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This kitchen had good bones, which made a budget-friendly upgrade easy. Cosmetic changes like a fresh coat of paint, a subway tile backsplash, a butcher-block island countertop, and modern accessories made a big impact.
Subtle blue paint from Sherwin-Williams -- only $35 -- simplifies the kitchen. The island is the main kitchen workspace, and a new butcher-block countertop from IKEA ($90) replaced the old chipped laminate countertop.
A no-drip border routed along the perimeter of the butcher-block countertop contains spills.
A classic white subway tile backsplash with dark grout adds a custom, high-end look. The white tiles visually connect the appliances and the light-color perimeter countertops. The tile from Lowe's cost $34.
Replacing the old brass hardware with sleek oil-rubbed bronze pulls was an easy-to-do update, taking less than an hour. The pulls from Liberty Hardware cost $108.
An instant hot-water dispenser ($122) speeds prep time for hot chocolate and instant oatmeal.