10 Easy Kitchen Updates {on a Dime!}

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10 Budget Kitchen Renovation Ideas on a Dime! via www.makinglemonadeblog.com

Let’s face it, we can’t all spend tens of thousands of dollars on kitchen renovations.  In fact, some of us are loath to spend more than TEN dollars on a kitchen update.  Whether you fall into the former category or the latter, I’m excited to share a few easy and inexpensive ideas for updating your kitchen on a budget.  In fact, all of the ideas below cost less than $100, and some are close to free.  How’s THAT for a good excuse to get cranking on that kitchen update you’ve been dreaming of?  Because it’s amazing how even the smallest change can energize your kitchen and spice it up!

10 Ways to Update Your Kitchen on a Dime

1.  Chalkboard Wall

Have you ever thought about painting a chalkboard wall in your home?  The kitchen is the perfect place to do it.  I originally wanted one so I could write out the weekly menu (and therefore remember what the heck I planned to make), but it’s become so much more.  My husband created a calendar and my kids love scribbling all over it.  And erasing what I wrote.  And making chalk dust.  But I digress.  πŸ™‚

10 Ways to Update Your Kitchen on a Dime

Painting it was really easy.  We used Rustoleum chalboark paint (I got a can at Home Depot in the paint aisle for about $12) and rolled it on.  I did several thin coats, letting them dry in between.  It was a warm day, so the project took about an hour total including prep and cleanup, but not including the breaks for dry time.  Once dry, I added a rail from IKEA and these two buckets to hold the chalk.  Since I had the rail on hand, the entire project cost about $15 TOTAL.  That’s a lot of bang for your buck, right?!

And really, I could have washed it and made it look all sleek and sophisticated before I took this photo, but I wanted to show you what an actual chalkboard wall looks like if it’s used on a daily basis.  I’ll leave sleek and sophisticated for the other blogs out there!

10 Ways to Update Your Kitchen on a Dime

The only downside is it does create chalk dust.  But that’s a small sacrifice to pay for something so practical and fun!  Using ‘dust free’ chalk will help, and I just try to wipe it up every few days.

10 Ways to Update Your Kitchen on a Dime

Here’s one of my favorite House Beautiful featured homes.  They used chalkboard paint on the island, which is pretty brilliant since that’s a “high scuff mark” area.  Add in a favorite quote, and WOW you’ve made quite an impact with a little bit of paint.

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas{image via House Beautiful}

2.  Update lighting by adding pendant lights.

Pendant lights are the hottest trend in kitchens right now.  From farmhouse chic to modern kitchens, they go with every style.  So what’s the solution when you are on a budget and don’t have much time to fuss with complicated installation or extra money to pay an electrician?  How about these pendant lights from Home Decorator’s Collection that screw right into recessed lighting, taking FIVE MINUTES to install?

10 Ways to Update Your Kitchen on a Dime

Ack!  Aren’t they amazing?  These Harper pendant lights cost $59 each, which is a steal considering what most places charge for pendant lights.  They come ready to install into recessed lighting fixtures.  You simply roll the cord up to the desired length, screw the end into the place where the lightbulb would go in your recessed light, and then push and secure the plate flush with the ceiling with the included nut/bolt/whatever the official name is for the ‘thingy’.  In a normal home this would take about 5 minutes per light.  Our recessed lighting was a little more fussy because the cans kept falling out, so we had to finagle them a bit.  My husband told me he doesn’t mind finagling cans, whatever that means.  πŸ™‚

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

Design wise, they should be lower.  But I don’t like staring into bare bulbs while I wash dishes (hello, migraine!) so I made them closer to the ceiling and they are perfect for us.

10 Ways to Update Your Kitchen on a Dime

Here’s a few more styles that I’ve fallen in love with.  I’m going to get the woven pendant lights for our hall and perhaps the moravian star pendants for our living room when I’ve saved up a bit more money.

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

3.  Switch out hardware.  Before we made the decision to remodel our kitchen, I updated the cabinets by switching out the hardware.  We had 22 handles to purchase, but were able to do so for exactly $100.  In hindsight I’d have liked a different handle and probably in an oil rubbed bronze finish, but at the time I bought them they worked well with our {ugly} oak cabinets.

