18 Cheap Kitchen Updates That Look Expensive
Make your kitchen look like a million bucks—or at least more expensive than what you really paid for these updates. We’ll show you how to achieve a high-end look for a lot less.
Swap Out Light Fixtures
Paint Tired, Old Cabinets
Lay Down Luxury Vinyl
DIY Faucet Install
If you have enough in your budget to splurge on a new faucet or sink (or both!), install it yourself to save money. We’ll walk you through it step-by-step.
Open Kitchen Shelves
Dress Up Cabinetry
Create an attractive display shelf for the empty space above your kitchen cabinets. This project requires only basic carpentry skills, and you can build it in a day. We’ll walk you through it step-by-step.
Give the Illusion of Higher Ceilings
If you can’t raise your roof, literally, you might consider raising your window treatments, says Keysha Jillian, lead interior designer and owner of K. Jillian Designs, based in Tampa, Florida. Jillian suggests raising window panels to create an illusion of height and give it a grander feel. “Window treatment is often underrated and clients commonly overlook the impact it has on a space,” she says. “An inexpensive way to achieve this tip is to simply add fabric to your existing panels. Once you find the perfect complimentary fabric, simply take it to your local seamstress to have him/her add the fabric at the top, middle, or end of the fabric.”
Don’t Match Finishes Perfectly, Coordinate Them
Certain stains and finishes play well with others (for example, cherry wood marries well with oak, and hickory blends tend to work well with almost everything), but the vast majority do not. If you’re looking to match your floor to your cabinets, or your faucets to your doorknobs, go for an exact match, or make a real contrast; aim for at least three shades darker or lighter. An almost match has the tendency to look cheap.
Peel-and-Stick Backsplash Tiles
Add a Centerpiece
No need to wait for a dinner party to elevate your usual table setting. Something as simple as fresh-cut flowers can make it seem like you’ve put time and effort into your dinner table, says Drew Henry, founder of design firm Design Dudes.
Photo: Courtesy of IKEA
Did you know that you can resurface your countertops? You can! It’s no more difficult than a painting project, so basic tools and skills are all you need. Here are the step-by-step instructions.
If your kitchen walls are bare besides the occasional artwork, consider adding molding to the baseboard, chair rail or ceiling. “It doesn’t even have to be a gaudy, Victorian-style molding—a simple and single-shape, single-depth piece of molding will do the trick,” says interior designer Erica Leigh Reiner, owner of E. Leigh Designs.
DIY Cabinet Organizers
The space under sinks is often overlooked, but it’s prime real estate for rollouts. This article gives step-by-step instructions for how to build two types of customizable rollout trays that fit around and below plumbing pipes, garbage disposers and other obstacles beneath your sink. These rollouts transform that ‘I’m not sure what’s under there’ storage space into an organized and efficient location for cleaning supplies that lets you see everything you’ve got in one glance.
Reupholster Dining Chairs
Turn your ho-hum dining chairs into showpieces by reupholstering them with stunning fabric. This is a simple DIY project that can make a big impact. Here’s how to do it step-by-step.
Pick Basic Dishes
Shelling out on fine china isn’t the only way to create a stunning table setting. “White dishes … have a low price tag with a high impact,” says Henry. Pair them with gold flatware for a trendy, high-brow look.
There’s a lot of usable space below many upper kitchen cabinets, and it’s the perfect place to store your favorite vintages. This easy-to-build wine rack requires just two 1x4s the length of the under-cabinet bay and a strip of 3/4-in. plywood that same length and 8 in. wide. Click here to get the full project plans.