Eight Inexpensive Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen

A modern kitchen with blue cabinetry and open shelving.

Whether you are hoping to increase the value of your home or simply want to rid yourself of an outdated eyesore, upgrading your kitchen is an excellent option for any homeowner. Contrary to popular belief, upgrades don’t have to break the bank or be life-altering changes.

In the case of your kitchen, there are plenty of ways to make inexpensive changes that boost the appearance of your home and may help you reach a higher price tag when it comes time to sell. Below are a few options for upgrades under $100 that make a huge splash!

1. Add a Coffee Bar

If you’ve got an empty portion of your counter or, even better, a nook, a coffee bar can be an excellent option to elevate your space. Best of all, it’s easy and cheap, and useful! Purchase jars to pour coffee supplies into and inexpensive display mugs for a simple, elegant swap. No need for building or dismantling here – you’ll be able to create an adorable space with little work!

2. Paint the Cabinets

Painting over old wooden kitchen cabinetry.

Cabinets, especially in older builds, can be outdated and dull. Rather than completely replacing them, an overhaul that could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, try painting them! Not only will it significantly improve the look of old, faded wood, but the cabinets can become an inexpensive statement piece. Have a mostly white kitchen? Try rich blue cabinets! Looking to brighten the space? Convert your dark wood cabinets to a bright white or pale grey. If you’re feeling ambitious, try the tuxedo method by painting your top cabinets a different shade than the bottom ones for a contrasting, sophisticated look.

3. Add a Inexpensive Backsplash

You may think your only option is to cut some real tile and create a swoon-worthy subway tile backsplash. However, you can opt for the cheap alternative: peel and stick tiles. There are plenty of options online for various colors and styles. Best of all, it’s a temporary alteration – one that can be taken down when needed or swapped out when you’re bored. It’s a great option for renters who want to upgrade their space!

4. Add a Statement Light Piece

A statement light piece to upgrade your kitchen.

Paired with a fresh paint job, a new lighting system can seriously improve your kitchen’s appearance. A beautiful light fixture hanging in the middle of your kitchen or over the sink will transform the space, helping to achieve the style you’d like. Want a stripped-down industrial look? Try wire lighting with Edison-style light bulbs. Prefer a pop of bright light and color? Try opting for a multi-colored, modern fixture that catches the attention of all visitors.

5. Upgrade Hardware

When it comes to cabinets, be sure to add some new hardware. The handle or the nob you use for your cupboard can add more texture, shine, or a pop of color to the kitchen, especially with mono-color schemes. It’s a minute detail, but the difference is immeasurable. From brassy handles to crystal nobs, the hardware reinforces the feel of your space and can complement your vision. Similarly, new faucet hardware can make a world of difference for your countertops. Purchasing a nice faucet at a home improvement store and installing it yourself can be an excellent money-saving hack.

6. Pantry and Counter Organization

Jars and cannisters to organize food on a shelf.

While this can be overlooked, what’s on the inside of your kitchen cabinets matters just as much as what is outside. Take some time to organize your cabinets, pantry space, and countertops using matching, tidy jars where it makes sense. These jars can hold large amounts of baking ingredients, coffee, kids’ snacks, and more. This frees up space and makes your kitchen look less cluttered.

7. Wallpaper

Adding wallpaper can be a great way to alter a focal wall without making a permanent change or breaking the bank. Opting for a fun but manageable pattern helps to bring in a pop of color and will add a layer of uniqueness that complements the rest of your kitchen space. With a statement wallpaper piece, you can often avoid other changes because the wallpaper carries a lot of weight. For example, painting the cabinets for a pop of color may not be necessary with a vibrant wallpaper behind the cabinets.

8. Open the Space with Shelving

Open shelving used to upgrade your kitchen.

One difference between homes-built decades ago and homes built more recently is the open shelving concept. Where there used to be cabinet-lined walls to store goods, you can now opt for floating shelves and glass-front cabinets, perfect for artistic displays. Although adding open shelving is inexpensive, before removing any cabinetry, make sure that you have enough cabinet space to accommodate all your dishware and appliances. Knocking out a cabinet or two allows the kitchen to feel more spacious and luxurious. 

If your kitchen needs a pick-me-up, consider these eight inexpensive ways to upgrade your kitchen before committing to a major remodel.  You’ll be able to see which design elements look the best while maximizing function in your space. With a little effort, your kitchen can feel new!

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