Upgrade your Kitchen without Remodeling

upgrade your kitchen

There are several things you can do to upgrade your kitchen without remodeling.  Remodeling is expensive-several thousand dollars expensive-and not doable for everyone, especially every few years. If you’re like me, I love a good change every now and then and am a sucker for the latest trends. Luckily many of these upgrades keep your kitchen looking trendy, neat, and organized and are DIY.  Most families spend just as much time in the kitchen as they do in their living room, so why not make it a place you enjoy looking at?

Upgrade your Kitchen Lighting

Adding under the cabinet lighting gives an ambiance lighting that is warm an inviting. This project can be as complicated as rewiring into your cabinets and needing an electrician to help with the project.  It can also be as easy as adding stick on lights that are battery operated. Lights that stick on are available at many price points (ranging $6.99-$45.99) on Amazon. They come in many shapes, have motion sensors, various colors, and other options.  Not only can these be placed under cabinets, but they can also be placed near the floor, under your bottom cabinets, inside of pantries and other hard to reach spaces. If you have open shelving or glass cabinets (or plan to install-see below), you can add these lights inside to enhance your display.

Pendant Lights are trendy right now and easily purchased at your nearest Ikea,  Target, Kirklands or Wal-mart.  If you’re unsure about the wires, ask an electrician to install any new lighting. Replacing fluorescent lights over a sink with a simple pendant and vintage light bulb is a low cost project that brings a trendy look.  Something like this pendant or this one can be used with an LED Edison light bulb by itself (no shade needed).


Cabinets are an expensive replacement, but a few options can make them look like new, or give your kitchen a new look.

The top kitchen cabinet upgrade that is easy, cheap, and DIY, is to replace hardware.  It is shocking what a difference is made with new knobs and drawer pulls.

Painting cabinets is a bit more tedious. However, it is another way to brighten up the kitchen and make a big change without a ton of “real” change. Give yourself the gift of time and prepare yourself with patience.  With those two things, your result is money saved and big kitchen changes.

If possible, open shelving is another way to upgrade your kitchen and brighten the space.  Scared of showing off your messy cabinets? Try open cabinets on one side of the kitchen or on either side of the sink. White or clear glasses, mugs, and plates look great with neutral colored open shelving. If open shelving is just too big of a move, glass cabinet doors can also be a DIY project, believe it or not.  Check out this post for an idea on how to add glass to your cabinet doors.

Counter space

Counter space makes up a large part of your kitchen, making it also visually dominating.  If your counters aren’t what you prefer, try using an oversized cutting board or large slab of marble on top of one of the unused spaces.

Adding backsplash is a project that isn’t quite as demanding as some.  You can try changing the color of your backsplash with paint. This site has good advice on picking a brand of paint that is stain blocking and scrubbable, your best option for a kitchen.

A more complex option would be to tile the backsplash.  I’m thinking of doing this myself this summer, as it is a good first tiling project due to the smaller space.  Tiling the backsplash is also a win win if you don’t already have a surface that is easily kept clean.

Patterns and Colors

Adding a pop of color into your kitchen is an easy way to change up the color scheme for a whole new look. Try adding a rug in front of the kitchen sink. In my own kitchen, I added a rug with lemons (a bright yellow and grey).  Just the simple rug with a new hand towel brought a new feel for spring time.  Window treatments are also another idea to add or switch out.  If you have a window above the kitchen sink, add a small curtain for a quick and easy colorful addition.

Your kitchen size and wall space will determine what a difference a new paint color will make, and how big of a project it could be.  Be aware that kitchens come with many tiny spaces around appliances, counter spaces, and cabinets.   This site I listed above has a few good tips for picking a paint that is practical in the kitchen, with grease splatters and cooking spills.

Do you have other ways to upgrade your kitchen on a tight budget? We would love to hear from you!




About the Author

Prior to selling real estate, Brenda worked in the mortgage industry for over twenty years. She worked for companies such as Freddie Mac and HomeBanc in numerous capacities from underwriter to executive management. Her thorough knowledge of the mortgage industry is an asset in these times of stricter loan qualifications. Brenda's commitment to continual education keeps her on the cutting edge of current market conditions and trends.

Her professional confidence and easy going style comforts clients through this sometimes stressful situation. Brenda is committed to negotiating the absolute best deal for her sellers.