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How to Update Your Kitchen on a Budget

Like most things--kitchen décor has a life span--since styles change every few years. With the cost of an economical kitchen makeover running around $25,000, however, who can afford to keep up with changing style trends? While there is no way to totally transform a kitchen without spending a lot of money--you can give your kitchen an update for much less. You don't need to do all of these things--in fact, even if you just do one or two--you'll dramatically improve your kitchen's appearance. Here's how you can update your kitchen on a budget.

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  1. Consider the color of your walls. A paint color that was stylish a few years ago is probably not in style anymore, and after a few years of family living, you'll likely have nicks and marks (that you're used to), but tend to make a room seem dated. Painting the walls a fresh color that's in style is an inexpensive and relatively easy way to update your kitchen. Depending on what your cabinets are made from, you might also consider painting your cabinets.

  2. Install new cabinet hardware. Just like paint colors, cabinet hardware can go out of style. Handles and pulls are available at most home and hardware stores and changing them is an inexpensive easy way to give your cabinets a midlife kicker.

  3. Think about your lighting fixtures. If your kitchen has an old-style fluorescent fixture or incandescent light, it's showing its age. Modern stylish track lighting is easy to install into the existing wiring and will give your kitchen a modern look and quite likely make it a brighter place to work. Mounting small lights under the cabinets will also brighten the kitchen and give it a more modern appearance.

  4. Change your faucet, a job most homeowners can take on themselves. A new faucet will definitely make your sink look better. If you don't want to take on the job yourself, consider hiring a local handyman to do it for you (he won't charge anything like a plumber would to do this small job).

  5. Lay self-adhesive vinyl tiles on top. Installing flooring isn't something most homeowners think of as a do-it-yourself job, but if your existing floor is sound and clean, this is a relatively inexpensive project that doesn't require specialized tools.

  6. Finish updating your kitchen by adding some new wall art or even some fresh plants. Either or both could add a fresh new look to your old kitchen.

  7. Tip

    Battery-powered, under cabinet light fixtures are available at home and hardware stores. This will spare you the worry of having to run new wiring to your new light fixtures. Save yourself from disappointment when choosing paint colors by shopping at a paint store that sells small cans of paint as samples. Putting the paint onto a white piece of cardboard will allow you to move the sample around the room and see it in different light at various time of the day. Consider shopping at places other than traditional home stores for some of your upgrades. You may be able to find some great buys on hardware, light fixtures, faucets and flooring at a store like ReStore, run by Habitat for Humanity.


    If you do hire a handyman/woman, be sure to check references before allowing him/her into your home.

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Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Under cabinet lights
  • Faucets
  • Laminate or vinyl flooring

About the Author

I learned home repair and maintenance hands on. Over the past 30 years I've built sheds, decks, fences and gates and planted numerous trees and shrubs. Inside I've done all the common jobs like repairing and installing toilets, plumbing and light fixtures plus I've transformed three basements from bare concrete floors and walls into warm , bright family rooms. I write on home maintenance and repair for DoItYourself.com and answer maintenance and repair questions online at MyHomeImprovement.com.

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