Ask the Expert: Fall Facelift Time

“Now that summer is way behind us, it’s time to look to our interiors again and perk things up a little,” says English Ivy Interiors’ Helen Lind, an interior decorator and professional home stager covering Long Island and Manhattan. And Lind knows exactly where to look first. “The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home. Families are fed and nurtured, passionate debates erupt after holiday dinners, dogs lie underfoot, and whoever does the dishes gets to gaze out over the garden, enjoying birds and the odd squirrel.”

The Question: How can I give my kitchen a quick and inexpensive facelift?

The Answer from Helen Lind of English Ivy Interiors: A quick, inexpensive way to have an immediate impact on a tired kitchen is to change the splashback under the cabinets. If you have outdated tiles, try painting them with a primer followed by a gloss or satin topcoat. If you don’t have tiles but have formica it’s even easier, as wallpaper adheres easily and smoothly.

A vinyl-coated paper is ideal for ease of cleaning. Self-pasted or adhesive manually applied work equally well. I’ve used many styles, from black-and-white toile to a small cottage rosebud print, but my favorite is a simple white embossed paper found at most Home Depot stores. The patterns available are similar to the tin ceiling effect and are often used above or below chair rails in English homes.

I recently staged a seventies style home up for sale. It needed much love, imagination and attention on a low budget. The kitchen had dark oak cabinets with orange countertops and splashbacks. There was no eye-catching appeal to this key room in the house, and the overall feel was drab and dirty.

1970s-style Kitchen
This 1970s-style kitchen needed some love...

The two to three hours it took to wallpaper under the cabinets with an elegant but charming white raised pattern paper changed everything. The kitchen was brighter, fresher and had a more contemporary feel. The orange countertop and dark wood cabinets “popped” instead of being overwhelming and gloomy. The paper should also be painted with a primer-plus-eggshell-paint combination for protection, but you have the whole winter to finish that!

Redone Kitchen with Raised Patter Wall Paper
White raised pattern paper changed everything!

One last thing: consider adding a small lamp for a cozy glow and to pick up the texture of the new décor.

Lamp Adds Glow to Kitchen

Have a question about giving your kitchen or other parts of your home a facelift? You can contact Helen Lind of English Ivy Interirors at (516) 922 3518  or visit

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