6 Affordable & Fun Ideas to Modernize Your Kitchen!
If you have champagne dreams on a box o’ wine budget – this blog post is for you. Even if you’re made of money, there’s no reason to spend it all when you can do affordable updates and keep some money in your hot lil pockets!
Take a look at this affordable kitchen update…
See the FULL REMODEL HERE
Guess how much this update cost? UNDER $3000!
- painted cabinets (6 Questions to Ask Before You Paint Your Cabinets)
- we kept the original laminate countertop and put a boneyard piece of marble on the island (FREE!)
- fresh wall colour (you’ll get some great links below)
- PAINTED BACKSPLASH (DIY friendly)
- new cabinet hardware!
Now let’s get to the good stuff…
1. KITCHEN UPDATE IDEA: HARDWARE – ADD IT OR CHANGE IT
Never underestimate the visual power of a wee strip of metal. And not only is it visually powerful, but it’s also affordable as most kitchen cabinets can be updated with hardware for under $200.
If you currently have knobs and want to make a change, drill another hole and install pulls (always use a template – you can’t go wrong with this wee beastie from Home Depot). Pulls or knobs can add class to boring or out-of-date cabinets and older granite countertops.
count how many handles/knobs you need before leaving your home (count twice)
measure the distance between bolt holes so you know what size of handle to get
The Best Budget-Friendly Hardware to Update Kitchen Cabinets
2. INSTALL A NEW LAMINATE COUNTERTOP
Gone are the days of sad old beige Formica countertops. The new era of laminate countertops mimic the look of stone, marble and quartz for a quarter of the price!
While most of us would love to put a fancy quartz or marble countertop in our home, once those dollars start adding up, the countertop is often the first to come off the list. But a new countertop doesn’t need to cost a fortune if you dig around and get creative. For example, in designing my Mom’s new home, we tossed around the idea of both quartz and laminate countertops. Quartz came in at $3600 for the two bathrooms, laminate countertop came in at a whopping $450. Biiiiiig money honey.
In one of our previous homes, to save money, we installed a laminate countertop on the perimeter countertops and coordinated quartz on the island only. This not only saved thousands of dollars, but it also looked pretty wicked.
See the whole budget-friendly kitchen remodel HERE
And as shown in the first budget-friendly kitchen remodel, don’t be afraid to talk to your local countertop company and ask if they have a boneyard. Many companies have leftover pieces from larger projects that they’re willing to sell for a reduced price, or as in the above case – FREE!
WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON COUNTERTOP
- Install laminate on your perimeter and quartz or marble on the island.
- Talk to your local companies and ask if they have a boneyard for smaller kitchen or bathroom areas.
- There are ways to paint countertops that are great for the short term. I’m not well-versed in this, but some are! Just remember, a laminate countertop is surprisingly affordable and will also be hardier.
The New Era of Laminate Countertops and Why They Rock
3 Laminate Countertop Ideas: How to Save Money On Countertops
3. KITCHEN UPDATE IDEA: INSTALL A SIMPLE BACKSPLASH
One of the BEST ways to update an old kitchen is with a new backsplash.
This next kitchen was another affordable update, but this time we kept the wood cabinets and white appliances and updated the space with a white subway tile backsplash, new hardware and quartz countertops (the hinges should be the same finish as the knobs)…
WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN DOING A BACKSPLASH
- Keep things simple and DIY-friendly by tiling as high as the bottom of your electrical outlet cover – this will save you a lot of cutting, cursing and wine drinking (although a full-height installation is better if you can manage it).
- Subway tile is hands-down, the more affordable, timeless backsplash application.
- If you aren’t inclined to do it yourself, expect a professional tiling job (for a full-height backsplash) to cost you between $800-$1500 (depending on kitchen size, prep work and tile layout).
- If you decide not to use a Schluter strip (the metal edge that divides your tile from your drywall, use green tape to mask off wherever your tile meets the drywall, this will give you a clean-finished edge when you’re done grouting
4 Subway Tile Ideas for Your Kitchen or Bathroom
Update Your OUTDATED Granite Countertops
4. PAINT YOUR EXISTING TILE BACKSPLASH
Whether it’s a wall, tile backsplash or a body, EVERYTHING is paintable. Flashing back to the kitchen remodel at the beginning of this blog post, my talented client painted her backsplash tile to look like expensive Zellige tile…
In this SUPER budget-friendly kitchen update, because it was a quick job for Home Staging, my clients kept things simple with a few coats of white paint (and some prep, of course)…
You can even update an outdated travertine tile backsplash with a coat of paint, but rather than doing a solid coat, consider WHITEWASHING IT…
And, of course, I HAVE an awesome photo of this, but I can’t find it. Stay tuned.
Ideas to Update an Outdated 1990s Home
5. KITCHEN UPDATE IDEA: CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER
It’s time to clear off those countertops completely; trust me, it will feel SO good. Then, only put back items you use three times a week or more with the rest finding a space in a cupboard/pantry.