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

Just be aware that this style can snag little ones when they are climbing cabinets, NOT that I know that from experience.  {sigh.  I totally know that from experience.}

Don’t forget the switchplates, either.  That’s the first thing I did in our house when we moved in, they are worth every penny!

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

4.  Plants.  According to the principals of feng shui, adding plants is an easy way to add a ‘life force’ to your space.  You could add more pets too, but let’s go with plants today because I don’t want to be the root cause of any animal hoarding.  It started with this little succulent I planted in a recycled jar.  I layered in pebbles, dirt, and aquarium sand to make it pretty.  This little guy sits on our windowsill and makes me so happy.  9 months after I planted him, he’s still going strong, quite a feat in this home!

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

Then there’s this big guy, a hibiscus.  He’s the one I kidproofed and he certainly brings an incredible amount of ‘happy’ to this cold, gray winter.

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

Herbs are another way to add life, scent, AND use as a cooking ingredient.  In the fall, I bring any living herbs inside and sit them on my windowsill.  I also like to add in a hydroponic basil for summer flavor all winter long.  Pesto, anyone?

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

Another plant I haven’t killed yet, and it’s been about 8 years!, is this aloe in a vintage duck planter.  The shelf was $7 in a vintage shop.  Whole lotta happiness over here!

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

5.  Open shelving.  I didn’t do this to our cabinets… yet.  We’re still in the sippy cup stage so open shelves are a few years away– unless orange plastic becomes chic.  BUT!  But, open shelves are very easy to add.  Simply remove the doors of your cabinets and display your prettiest dishes and cups.  Or, add some shelves to a bare space and put out objects that make you happy.

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas{via Centsational Girl}

kitchen decor ideas{via Inspiration for Decoration}

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas{via Frugal Flourish}

I do have a few small shelves, simply for a few favorite accessories…

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

… and storage.

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

6.  Paint the backs of shelves/cabinets.  Already have open shelves and want to take them up a notch?  Paint the backs!  If you aren’t ready for that commitment, you can cut foam display board to size, cover in fabric or wrapping paper, and place in the back of your cabinets.  Pretty instant update, right?

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas{via The Polished Pebble}

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas{via Houzz}

7.  Add a rug.

When you have an expanse of wood flooring, a rug softens it up, allows you to add color, AND protects the floor.  So for under $100 (with my One King’s Lane credit, it ended up being $94) I purchased a large outdoor rug that wakes up our kitchen and gives the kids a soft place to read while I cook dinner.  I LOVE having a rug in the kitchen, and honestly there’s so many that would have been perfect in this space it was hard to choose.

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

{you can get $15 off your first order of $30 or more by signing up for One King’s Lane, too!}

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

8.  Install new blinds, shades, or curtains.

Since my former kitchen was so out of date, installing wooden matchstick blinds gave it a modern touch.  Now that my kitchen renovation is over, it’s on my list of things to update– inexpensively, of course!  Here’s a few kitchen pictures I’ve been using as inspiration for my future window update:

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas{via Better Homes and Gardens}

These DIY fabric covered roller shades from Cottage and Vine are pretty amazing:

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas

And it’s possible I’ve posted this photo from 320 Sycamore eleventy billion times on my blog, but it so embodies everything I strive for when decorating:

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas

9.  Get creative with your backsplash.

A backsplash isn’t in the budget right now (time wise, I just can’t!) so I’m thankful I still adore the framed pictures I placed in that spot.

The cost was FREE, since I had the frames, map, and recipe card that my mom wrote out when I moved away.  :: sniff ::  You can put anything in your frames, there’s so many clever ideas out there.  Plus, if food gets splattered on them you can wipe them right off.  Who needs a tiled back splash when you have a spot to display something you love?

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

10.  Add interest to a wall with art, large photos, or stencil faux wallpaper.

Right now, we have a family photo on stretched canvas on the wall above our table.  It makes me incredibly happy every time I see it, and the kids always talk about it!  We used Canvas On Demand and I’ve always been impressed with the quality and service they provide.

10 ways to update your kitchen on a dime

If photos aren’t your thing, how about plates?  Start scouring thrift stores and estate sales for plates you love (these ironstone plates in white are gorgeous) and soon you’ll have a wall-worthy collection to hang.

