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When it comes to renovating your home, nothing makes more of a difference than a brand new kitchen—and nothing is quite as demanding on the budget either. If a new kitchen just isn’t quite in the cards for your near future, you still have options. Whether you choose to take on these easy and affordable renovation projects on your own or call in the pros, these are the best ways to fake a kitchen renovation.

Install a New Backsplash

Backsplashes are a super functional kitchen element, protecting your walls from splashes and splatters. They make keeping your kitchen clean so much easier, as you don’t have to worry about grease marks staining your walls. But they can also add a lot of style to your kitchen. If you already have a backsplash, but it’s looking dated, consider a new, fresh design or color. There are also plenty of temporary backsplash options out there, if you’re afraid of making a commitment or want an easier DIY project.

Swap in New Knobs

half moon gold cabinet pulls on kitchen cabinets
 Design: Velinda Hellen for EHD, Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

In the world of budget kitchen renovations, swapping in your old door handles and knobs for new ones has to be one of the best known tricks out there. But there’s a good reason for that: it works. Upgrading to fresh and modern new hardware instantly improves the look of a kitchen. And in terms of home DIY projects, it doesn’t get any easier, and you likely already have all the tools you need.

Add an Open Shelf

If you dream of having open kitchen shelving but don’t quite have the budget to replace your cabinets, you can consider installing some open shelves on a single wall, replacing one area of cabinet, or filling up an empty corner in your kitchen. Whichever option you choose, they’ll add storage and style to the room.

Use your open shelves to store more aesthetically-pleasing kitchen items, like your special occasion dishes or colorful cookware.

Upgrade Your Lighting

Nothing dates a kitchen quite like old lighting fixtures. The rest of your kitchen can be completely modernized, and having the wrong lighting will detract from the space. To give your kitchen an instant upgrade, install some modern pendant lighting above a peninsula, add under-cabinet lighting to your cupboards, and make sure you have ample lighting to make your kitchen more functional. Improved lighting doesn’t just add to the aesthetics of the space, but will make cooking easier as well.

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

green kitchen with open shelving and leaning art
 Design & Photo: Tessa Neustadt

One of the quickest ways to add more style to your kitchen is to accessorize. If you have attractive appliances like a chic coffee machine or stand mixer, consider displaying them if you have the spare counter space. You can also accessorize with decor accents, like plants, a decorative dish, or even a small painting leaning on a shelf. And if you don’t have the budget for a new floor but it could use an upgrade, throwing a pretty rug down can make a big difference.

Paint the Cabinets

kitchen with green cabinets and light fixture
 Design by Velinda Hellen Design, Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Replacing your kitchen cabinets is a huge expense, and if they’re still in pretty good shape, a full replacement doesn’t make much sense for your budget. Instead, try painting the cabinets to freshen up the space. With a simple coat of paint you can easily (and quickly) turn dated wood into that gorgeous modern look you’ve been dreaming of. Pair that with some new knobs and handles and no one will be able to tell they’re the same cabinets.

Change Up Fixtures

A white kitchen with faucet and sink
 Victoria Bell Design

Door knobs and lighting aren’t the only fixtures you can replace to give your kitchen a new look. Plumbing fixtures like the faucet and sink are also a fairly easy swap when it comes to kitchen renovations, and can give your kitchen an instant facelift. Switch out any tired, dated faucets for more modern options that fit the rest of your aesthetic, and replace your old sink with something deeper and more useful.

Revamp Your Storage

organized pantry with baskets and labels
 Design: Emily Henderson, Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

One of the main reasons people renovate their kitchens, aside from the aesthetics, is to make a functional space useful and beautiful. If your kitchen just isn’t working for you anymore organization-wise, consider upgrading your storage. Add drawer dividers, under-sink storage, get your spices organized, wrangle your food containers, and get your pantry in order. Organizing your kitchen can make it feel almost brand new.


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