Home » Tips & Ideas » Home Update Ideas » How to Update Your Kitchen on a Budget – Top 4 Ideas and Tips

How to Update Your Kitchen on a Budget – Top 4 Ideas and Tips

Posted on July 6, 2020 by KylieMawdsley


Budget-Friendly and Fun Ideas to Modernize Your Kitchen! 

If you have champagne dreams on a box o’ wine budget – this blog post is for you. And really, 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’ hands!

So, let’s get on to the good stuff…

Affordable ideas and tips to update a kitchen on a budget. Hardware, backsplash, declutter. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint blog advice

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.

Kitchen with island, white oak flooring, Cambria Brittanica Warm quartz countertop, dark painted island with warm gray cabinets

White kitchen cabinets, Sherwin Williams, marble subway tile backsplash, white, gray veined quartz countertop LG, stainless steel appliances. Angled range hood Kylie M Interiors Edesign (3)

If you currently have knobs and want to make a change, drill another hole and install pulls (always use a template – you simply 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 Pulls or knobs can add class to boring or out-of-date cabinets and older granite countertops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

 Read more: The Best Budget-Friendly Hardware to Update Kitchen Cabinets

2. Kitchen Update Idea: Install a Simple Backsplash

One of the BEST ways to update an old kitchen is with a new backsplash…

Gray painted kitchen cabinets, Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray. Quartz white countertops, limestone backsplash. Kylie M E-design and online color consulting

  • Save money by doing a shorty backsplash (approx. 6″ high) rather than a full-height installation
  • Keep thing 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
  • 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. THEN put grout on the top row of tiles. This will give you a clean-finished edge when you’re done grouting 
  • If you aren’t inclined to do-it-yourself, then expect that a professional tiling job (for a full-height backsplash) will cost you between $800-$1500 (depending on kitchen size, prep work and layout of tile)
  • When all else fails, choose subway tile. For a subtle look, match the grout to the tile. To highlight the pattern, choose a grout that is lighter or darker than the tile

Read more: Update Your OUTDATED Granite Countertops

Kitchen with Chelsea Gray, subway tile, black laminate countertop, stainless steel, Gray Owl paint on the walls (3)

Read more…

How to Choose the Best Subway Tile

The New Era of Laminate Countertops and Why They Rock

3. 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.

Kitchen with warm gray, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter cabinets and Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze painted island. White oak wood flooring. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, blog and colour advice online

LG white quartz kitchen countertop, High Reflective White cabinets, subway marble tile backsplash. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color blogger and consultant

Things that are forgiven…

  • Those things with whirlygigs on the end. Like a blender or a MixMaster. I don’t bake, can you tell? Fancy versions 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’s always other places for those things like corkboards and picture frames – use your creativity!


4. Kitchen Update Idea: New Sink or Faucet (or both, budget allowing)

Before you think about buying a new sink, the first thing I recommend is using some Comet on your existing sink. I do this once a month and am AMAZED at the sheen I get! Things brighten up so quick and that nasty, crusty ole’ thing will look sparkly and brand new.

hexagon subway tile backsplash. Maple cabinets painted Cloud White, soapstone formica countertops and gray quartz with kitchen decor

But if that doesn’t work…

A decent kitchen sink will cost under $300. A modern, but cost-effective kitchen faucet will run you about $300 (but they’re ALWAYS on sale on Wayfair). So, for approx. $600 you can add some new bling to your kitchen without breaking open the kids piggy bank!

  • For the faucet, stick with chrome for budgetary reasons. You might find a black or oil rubbed bronze 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
  • 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 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.

Budget friendly kitchen faucet by kohler Bellera

Bellera Touch Faucet by Kohler

Budget friendly kitchen faucet Simplice by Kohler

Simplice by Kohler

Genta faucet by Moen, modern budget friendly kitchen faucet and update ideas

Genta by Moen

And the most budget-friendly, good-looking black kitchen faucet I could find…

Budget friendly black kitchen faucet by Kohler

Simplice by Kohler in black

And please, avoid these. Functional? Yes. Affordable? Yes. Fugly? Also yes.

ideas to update a kitchen with a new faucet


Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting Services

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signatureedesign, virtual paint colour consulting. Kylie M Interiors Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams color expert. marketing (6)

Read more:

5 Ideas: Update an Oak Kitchen WITHOUT a Drop of Paint!

4 MORE Ideas: Update Your Outdated Kitchen

Home Update Ideas: 6 Budget-Friendly Ideas

Originally written in 2016, awesomely updated in 2020



  1. 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.

    Thank you
    Mitchell Family

    1. 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!!!

  2. Looks gorgeous and welcoming. Anyone can tell me what type of lighting would be the best for a kitchen, daylight, soft etc?

  3. Hi,
    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!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Posts

Meet Kylie

Thank you for visiting!  I'm so glad you're here!  Come on in to learn a little more about me!