12 Inexpensive Fixes That Can Transform Your Kitchen

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Try these simple changes to add some excitement to your kitchen space.
Last updated April 3, 2023 | By Jenny Cohen Edited By Michele Zipp
Happy couple cooking in kitchen

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If your kitchen feels dated, there are small changes that homeowners can take on themselves. You do not have to hire a contractor for an expensive remodel. There are many inspiring upgrades to boost your home’s value that don’t break the bank and will make you feel good about a space you use every single day. These affordable DIY projects can make your kitchen look new again.

Swap out hardware

New Africa/Adobe Man working on kitchen hardware

Hardware is called the jewelry of the kitchen — a small detail with big impact. Swapping outdated hardware for more modern or ornate handles and drawer pulls can really elevate the look of your cabinets.

Pro tip: Local home improvement stores may have cabinet hardware on display, so you can see it and touch it to give you a better idea of which hardware is right for you.

Paint your cabinets

maxwellmonty/Adobe Woman painting cabinet

Sturdy well-built cabinets are often worth saving. Instead of spending thousands to have a professional demolish your kitchen and install new cabinets, consider paint. Even builder grade cabinets can look luxe with a creamy white or jewel-tone color like emerald.

Install peel-and-stick tiles

vladdeep/Adobe Electric kettle and apples on kitchen counter

You don’t need to be a pro to install peel-and-stick tiles that come in an array of materials, colors, and textures. Many of these offerings look just as incredible as professionally-installed tiles without the worry of cost, grout, or spacers. There are even glass peel-and-stick tiles that would look great as a backsplash behind your stovetop or sink.

Add rolling shelves

bnenin/Adobe Couple planning home renovation

Rolling shelves are incredible for the organization of pots, pans, and their accompanying lids. Streamlining the inside of your cabinets is helpful not just for transforming the old, but for ease of use.

Increase the lighting

coralimages/Adobe Well lit kitchen

Consider something as simple as upgrading your light bulbs with something brighter and more energy efficient to brighten up your dark kitchen. If you’d like to replace your recessed lights, there are some pendant lights on the market that easily screw into the socket, making installation a breeze. In addition, easily installable light fixtures for under your cabinets make your countertops brighter when you’re making dinner or a late-night snack.

Upgrade your faucet

JacobLund/Adobe Mom helping son wash hands

Faucets may take a little more skill to install, but the change can pack a punch when it comes to freshening up your kitchen. You may also want to consider additions such as faucets with motion sensors that will turn the water on with a wave of your hands.

Hang open shelving

Tatyana A. - tataks/Adobe Open kitchen shelves with dishes

Open shelving can be installed either on an open wall or to replace cupboards with something more airy. When you’re picking out shelving, consider how much weight a particular shelf can handle and if you want a style and color that matches or contrasts with your existing cabinetry.

Install new window treatments

photosbysabkapl/Adobe Kitchen windows with woods outside

Consider blinds, curtains, or bare windows. For a re-fresh, consider what you have in your kitchen now and dare to make a change. Go for bold colors or prints for a window pop.

Add some art

tabitazn/Adobe Art on kitchen wall

Kitchen walls do not have to be unadorned. Consider bold and modern framed prints in a complimentary color to your cabinets. If you have a large wall, look into chalkboard paint to transform the space into a blank canvas for your kids to draw their masterpieces.

Update your island

Monkey Business/Adobe Two women sitting in kitchen

A kitchen island is a great place for friends and family to congregate. A new coat of paint or shiplap on the side could make it look more inviting. And if you have space to sit at your island, trade out your old counter stools for some modern seating.

Cover your floor

Iriana Shiyan/Adobe Kitchen interior

Budgeting for larger projects, like replacing the flooring in a kitchen, may cause some sticker stock for homeowners. If you’re in the process of saving for this upgrade, consider a new area rug or runner with a trendy geometric print or a timeless sisal style.

Add some storage

New Africa/Adobe Spices in jars

Sometimes a smart piece of furniture can transform your kitchen space. Make some room for a stylish bar cart that can be rolled out when you entertain or need a cocktail at the end of a long day. If your cabinets are too cluttered with dishes, think about adding a sideboard to your kitchen to store special items like serving pieces and platters.

Pro tip: Upcycling is a great way to get a piece for free that’s perfect for your space. Check out online marketplaces and local Buy Nothing groups for a piece that can work in your space.

Bottom line

Halfpoint/Adobe Mother and daughter cooking in kitchen

If you’re not ready to take on a major project or look into home improvement loans to finance a kitchen renovation, why not try the easier DIY route? Little changes in your kitchen can make it more aesthetically pleasing, as well as more functional. Make a list of changes you think could improve your kitchen, and maybe you can even make those changes on your own.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.