More often than not, the kitchen is more than a place to prep and enjoy meals. It also doubles as a home office, homework station, and family gathering spot. And everyone knows it’s the prime hangout during social events. With all this traffic, it’s no wonder it’s one of the first places in the home where wear and tear really begins to show.
How do you breathe new life into your kitchen? Despite what most people expect, making kitchen improvements doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars, or involve granite counter tops. Here are five ways to upgrade a tired kitchen without blowing your budget:
1. Update the cabinets. Cabinets are one of the most prominent features in a kitchen and if you want the biggest change, updating your cabinetry is the way to go. There are several ways to do this on a budget:
- Paint the cabinets. Painted cabinets are by far the most affordable and cheapest way to update. Make sure to sand, prime, and remove hardware as well as tape off any areas you don’t want painted before you begin.
- Reface the cabinets. Refacing involves replacing the cabinet and drawer fronts with a wood veneer or plywood. Or, you can even replace the doors with glass for a modern look. You can also install crown molding to the top of cabinets for added punch. Most home-improvement stores have several refacing options ranging in price and can give you tips to help you do it yourself.
- Replace the hardware. Think of hardware as the jewelry for the cabinets — the style, shape and color of cabinet pulls and knobs can make your kitchen appear dated or modern. First, decide on a cohesive style for your kitchen (modern, traditional, country) and find knobs to match. Whether you paint or reface your cabinets, replacing the hardware is one of the easiest ways to update a kitchen. Check out the hardware section of any home improvement store for a variety of prices and options.
2. Paint the walls. You want your kitchen to look fresh and clean. Short of spending hours scrubbing every food splatter off the walls, nothing says clean like new paint. Depending on the size of your kitchen, you can tackle this project in an afternoon or weekend.
3. Lighting. Lighting can say a lot about your kitchen. There are many different lighting options available, and again it depends on the aesthetic or overall style of the room. Do you have stainless steel appliances and sleek drawer pulls? Try modern track lighting or recessed can lights. If you have more of a country feel to your kitchen, try a small decorative lamp on a counter to make the room feel more inviting. Or, brighten your work space by placing halogen or florescent lights under the cabinets. More and more modern kitchens are including this amenity.
4. New faucet. The faucet is often the most-used item in the kitchen and an old faucet can immediately date the overall look. While you can purchase a new spout for over a grand, there are more affordable and aesthetic options ranging in the $40 to $100 price bracket. With some help from your home improvement store, replacing a faucet can be something that you do yourself.
5. Back splash: The kitchen’s back splash might not be the first thing people notice, but adding tile or other detail to this area is an easy way to upgrade. You don’t have to skilled tile mason to tackle this project; most home improvement stores now have adhesive strips of tile that can be cut to fit any area.