The Inexpensive Home Improvement Series: Kitchen Updates

Because the kitchen is one of the most used spaces in any home, it’s only natural to want it to be attractive and inviting. A fresh coat of paint is usually the first update homeowners use in their kitchens, but there are several other inexpensive options that can add drama and freshness to the space without dipping into your savings.

Add Extra Lighting

If your kitchen doesn’t have task lighting mounted under the cabinets to shine down on the countertops, you can add it for well under $100 if you opt for LED rope lighting or stick-on lights, sometimes called puck lights, that you simply add wherever you want some added brightness. LED rope lights can also add some dramatic lighting if you mount them along the baseboards under your cabinets for a soft glow. These are great if you want low lighting at night when you walk into the kitchen.

Replace a Dated Ceiling Fan

For years, ceiling fans were mounted in just about every room, but they can look dated and don’t really serve much purpose in a kitchen or over a dining table. Look for simple chandelier style lighting or sleek pendants for a modern look. Drum shades and sleek metallics are very popular right now. Pendants that are made of hand-blown glass can add pops of color.

Cheap Cabinet Updates

If you don’t have the budget to replace your kitchen cabinets, consider painting them either a bright white or a bright color, either of which will add a sense of light and spaciousness to any size kitchen. Changing out the cabinet hardware can also add a designer touch and costs only a few dollars per piece.

If you have a small kitchen, removing the doors on some of your upper cabinets can make a real difference by opening up the space. Just be sure you arrange whatever is in the exposed cabinets artfully arranged so that it looks purposeful and attractive, like a bookshelf display. Painting the back wall of the opened cabinets the same color as the walls or in a contrasting shade will add interest. If you aren’t ready to remove the doors completely, switch some out for doors with glass panels. You can choose clear glass or opt for frosted or pebbled glass to obscure the contents but still let the light through.

 tiles
Peel and stick sheets of tile make it easy to install a designer backsplash in your kitchen

Change or Add a Backsplash

Tiling an entire bathroom or kitchen can get expensive, but adding a backsplash doesn’t have to cost a lot because it’s a relatively small area. If you fall in love with an expensive, hand-painted tile, consider using just a few ornate ones interspersed with solid color tiles for a designer look. Today’s peel and stick backsplashes can mimic the look of expensive porcelain, stainless steel and more. This is also a great way to add an accent color that you can ground with matching curtains, table linens or appliances.

Choosing a few inexpensive upgrades for your kitchen can create a functional, beautiful living space that your family will love to gather in for everything from homework to family dinners. For less than $500, you can probably achieve at least two of the ideas mentioned here and convince guests that you spent a fortune on your “custom kitchen.”

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