If there isn’t space to do so, then you’ve got more than just your countertops to worry about, and you may need a deep clean and re-organization! Visual clutter is mental clutter – Lord knows there’s enough mental stuff going on in my house (and brain), so my countertops are daaaamn clear.
THINGS THAT ARE FORGIVEN
Those things with whirlygigs on the end. I don’t bake, can you tell? Fancy mixers look fab when out on display. Older styles look honky.
Coffee Makers. Forgiven.
Knife Blocks. Forgiven. Only because I know it’s IMPOSSIBLE to find the right type of space in a cupboard for these butt-ugly beasts.
Wine Bottle. Preferably half-empty.
The other thing to de-clutter is the front and side of your fridge. Take it ALL off baby and see how good it feels to breathe easy. I know your fridge probably holds precious tidbits of kids and grandkids, but don’t worry, there are always other places for those things like corkboards and picture frames – use your creativity!
CHECK OUT MY E-DESIGN BOOK WHICH CAN HELP YOU DECLUTTER & REDECORATE!
6. KITCHEN UPDATE IDEA: NEW FAUCET
When it comes to breathing new life into an old kitchen, nothing jazzes things up like new hardware or a new kitchen faucet (and Comet your stainless steel sink while you’re at it).
Stick with chrome for budgetary reasons. You might find a black faucet on special, but for that same price, you can get an even better quality chrome one. At speciality stores, chrome is often 20-30% less expensive than stainless/nickel/oil rubbed/black. I won’t lie, I love the contrast and impact a black faucet makes, but it, a) has to suit the space, and, b) is a trend (create a timeless home HERE).
- Don’t fiddle around with paying more for a faucet that comes with a soap dispenser. Invest in a nice lil soap dispenser that sits on your countertop and call it a day.
- Don’t be afraid to go to your local speciality plumbing supplier (aka not Home Depot or Home Hardware) and ask about floor models and clearance items. You’re likely to get a far superior product for a great price (compared to the big box selections).
- Did you know that plumbing suppliers (ie: American Standard/Moen) make different versions of the same faucets? The faucet at the big box store and the boutique store may look the same, but you can almost guarantee that the inner workings of the pieces at the boutique store are of higher quality and will last longer. You do get what you pay for…
Next up are a few of my fave budget-friendly faucets. When it comes to brands though, I don’t skimp and focus my search on brands like Moen, American Standard, Grohe and Kohler.
Bellera Touch Faucet by Kohler
And the most budget-friendly, good-looking black kitchen faucet I could find (I prefer a cleaner look, but I couldn’t beat this price)…
And please, for the love of God, avoid these. Functional? Yes. Affordable? Yes. Fugly? Also yes.
And of course, you can ALWAYS paint your cabinets, but that’s a whole blog post (or 10) unto itself!
How to Update Your Oak or Wood Cabinets – 4-PART SERIES
6 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Paint Your Cabinets WHITE
3 Laminate Countertop Ideas: How to Save Money On Countertops
4 MORE Ideas: Update Your Outdated Kitchen
The Ultimate Guide to White Paint Colours
The 5 Best Off-White Paint Colours
Home Update Ideas: 6 Budget-Friendly Ideas
Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting Services
Originally written in 2016, awesomely updated in 2022
Our family just bought an older mobile home and we are trying to make our kitchen cupboards look newer. The type of wood is the old square plywood that the previous owner painted over with a light powder blue color. They are just plain and have no crown molding on them. Do you think we should just paint over the cupboards and put moldings around the cupboards, or should we replace them? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Hi! Okay, so definitely for cost you are better off painting/adding moulding as even a smaller kitchen can easily run your budget over the top (as one thing ALWAYS leads to another – cabinets = countertops = sink = etc…). Sooo, if it were me I’d paint them and add mouldings. It can be a very thin, shaker style trim which keeps it simple and modern. You’ll also make sure that you take care of the details like making sure you fill where the moulding meets the door so that it looks seamless and update the hinges and hardware. Did you check out this post of mine? It’s a kitchen with those similar cabinets and while we didn’t add any moulding, just the paint and fresh hardware made all the difference in the world. https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/painted-cabinets-kitchen-remodel/
Cloud White is a great white for kitchen cabinets as it’s fresh and clean without being ‘stark’ like plain white.
And as always, make sure to do some great prep, particularily because they are already painted. Soap and water around the hardware areas to take care of any oil/grease, a good sand (220 grit should do) and then high quality paint (just avoid melamine really because it smells and takes sooo long to dry!) There are so many great alkyd emulsion paints out there now that you don’t need to do melamine/oil anymore (Alkyd emulsion is paint that acts like oil but with the properties of a latex).
I hope that helps you out!!!
Great tips thanks
Looks gorgeous and welcoming. Anyone can tell me what type of lighting would be the best for a kitchen, daylight, soft etc?
I am painting my oak cabinets a warm white color. I want to paint the walls and trim white also, but I’m uncertain what white colors to choose for these 3 areas. The kitchen is a small galley kitchen, so the white should brighten everything. Any suggestions would be extremely appreciated! Thank you!