Add Personality with Pendants
Swap out boring pendant lights for a pair with more personality. Stripe your exisiting shades with painters' tape and fabric paint or replace them for a fresh new look without breaking the bank.
It's easy to make pendants out of flea market finds with a simple light kit or consider painting part of a simple pendant with metallic paint to add sparkle to the kitchen.
Try an Unconventional Island
While it's true that kitchen islands can be massive multipurpose work centers, you can enjoy the functionality of an island on a more limited scale, too.
Consider converting an old table or dresser. Add a countertop, new hardware, and cup hooks for hanging storage, and you have a handy new multipurpose piece of freestanding storage.
Use What You Have
Take a cue from this budget makevoer and transform your space with wallet-friendly solutions that work with what you already have.
Express Yourself with a Creative Backsplash
Creating your own kitchen backsplash adds personality and style. Express yourself with paint, tile, wallpaper, wainscoting, or framed prints or photos. If you use wallpaper, accent with tile behind the sink or above the range to avoid splashing water or food splatters.
Update Kitchen Countertops
You can get the high-style look of granite, marble, or soapstone with the low-cost alternative of laminate. Available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns, laminate is easy to clean and maintain, although it can be damaged by sharp knives and hot pans. It can cost as little as $15 per linear foot installed.
Butcher block is another budget-friendly option for counters. It's perfect on a hardworking island, removing the need for an additional cutting board. Prices range widely, but you can top an island for less than $250.
Makeover with Paint
Help a pretty kitchen pop with a new coat of paint. For walls and furniture, use satin or semigloss latex paint -- it stands up to scrubbing better than a flat finish.
To paint cabinets, first prime them with a deglossing primer to help the paint adhere and eliminate the need for messy sanding. Painting cabinets is time-consuming -- you need to remove doors, drawers, and hardware to do a thorough job -- but the results give you a fresh look for minimal cost.
Replace Cabinet Hardware
A simple change in drawer pulls and cabinet handles can give your kitchen a new look. If you plan to use the existing holes, take some of the old hardware with you when you shop to make sure the placement and size of the screws will match.
If you're refinishing the cabinet fronts, you can fill the existing holes and have a wider range of hardware choices. In addition to home improvement centers and specialty retailers, shop flea markets and antiques stores for interesting hardware. If you find distinctive knobs that exceed your budget, use them only on the upper cabinets or the drawers.
Add a Super-Easy Window Treatment
Window treatments for kitchens can be blissfully simple. And with this now-sew, step-by-step option, you can have a new look in no time!
Choose a washable fabric and a simple style that keeps the fabric clear of heat and water sources. If privacy isn't a concern, valances, window toppers, and stationary shades offer ways to bring color, pattern, and softness into the kitchen. Instead of purchasing fabric, try adapting tablecloths, tea towels, or cloth napkins to serve the purpose.
Replace Cabinets with Open Shelving
Lighten the look of your kitchen by removing a couple of cabinets (or just cabinet doors) and adding open shelves. Open shelving is a hot design trend for kitchens, although it does require that you display the cabinet contents attractively and keep them organized.
Open shelving can expand a room's sense of space, giving you the impression that the room has greater depth. Try a combination of open shelving and glass doors on one set of cabinets to create a focal point for the kitchen.
Get Organized with Kitchen Storage
Keep your cabinets and pantry organized with the help of smart kitchen storage ideas. Baskets, tins, and plastic bins offer affordable options for collecting like items into tidy containers that you can stash on a shelf. If the shelves are open, choose one kind of container for a clean, unified look.
Refresh the Kitchen Flooring
Laminate flooring, used in this kitchen, is an affordable flooring option. Experienced do-it-yourselfers can install a laminate floor, although moving appliances out of the way and working around cabinets will add time to the job.
If you have wood floors, consider painting them with durable floor paint to give the kitchen a new look. Vinyl floor tiles offer an affordable way to renew the kitchen floor. Available in dozens of colors, vinyl tiles lend themselves to custom designs, classic checkerboards, or a simple sheet of uniform color.
Genius Low-Cost Kitchen Ideas
See how editor Eddie Ross updated his kitchen with smart ideas on a small budget.
Reface Kitchen Cabinet Doors
Perk up your kitchen by replacing the doors on some or all of the cabinets. If you have recessed-panel doors, remove the center panel and insert reeded, textured, etched, or stained glass.
If you have flat-panel cabinet doors, take them from contemporary to Shaker style by adding lattice molding around the edges and painting the doors. Or give the cabinets a makeover by painting them with chalkboard paint or dressing them with a textured wallcovering.
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