Refresh Your Small Kitchen: Budget-Friendly Update Tips

If you’re like me, you love the heart of the home – the kitchen! However, working with a small kitchen can present some challenges when creating a functional and stylish space. As an interior designer and dog mom, I’ve picked plenty of budget-friendly tricks to make the most of a modest kitchen. Join me as we explore creative ways to update your small kitchen without breaking the bank!

Declutter and Organize

The first step in any kitchen revamp is decluttering. As they say, less is more! Removing seldom-used gadgets and dishes you rarely touch will free up precious space. 

Update Your Kitchen Layout

Declutter First

Be ruthless here – if you last used that fondue set over a year ago, it’s time to bid it farewell. Successful decluttering comes when you’re happy to make do with a smaller range of essential kits – it makes it easier to let other things go.

Add Floating Shelves 

Once you’ve pared down, consider adding some floating shelves. These affordable and chic storage solutions are ideal for stashing spices, cookbooks, dishes, and other frequently used items. The airy, open design prevents your kitchen from feeling cluttered. I found some great handmade floating shelves on Etsy that add a unique touch.

Use the Inside of Cabinet Doors

An often overlooked space, the inside of cabinet doors presents prime real estate for storage solutions. Attach magnetic spice tins, paper towel holders, or storage units to use this out-of-sight area. There are many clever inside cabinet door storage ideas on Pinterest to inspire you. 

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Install Pull-out Organizers 

Another way to maximize kitchen cabinet space is with pull-out organizers. These outtrays and drawers give easy access to items buried in the back. Things like pots, pans, and baking sheets will be readily at your fingertips.

Update Your Kitchen Countertops

Paint and Refresh

Nothing refreshes a space like a fresh coat of paint! Painting your cabinets and walls is a budget-friendly way to give your kitchen new life.

Cabinet Makeover

Tired oak cabinets got you down? A coat of bright white paint could be just the lift your kitchen needs! While you can hire a professional, painting the cabinets yourself can save big bucks. Remove the doors and hardware, sand away any gloss, clean thoroughly, and use a high-quality primer before painting. Oil-based paints deliver an ultra-durable finish perfect for high-traffic spots like kitchens. 

Open Shelving 

If your cabinets are in good shape but you want a new look, try removing some doors and painting the inside a fun, complementary color. This open shelving effect gives a kitchen charm and texture. Just be sure to sand thoroughly before painting and use painter’s tape to prevent messiness. 

Update Wall Color 

Remember to underestimate the power of a fresh wall color! Lighter, cooler hues like soft greens or grays make spaces appear more open and airy. If your kitchen gets lots of natural light, go for clean, crisp white – it creates a lovely blank canvas you can dress up with accent colors and art.

Update Your Small Kitchen Cabinets

Freshen Up the Hardware

Replacing outdated hardware is one of the most accessible and affordable ways to give your kitchen a mini makeover. 

Swap Out Knobs and Handles

Changing knobs and handles makes a bigger impact than you’d think! Ditch drab brass and replace it with eye-catching black iron, modern acrylic, or brushed nickel. Don’t be matchy-matchy here – mixing and matching hardware gives a kitchen personality. 

Update Faucets 

Is your faucet faded or leaky? Installing a new one is a weekend project that pays big dividends. Choose a style that complements your decor – go sleek and modern for contemporary kitchens or traditional for farmhouse vibes. YouTube has excellent tutorials on installing a kitchen faucet.

Update Your Small Kitchen Appliances

Backsplash on a Budget 

Backsplashes protect your wall from spills and stains while adding visual interest. Unfortunately, materials like marble, glass, and ceramic tiles can be pricey. Check out these budget-friendly backsplash ideas:

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Peel-and-Stick Tiles

Peel-and-stick backsplash tiles make installation a breeze – no grout or special tools are needed! Shop around to find patterns and materials that suit your style, like marble, travertine, or geometric designs. Use painter’s tape for clean edges, and watch out for bubbles. 

Paint It

My favorite budget backsplash solution is simply painting the wall behind your countertop. Use a semi-gloss sheen for wipeability. Break up large expanses of paint with decorative tape, stencils, or even framed prints.

Update Your Small Kitchen Lights

Creative Lighting Solutions 

The right lighting freshens up a small kitchen and makes it more functional. 

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Illuminating countertop workspace prevents eye and neck strain. LED strip lighting installs easily with peel-and-stick backing. For a softer glow, opt for puck lights.

Pendant Lights 

Tired boob lights got you down? Swapping in pendant lights over kitchen islands and sinks adds modern style. Use brushed nickel, black, or bronze fixtures for an elegant accent. Check out thrift stores and garage sales for budget-friendly ways to spray paint.

Use Multifunctional Furniture

Small kitchens call for furniture that multitasks! Here are some space-saving ideas:

Foldable Table

A foldable table tucks away neatly when not in use, then expands to provide extra serving space for the company. Place it near a window to create a breakfast nook. Look for compact round tables with drop leaves. 

Small kitchen with pendant lights over kitchen island

Bar Cart

Bar carts aren’t just for entertaining anymore! These chic carts stow extra dishes, glassware, and portable appliances in style. Opt for a small-sized cart with wheels to easily tuck it beside counters or corners.

DIY Open Shelving

Open shelving lends a casual, airy look while offering storage space. Luckily, you don’t have to spend much to create your own.

Reclaimed Wood 

Nothing says homey and rustic like reclaimed wood. Check salvage yards, thrift stores, or Craigslist for inexpensive wood boards. Sand and finish them simply to allow the wood’s natural patina to shine through. 

Floating Shelves

Get a sleek, modern look with floating shelves. Purchase pre-made floating shelf brackets and boards, or make them yourself with plywood and L brackets. They’re easy to install – just be sure to hit studs.

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Small kitchen with floating shelve made from reclaimed wood

Incorporate Mirrors

Mirrors make spaces seem more significant, but they also serve practical purposes in kitchens.

Reflect Light

Place a mirror near a window to reflect more light around the room. Position it across from your sink or countertop workspace to make chopping and cleaning more comfortable. 

Mirrored Backsplash

For next-level style, go for a mirrored backsplash! Mirrored tiles or panels create depth while opening up the room. Check thrift shops and garage sales for unique discounted panels you can cut to size. 

Floor Facelifts 

While swapping out floors can get pricey, you can update them affordably too. Here are budget-flooring fixes:

Small kitchen with Vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring looks like pricier wood or tile at a fraction of the cost. It’s also waterproof and scratch-resistant – great for busy kitchens! Stick to solid vinyl planks, not peel-and-stick tiles.

Area Rugs

Area rugs bring warmth and color to kitchens without a permanent change. Look for indoor/outdoor synthetic rugs or flatweave styles that withstand spills and wear. Use a non-slip rug pad, and toss them in the wash when dirty.

Small Appliance Swap

Our countertop appliances tend to fade into the background. Swapping them out for newer models makes a surprisingly big difference!

Coordinated Appliances

Choose appliances in the same finish, like black, white, or chrome, for a unified look. You’d be amazed at how new appliances make your kitchen feel. Focus on essentials like a toaster oven, coffee maker, and blender. 

Small kitchen with modern coffe station

Remove Unused Appliances

If your blender only sees action once a year, lose it! Removing unused appliances frees up precious counter space for items you rely on daily. Prioritize your everyday essentials.

As you can see, many ways to update your small kitchen on a budget exist. With creativity and elbow grease, you can give your modest kitchen new life without breaking the bank. The key focuses on high-impact details like paint, lighting, and storage. What are you waiting for? Grab a paintbrush and start revamping your kitchen!