Kitchen Updates That Won’t Break the Bank

I’ve been thinking a lot about kitchens lately. This is mostly due to the fact that our own kitchen is half way through a bit of a makeover and so at the moment, creating a great design that doesn’t cost the earth and yet still gives me the look I’m dreaming of is at the forefront of my mind. And while we’re updating our worktops and tiles and making some changes that cost a little more, there are plenty of things you can do to an existing kitchen to give it a fresh look even if you are on a tight budget.

Over the years, our kitchen has benefited from loads of small updates and there are plenty of things you can do aside from ripping it all out and starting again. After all, the upheaval of living on microwave meals and washing your dishes in the bathtub is an indignity that many people would prefer to do without. So whether you decide to take on a few of these smaller upgrades or all of them, your dream kitchen may not be as unattainable as you think.

Upgrade your lighting

black and white kitchen with gold lighting

Consider bringing in an electrician to upgrade spotlights or recessed lighting with trendy hanging pendants. Chose a finish that marries well with your existing hardware for a consistent look. Or, have a look at our guide to the 5 lights your home needs now!

Change the cupboard handles


New hardware will instantly update the look of your kitchen. Here, lucite pulls on the island are combined with simple gold pulls to create an eclectic look that won’t quickly date.

Add some open shelving


If you are lacking in storage or have a wall that is crying out for some love, consider hanging some simple shelving to display your favourite pieces. Some wood planks and brackets are all you need to bring a bit of life and personality into what can be a utilitarian space. If you are afraid of dust or grease collecting on items, then just store your every day dishes, glasses or mugs on open shelving. Because they are used all the time and constantly washed, you won’t need to worry about cleaning as often as you would items that rarely get used.

Bring in plant life

natural and white kitchen with hanging plants

Any room in the home can benefit from some plant life and the kitchen is no different. Whether you choose hanging planters or a few dotted around on shelving or on your worktops, they’ll happily purify the air and create a homey feel. Consider gathering herbs in pots along a windowsill or sunny spot too, making mealtime prep a breeze.

Paint your cupboard doors

black white and gold kitchen

If your kitchen is in good shape but you just crave a new or updated look, why not simply paint your cupboard doors? Sand and prime (after removing the doors from the hinges and removing the hardware) and then choose a hard-wearing paint for your cabinet doors in nearly any colour under the sun. Today’s kitchens often use gorgeous neutral colours like grey, navy blue, black or simple white and you can choose to contrast the colours in your lower and upper cabinets for on-trend style.

Change your flooring

kitchen with pattern floor

If your flooring has seen better days, why not trade it for some on-trend and inexpensive new laminate? New technology means laminate flooring can be high quality and more durable than ever – plus, it’s easy to install and comes in some fabulous patterns to really brighten up your kitchen.

Freshen up your textiles and accessories

kitchen with pretty textiles and wood accents

For an instant update for little layout, why not replace your tired tea towels with some fresh new patterns or colours? Textiles can add warmth to a kitchen and there are so many on the market that you’re sure to find ones you love. Don’t forget your accessories as well – consider bringing in some wood bowls and cutting boards for additional texture and an organic element to contrast the cooler finishes of the kitchen.

Bring in some pretty storage


Speaking of accessories, a few new small pot plants, boxes and baskets can add additional storage as well as colour and texture to your kitchen without spending a lot of money. Choose different finishes and materials for a collected look as in our example above.

Upgrade your dishsoap

pretty dishsoap

There’s nothing that will spoil the look of a pulled together kitchen faster than seeing a half-empty plastic bottle of Fairy liquid on the side. Upgrade your hand soap and dish soap to ones with bottles that are attractive enough to leave out all the time. Or, consider decanting your existing liquids to simple glass pump bottles. Check out Amazon or Etsy for lots of different options.

Add a rug

black and white kitchen with rug

And finally, consider adding a rug to your kitchen. A simple pattern that ties in the colours or finishes of the rest of the kitchen can be the final touch that pulls the whole look together.

What simple ways have you upgraded your own kitchen? We’d love to see your own upgrades big or small. Tag us on Twitter or Instagram to send us your snaps and we’ll be sure to feature our favourites!