will look like new again.

Renovate work surfaces

When choosing a worktop, you should pay attention to material and quality. The surface is used daily and subjected to heavy wear and tear. Inexpensive worktops made of laminate - a core of chipboard or multiplex with laminate around it - are easy to clean but not particularly hard-wearing and can only withstand high temperatures to a limited extent. Solid wood surfaces are more durable, but require more care and need to be treated with oil or sanded down from time to time.

Granite worktops are noble and particularly durable. The stone is very hard, heat-resistant and insensitive to scratches. Marble is softer and not as durable. In addition, the stone absorbs liquids, which is why stains can form on the surfaces. Other materials for custom-made worktops are acrylic stone, concrete, ceramic or artificial stone. Stainless steel has gained acceptance in professional kitchens because the material is heat-resistant, easy to clean and hardly susceptible to bacteria or viruses. The surface can be welded to the sink and the fittings, then no dirt settles on grooves or edges.

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Good to know

Replacing a worktop is more difficult than it seems at first glance. For one thing, the sink usually has to be replaced as well, because it is integrated seamlessly into the old surface. Secondly, the surfaces are often glued to the base units with silicone. That's why it's worth talking to a kitchen builder or carpenter.

Kitchen renovation: Grey granite worktop
Granite worktops are hard, heat-resistant and insensitive to scratches.

Replace handles

Sometimes it takes less than you think when you want to renovate your kitchen. New handles made of stainless steel, wood, plastic or porcelain for the fronts and drawers, for example, change the kitchen with little effort. Unadorned straight handles underline the timeless character of a modern design kitchen, while painted porcelain handles add a nostalgic touch to a country kitchen. You can find handles in the fittings and hinges section of any DIY store. There is no easier and cheaper way to spice up your kitchen.

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Measure the distance between the drill holes of the old handles before you go to the DIY store. The new handles should use the same drill holes or cover the holes.

Replace kitchen appliances

After 10 to 15 years, you need to replace most kitchen appliances. Because they no longer meet your requirements - or because they have become old. The service life of the most important appliances in the kitchen according to the parity life table:

  • Oven: 15 years
  • Steam extractor: 10 years
  • Electric hobs: 15 years
  • Glass ceramic hob: 15 years
  • Dishwasher: 15 years
  • Induction hob: 15 years
  • Cooker: 15 years
  • Combi steamer: 10 years
  • Refrigerator with freezer compartment: 10 years
  • Microwave: 15 years
  • Steamer: 10 years
  • Freezer: 15 years
  • Deep freezer: 15 years

If you like to cook and/or cook often, you will decide to update sooner rather than later. New kitchen appliances can do more, simplify cooking, are energy efficient and save money on electricity. In addition, appliance manufacturers are constantly developing new appliances with useful functions. For example, an aesthetic as well as multifunctional tap for hot, cold or 100°C hot, chilled sparkling or still water in no time at all. In principle, you can replace old appliances yourself or install new ones yourself. If you are unsure or uncomfortable, it is better to hire a craftsman.

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Working with colours

More and more homeowners are opting for more colour in their own four walls. Why not also in the kitchen, the room where you spend so much time? A fun-loving orange or fresh sky blue instead of 0815 white or boring beige fundamentally changes the feeling of the room and puts the kitchen in a new light. Without expensive renovations or new appliances. And if you're already thinking about replacing the kitchen fronts, it makes sense to think about the walls as well.

Light colours are light and friendly, they make the room appear larger. Dark colours convey a sense of security, but make the room appear smaller. Warm colours activate, people automatically assess the temperature as higher. Cooler colours, on the other hand, calm and relax. With one colour or several colours, you can set accents or visually divide the kitchen. So that the new colour doesn't get on your nerves too quickly, for example the fire-engine red wall, a calm accompanying colour makes sense.

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Paint a wall or part of a wall with dark blackboard paint on which you can write with chalk. This way you have a big shopping list or a message centre for the whole family.

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You can cover the tiles behind the worktop with water-repellent panels or wall cladding made of glass, wood, plastic or metal. This is easier and cheaper than knocking off all the tiles and replacing them with new ones.

Kitchen renovation: modern kitchen with light colours
Colour changes rooms. Often, one wall is enough.

Tear down or move in walls

You can also change the floor plan when you renovate the kitchen and have a wall knocked down or pulled in. However, this is something you should definitely leave to a professional. There are structural issues involved if you want to knock down a wall. If it is possible, you can use this measure to enlarge the kitchen, create space for a cooking island or provide more daylight in your kitchen. If the kitchen is (too) large, for example in a loft flat, you can pull in a wall and use the additional storage space to structure the kitchen better and use the space more sensibly.

Adjust the light

The most important thing is that the work surface in the kitchen is well illuminated. LED lamps, for example, shine brightly, can be mounted invisibly under the wall units and are energy-efficient. Many are also available with a wireless and practical remote control. Less bright, but more cosy is indirect light, for example light strips.

Last but not least: Accessoires

Sometimes a few accessories are enough if you don't want to renovate your kitchen but fancy a change. For example, colourful tea towels, kitchen herbs on the windowsill, cookbooks, a salt and pepper mill on the sideboard, a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table, a knife block with knives or high-quality cookware that you like to cook with even more. In this way, you can change your kitchen with little effort and adapt it to the season, for example. How about a Provence-style kitchen in spring with lavender, colourful ceramic bowls for a tapenade and handwritten recipes for aïoli, bouillabaisse or ratatouille?

Houzy Hint


You can renovate many things yourself. However, you should leave larger jobs to a professional or at least discuss them with a kitchen planner. You will find a selection of experts from your region in our craftsmen's directory.

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