HomeHome Updates: Tips & IdeasHome Update IdeasHow to Update Your Kitchen On a Budget – Top 6 Ideas & Tips

How to Update Your Kitchen On a Budget – Top 6 Ideas & Tips

Posted on January 6, 2021 by KylieMawdsley

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…

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Maple kitchen cabinets BEFORE painting with edesign

Gray greige painted kitchen maple cabinets. Marble island and beige laminate countertop. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Agreeable Gray, Classic Gray


Guess how much this update cost? UNDER $3000!

  • 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)

 Now let’s get 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


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 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 Pulls or knobs can add class to boring or out-of-date cabinets and older granite countertops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


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!

Laminate formica countertop, greige and taupe tones. Vanity best paint colour Kingport Gray Benjamin Moore. Kylie M ONline Paint Color Consultant

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.

Laundry room mudroom with Formica laminate countertop Carrara Bianco, marble look. Pure White walls and cabinets. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour blogger

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.

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

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!


  • 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


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)…

Ideas to update oak kitchen cabinets with countertop, backsplash and hardware. white appliances. Kylie M Interiors E-design


  • 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

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


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…

Kitchen wood cabinets painted Sherwin Agreeable Gray, Classic Gray walls. Kylie M INteriors Edesign online virtual paint color advice blog

DIY hand painted backsplash tiles. Painted wood cabinets, Sherwin Agreeable Gray. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online decorating and color advice

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)…

Before and after, budget friendly kitchen update ideas. Painted oak cabinets in gray and white Benjamin Moore colors. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour advice blog

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


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.

Ideas to update wood kitchen cabinets, painted Sherwin Williams Alabaster, warm white paint colour, dark black granite, tile backsplash, Kylie M INteriors

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


  • 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!



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).

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

  • 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.

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 (I prefer a cleaner look, but I couldn’t beat this price)…

black kitchen faucet, affordable update ideas

Delta Kitchen Faucet

And please, for the love of God, avoid these. Functional? Yes. Affordable? Yes. Fugly? Also yes.

ideas to update a kitchen with a new faucet

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

edesign, virtual paint colour consulting. Kylie M Interiors Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams color expert. marketing (6)

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature

Originally written in 2016, awesomely updated in 2022


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

  2. 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!

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