5 Budget-Friendly Kitchen Upgrades You Can DIY

Your kitchen is likely one of your most-used spaces. Here’s how to refresh it without breaking the bank.

Kitchen upgrades provide some of the best return on investment (ROI) when it comes to home improvements. And while full kitchen remodels can get expensive quickly, these five DIY kitchen upgrades won’t devastate your budget.

1. Declutter for a clear picture of your space

Before making that trip to your local home improvement store, invest the time in some intentional decluttering. You’d be surprised at what it can do for your kitchen.

Start with the drawers: Take everything out of a single drawer and place it on the counter. Clean the drawer and then assess what you’d like to keep and what can go. Do this with your cabinets as well.

Then try to get everything off the counters and into drawers and cabinets—even that coffee maker you use every morning.

Involve a friend, family member, or partner in the process if you have trouble deciding what to do away with. Put on some music, pour a beverage, and make it fun!

This process will free up storage space and help give you a clearer vision for which kitchen upgrades could make the biggest impact. 

2. Brighten up the walls

A fresh coat of paint on your kitchen’s walls can add a lot of light and character. The all-white kitchen remains in style and helps reflect light, which you can never get enough of in the kitchen. So lean in to the white if you’re not big on lots of color—especially if you plan to sell in the near future. It’s fashionable and a safe bet if you decide to list your home.

If you like more color, not to worry. Interior designers are more commonly using color in kitchens, even darker colors like moss green or black. Wallpaper is making a comeback, too.

Whatever your style or motivation, there’s a wall treatment for your kitchen—and it’s a fix that you can handle on your own. 

Related: 12 Tips for A Great DIY Interior Paint JobRead article

3. Update your cabinets

Ranging anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to more than $20,000*, new cabinets can be one of the most expensive components of a full kitchen remodel. And while new cabinets do provide a strong ROI, there are some fairly simple DIY treatments for your existing cabinets that can go a long way while still working within your budget for kitchen upgrades.

Consider what some paint could do to liven them up, be it clean white or a warm wash of color. Another nice touch could be replacing the cabinet knobs or handles. Or, if your cabinets don’t already have knobs or handles and you know someone with basic carpentry skills, you might even try adding them.

Many interior designers are also opting for open shelving in kitchens for a more exposed look. You can achieve a DIY version of this by simply removing the doors from your overhead cabinets—it’ll open up your kitchen and add a modern touch. 

4. Fix up the fixtures

When it comes to kitchen upgrades, fixtures are sometimes overlooked features. Consider the sink, faucet, and lighting fixtures—in most cases, you can upgrade them all in just one weekend with a basic toolbox.

There are all kinds of fixture finishes that can complement your kitchen; from polished nickel and chrome to bronze, brass, and even matte black. Search for a look you love, then work toward implementing it consistently throughout the kitchen. Match not only the finish of the fixtures but the style, too. For example, if you go modern with your sink faucet, extend that modern look to your cabinet pulls as well as your lighting fixtures. 

Speaking of light fixtures, simply changing all your lightbulbs to the same wattage and color can help give a uniform look and feel. Or, experiment with smart lighting that allows you to change the colors, tone, and brightness of each bulb throughout the day to reflect whatever mood suits the moment. 

5. Add thoughtful accents

Just like any other room in your home, your kitchen can benefit greatly from some simple decor and styling. Consider hanging art on the walls, or experiment with an accent rug. Is there space for a houseplant near a window or some lonely kitchen corner?

Related: Four Houseplants to Brighten Your Indoors

Try transferring your dry bulk goods, like coffee beans, to uniform mason jars. Keep produce in decorative bowls or baskets as another way to add pops of character and color.


Feeling inspired yet? Use these budget-friendly kitchen upgrade ideas to make the heart of your home feel new—without paying the hefty price tag.  

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