How to Update Your Kitchen on a Budget
Does your kitchen make you feel like you’re stepping into a time warp? Are you sick of the way it looks and the way it makes you feel? Are you avoiding your decades-old kitchen and opting to eat out more?
It’s time to make some changes. Here are seven easy ways to update the look of your kitchen so you’ll enjoy spending time cooking and eating—even if you are on a budget!
1. Let There Be Light
A welcoming kitchen is a light and bright kitchen. No one wants to prepare food, cook, or eat in a cave. So let the sunshine in!
Remove heavy or dark window treatments and go with light, white and bright colors. Or consider “naked” kitchen windows.
Add more light with inexpensive under-counter strips and led lighting on open shelves to help brighten your workspace. Easy-to-install plug-in pendant lights or track lighting are budget-friendly options for illuminating cabinets and countertops.
If you have an overhead light fixture or recessed can lighting, ramp up the wattage of bulbs, because “soft lighting” doesn’t cut it in the kitchen.
2. Clear the Clutter
Few things make a kitchen look as dated as crowded countertops and random clutter. Open surfaces will give your kitchen a user-friendly and inviting appearance.
If a plethora of small appliances is creating clutter, determine which ones you use daily and put the rest away, to be pulled out only when needed.
Eliminate any kitchen utensils you haven’t used in the last six months, either tossing or storing them.
To prevent your everyday utensils from using up valuable counter space, install a hanging bar or wall-mounted canisters. Magnetic strips, used alone or built into wall-mounted utensil racks, will help keep your favorite knives in easy reach.
Find other ways to use vertical space to help keep surfaces clear. For example, cookbooks stored on countertops should be moved to a cabinet or on a wall shelf.
Clearing out kitchen clutter will also make it easier to clean! Kitchens are notorious for accumulating a dingy layer of grease and smoke on the walls, cabinets, and ceilings, which makes everything appear duller.
Start with your windows. Kitchen windows get dirty faster than windows in any other room. Plus, clean windows will bring more sunlight into your kitchen.
Scrub and polish any pans that are on display—along with any other metal surfaces—to take advantage of metal’s light-reflecting properties.
If you have gas or electric burners with worn or stained drip pans, replace them. Make your cooktop sparkle!
Cleaning under appliances and refrigerator coils will make your kitchen look and smell better, while also helping your appliances last longer, saving significant money in the long term!
Paint is the fastest way to give a kitchen a facelift! It’s also an easy DIY, budget-conscious way to make a major, visible change in a short amount of time.
Lighter cabinet colors reflect more light, keep your kitchen looking modern, and offer a clean, fresh background for kitchen activities.
If you have wood cabinets and want to lighten them without paint, consider refinishing with a light stain or a pickled effect.
If you think white-on-white styles are boring, consider going white, but adding a small punch of color or texture for a wow-inducing effect.
5. Adding That Pop of Color
Accent color effects can be achieved with paint, tile, or other textured materials.
For example, your sleek white cabinets may look great with a backsplash using colored tile, metal, wood, glass, or stone for a custom and decidedly modern twist to a lighter kitchen.
Or, you may prefer breaking up all-white cabinets by using a darker color on an island or a peninsula of lower cabinets. Another option is to paint one wall for a more intense pop of color.
For a cohesive, polished effect, carry your accent color across the room in a couple of other places—perhaps a rug, or pendant lighting, or a large framed print.
6. Update Your Hardware
Old cabinet pulls and hinges can make an entire kitchen look tired and dated.
Most older kitchens will benefit from updated hardware. However, it’s especially important to replace knobs, pulls, and hinges if you’re going to the trouble of refinishing or painting your cabinets.
Go with a modern hardware style or fill the holes and install “push-to-open” hardware that will provide sleek, unbroken lines while eliminating the need for pulls and knobs!
7. Modernize Your Upper Cabinets and Pantry Door
In addition to painting and refinishing, there are other ways to update the appearance of upper cabinets.
For example, consider removing some doors and painting the cabinet interiors to match the wall for a built-in open style that “disappears” into the wall while showcasing the items stored on the shelves.
Or, replace as few as two cabinet doors with clear or frosted glass. Add LED strips to create dramatic backlighting
Consider replacing a standard, hinged pantry door with a modern, sliding door made of frosted glass or a wooden barn-door style.
When you have more time than money, a kitchen facelift is still well within your reach. It just requires a little cash and lots of creative ideas!