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  • Writer's pictureTani Nielsen

5 Easy Kitchen Upgrades on a Budget

When we bought our home five years ago, I was swept away by the hundred year-old charm and character. I loved the high ceilings, wood floors, and tall baseboards. But even with such a move-in ready house, there were still a few changes I wanted to make to the kitchen that would really transform the space. We are thinking of selling in the next year or two so I’ve debated what truly needs to be updated to entice a buyer. Maybe you can relate when you look at your kitchen and think “It’s almost there, but something could use a change.” Sometimes there just isn’t the budget or time to do a full kitchen remodel. So what are some ways to give your kitchen an upgrade that won’t break the bank? Let me give you a few ideas.

1. Paint Your Cabinets

A coat of paint can do wonders for your cabinets. White is still stylish but colored cabinets are trending. There are so many options to update your kitchen by painting that don’t entail a wholesale facelift. Not ready to commit to an entirely yellow kitchen? Just paint your island! An island in a color like blue can provide the contrast that will bring your kitchen to life. Indecisive on color vs white? Consider white for the upper cabinets and a color or stain for the lower set. Dated oak grain got you down? Fear not! Painting products (and hopefully your painter) have come a long way. I have seen beautiful work to cover an unpleasant wood color with paint that hides the fact that the cabinets were ever oak to begin with.

2. Change Your Cabinet Hardware

Hardware is often a forgotten and easily overlooked part of a kitchen. Cabinet hardware is not a huge statement piece but it can make a difference in the style and feel of your kitchen. My cabinet pulls are something I’ve looked at many times and thought “That would be so easy to update!” yet for some reason I have not done it. You touch and feel them every time

you open a drawer or door so you want them to not only look nice but feel good in your hand. Switch up the finish to add a new look. Have you been living with brushed nickel? Change it out for a matte black! Or perhaps change the shape and style to mix things up. Just switching from a curvy pull to an angular shape will update your kitchen from traditional to modern.

3. Upgrade Your Plumbing Fixtures

Give that sink and faucet an upgrade! A sink and faucet may feel like such a permanent, unalterable piece in the kitchen but making the change is not as hard as you think! Be careful, though, to make sure your new fixtures fit the holes that are already in your countertop. Before you do anything, measure measure measure! Changing your faucet is obviously easier than changing your sink and the faucet is much more of the visual piece than your sink. There are lots of great affordable options out there. A new look could be as simple as something with a different finish, matching the faucet with your new cabinet hardware, getting a more industrial piece to set a new design tone for the kitchen.

4. Swap Out Those Light Fixtures

The terrible track lighting in our kitchen is on my short list for the updates. Some kitchens have recessed lighting that can’t be easily changed, but in most you have the chance to change your lights to something new! A different fixture can bring not only a new style of hardware, but a whole different feel to the room. Maybe your kitchen needs some brightening or maybe the original lighting is a bit much. Lighting can make all the difference when it comes to how the kitchen feels and even how the cabinet and wall colors look. Light fixtures are the jewelry of the home so why not make them be a focal point in the kitchen?

5. Change Your Backsplash

Although it's the most costly upgrade on this list, adding a backsplash, or changing the one you have, can still be a cost effective option to update your kitchen. Choosing an inexpensive material can make it easier on your wallet. In our house, we took the beadboard off our backsplash and added a white subway tile. A simple fix that took our kitchen from an outdated to classic feel. Find a tile that really speaks to you. Whether it’s a glossy ceramic or a marble mosaic, you can nail it in the kitchen by making a statement in your backsplash.

The few ideas here are the quickest and most cost-effective ways to bring a little more style to your kitchen without an extreme investment of time or money, but these are just a few of the many ways to bring new life to your kitchen. Good luck and, as always, contact me if you want a partner who can help transform your kitchen!

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