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas{via Houzz}

Or, create faux wallpaper by stenciling a pattern.  Actually, this could be real wallpaper– but you are doing this on a BUDGET so let’s go with ‘it’s a stencil’ here.  Your stenciling will totally look like faux wallpaper, anyways, because YOU are a rockstar.

10 Easy & Inexpensive Kitchen Ideas{via Houzz}

Hopefully you found some kitchen pictures to inspire you to do your own budget kitchen remodeling.  Next week, I’ll share my kitchen remodel that included many of these updates plus a few other bigger changes– all within a budget, but a tad more than $100.  Plus the things I wish I’d known before remodeling; mistakes we made so that YOU don’t have to!

So, which of these updates are you going to tackle first?  Have you done a budget update kitchen update, and how did it go?

{Linking up with: DIY by Design | Not Just A Housewife | DIY Showoff | My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia | Restoration Redoux}

10 Budget Kitchen Renovation Ideas on a Dime! via www.makinglemonadeblog.com

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  1. I LOVE your kitchen, Carrie! It looks so beautiful!! We did the cabinet hardware update when we first moved in (although I wish we could do the entire cabinets!) and lighting fixtures, too. You’ve in inspired me to do herbs this year….I’ll be in touch with all of my questions!!!

  2. Awesome ideas! I just switched out our hardware and have plans to change the window valence in the near future. And I love that woven pendant!

  3. Thanks for the ideas. I redid our kitchen cabinets with a kit from Home Depot. It cost 150.00. But totally changed the look of the kitchen. We had the light oak cabinets and I did them in espresso. It was pretty time consuming but I love them

  4. I love the changes you made it your kitchen and the first thing I will be doing is changing the plates, out, next adding new hardware, and on down the line – basically, if I have my way, one day my entire kitchen will be redone, using many of your ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

    1. I’m so glad you found them helpful! A little at a time is a great way to go, because before long the entire kitchen will look brand new. πŸ™‚

  5. Great ideas! We just bought a new house & I think a see a few I want to do right away! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great post! Found you on Home Talk! Wonderful, do-able ideas with great impact! There are a couple of ideas I plan to try!

    You might consider joining http://www.theblogsisters.com, a directory of home bloggers!


  7. I love this post! I never heard about those pendant lamps. I am going over to the website now to check out the styles. I have one recessed light over my sink, and this would be perfect for that. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Colleen! Fair warning about the pendant lights… once you see how awesome they are, you’ll be making up places to put them. I’ve pretty much convinced myself I need them in my hallway and living room as well. πŸ™‚

  8. Before we moved, I had plans to add some framed artwork in my kitchen for a backsplash. We’re now house/job hunting so that plan is on hold. I love all of this inspiration though! Thank you!

  9. I love these ideas!! It’s given me so many projects to start (if I can find the time) as well as triggering my creative juices to come up with my own ideas. My husband is sitting here with me saying “Oh God! Put that away!” bc I keep saying “hmm, what a great idea! We should do this and we should do that”. Thanks for sharing this!

  10. The chalkboard IS a good idea. I’ve been trying to convince my husband and he finally believes me after seeing your blog. Thanks for that! πŸ™‚

    1. I’m so glad I swayed him! I thought it would be helpful to have one for my menu planning but my husband and kids pretty much took it over. Either way, it’s a ‘must’ in our kitchen now!

  11. We are about to buy a house and in our price range will mean older and a fixer-upper. So I am loving all of these Ideas. I really like the pendant lights, the open shelves, the colored door, and the curtains! Pintrest for the win! πŸ˜›

    So thank you!


    1. HAHA! So glad you pinned these ideas and I know they’ll make your future home glow with your special (budget friendly) touches!

  12. Great ideas!
    I love your kitchen rug, it’s in my kitchen too!

  13. I have backsplash that is off white . I love your white cabinets and am planning on painting my all wood cherry cabinets (over 30 yrs old but solid wood and in very good shape).
    Would you suggest matching the off white tiles for the cabinets???

