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6 Easy ways to upgrade your kitchen (on a budget)

In 2007, I began working at Build.com, the largest online-only home improvement retailer. It was then and there that I discovered my passion for home improvement and DIY projects.

If you sense that your kitchen is a little behind the times, here are six ways to upgrade it and remain on a budget.

couple remodeling kitchen

The kitchen has become more than just a place to prepare our zesty, delicious meals. It's evolved into the home's gathering place, homework center and technological hub. So if you sense that your kitchen is a little behind the times, here are six ways to upgrade it and remain on a budget.

Replace the kitchen faucet

Can you think of another fixture in the house that works as often and as hard as the kitchen faucet? I can't, and plenty of durable and reliable kitchen faucets out there combine leading-edge features with focal point–worthy good looks.

When considering a kitchen faucet, be cautious to stay within an appropriate size range for your sink. Research which features you need versus which ones you want (one handle or two, a pull-out sprayer, touchless features etc.) and you should find your ideal kitchen faucet.

Get illuminated

A kitchen can get its light from multiple sources, and each kitchen is unique in its lighting needs. Upgrading your lighting is an investment that can pay dividends in the long run due to energy savings.

Here's how you can illuminate on a budget right now:

  • Mini-pendant lighting: This versatile light can be placed over a kitchen sink or island to provide task lighting.
  • LED under-cabinet lighting: This is long-lasting, energy-saving, beautiful and very affordable task lighting for your kitchen counter. Nuff said.
  • Skylights: Natural light is free, and it looks and feels great in the kitchen. Plus, try to feel glum basking in the sun. Really, I dare you...

Replace outdated cabinet and drawer hardware

Dollar for dollar, this is the most significant upgrade you can do in your kitchen. Think about how many knobs and handles your kitchen has. Then, picture every one of those with a new look. Now, good luck resisting the wish to rejuvenate your kitchen with new cabinet hardware.

Accessorize

The kitchen has much more appeal when it's organized and coordinated — kitchen accessories accomplish both. From a soap dispenser and air gap to a rinse basket and towel rings, accessories will kick up your kitchen upgrade.

Do a minimakeover

If your wish list of kitchen upgrades seems overwhelming, here's a little trick: Do just a few of them at a time. It's called a minimakeover, and it's a surefire way to infuse your kitchen with a new look without breaking the bank.

Let's face it: Most of us abide by some kind of budget, and tackling the laundry list of potential kitchen upgrades piece by piece will allow you to budget throughout the years and can offer the flexibility to squirrel away money for future projects. Any of the above upgrades by itself is enough to improve a kitchen.

DIY it!

One of the best ways to remain underbudget during a kitchen remodel is by doing some of the installation projects by yourself. For example, plumbing manufacturers today offer kitchen faucets that the residential homeowner can easily install. Know how to use measuring tape and a screwdriver? Then you can replace the cabinet and drawer hardware all by your onesies.

Plan to consult with a professional, though, for anything that involves electricity (like replacing any lighting) or if you feel you're in over your head. Otherwise, save that call to the contractor and upgrade your kitchen DIY style.

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