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Top Kitchen DIY Home Projects and Update Ideas for Any Budget

DIY updates that can have a big impact, without costing a fortune.

July 12, 2019

For many, the kitchen is the heart of a home, or at least the family equivalent to Grand Central Station. It’s the backdrop to hectic mornings, the staging area for holiday feasts, and, traditionally, the most expensive room to renovate. With the national average running at $23,655, and high-end jobs hitting over $50,000, considering an upgrade to your kitchen space can be intimidating. But you don’t have to do a full makeover to improve and refresh the space.

Here are a few suggestions for DIY updates that can have a big impact, without costing a fortune.

1. Revamp your cabinets.

The priciest component of renovations is often replacing cabinetry, accounting for 30% of the overall budget. And the reasoning for this large undertaking is fairly obvious. Not only does their look have an impact on the aesthetic of your kitchen, sometimes the layout can make a difference in how you function within it. But installing new cabinets isn’t the only way to make a change.

For starters, paint alone can lead to a dramatic transformation. With the right tools, like a sprayer, matched with time and patience, it’s a task where you can achieve professional-looking results all on your own, and enjoy nearly infinite color options.

Another way to update affordably is to replace just the doors of cabinets, transforming older cabinetry with more modern shaping or even glass panels. Or, remove the doors altogether to convert upper cabinets into open shelving.

2. Coordinate hardware.

When you take in a room as a whole, sometimes it’s the collective influence of smaller details that ties it all together. This is great news if you are looking for a cost-effective update.

Coordinating the finish of hardware and accents — including things like faucets and sinks, drawer handles, cabinet pulls, outlets, switches, racks and other organizers or accessories — generates a sense of cohesion and sophistication, and can really set your kitchen apart when you consider alternatives to the standard chrome. Brass, brushed nickel, and matte black are current faucet trends to consider. Available options for designer switches and outlets might also spark inspiration: explore unique finishes including graphite, mirrored white, brushed brass and even burnished steel, or match your personal style with high-tech options like fast-charging USB outlets and wave or smart home switches.​​​​​​​

3. Build a backsplash.

Lastly, as long as you aren’t afraid of a little planning, DIY backsplashes are great for fitting any style and budget.

You can easily buy the tools you need to do the job right at any hardware or home improvement store, and material options are vast and varied — broken glass, cork, tin, vinyl, faux-brick, plywood, etc. Let your creativity go wild. Or, if traditional tile is more appealing, go ahead and look at the markdown options. Even if supplies are limited, mixing and matching a few different colors or sizes can lead to fantastic patterns. 

Just be sure that you take the time to thoroughly prepare before you begin the process of adhering your tiles or pieces. Many suggest laying it all out beforehand to double check your pattern in the space, while also confirming any existing switches and plugs won’t disrupt your intended design.

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