The kitchen is one of the most essential and utilized area of the house. We cook, eat, and gather in our kitchens. It is the heart of the home, a focal point, and the center of our everyday living.
It’s safe to say that some kitchens may have seen better days – and in those cases, modernizing the kitchen for both aesthetics and functionality is the ideal solution.
So, whether you are a homeowner or renter with a large or small kitchen, updating the look and feel of your kitchen will not only transform the look of the space but also how efficiently you use it. And you don’t have to complete a full gut kitchen renovation to achieve this. That said, here are 16 ways to modernize your kitchen on a small budget.
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How to Upgrade Kitchen Without a Full Remodel
Here’s a quick look at the ways you can modernize your kitchen.
- Paint your Existing Cabinets
- Change the Kitchen Faucet
- Replace the Cabinet Hardware
- Restyle your Countertop
- Bring in New Appliances
- Open Shelves
- Update Kitchen Floors
- Add a Nice Kitchen Runner
- Add a Backsplash
- Reorganize and Declutter the Cabinets or Pantry
- Install Under the Cabinet Lighting
- Incorporate Artwork
- Affix Wallpaper
- Create a Coffee Bar Station
- Add Funky, Bold Light Switch Plates
- Hang pots and pans
1. Paint your Existing Cabinets
While this might sound intimidating at first, painting your kitchen cabinets is an easy way to modernize your kitchen. It is a budget-friendly way to update your kitchen cabinets without the high price tag and labor costs of a complete replacement.
A little sweat equity and paint can go a long way. You can go for a two-tone look by painting the bottom cabinet or upper cabinets different colors, or just keep it simple and paint everything the same color to give your old kitchen a modern look. Go bold and paint it with forest green, grey, or navy blue paint – or keep it classic and clean using white paint.
This DIY kitchen makeover can be applied to most kitchen cabinet surfaces using high-quality primer and specialty paint from Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, or Home Depot. Once complete, you may not recognize your original kitchen, and the end result will be brand-new cabinets.
2. Change the Kitchen Faucet
Your kitchen faucet is vital to the functioning of your kitchen. A stunning faucet can add beauty and sophistication to a kitchen. Updating a kitchen faucet is a simple way to help breathe new life into your kitchen.
As long as you have the right tools, the desired faucet, and the patience, a small change can revamp the image of your entire kitchen.
3. Replace Cabinet Hardware
Although a small change, replacing the kitchen cabinet hardware can make a big impact on your home. When you think about the number of times you open and close your cabinet doors daily, it’s easy to understand the wear and tear and abuse the handles receive.
Changing the cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, or handles can have a lasting effect. Adding new hardware is also an effortless kitchen update. You can update the color to Nickel, Matte Black, or Brushed Brass – either way, the color or style you choose will give your kitchen an instant update.
Replacing handles is as simple as unscrewing the nut on the back of the door handle to remove the existing handle, and then installing a new one. If you are trying to replace a knob with a pull, you will likely need to drill an extra hole. If you don’t have the budget to buy new replacement handles then you can even spray paint the existing handle to give it a fresh new look.
4. Restyle your Countertop
Restyling can be as simple as reorganizing the items on your countertop or adding unique home decor items to make it look attractive. Incorporate modern accessories to create a fresh look and feel.
Showcase your cute cutting boards or add matching soap and lotion dispensers. Add some greenery, such as flowers, fake plants, or greenery to bring instant beauty and life to your kitchen. Bring a bit of nature to your kitchen and give it a natural vibe.
5. Bring in New Appliances
One of the fastest and easiest ways to modernize a kitchen is to replace old appliances with modern versions. Replacing aging or malfunctioning appliances can help save you energy and money while increasing efficiency.
Consider replacing an old refrigerator, stove, or microwave to automatically give your kitchen a facelift. Explore energy-efficient options and opt for stainless steel or other up-to-date designs that fit within your budget.
If large kitchen appliances are not within the budget, incorporating small kitchen appliances can be as simple as a fancy new coffee maker, stainless steel toaster, retro microwave, or a funky color air fryer.
6. Say Yes to Open Shelves
Open shelving is a trendy way to take advantage of vertical wall space while making things more easily accessible in your kitchen. It is also the best way to fill a blank wall and help display some of your best or prettiest kitchen accessories and appliances.
Open shelves can serve both for their décor value as well as practicality while making your kitchen feels larger and brighter.
7. Update Kitchen Floor
Simple changes like new flooring can make a world of difference in a kitchen. From laminate and luxury vinyl tiles to engineered wood, there are plenty of modernized flooring options that won’t break the bank.
Update your kitchen from drab to fab within a weekend by replacing your old linoleum floor and opt for luxury vinyl plank instead! In just a few days, you can have a whole new, refreshed, and modernized kitchen.