    1. That’s a great question. Do you think you’ll replace the backsplash eventually, or do you hope to keep it? If you plan to keep the backsplash off-white, I’d go for a creamier off-white for the cabinets too otherwise your backsplash may look yellow– which can make it look dirty (even though it’s not). There’s literally hundreds of shades of white, and we chose a pretty bright white for ours because I wanted them to really pop. But there’s definitely a lot of choices in the off-white category. Perhaps go to the paint store (we used Sherwin Williams) and grab a big brochure with all their whites. Start holding them up to the backsplash and see if they read yellow/blue/peach etc. It’s also totally dependent on the lighting too. White paint is really tricky!

      We don’t have a tiled backsplash yet, but I hope to put one in this year. I’m thinking of carrera marble tiles because they are a pure white but have feathers of gray to make them stand out a bit from the cabinets. That way they’ll coordinate without being too matchy-matchy, if that makes sense! Hope that helps, feel free to add photos of the backsplash to my Facebook page if you want to chat more about color!

  14. Wonderful and exciting ideas. I am a new follower. Thank you for posting this. It has given me incentive.

    1. Thanks for following! Let me know if you use any of the ideas, I love a great before and after!

  15. Carrie, you have some wonderful ideas here. I am planning to do some kitchen work this winter and these tips will help. Thanks for linking up to Throwback Thursday! Kim

  16. Could please tell where did you find those 3 beautiful pendants? is that pottery barn?thanks

    1. Hi, I got them at Home Decorator’s Collection online. They’re great, you’ll love them!

  17. So many beautiful ideas-thank you. I love your kitchen just the way it is. I think I may have to copy your pendant lights for our island. We have many ceilings lights in that area, but they’re all recessed. Right now it seem smore like an operating room to me than a welcoming kitchen. LOL. It’s great to see all these room-transforming ideas and especially when it doesn’t require geat expense.

    1. Thanks so much, Dorothy! Go for the pendant lights, you’ll love them!

  18. Love this post! Doy you mind me asking how you did #5 with those side shelves? I want to do something similar in my kitchen and put some basic shelves on the sides of the cabinet.

    1. The shelves were already there, we just painted them white. I did check the cabinets, and it looks like the shelves are screwed in from the opposite side (so, from inside the cabinets and the backing board). Hope that helps, we love those little shelves!

  19. Hi Carrie, your kitchen pictures are so awesome. I think it is a great idea to add plants in your kitchen. Growing some fresh herbs in the kitchen itself will not only add β€œlife force” but will also fill the space with light fragrance. Plus, you get fresh herbs for your preparations. Pendant lights, chalkboard walls and painted backs of shelves or cabinets are definitely worth trying.

  20. Any idea where you found these curtain tiers? They are blue, green and teal-ish floral?? Thanks!

  21. I am looking to spice things up a bit in our kitchen and am in need of some remodeling ideas. I like what was said about updating the cabinets. It would be good to switch out the hardware. We will keep this in mind as we start our remodeling project.

  22. These are some great tips for kitchen remodeling. I love the tip about putting in pendant lights of some kind. The lighting we have now is so boring, since they’re just flood lights. We’ll have to look at hanging some lights down.

  23. As always, you’ve left me inspired with some great ideas! I am looking kitchen updating ideas and I like the valuable information provided by you. I am planning to update our kitchen next month and this will definitely help me. Thanks for sharing.

  24. My kitchen is currently rather dark and doesn’t have that great of storage options. So I want to remodel to make the area look nice and fresh again and be somewhere that I actually want to spend time in. So I love your suggestion to use pendant lights because they’ll fit into every style from chic to modern to farmhouse. I’ll have to get some of those, but I think that I’ll also find someone who’ll be able to help me with the remodel as a whole.

  25. Thanks for sharing the budget-friendly kitchen renovation updates one can have without putting burden on the homeowners pocket. I loved paint idea on the backs of shelves/ cabinets.

  26. I love the picture you have with the open shelves, with green, yellow, and blue dishes. My kitchen is being remodeled right now, and I am looking int different want to update my home as it is going along. I think having open shelves would be a wonderful addition to have a bit more space in my kitchen, as well as display the small collection of dishes I have been making over the years.

  27. Decorating the wall with plates!? That’s some out of the box thinking and interesting one too.

  28. This is awesome! I’ve been wanting to make updates to my kitchen for years, but have never had the budget to do it! I love how simple these updates are, but they can make it look like you made big updates and remodeled the kitchen. I will definitely be using several of these! Thanks for sharing!

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