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Easy Kitchen Upgrades That Won’t Break the Bank

A kitchen with easy upgrades

Austin Merrill |

Whether you’re looking to add a little personality to your new build or you’re giving an older home the Joanna Gaines treatment, updating your kitchen instantly adds value to your house and makes your home feel more like you. Because there are so many kitchen upgrades that you can make, we’ve rounded up a few that won’t break the bank because looking to save money doesn’t mean giving up on improving your kitchen.

Money Saving Tips and Tricks

A man working on a red light fixture

When looking to upgrade your kitchen, start with the things that add value to your home and increase your ability to resell the house for a higher price. While it can be really fun to get swept up in the world of kitchen decor, save your money for things like appliance upgrades, cosmetic upgrades, and other elements that build equity for you in the home.

Our first money-saving tip is to make a plan. If you don't have a plan, you're more likely to spend money on things you don't need, or that you don't end up using. When you create a concrete plan, you know exactly what you need to make your money work towards. Even if you're working on a long-term plan, decide what upgrades you like to save for and create a timeline with reasonable saving milestones that you can meet.

Our second big money saving tip is to shop secondhand. We love the Restore — it's a great place to find things for your home at a really good price. We retiled our entire backsplash with real terracotta tiles for just under $100 by buying our tiles at the restore. Now, we understand that these kinds of stores can be a little hit or miss, so be patient. If you keep an eye out you're likely to find what you need — even if it takes you a little longer than you'd like it to.

In our last big money saving tips is to repurpose. If you're shopping second-hand you may find a cool, old dresser or something that you can repurpose and turn into a kitchen island or have retrofitted for plumbing and use as a sink station. Get creative and be willing to repurpose and think outside the box a little bit. A little bit of sandpaper and a little bit of paint and a little bit of creativity can go a really long way, and save you a whole lot of money.

Easy Upgrades

A kitchen with easy upgrades

We've compiled a list of our favorite easy kitchen upgrades, but there are about a million things that you can do. When you start to renovate your kitchen, take inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. If you're going to put the time and money into making upgrades, you want to make sure that you're going to end up with a kitchen that you absolutely love, and that meets your needs. A beautiful kitchen is a beautiful kitchen, but a kitchen that is both beautiful and functional is pretty much the best thing in the world. Because the kitchen is considered to be the heart of the modern home, it's important that your kitchen is beautiful, functional, a place for people to gather, and something that you absolutely love.

Upgrade the Backsplash

A kitchen with an upgraded backsplash

There are quite a few ways that you can upgrade the backsplash in your kitchen. Backsplash in the kitchen serves both form and function. But if you're living in a builder-grade house with old backsplash, chances are that it might be a little bit outdated. There are few things that you can do to completely upgrade the look and level up your kitchen.

Firstly, you can replace the backsplash. There are inexpensive backsplash options at big box stores, or you can go to the restore, or a similar store, and purchase backsplash that way.

You can also paint most backsplashes. Using a tile paint, you can paint and seal your backsplash to cover up colors that you don't love. While it doesn't change the shape, it gives your backsplash a fresh new look and makes your kitchen feel custom. You will need to re-grout your backsplash after you paint it, but painting and grouting your backsplash is an inexpensive process that only takes you an afternoon or two.

Update Cabinets

A kitchen with updated cabinets

Cabinets are another kitchen item that can really date the look of your home. If you don't love your cabinets anymore, the good news is you've got options! Firstly, you can replace your cabinets. This can get expensive though. So to save money, we like to suggest that you salvage the cabinets that you do have by using cabinet paint, or by updating the look of your cabinets using MDF to add a new look to the cabinet front.

You can also purchase new cabinet doors, but this can be a little bit tricky because it can be hard to find the exact right size and shape for your cabinets. Painting is probably the most cost-effective way to update your cabinets, and if you don't want to paint everything, start by painting those island cabinets and the lower cabinets and see if you like the look of upper and lower cabinets being two different colors. It's very on-trend, and you can always add paint to the uppers if you decide you want everything to match.

Add Shelving

A kitchen with upgraded shelving

Now we're not just saying this because we sell shelving. Open shelving in kitchens instantly adds a fresh new look to your kitchen, and increases the value of your home. In a lot of kitchen renovations we see now, people knock out their upper cabinets and add floating shelves in instead.

Floating shelves in a kitchen are fun because they work great for storage, and because they are beautiful and fun to decorate. If you're interested in adding floating shelves to your kitchen, the best way to make sure that they hold everything you need them to hold, and that they look correct with the rest of your kitchen decor is to go custom. Custom kitchen floating shelves can be a little more expensive than cheap, MDF floating shelves that you can purchase online — but they hold the weight that you need them to hold, and they can be fit to your exact kitchen measurements, so it looks like you had a full team of builders come in to create a completely custom kitchen for you.

If you want a high-end look in your kitchen, without having to pay an interior design fee and a local builder, custom floating shelves are the way to go.

Add Art

A kitchen with art displayed

Art is a really inexpensive way to update the look of your kitchen. If you got a big blank wall or shelf space to style — start with art. If your kitchen and living room are connected in an open style living space, you can break up the two rooms using art.

Now kitchen art has come a really long way. Gone are the days when the only thing that you can put in your kitchen is rooster art or some weird picture of grapevines that you inherited from your second aunt. You have endless options when it comes to kitchen art, and there are tons of ways to get art inexpensively.

Digital downloads are one of our favorite ways to add art to our kitchen. You pay a small fee for the rights to download the image, and then you can print it somewhere inexpensive and frame it in your kitchen yourself. We like purchasing frames from home decor stores when they are on sale, or if we need large-scale art, we like to use poster frames and add a little personality to them with gold rub-and-buff or paint. Poster frames are really inexpensive, and a good way to frame a large piece of art.

Update Appliances

A kitchen with upgraded appliances

Updating appliances can be expensive, so you may need to save for a little while. But, updating appliances is always a great way to add value to your home. We've come a really long way with the design of kitchen appliances, so if you've got the budget for it, you can add in really stunning kitchen appliances that are designed to seamlessly blend with a variety of popular design styles. Updating appliances also can save you money on your electric bill, which is a bonus. If you plan to sell your home in the near future, or in the future at all, more current appliances are always a bonus.

Lastly, Let There Be Light

A kitchen with upgraded lights

Lighting is huge! If you want your home to looks custom, if you want your home to feel polished, if you want a kitchen that has show-stopping elements, update the lighting. Lighting can be really expensive, but there are inexpensive ways to add cool lighting to your home. When you're updating the light fixtures in your kitchen, think about the way that you need them to function. Do you need them to add lights to your kitchen at all hours of the day? Or do they need to just light your kitchen at night, and be a center focal point to catch your eye when you walk in the room?

Once you know how you need your light to function, start looking for affordable options. You can purchase lighting pretty much anywhere, but you can also DIY your own pendant lights. When you DIY your lights, you will need to know a little bit about wiring, but that's what YouTube is for. We've seen people make lights out of baskets, old bowls that they paint, and pretty much everything else under the sun – so if you need to upgrade your lighting on a budget, there are DIY options for you.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more about Kitchen Floating Shelf Ideas.

Are you ready to redo your kitchen? Drop us a line and let us help you get your custom floating shelves started today!