The kitchen is the heart of the home. Homeowners spend a lot of time in this space, and when you sell a home, the kitchen is a room that interests buyers most. Also, minor kitchen remodels tend to offer the best return on investment. But what if your kitchen needs an update (or you just want one) and your budget is low? These projects can improve the look and function of your kitchen without straining your wallet.
Paint the walls
Painting the walls of your kitchen is a quick and inexpensive way to get a new look for your space. White and gray are good kitchen colors. A can of paint can range from about $15 to $40, making a new paint job a low-cost DIY solution.
Freshen up flooring
Ceramic or porcelain tile and hardwood floors are popular, pricey, and can be difficult to install. Instead, add inexpensive 12 x 12-inch, peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles over your existing floor. These tiles are quick to put down and can cost less than $2 a square foot. Vinyl plank flooring is another low-cost DIY option. Quality vinyl flooring planks run from $4 to $7 a square foot. You may need to install an underlayment, which typically costs up to $5 a square foot, between the plank and the floor to reduce noise, and a vapor barrier (for protection in humid or damp areas), at over $1 a square foot. Tools like a rubber mallet and tapping and spacing blocks are other possible additional costs.
Paint the cabinets
Cabinets that are dark or outdated can easily be revamped with a new coat of paint. Interior latex paint works well on cabinets, but there are also specialty products, such as General Finishes Milk Paint or Rust-Oleum Transformations. These products are designed to adhere to surfaces like kitchen cabinets without much prep work. Lightly sand your cabinets at the start of your project and in between coats of primer and paint for a smooth finish and durability. Cleaning your cabinets with TSP (trisodium phosphate) and adding a coat of primer before painting also helps. The Rust-Oleum Transformations kit includes a step and product for deglossing your cabinets before painting too. Depending on what type of paint you use, you can add an extra clear topcoat for durability. Total costs will vary, but this project should cost you less than $400.
Let there be light
It’s difficult to cook in a dark kitchen. You can update your lighting without doing any rewiring. Add Smart LED bulbs (at a cost of less than $12 each) to your existing light fixtures and pair them with a smartphone to dim the lights or change the bulbs’ color. Place stick-on puck lights underneath your cabinets for additional task lighting. Combine battery-operated string fairy or globe lights under or above cabinets for ambiance and light.
Tile some on
Installing a backsplash is an effective way to add bling to a kitchen. Look to mosaic tiles for a quick and easy backsplash solution. Mosaic tiles can be purchased on 12-inch by 12-inch, mesh-backed sheets. In some instances, you can put a whole sheet of mosaic tile up at a time, simplifying installation. Some mosaic tile do not need grout, making it a time and money saver. Scissors and tile nippers can be used to cut and size mosaic tile sheets, making this project easier than tiling projects that require a tile saw.
Change out the hardware
Changing out kitchen hardware like your sink faucet and cabinet knobs and pulls can make a big impact at a low cost. With only a screwdriver and other basic tools, you can update your kitchen in less than an hour. Installing a new faucet will require basic plumbing skills, however. Knobs and pulls run from about $2 to $20 each, while a kitchen faucet could cost $50 to $70 to more than $100, depending on how fancy you go.
Paint the Counters
Kitchen counters that are worn or outdated can be given a coat of paint and topped with a Polycrylic or another glossy and durable coating. Look online or at your local hardware store for countertop resurfacing kits that contain what you need to make old countertops look like new, even like marble or granite. These kits often include everything you will need—like paint and topcoat, paint brushes and a tarp for protecting kitchen cabinets and floors.
With these simple DIY projects, you can get what looks like a kitchen remodel without the huge cost of one.