A complete kitchen remodel with mid-range finishes averages $66,196 while an upscale remodel comes in at $131,510 on average. Your budget might not match those national averages, but you can still make kitchen updates that completely change the look of your room, even when money is limited.
Consider the areas of your kitchen that stand out as outdated or out of place. Give those spaces extra love in inexpensive ways to make the most of your remodeling budget.
Check out these options for inexpensive kitchen updates.
1. Update the Cabinets
Outdated or worn kitchen cabinets can bring down the look of the entire room, but replacing all of your cabinets is expensive. On average, you’ll spend between $3,200 and $8,500 to get stock or semi-custom kitchen cabinets, including materials and installation. For fully custom kitchen cabinetry, expect to pay anywhere from $12,500 to $18,100.
If a full cabinet replacement isn’t in your budget, consider more affordable ways to update your cabinetry.
If the frames and doors are in good condition and you still like the style, consider repainting or staining the cabinets. Put extra care into sanding and prepping the cabinetry to get a smooth, professional finish.
A popular trend is the two-tone cabinet look. You might paint the upper cabinets one color and the lower cabinets another. If you have an island, consider painting those cabinets a different color than the rest of the cabinets.
For cabinets that are outdated, you can replace just the cabinet doors for a fresh look at a fraction of the cost of a total replacement. The doors often feature the detailing that can make your cabinets look out of style. Swap out the old doors for new doors with an updated design to change how your entire kitchen looks.
Another cabinet upgrade is to paint or add wallpaper to the inside of the cabinets. It adds a fun little touch of color and pattern to your cabinets. This option is most effective if you have glass-front doors since the design will show all the time.
2. Swap Out the Hardware
If the cabinets themselves are fine, consider new hardware as an inexpensive kitchen improvement. It’s one of the most inexpensive ways to update your kitchen, but it can really change the visual in the room.
For cabinetry that already has pulls and knobs, the easiest option is to buy new pulls and knobs with the screws in the same position. If you choose new hardware that has the screws set at a different distance, you’ll have to patch the old holes and drill new holes.
Consider the other finishes in the kitchen to find new cabinet hardware that coordinates. The hardware style should also blend well with the overall kitchen style.
3. Replace the Sink
The sink is another focal point of the kitchen that can benefit from an update. Standard stainless steel sinks are functional, but they don’t add much personality to your kitchen. Consider updating your sink to something more modern and stylish.
Choosing a sink that’s the same size as your current sink makes the installation process easier. When comparing options, consider the installation style. Undermount and drop-in sinks are two common options for your kitchen, which can change the look of the finished project.
A new faucet completes the look in your sink area. Kitchen sink faucets come in a range of styles and finishes with extra features, such as pull-down sprayers and integrated soap dispensers, to make your kitchen sink area more functional.
4. Update Your Lighting
Kitchen lighting needs to be functional, but it can also be a stunning finishing touch that elevates the design of your kitchen. If your current fixtures are all function and no beauty, consider replacing them with something new.
Pendant lights and chandeliers can make a big impression in your kitchen. Choose fixtures that enhance the look of your kitchen and fit with the overall design aesthetic.
Adding under-cabinet lighting can also change the kitchen aesthetics. It’s not only functional for prepping food, but it also adds an upscale glow to your kitchen.
5. Install a Backsplash
If you don’t have a backsplash, adding one can instantly upgrade the look of your kitchen. It also adds a functional touch, protecting your walls and making it easier to clean up splatters.
You can find backsplash tile in a wide range of prices, colors, and styles. Since it’s a relatively small area, you might be able to splurge on higher end tiles to create a truly stunning backsplash.
6. Update the Countertops
Countertops are dominate in a kitchen since they take up so much of the area. Outdated or worn countertops make it difficult to create a beautiful kitchen.
Countertop replacement can be quite expensive depending on the material you choose. Natural stone countertops are often most expensive, but you can get engineered composite countertops that mimic natural stone for much less.
If you don’t have the budget to replace the countertop, you can give it a fresh look by painting it. Look for special paint designed for painting countertops to get the best results. Priming the countertops before you paint and sealing it when you’re done is important to get quality results that last.
7. Add Decorative Touches
Decorative touches throughout your kitchen help create a specific style. They can also make your kitchen look perfectly staged with Pinterest-worthy design.
Open shelving to display perfectly curated decorative pieces can change the look of your kitchen. You can either replace upper cabinetry with open shelves or install shelving where you have empty wall space already.
Patterned rugs to jazz up the kitchen are becoming a growing trend. Roll out a colorful rug that can hold up to lots of traffic and resists stains. This option can make an even bigger impact if you don’t like your flooring since it can cover a large portion of the floor.
Plants also work well to add a cozy, welcoming vibe to your kitchen. Herbs are a good option since you can use them in your cooking in addition to decorating with them.
Make Your Kitchen Updates Count
Little kitchen updates can make a big impact in your overall design. Focusing on the biggest trouble spots in your kitchen can make your money even more effective when renovating your kitchen.
Head to our archives for more useful articles that can make your life easier.