How to Update Up Your Kitchen Without a Full Remodel

Posted August 7, 2019 by Katlyn Droke

Got the itch to invigorate your current kitchen? If you can’t commit to a full kitchen remodel, there are still many ways to freshen up your favorite space with a mini makeover. There are so many ideas when it comes to giving your kitchen a face-lift, but these are the ones that we see customers get the most success and happiness from. Like a restaurant review service, we have each idea ranked by estimated investment — look for the $$ symbols to get a ballpark for how much each idea could cost you. 

From small to big, here are our favorite ways to freshen up:

White shaker cabinets with matte black hardware (knobs and pulls)
Knobs and pulls are the easiest way to switch up the look of your cabinets.

Change the Cabinet Knobs & Pulls

Price: $

Cabinet accessories like knobs and pulls are an easy way to add a unique personal touch to cabinetry, and changing your existing knobs is an easy, low-fi way to upgrade that personal touch. Add a modern feel with square-edged pulls or an elegant touch with finely detailed knobs. Design-savvy homeowners find design success in mixing and matching cabinet attachments, too.  


pull out rolling spice rack with party supplies
Bring instant peace of mind to your cluttered kitchen with innovative organization solutions.

Bring Order to Cluttered Cabinets

Price: $

Maybe clutter is clogging up your cabinets? Install new storage and organization pieces to calm the chaos. Drawers, doors, sinks, and counters — there are a ton of organizer options to suit your specific needs. Big pain-points for most homeowners are easily fixed with organization tools: spice racks tame the mountain of spices; dish racks to line up pots & pans; or magnetic strips for keep knife sets within reach but out of the way. 


White modern cabinets in a kitchen with a black and white backsplash.
Add a pop of color to any wall for an instant room refresh. Image: HGTV.

Wake up the Walls

Price: $

Adding a fresh coat of paint or a modern wallpaper is a quick and big way to give a kitchen a fresher feel. Try an accent wall with the popular big floral patterns we’re seeing in wallpaper now, or maybe choose an Earthy paint color that’s trending this year and next. If a new color isn’t necessarily needed, you could also try using some gentle soap and water to scrub away the years. 


White raised panel cabinets with a tile backsplash and lights under upper cabinets.
Add lights to brighten up any room. Image: Tim Kyle Electric.

Lighten Up the Room with Under-Cabinet Lighting

Price: $$

Maybe your kitchen just feels a little old because it only gets a little light? Evaluate your light situation in your kitchen: how many windows and lighting fixtures do you currently have? If the answer is somewhere along the lines of “not that much”, then explore new options for light. Easy-to-install, under-cabinet lighting can be a quick way to lighten things up, and you won’t even need an electrician. 


White shaker cabinets with glass door front.
Explore the latest trend in kitchen design — open shelving! Image: Rejuvenation.

Open Up New Cabinet Doors (or Take Them Off Entirely)

Price: $$

If you can’t replace the entire cabinet, try refreshing them with a door change. Changing the cabinet face like this can make an existing set feel like new. But one of the biggest trends we see today is homeowners removing doors on showpiece cabinets to showcase flatware or glassware in an artistic way. 


Grey shaker cabinets
At Cabinets To Go, all our cabinets are easily paint-able, making it easy to switch up the vibe to fit your mood. Image: Yale Appliance Blog.

Change Your View with a New Paint Color

Price: $$

This idea is more tedious than pricey, but the results will make it feel like your kitchen got brand-new cabinets. If your cabinets are fine, consider painting your appliances. Did you know it’s possible to add a stainless steel finish to existing appliances? There are several liquid stainless steel options out there. But if stainless steel isn’t your style, then try a modern, glossy glaze to add a pop of color to plain appliances.


Sleek grey oven between white shaker cabinets.
Add a new appliance to your culinary repertoire for a modern kitchen upgrade.

Welcome a New Appliance (or Two)

Price: $$$

If you’re looking for that “new car” feeling in your kitchen, try picking out a new appliance. Ultimately, new hardware will make your kitchen tasks more effective, whether it’s a new dishwasher that cleans quieter or a new double-oven that heats faster. It can be hard to decide when you need a new appliance, especially if the old ones still technically work. But consider how much better/faster/easier things would be with a new technology. 


Man laying a flooring tile.
Invest in your home by upgrading to brand new flooring to bring your kitchen design up to date with the latest trends.

Lay a Fresh Foundation with New Flooring

Price: $$-$$$

Compared to the other ideas in the list, this one may seem a bit pricey at first. But flooring is a LONG-term change that makes a BIG difference for years upon years. As a leading provider in beautiful, durable, and yet affordable flooring, Cabinets To Go is an expert at helping homeowners with flooring makeovers that don’t break the bank. Consider starting from the ground up in your kitchen refresh: the effect a new floor has on a tired kitchen can be tremendously uplifting.  

Freshening up your kitchen will make your kitchen feel like new — a feeling that truly is priceless. The best part about a refresh is that it creates a new space without the commitment to a full remodel (and the price tag that comes with it). Plus, you can also reinvigorate your kitchen vision with these ideas while you plan and save for your dream kitchen remodel.