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How to make a simple kitchen look done

You may feel like your home’s to-do list will never be done, especially when it comes to the kitchen. But you’re closer to your dream home than you may think. Don’t fret over a large-scale renovation. Instead, scale it down with a few simple updates that pack a big punch!

1. Update the appliances

Outdated appliances are more than just an eyesore — chances are, they’re wasting your money each time you pay the electric bill. To give your kitchen a fresh, new feel, upgrade to new Energy Star-rated appliances in a stainless steel finish.

We recommend Whirlpool’s French-door refrigerator ($2,699) >>

2. Change the cabinetry hardware

This simple switch gives your kitchen a whole new look. Choose hardware that is modern, traditional, shabby chic or even French country for an instant boost of style! For a streamlined look, coordinate your hardware with the same finish as your sink faucet and light fixtures. Or, create an eclectic look with mix-and-match finishes throughout the room.

We recommend Home Depot’s Liberty bar cabinet hardware pull ($6) >>

3. Add countertop decor

Resist the urge to overcrowd the countertop, especially if your kitchen has adequate cabinet storage. Instead, display a few decorative items that also perform a function. Fill a large bowl with fruit for an easily accessible snack item, or use decorative canisters to hold cooking utensils. Keep it simple, clean and functional, and you can’t go wrong.

We recommend Sears’ 15-inch fruit bowl ($29) >>

4. Display artwork

The kitchen doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Keep things fun by adding artwork that fits your decor. Use artwork to bring in pops of color to accent an otherwise neutral room, or enlarge family photographs to create a display with a personal touch. You don’t have to be an art collector to create your very own gallery. Use to find affordable prints with images that speak to your personal style.

We recommend’s Light and Shade 37-inch x 27.5-inch print ($34) >>

5. Update the light fixtures

Changing out the lighting in your kitchen is a great way to make a large impact without a complete overhaul. Install updated pendant fixtures over the island and above the sink. Pendants are available in many styles to fit your taste and provide task lighting right where you need it. You can also add puck lighting beneath the cabinets, or spotlights to highlight artistic features throughout the room.

We recommend West Elm’s globe pendant light fixture ($99) >>

6. Lay down a rug

One of the quickest and most affordable updates you can make in your kitchen is adding a great rug. Use a rug with an attractive pattern to add bold, vibrant colors into the space. Or, choose a rug with a natural weave to add a textural element. Rugs also prevent slipping on hard flooring surfaces, like tile and hardwood, which keeps your family safe in a room prone to spills.

We recommend Ikea’s Hessum 6-foot 7-inch x 2-foot 7-inch runner ($25) >>

Take one step at a time

Working within your budget may mean that your kitchen transformation will happen gradually. Use to create a wish list of the items you’re saving for, and then as your budget allows, bring home an item from the list. Before you know it, you’ll be looking at the kitchen of your dreams!

More kitchen ideas

Kitchen makeover tips from HGTV’s Meg Caswell
Kitchen design trends: Back to basics
Etsy roundup: Retro kitchen decor

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