I have a service called the Xtraordinary Room Remix where I makeover a room for a specified budget by making small changes with big impact. I’ve just wrapped a kitchen project that is bigger than a Room Remix & but not a full remodel & I’ve recently made a few changes to my own kitchen that have made a world of difference.
Now that I’m done with both of these projects, I’m sharing some easy interior design tips that will transform your kitchen. These are the best ways to update your kitchen quickly, easily, & on a budget.
7 Easy & Budget Friendly Interior Design Tricks to Transform Your Kitchen
Cost: FREE! Well technically the cost of your time, but otherwise… FREE!
This is easy to overlook but sometimes the best thing you can do for a kitchen (or any space) is to declutter. Clear the counters of anything you don’t use on a regular basis, find a storage home for everything else, donate the rest. The kitchen will almost immediately feel larger and more clean & open. It’s also great feng shui.
Of all the interior design tricks to transform your kitchen, this is by far the cheapest & easiest (once you accept that you don’t need all that “stuff”). Depending on how much stuff you have, it may not be the quickest. 😉
2. Open up your storage options. $
Cost: $4 & up depending on the shelf you choose & how many. Free if you make your own shelves from supplies you already have or simple remove doors from cabinets.
Open shelving has always been popular. If you cook a lot, adding low-cost shelves where you can easily access items you use regularly can be both functional & beautiful.
You could even build shallow shelves(or buy these from IKEA), paint them to match or coordinate with your cabinets, & use to openly store cookbooks or other decorative items.
Open shelves for cookbook storage & display. Cost: $8
Open shelves purely for display. Cost: $18
NO space for shelves? Not a big fan of open shelving? Take the doors off a few existing upper cabinets & line the backs with contact paper. Since the sides are still enclosed, things won’t get as dusty if you don’t use them often.
Still not feeling the open cabinet thing? Keep your doors, but still pep up the backs of the cabinets. You’ll get a nice surprise everytime you open them.
3. Add or change hardware. $
Cost: $20 & up depending on the hardware you choose & how many you need. Almost all big box retailers sell “value packs” or 10-20 knobs or pulls in all price ranges.
Many new homes non-custom don’t have hardware on the cabinets. Older homes may have hardware that is outdated or simply not your style. Adding or changing knobs & pulls can have a huge impact on the look and functionality of your kitchen.
And it’s not just knobs & pulls – replace those plastic switch plates while you’re at it.
I made this 1 simple change – knobs, pulls, & switch plates – for less than $50 (with some savvy shopping) & it made a world of difference in the look & functionality of my kitchen.
4. Add or replace lighting. $$
Cost: $100+. This depends on how many fixtures you replace & of course, the type of fixture you choose. Costs can be kept down by scouting thrift stores & keeping an eye out for sales.
Replace overhead fluorescent lights or add interest to recessed lighting with a chic pendant. Whatever your style, the right pendant light can add some serious style to a kitchen over an island, sink, or breakfast table. Some to consider are dramatic drum pendants, glass schoolhouse pendants, & cage pendants.
Also consider adding under-cabinet lighting with easy battery operated (or plug-in) puck lights for an inexpensive but functional alternative to fully integrated under cabinet lights. It’s a custom look without the custom price tag.
Updated light fixtures can make a huge difference.
In this kitchen we replaced all the light fixtures(3). Cost: $450
5. Add or replace textiles. $
Cost: $5+. Varies depending on fabric & number of chairs.
NOT rugs, fabric. (But rugs would be nice too, as long as you treat the kitchen like any other room in your home & give it a nice rug that fits the space & the style.)
If you have a breakfast table & chairs or bar stools in or adjacent to your kitchen, new fabric on the seats will give the room a lift. Choose bright or bold colors & patterns that draw attention.
If you’re lucky enough to have a window in the kitchen consider adding a coordinating valance that doesn’t block the light coming in.
Fun & easy money saving update – recover existing chairs. Cost: $15 for 4 chairs & 2 barstools
6. Add art.
Cost: FREE if you relocate a piece from another space, a print you’re not using at all, or a printable
Yes art in the kitchen. Not just the breakfast room or an adjoining room, directly in the kitchen. You know how it’s popular to hang art on the face of bookcases (a look I love, by the way)? Well it works the same & looks just as great on the front on kitchen cabinets that you don’t use.
In the picture below, the cabinets over the cook top & vent hood are pretty much useless. So instead of putting pulls on them like the rest of the kitchen, I added a kinda “tongue in cheek” print that was gifted to us by my cousin. It’s perfect there AND… people either love it or hate it but usually sparks some sort of conversation.
Art works in the kitchen too. Cost: FREE
7. Add greenery.
Cost: FREE if you relocate a plant from another space or take a cutting to start a new plant. Otherwise as low as $2.
Nothing brightens up a dark corner (or a windowsill or counter or any space) like living greenery. Plus many houseplants help circulate oxygen & clean the air. If you’re like me & not that great at keeping houseplants healthy, try 1 that doesn’t take much care like a pothos ivy or split leaf philodendron. They can even survive in a vase (or any vessel) of water.
Plants are perfect for brightening up a dark kitchen corner. Cost: $2
Bonus Tip: Update the faucet. $$
You would be surprised at the difference your faucet can make in the look & functionality of your kitchen. For instance, if you cook a lot like me the goose neck faucets are perfect. They make it easy to fill pots, wash big dishes, clean the sink, & water herb & plants.
The finish itself can change the whole look of your kitchen too. Since our sink is in the island, we can see the faucet from everywhere in this open space.
Switching from oil-rubbed bronze (ORB) to stainless brightened things up SO much & gave us some much need contrast against the dark cabinetry.
Bottom line: When updating a kitchen on a budget without a full remodel, first consider functionality. All of the options above add to the functionality & the style of the kitchen without spending a small fortune. Even if you tried all these ideas at once, your kitchen will have a fresh look without breaking the bank.
Have you tried any of these interior design tricks to transform your kitchen? Do you have any other tricks to add that can quickly & easily update a kitchen on a budget? Let me know in the comments.
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