7 Affordable Kitchen Updates That Make a Huge Difference


As Mark Holliday, president of the design-build firm Trace Ventures, says TZR, many homeowners are hungry for a change after two endless years in the kitchen. It’s clear on social media – pretty much everyone seems to be doing big renovations to improve their cooking spaces. But while it’s true that a big change to your home can improve your day-to-day life, getting some serious construction done isn’t always a realistic option for a myriad of reasons. Luckily, though, that doesn’t have to be your only course of action — in fact, there are tons of affordable kitchen changes you can make, according to interior designers. “Making updates with major impact doesn’t have to break the bank,” Holliday continues.

It might not be something you’ve heard much before, especially with so many people on Instagram touting their spectacular kitchen makeovers. Yet the experts have spoken: many impactful updates cost little or no money. Even better? They also require much less effort and time than, say, ripping out your cabinets or floor for all new materials. So if you’re looking to give your kitchen a facelift now, there’s no reason to wait to get started. Below are seven expert-approved ways to give your space a fresh new look without breaking the bank.

Courtesy of Trace Ventures/Photo by Tiffany Clapp

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Change the backsplash

The most effective and affordable way Amy Youngblood, Principal Designer at Interiors of Amy Youngblood, updated a kitchen? Change the backsplash, because it does not require replacing more expensive details like counters or cabinets. That said, she advises choosing “an attractive, yet simple porcelain tile” to cut costs and provide a cleaner, more modern look. “I did this for a single male client who had a rather decorative bar on his lower level. It was a huge improvement!” she told TZR.

Update fixtures and hardware

When it comes to inexpensive kitchen upgrades, interior designers reiterate over and over again the impact of one particular update: changing fixtures and hardware, such as faucets and door handles. . “These things can dramatically change the look of your kitchen, especially if you already have neutral, more modern countertops,” says Youngblood. “I did this for a client who wanted to spend money on all new cabinets but was happy with their [current] layout and [cabinetry] style. They just wanted a facelift.”

Holliday goes further, explaining that it’s best to go with additions that are in-the-moment, but timeless. “Matching brass or polished nickel finishes will stand the test of time as trends come and go.” Beth Dotolo and Carolina Gentry from Pulp Design Studios share a similar opinion. “At Pulp, we believe that updating your kitchen hardware is a detail that instantly elevates the design; we are especially a big fan of brass hardware,” they say. “You don’t have to invest in the most expensive tech in your kitchen to make it look like a million dollars!”

Replace window treatments

When it comes to decorating, Youngblood recommends replacing any old window treatments you may have. “For example, [replace] a dated rod pocket valance with a cleaner looking simple valance. Also, she continues, “get rid of those old mini-blinds and replace them with inexpensive faux wood two-inch slatted blinds. Better no blinds at all than that!

Clear clutter

Want a totally free way to make a big change? Abandon all those objects that take up space on your surfaces. According to Youngblood, this starts with removing the dated decor that sits above your cabinets. “Better to leave it open than to see it cluttered and gathering dust!” After that, look at the parts of your kitchen that are more at eye level. “Remove all storage containers from counters and move kitchen items to where they can’t be seen,” she says. “Much cleaner and peaceful.”

Paint the cabinets

While Holliday says updating your hardware is a good first step, if you want to take it a step further, aim for the cabinets themselves. “Give existing cabinets a facelift with a new paint or stain, then a step up is to update just the cabinet fronts,” he explains. Joy Williams from Happy Designs Studio accepts, telling TZR that these changes can give you a lot of value for your money. What if that seems like too big a project? “An even smaller project would be to just paint your island; this too would breathe new life into your kitchen, especially if you use a fun color,” says Lauren Clement of Lauren Nicole Designs.

Improve the lighting

“A kitchen is a workplace in your home, so good lighting is essential!” Clement shares. So any lighting that is dated or just not doing its job should go away. His ideas ? “You can add recessed lighting if your kitchen is dim or under cabinet lighting for task lighting. If you have glass cabinets, you can add lighting to it for ambiance. The biggest change, however, “would be light fixtures such as pendants above your island or a light fixture above a table in a food court,” she continues. “My favorite saying is, ‘Bigger is better. it’s “and that certainly applies here!”

Transform the ground

One trick people often overlook when updating their kitchens, according to Williams, is to make changes to outdated tile. “When you can’t afford to rip them up, getting an inexpensive stencil pattern, a little paint, and a little muscle can completely transform and update the kitchen you might hate and don’t know why” , she explains. “You can do so much with so little.”

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