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…
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 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 Pulls or knobs can add class to boring or out-of-date cabinets and older granite countertops.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
2. Kitchen Update Idea: Install a Simple Backsplash
One of the BEST ways to update an old kitchen is with a new backsplash…
- 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Read more: Update Your OUTDATED Granite Countertops
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.
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!
CHECK OUT MY E-DESIGN BOOK WHICH CAN HELP YOU DECLUTTER & REDECORATE!
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.
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.
And the most budget-friendly, good-looking black kitchen faucet I could find…
And please, avoid these. Functional? Yes. Affordable? Yes. Fugly? Also yes.
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Originally written in 2016, awesomely updated in 2020