The average kitchen remodel costs around $20,000 but not everyone has that kind of cash (or home equity) to do a major remodel. You don't need to invest a lot to make a big impact though. There are lots of small or inexpensive things you can do that will make your kitchen feel brand new.
We've said it before but we'll say it again, paint is cheap and it's one of the easiest ways to freshen up a space. You don't have to limit painting to the walls though. You can paint cabinetry to completely change the look. If you'll be selling your home soon, refer to our blog post on how to use paint colours. You may love the idea of bright red cabinets but your buyers won't so stick to neutrals.
Another current trend in cabinetry is to replace the center wood with glass or even remove the doors completely. This can be beautiful and utilize your dishes as artful accents but this is for the person who is neat and I mean a neat freak. If you tend to have clutter or don't have enough cabinets to display things in a spacious manner then leave the cabinet doors on. If you really want to have glass inserts, you could opt for frosted or patterned glass to give a fresh look but still keep things hidden away.
While you're painting the walls, consider doing an accent wall. Choose a colour that is about two shades deeper than your primary colour and paint it on one wall. Then add some great artwork or shelves to display some beautiful dishes and bowls.
New hardware is part of a good facelift. Change out handles and knobs with new ones to give the kitchen a more modern look. Brushed nickel is a popular finish. Try to stay away from kitschy or cutesy though. White knobs with strawberries or country roosters may go with your theme but they will get old fast and buyers are just going to change them out anyway. Think classic, modern or rustic, clean, and quality.
Bring color and texture in by adding a great backsplash. It's not as expensive as you think. It would probably cost a couple hundred dollars and it's easy to do. Even if you've never installed tile before you can generally get demonstrations at your local home improvement store or even on YouTube. If you don't have the skill or desire to do it yourself and you don't have the money to hire a contractor, you can paint it instead. Just make sure you are using a paint that is intended for kitchen use, is moisture resistant and is easy to clean.
Replacing a countertop can be one of the more costly upgrades in a kitchen remodel but it can have the biggest impact, especially if you aren't replacing the cabinets. Granite and engineered quartz can cost between $100 - $200 per square foot which gets really expensive really fast. Sure you could go cheap and do tile but it's not a modern look, you'll have to keep the grout clean, and bakers need a smooth surface to work on. Your next option is laminate and it's not the old, terrible laminate of the past anymore. Laminate has improved and there is some that looks great at about $50 per square foot. One you should consider though is concrete. Concrete is a nice median price between laminate and granite, utilizes recycled materials, is easy to maintain and can be either modern or rustic.
You can change out the lighting in your kitchen for very little money and it's a project that you could probably do yourself. Swap out a ceiling fixture over your kitchen island for a beautiful pendant light to bring in a fresh, new look.
Use your small appliances and dishes as accents. The same way that you would bring a pop of colour into a living room with a red pillow on a neutral couch, you can bring colour into your kitchen with a brightly colored toaster or stand mixer or ceramic fruit bowl. Keep the bold colours for the little things to add a little bit of interest and personality while the rest of the room is elegant, clean and classic.