InDIY & Home Improvement, Home Projects

8 Budget-Friendly Ways to Update a Kitchen Instantly

Give Your Outdated Kitchen a Quick Refresh with these Budget-Friendly Ways

Do you have an old, outdated kitchen but don’t have the budget to do a full renovation right away? Should you just live with it for five years until you can afford to do a complete gut job? The answer is NO! There are lots of budget-friendly ways to update your kitchen right now!

I was faced with the same dilemma: Update our 1970’s kitchen, or live with it for possibly ten more years. I chose to do a budget-friendly update, and I’m smiling all the way! To help you out with your kitchen, I’m listing eight ways to update your kitchen easily without spending too much.

1. Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

I feel like it is almost unnecessary to list this one; just look at Pinterest. Everyone is painting their kitchen cabinets! But the fact remains that painting your cabinets is one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to update a kitchen. Depending on the type of cabinets and available time, you can have them painted in one weekend to maybe two weeks.

Our cabinets were tricky, as they are baked enamel and required a very specific primer. But with great advice from our local suppliers, we got them painted, and they turned out beautifully.

Paint Cabinets and Wall Tiles |

Conny from Colourful Designer painted her cabinets with milk paint, without sanding or priming, and they are holding up gorgeously.

2. Give Your Counters an Update

There are so many ways to update kitchen counters. We changed out our mosaic island counter for a butcher’s block counter, and we could not be happier. You can paint your counters, put concrete right onto the existing ones or resurface them.

One method that is quite popular, is to cover your counters with contact paper. Jordan from Hey Little J updated her kitchen counters with marble-look contact paper, and they look lovely!

Contact Paper on Counters
Read Jordan’s post on how she covered her counters in contact paper

We updated our kitchen counter with leftover sheet vinyl flooring! It looks like wood and is so easy to clean!

3. Update your Kitchen’s Lamps

Kitchens often have builder-grade lighting, like the fluorescent tube we had in our kitchen. Changing the lamps gives you an instant wow-factor. You can also design your own track light as I did in our kitchen.

New Kitchen Lamps |

4. Sacrifice some Cabinets to add Open Shelving

A trend that is also doing the rounds is to take down old cabinets, and put in some open shelving. Take a look at Ashley’s (@ Home with Ashley) kitchen transformation. On the right, you can see beautiful open shelving; they also allow you to display pretty kitchenware, and opens up the room. She incidentally also painted her cabinets and countertops and added new hardware and lamps.

Open shelving
Ashley added open shelves to display décor items, also look at the rug

5. Build Something New

This does require a bit more skill and time. You can build a new kitchen island, cooker hood or sliding barn door like Tamara from Rough Around the Edges. She did all of these on top of painting her cabinets, adding new hardware and open shelving. Tamara is a pro at building things, so she did the work herself.

New Kitchen Island
I love this gorgeous kitchen island

6. Add a Rug

If you are stuck with unattractive floors, or just want to add a bit of interest to the room, it is easy to add a rug or runner. We added a runner in front of our sink, so soften up the floor a bit. You can also look at Ashley’s kitchen above, or Lauren’s a bit lower to see what a difference a rug makes in a kitchen.

Add a runner in your kitchen |

7. Change the Cabinet Hardware

We spray-painted our cabinet handles, as we could not remove them (40+-year-old brittle plastic). They now make a big impact instead of just blending into the surroundings.

Lauren from Bless’er House also did a great job on her kitchen! I love how everything came together! She updated the cabinet hardware, which added warmth and interest, contrasting with the cabinets.

New Hardware
Lovely new hardware

8. Update the Backsplash

We painted our tile backsplash, with little effort to make a big impact. And I’m linking to Bless’er House again. Lauren added pressed ceiling tile look panelling over the existing backsplash. They also painted the cabinets, updated the lighting and added a rug to totally transform the space.

Kitchen Backsplash
Lovely updated backsplash and rug

8 Ways to a Budget-Friendly Kitchen Update

As you’ve seen above, most of these ladies applied more than one of the above-listed ways to transform their kitchens. The choice is yours; you can decide if you only want to use one, or all eight!

For a bonus, and if you have a bit more time and a slightly bigger budget, you can take a look at Lindsey’s kitchen from A Butterfly House. She totally transformed her kitchen, changed the layout and opened up the room. She now has a bright and airy room with a lot more functionality!

Improved Kitchen Layout
This new layout is so much more functional!

There are so many ways to easily update an old, outdated kitchen. I’m sure there is a lot more than I’ve listed. What projects have you done in your kitchen? I would love to hear from you in the comments down below!

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7 Budget-friendly ways to Easily update a Kitchen |

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Junette |

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  • Conny

    Junette, I love all the ideas you have listed. Great post. Thank you.

    July 19, 2019 at 3:53 am Reply
    • Junette

      Thank you Conny! And thanks for allowing me to feature your kitchen!

      July 19, 2019 at 10:27 am Reply
  • Sandy Meyer

    Wow! Love al jou idees Junette!
    Stunning, stunning!
    You now have a loyal follower…

    July 21, 2019 at 10:25 pm Reply
    • Junette

      Dankie Sandy!

      July 22, 2019 at 8:08 am Reply
  • Elise Mansfield

    I love the idea of changing the hardware and light fixtures! My husband and I are in the process of updating our kitchen!

    February 21, 2023 at 11:19 pm Reply
  • Amelia Jackson

    Painting cabinets really do have such a transforming effect! We just got our kitchen floors refinished, so our kitchen update budget is a bit slim now, but I’m still wanting to change it up more, so I’m glad I found your post!

    April 18, 2023 at 6:36 pm Reply
  • Alex Sutton

    All of these ideas are amazing and exactly what I’ve been looking for! I knew I already wanted to paint my cabinets, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do other than updating the hardware. So many great ideas! Now I just need to narrow them down. Thanks for sharing!

    June 6, 2023 at 10:31 pm Reply
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