Refresh Your Kitchen: Quick & Easy Kitchen Updates for Any Timeline or Budget

Posted December 2, 2019 by Katlyn Droke

In a ‘new kitchen’ mood but don’t quite have the time or budget for a full re-do? We’ll show you how to scratch that itch and stay within budget with quick and easy kitchen updates. Sometimes your dream kitchen is the one you’re already living in! These ideas will transform your space into the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of, and best of all, they’ll have your holiday guests Ooohing and Ahhhing over your brand new kitchen — with no idea how quickly (and affordably) you got it done.

Dream kitchen for cheap kitchen remodel ideas.
Your dream kitchen doesn’t have to break the bank. Try these cheap kitchen remodel ideas. Image from HGTV

Update #1: Consider Cosmetic Changes to Cabinets

If you can’t afford a full new set, there are some quick and easy shortcuts that can make any set of existing cabinets look fresh and new. While brand new cabinets are incredibly affordable at Cabinets To Go, there are still many homeowners out there who don’t want to buy right now. Maybe they still need to save or it’s not a good time to tear down their kitchen — either way, all they need is a little update to tide them over until they’re ready. That’s where these cabinet makeovers come into play. 

  • Paint: First of all, a coat of paint can completely freshen up your existing cabinets. Revamp your kitchen with a fun new color.
  • Knobs or pulls: A fresh set of these cabinet accessories can offer a lot of aesthetic appeal with just a tiny investment in new hardware. Wondering where to start? Read our kitchen hardware guide.
  • Open Shelving: Turn your cabinets inside-out by converting them to open shelving. Try lining the interior with wallpaper or painting it for an even more elevated look.  
  • Glass Doors: Don’t want to go “full open shelving”? Replace solid wood doors with framed glass to let beautiful dishware be on display but still safe. 


Free to Cheap (<$100)


Get it done in just one weekend.

Houseplant centerpiece in green cabinet kitchen.
Shake up your kitchen decor with a new centerpiece, accents, and art. Photo from Elle Decor

Update #2: New Decor, New Kitchen, New You

The kitchen is a fantastic canvas for expressing yourself, and it’s one of the easiest rooms to completely overhaul when it comes to decor. That makes it a perfect blank slate that you can wipe clean whenever you’re in need of a refresh. In fact, a simple change of decor in the right places can make the entire space feel like a new place. 

  • Rugs: Find a new home for old rugs, and find a new, eye-catching piece that draws the eye to it (rather than other parts of the kitchen you can’t update).
  • Centerpieces: Large islands or long peninsulas are great spaces for arranging creative, decorative centerpieces. Change out your set-up with each new season for a refreshed look year-round.
  • Art: Turn walls into art galleries that show-off your style with new art pieces. Whether you like to curate pieces from antique shops or modern art galleries, new art is sure to freshen up the room. 
  • Accent Pieces: Create an accent piece or space with a show-stopping pop of color or design. Imagine painting an island (perhaps in a bright emerald green), or wallpapering a backsplash (maybe with a detailed floral design); or bellying up to the bar with bright new stools. 


Super Cheap (<$50) to Affordable (<$500)


Lightspeed. All it takes is the time to shop.

Budget kitchen remodel ideas for diy kitchen remodels.
Looking for budget kitchen remodel ideas? Update your faucets, appliances, and lighting to give your kitchen a fresh look. Image from HGTV

Update #3: Fix the Fixtures

While we love updating cabinets, this idea takes the focus away from them for a bit. Many times the thing that makes a kitchen feel outdated are the fixtures, like sink faucets, lighting, and appliances. Luckily, those things are also an easy update!  No demoing, no mess, and usually no fuss. The hardest part is picking out new ones (which tends to be more fun than hard, anyway).

  • Faucets: Get a trendy new faucet that you’ll love to look at and use. These days bold faucets are making a huge splash in modern kitchens, especially ones with matte black finishes.   
  • Light Fixtures: Maybe your kitchen feels a little outdated because the lighting needs an update? See your kitchen in a whole new light with fresh hanging lights or new under-cabinet lighting.
  • Appliances: Let’s face it, kitchens can have an “appliance effect” that tends to make them the focal point. But that very effect is why updating appliances can have such a big impact. Imagine trendy new black stainless steel or slate appliances making a scene in your kitchen.


Affordable (<$500) to Worth It ($1500)


Still quick. Though it could take a week or two to pull together, it’s still so worth it.

Want more easy update tips? Learn more about our favorite backsplash styles, kitchen accent colors, and read how to give your kitchen a quick facelift.

Out with the old, in with the new! How will you update your kitchen?