How to Quickly Update Your Kitchen on a Budget

How to update your kitchen when you don't want a full scale remodel. Easy ways to improve it

Sometimes we run into things in our home decor that we want to change but we can’t.  This can be due to time, budget, or because we’re renting.

Or let’s face it, we just don’t have the energy to tackle a full scale remodel.

Whatever the reason, there are lots of ways that you can update your kitchen on a budget and I’m here to share a few tips.

No remodeling necessary.

Clean and Declutter

Of course my number one tip is to clean and declutter.

No home will ever appear to have great decor if it’s buried under a pile of  knick knacks and stacks of unused containers.

Sometimes a nice deep clean and declutter is all our space needs to make us feel better.

A shiny clean kitchen will set the mood for other improvements, and if you spend some time decluttering you’ll find that you might have more storage than you thought.

It’s time to get rid of those lids with no containers, the fast food forks and straws and any food that’s past it’s expiration date.

Once you’re done with this let’s talk about some other updates we can do!


Now lighting can be done on a budget or it can be a budget buster.

There’s not doubt that updating and adding lighting to your kitchen can make a world of difference in how the space looks.

Under cabinet lighting can easily be added with puck lights the just stick onto the bottoms of your existing cabinets.  Even just a few of these can brighten up your kitchen immensely.

This is probably the quickest and easiest way to update the lighting in your kitchen on a budget, and they provide a nice accent on your counter tops.  I love having them on at night.

Another thing to consider is the bulbs that you are using.  With all the new options available these days you can get a much brighter bulb that will change the way your kitchen looks and it’s just as easy as buying a new bulb!

Of course lighter paint on the walls can be a game changer!  A lighter color can brighten up a space quickly and it will reflect back the light that you have in your space making it appear brighter.

Updating Your Kitchen Cabinets on a Budget

The kitchen might just be one of the most hardworking rooms in an entire house.  The cabinets in this space get the most use and they can sometimes look tired and outdated.  Since they’re the main focus of your kitchen you want them to look good so let’s talk about ways to update them on a budget!

Remove the Doors

If you’re renting the space and can’t do much to change it this can be a great option.  The doors can be removed and stored and then replaced later.

Open shelving is a beautiful way to show off your pretty dishes or the tin tea boxes that you’ve collected.

This option is only for the super organized person because it’s more of a decorating statement.  You’ll want the items on the shelf to be well thought out and displayed.

Add Glass to the Doors

Another option for updating your cabinets is to add glass to the doors.  If the cabinets are wood they can have the centers cut out and glass inserts added.

This is a great option to have the appearance of open shelving, but not the extra dusting.  And the door frames will give you just enough space to hide a few things, so every little thing isn’t on display.

If you’ve got some tools and some DIY experience this a great project for you!  And here’s a great tutorial from the Family Handyman on how to do this!

Add Trim to Your Cabinets

Trim is a great finishing touch for all kinds of places!  If you don’t have crown moulding on your cabinets this is your chance to update them.

If you cabinets have an awkward space between the top and the ceiling you can box them in and trim them to give your kitchen a more finished look.

There’s also the option to add trim along the bottom of your cabinets too.  This will give them a custom look and update!

Paint Your Cabinets

If you know me at all you know that paint is my solution for just about every project.  Paint is one of the least expensive options we have that can completely change how anything looks.  A room, a piece of furniture, your house, your car.

If you stand still around here to long you may find a coat of paint heading your way!

The least expensive thing you can do for your cabinets would be to repaint them the same color. If they are chipped and dingy this is a great option.  But for an even bigger impact try painting them an entirely different color.  Or a contrast for your lower and upper cabinets.

Another option is to paint the interiors of your cabinets if they’ve got open shelves or glass doors.  I mean, you can paint the interiors even if they don’t.  Then you’ll have something to make you smile when you open the cabinet doors.

Be sure to get a couple of samples before you commit to a color.  You’ll want to be sure that you love the color next to your flooring, your backsplash and in your kitchen lighting before you commit to the project.

Add or Change the Hardware

This is by far the fastest update you can make to your cabinets.

If you don’t have knobs and pulls you can install them easily in just a few minutes.

If you do have knobs and pulls then your job is even faster.  Be sure to measure how far the spread is (that’s the distance between the holes) so that you can easily switch out your handles.

You’ll be surprised about what a great difference new hardware can make!  It can change the look of your kitchen from traditional to modern or vice versa.

Your Kitchen Countertops on a Budget

Your countertops are a huge part of the surface area of your kitchen.  If you don’t love the color or pattern on them it can make you unhappy with the whole space.  These can be a pretty significant expense to replace so let’ talk about a few ways to update them.


You’re surprised I mentioned paint aren’t you?

You can paint just about any surface if you do the right kind of prep work and use the right kind of paint.  There are paints made for just about any surface.

A countertop is a busy and durable area that you use a lot so be sure to follow the directions if you go this route.  You want all your hard work to stand up to the demands of your kitchen.

Hide Them

If you’re strategic about your accessories you can hide parts of your countertops.  Consider using trays, cutting boards, open cookbooks or other accessories to draw your eye away from the actual countertop.  Jut be sure that you aren’t adding “clutter” to your area because that will defeat the purpose!

It might also be worth checking the salvage yards to see if you can find a piece of marble or granite that you can lay over your counter top and cover a section of it.  So you might not be able to cover the whole thing, but you can hide a section.

Flooring for Your Kitchen on a Budget

I bet you have no idea what I’m going to suggest first to update your flooring!


You thought it was going to paint right?  Well that’s the second option.

But first think about a rug!  Depending on the size of your space you might find a couple of small rugs or a runner that will work.

And a nice cushy mat to stand on at the sink is a great addition.  I think your back will appreciate it!

You can also layer rugs if you’d like.  Put down a larger neutral rug and then add a fun print on top of it.


And there it is – the option of paint.  Because really, what else could be as inexpensive as just painting over a surface and getting on with life?

This is another instance where you’re going to want to be sure that you have the correct paint to cover the material you have, and then you’re going to want to follow the directions.

Much like your counter tops, a floor gets a lot of traffic and abuse.  It needs to be able to stand up to all the abuse handed to it and still look great.

I hope that these few ideas have inspired you to look at your kitchen in a different way.  You’ve got a chance to be creative in your spaces and a few updates can take your kitchen from just a space in your home to your favorite space in your home.

If you need more home decor inspiration be sure to check out:

How to Figure out your Decorating Style
Ways to Use Pinterest to Decorate Your Home
How to Keep Your Remodeling Budget on Track

Easy tips to update your kitchen without the expense of a remodel

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