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How to update your kitchen in 7 steps

You can update your kitchen with a few simple steps and a little creativity. DIY your way to a whole new kitchen in no time.

Happy woman standing in kitchen

DIY an upgraded kitchen

You can update your kitchen with a few simple steps and a little creativity. DIY your way to a whole new kitchen in no time.

Clear the clutter

The first thing you should do before updating your kitchen is go through the pantry, cabinets, drawers and countertops to see what you can weed out. Simply creating an uncluttered area can do wonders for updating any space in your home. Have a garage sale or donate items you’ll no longer need in your updated kitchen. Utensil organizers are a huge help when it comes to putting things in their place in the kitchen. We love the OXO drawer organizer at Macy’s for $15, the Giada de Laurentiis Bamboo countertop utensil caddy at Target for $13 and the simple mesh organizer from Copco, $12 on Amazon.

6 Ways to unclutter your kitchen >>


Update your appliances

Obviously, appliances are a major part of your kitchen, and they’re costly to replace. Don’t ditch your outdated appliances for the sake of aesthetics. If they’re in good working condition, consider painting them with a stainless-steel application or applying a stainless-steel film to bring them up-to-date. We love the look of The Kim Six Fix‘s project for just $25.

Before and after stainless steel film

Photo credit: The Kim Six Fix

Your countertop appliances also make a huge difference in the look of your kitchen. Update your kitchen with appliances that are bold, bright and fun like these from the Bella Housewares collections.

Appliances designed to make life easier >>


Redo the countertops

Nothing screams “outdated” louder than a laminated countertop. Instead of springing for expensive granite countertops, get the look with budget-friendly granite-look paint. We love this before and after countertop project from Nest of Bliss, which Brandi estimates was just $50! She used Excel Speckle Stone Granite Spray Finish, which comes in various shades, to complete this project.

Countertops before

Countertops after

Photo credit: Nest of Bliss

Create a bold backsplash

Add a fun tile pattern, a bright paint color or a unique storage area using a Peg-Board (which makes finding your ladles and slotted spoons a breeze) to optimize your backsplash. Use the backsplash as a focal point of your kitchen or tie it in to another area of the room, like the dining area. Tilez temporary wallpaper is a perfect way to easily update your backsplash with a pop of color and pattern.

Sustainable kitchen products we love >>


Update the cabinets

Update the cabinets before

Update the cabinets after 1

Update the cabinets after 2

These photos exhibit a before and after project implementing glass-front cabinets by RHT Designs

You can easily update your cabinets with a fresh coat of paint. You can also change the look of your kitchen by creating cabinet “windows” by cutting out the centers of the cabinet doors and replacing them with glass, or by taking the cabinet doors off altogether. If you already have glass cabinets, give them a fresh look with frosted glass spray paint such as Rust-Oleum, $3.76 for an 11-ounce can at The Home Depot. Randy Tapper of RHT Designs in Deerfield, Illinois offers the following pointers for DIYers:

  • There are different types of glass: clear, etched, smoked, frosted or colored — all are very different to work with.
  • When installing glass fronts, make sure the inside of the cabinet is finished as nicely as the outside, because you’ll see the inside of the cabinet.
  • Use clear glass shelves because the shelves will show through.
  • Make sure the cabinet door has the proper grain to handle the glass door.
  • Installing glass doors isn’t for everyone. It’s best to use a professional if you can.

5 Cool kitchen cabinets >>


Knobs and pulls

Can cabinet hardware really make that much of a difference in the look of your kitchen? You bet! Customize your kitchen with creative pulls and knobs that define your style. Don’t limit yourself to the aisles of your local hardware store for pulls. Search the internet for these cabinet accessories to really make a statement in your kitchen. These six are less than $6 apiece!

In order: Jamison Collection from KnobsandHardware, $2.64 each; Stone Mill Nantucket cup stainless pulls, $16.19 for a set of 5 (just $3.24 each!) on Overstock; Clear glass pulls, 10 piece set for $15 ($1.50 apiece) on Amazon; Betsey Fields sea-themed designs for $2.86 on Kn*bs4Less; Katie Brown Collection ring pulls from Cool Knobs and Pulls, $3.25; Threshold Franklin polished nickel 10-piece pulls at Target for $24.29 — that’s $2.43 apiece.



Shine a whole new light on your kitchen’s look. If you have an outdated chandelier above your kitchen table, switch it out for a modern or vintage one that suits your style. You should have plenty of light in multiple areas of your kitchen — above the work spaces of your countertops and your oven range as well as above the sink. Don’t forget lighting when it comes to making a style statement in addition to maximizing functionality.

Photo credits: CraftGossip, House of Fifty, Little Green Notebook

If you’re crafty, why not create your own lighting fixtures like these bloggers did? We love the unique colander light from CraftGossip, the bamboo light fixture from House of Fifty and the modern bulb chandelier featured on Little Green Notebook.

More kitchen updates

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Top 7 tips for making the most of a small kitchen
Spring diet: Give your kitchen a healthy makeover

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