10 Budget-Friendly Kitchen Updates That Make a Big Impact
It doesn’t matter if you can spend a lot, a little or nothing at all. These quick and easy ideas will breathe new life into your kitchen as fast as you can say “mini-makeover.”
FREE: Repurpose a Rug
Bring color and texture to an otherwise drab kitchen by bringing in a rug from another room. But be sure to keep rug size, as well as the scale of a print, pattern or texture in mind so that you can work that scale around the space to create more depth. For a look that is on the bold side, consider including more color and less texture, while neutral prints with few color variations are best for a more balanced look.
FREE: Re-style Your Shelves
If your kitchen has open shelving or glass-door cabinets, a new look for your kitchen can be easy! Just clear everything from the shelves and start over, adding back decorative and useful items in a limited color palette (as much as possible).
FREE: Create a Coffee Bar
You’ve probably seen fancy, built-in coffee bars on TV and in magazines, with all the perks — a sink, fridge, lighted shelving, and so forth. But did you know that you can get the same effect for free? All you have to do is reorganize a corner of your kitchen, preferably near the sink, so that all of your supplies used to make coffee are together. For instance, you can position the coffee maker on the counter, store the cups on a shelf or in a cabinet above, and keep the filters, pods or grounds in a drawer underneath. Voila!
UNDER $50: Change up Color on Cabinets
One of the simplest, yet high-impact updates you can make is to add a fresh coat of paint to cabinets that are functional and sound, but not looking their best. While there is some work involved — you’ll have to remove the hardware, clean and sand the surfaces, then add two or three coats of premium-quality self-priming paint — the end result is a refreshed and updated kitchen. Try a “tuxedo” look where the upper cabinets are painted a light color and the bottom are painted a darker color for a trendy, high-impact look. TIP: Number doors, drawers, knobs and pulls as you take them off so that you know how everything goes back together.
UNDER $50: Create a Focal Point
For kitchens that are long or awkwardly shaped, try adding a bold focal point at one end of the room to help keep the eye moving through the room rather than focusing on flaws. One simple solution, for those with a window at the end of the room, is to add a window treatment. Or, if you’re working with a sink as the focal point, consider a bold light fixture. But remember, lighting over the sink should be functional as well as decorative. Install the fixture so that the light coming from it is positioned in front of the person standing at the counter, rather than beaming straight down at their head.
UNDER $50: Go High Contrast
Have a dark kitchen that needs a quick fix? Try introducing some bright white. It can be as simple as adding a pure-white mat around a favorite framed image, or some white serving pieces displayed on an existing shelf. These few little hints of crisp white can deliver just enough relief from the otherwise moody palette.
UNDER $100: New Piece of Art
Whether it’s a flea-market painting, photograph or poster, incorporating a bold new piece of artwork to your kitchen adds instant character. You can use it to add color and vibrancy, or to bring drama and mystique. Either way, you don’t have to spend a fortune. In fact, there are many choices for unique and inexpensive art. You can find canvas art, works that are already framed, or try Etsy for a wide range of files you can download and have printed at your local copy shop. Inexpensive mats and frames can be found at your local craft shop, IKEA, or online.
UNDER $100: Make it Match
While sorting the contents of your kitchen cabinets or pantry into categories is a great first step to achieving an organized storage space, the next step is the one that takes you to maximum efficiency: transferring everything into clear, matching bins and baskets that are labeled with their contents. Not only does this make it easy for you to find what you need at a glance, it creates a sense of visual order.
UNDER $500: Find a Fab Faucet
Because the sink and faucet often serve as the central focal point in a kitchen, why not use that opportunity to make a statement? Keep in mind that while beautiful new faucets are easily found for under $100, specialty finishes like matte black are often more costly. Plus, if you want to change out the rest of your hardware to match, that will run up the cost as well.
UNDER $500: Add an Island
A large, built-in kitchen island is the dream of many homeowners, but doesn’t always fit their space or budget. So why not consider a freestanding one? Freestanding islands perform virtually the same functions, such as adding storage space and extra counter space, but for the most part require less money and less floor space. Plus, they are mobile, allowing you to open up the room at a moment’s notice.