8. Add a Nice Runner
If new flooring is not in your budget or you simply don’t have the time, adding a rug or runner is an easy, cost-effective way to update your kitchen quickly. Not only will it add a touch of style, but it can also help disguise an older floor. It sounds super simple, but it can make a huge difference. Go with a bold color like yellow or a cute multi-color pattern. It will make a great addition to your space.
9. Add a Backsplash
One cost-efficient way to modernize the kitchen is by adding a backsplash. You can go the traditional route with white subway tile with black grout, or spice things up with patterned tile, ceramic, or shiplap. Backsplashes are a great way to give your kitchen an updated look, no matter what style of cabinets and decor you have!
If you are worried about how to install it yourself, a stylish backsplash is simpler than you think. With the right tools and some guidance from YouTube tutorials, anyone can learn how to install a new backsplash that will help bring a completely new look to any kitchen.
10. Reorganize and Declutter the Cabinet or Pantry
Our kitchen cabinets and pantry are the ultimate storage spaces for dry food, dishes, spice, ingredients, pots, cookware, and accessories. We often don’t realize how much stuff we pack into our cabinets that we don’t need or no longer use. Reorganizing our space can save us a ton of money and time when preparing meals, planning, cooking, and grocery shopping.
Come up with a strategy on how you would organize the shelves and then declutter. Grab a garbage bag and donation box, and get rid of everything you no longer need or expired items. Group similar items, such as ingredients, canned items, and other products. Then categorize them in a way that makes sense for your household. Use lots of bins, baskets, and storage containers to organize your stuff and label everything for easy access.
11. Install Under the Cabinet Lighting
Under-cabinet lighting will add a certain ambiance to the kitchen. These small lighting fixtures can illuminate your countertop workspace and provide extra lighting to areas that don’t typically get a significant amount of light.
Under the cabinet lighting is also relatively easy to install. Most require little to no assembly. Some can be glued or plugged into a wall outlet, while others can be converted permanently with electrical wiring (which may require an electrician for electrical work).
12. Incorporate Artwork
Incorporate artwork that compliments your kitchen decor or a cute sign with a little pop of color. You can even try a printable wall art from Etsy with your favorite quote or daily affirmation. All these art pieces can help to define the look of your kitchen.
13. Affix Wallpaper
Wallpaper can be beautiful and stylish. Wallpaper can add color, pattern, and texture to your kitchen. Adding wallpaper is a great alternative to painting an area. Go for the removable peel-and-stick wallpaper, which can be less intrusive and permanent (especially if you live in an apartment).
An excellent place to start is by choosing a safe space (one that isn’t behind the sink or stove) in your kitchen to add the wallpaper. You can add wallpaper to a door, an accent wall, or inside the cabinets.
14. Create a Coffee Bar Station
A coffee station is a cool and fun idea for a kitchen – especially if you are a coffee lover. You can take a cute little nook in the kitchen or the extra space on the countertop for the coffee bar. Stock it with your favorite coffee pot or Keurig, coffee essentials such as coffee beans, a grinder and mugs.
15. Add Funky, Bold Light Switch Plates
You don’t need an electrician to change out your light switch plates. Go for a bold color instead of the classic white. Just grab a small head Phillips screwdriver, remove the existing plates, and replace them with a new vibrant funky color.
16. Hang your Pots & Pans
Pots and Pans can take up so much space in your cabinets. Hanging them up is a modern and stylish way to use the empty wall space. Grab a hanging pot hook from Ikea for a quick installation. Hang the pots and pans side by side for a cohesive look, or mix and match the sizes and colors.
These budget kitchen upgrades only scratch the surface of what you can do to help refresh your kitchen. These small changes are great options for a DIY kitchen remodel. While some of these ideas might take some hard work, they may aid in the creation of your dream kitchen. Make sure your kitchen reflects your unique style while adding value to your home.
Good Luck! Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Feel free also to follow me on my social media pages – Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for other design inspiration and home decor ideas.
I loved these simple but effective ideas.
Changing the hardware, painting the cabinets (yes to colour!), new light switch plates work wonders.
And the LED stripes make it so easy to have undercabinet lighting.
The only one I’m not crazy about is the pots and pans hanging. In my opinion it looks like clutter. But some people love it!
Really neat ideas, I haven’t thought about lights for under the cabinet. Thanks for sharing! Having a new kitchen look would be great!
Great tips for a weekend project. Just painting cabinets and adding new hardware and trim makes it feel like a whole new kitchen!
Switching out the knobs and pulls makes such a difference. I bought some very affordable crystal-looking knobs at Target and loved them so much, I also put them in my bathroom.