5 Ways to Update Your Outdated Kitchen On A Budget

Kitchens are the most dreaded part of updating a home becuase there is always a HUGE price tag. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

There are ways you can make an outdated kitchen feel more up to date without spending a fortune. Here are five simple ways to update an outdated kitchen on a budget.

This question has come up from readers who have kitchens with lots of wood cabinets, which are really expensive to replace.

5 Affordable Things to Update Your Kitchen

1. Balance Color with Fabric

The first one has to do with color. A lot of times, the reason why we want to update our kitchen is because it has oak cabinets. If your kitchen also has a wood floor, it means you’ve got a lot of warm colors. There is nothing to balance out the warm colors. 

warm kitchen with rug and window treatment to balance warm wood tone

One of the ways to balance the color is to bring in cooler fabrics. You may want to bring in a cooler-toned rug or cooler-toned Roman shade. 

Cooler shades are blues, greens, and purples. Try to use these colors to bring down the warmth of your oak kitchen. Even if you don’t have an oak kitchen, textures can be a great way to add interest to your kitchen. Try adding a runner and a window treatment for more textures in a space that has a lot of hard edges.

runner rug and shade to balance warm cabinet color in kitchen update

2. Change Cabinet Hardware

The second thing is hardware. Hardware is something that you can replace yourself in just a couple of hours. With handles, the only thing you need to know is how wide the distance is between the holes.

After you know the measurement, it’s easy to search for 4-inch pulls. You can replace them yourself and save money. There are some great-looking affordable hardware options.

Here are my favorite places to find kitchen hardware on a budget.

  • Home Depot
  • Etsy
  • Wayfair
  • West Elm
  • Signature Hardware
  • Rejuvenation (not budget friendly, but they do have sales where you can get deals)

3. Add Modern Lighting

You definitely need to update your lighting. When I’m talking about lighting, I don’t mean just the fixture in the middle of your kitchen or the can lights. Of course, I think it can make a big difference if you put in a modern fixture in the middle or even a chandelier. 

But, think about your other lighting. Update your pendants. Update your under cabinet lighting. If you don’t have pendants or under cabinet lighting, add it. You can even get battery rechargeable under cabinet lights at affordable prices. 

You can also add some sconces or a lamp. Lighting is something that can make your kitchen look more modern.

pendent light in kitchen update

4. Add A New Backsplash

A backsplash is something that is one of the least expensive things in the kitchen to update. You can either pay someone to replace the tile or you can put up peel and stick tiles. It’s not a big area and not very expensive to have it replaced. 

If you have a honey oak kitchen, replace the backsplash with something that is a cooler temperature. You can go with white or different shades of green or blue. These colors bring down the warm temperature of the cabinets. But there are tons of fun peel and stick options.

cool blue backsplash in kitchen update to show balancing warm wood tones of cabinets

I’m going up in price as I go down this list. The next thing is painting the cabinets. 

5. Painting Cabinets and Countertops

Painting Cabinets

You can either pay to have someone paint your cabinets or you can paint them yourself. It is not the task for someone who wants to get things done in a hurry.

Despite what you see in kitchen remodeling videos, where people spray paint their whole kitchen in, you know, a day. It takes a lot longer than that. If you’re a detailed person and you like to paint, you can paint your cabinets yourself and get a great result.

Painting Countertops

Lastly, is countertops. Even if you don’t want to switch out the cabinets or change anything about the cabinets, just changing the countertops has a big impact on the way the kitchen looks. 

My last house had green granite countertops. They had a lot of pattern to them and were very dark. I replaced them with white countertops and it made the kitchen look like a completely different room. It wasn’t that expensive. 

If you can’t afford to replace the countertops yourself, countertops can be painted. I did this myself in my mom’s apartment. She had brown granite countertops that she didn’t like. We painted them white and had great results. 

I’ve got an article showing how we did that. This was the first time I painted countertops and I was happy with the way it turned out. See my steps here: How to Paint Countertops: Granite, Formica or Any Solid Surface.

You can also pay professional painters who specialize in this kind of painting to do yours.

I hope this helps you see that the kitchen doesn’t have to be a budget buster. There are things to change without spending a lot of money, despite what you might see online.

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