How to Update a Kitchen in 15 Simple Ways (Without Remodeling)

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Looking for some budget-friendly ways to update a kitchen without remodeling? Check out these 15 favorite ideas to a kitchen that feels new!  Keep reading for a lot of examples and so much kitchen inspiration for everything from quick updates to DIY projects that will have your kitchen feeling bright and fresh!

Believe it or not, I’ve only had the opportunity to remodel one kitchen.  Honestly, that was simply because the kitchen was utterly unusable.  However, in our previous homes, we had slowly updated our kitchens bit by bit.  If you’re looking for some budget-friendly ways to update a kitchen, whether it’s a weekend project or a more involved DIY, you’ll love all of the inspiring ideas in this round up!

Often, kitchens really do not need a complete remodel.  Instead, some simple tweaks and updates can make your kitchen feel fresh and fit the aesthetic of your own style.  It can be tempting to fall into the trap of “gutting the whole thing and starting over.”  However, if that doesn’t fit your budget or time, this blog post is for YOU!!!

How can I update my kitchen without replacing it?

This round up of favorite ideas is going to give you a lot of inspiration!

  • how to decorate above kitchen cabinets
  • how to update cherry cabinets without painting them
  • easy tips and ideas to decorate kitchen countertops
  • how to paint cabinets with chalk paint
  • why open shelving is wonderful in a kitchen
  • how to makeover your kitchen table
  • ideas to style open shelving
  • how to make a European-style copper pot rack
  • easy ways to organize your pantry and refrigerator (sometimes the best updates are behind closed doors!)
  • how to refinish your kitchen cabinets

Where do I start with updating my kitchen?

Here are some great questions to ask yourself and consider as you begin to contemplate and plan your kitchen updates:

  • How can the space function the best for my family?
  • What updates are the highest priority?
  • Which of those prioritized updates fit in the budget?
  • What long-term changes and updates will be the most helpful for everyday life?
  • If the updates go beyond cosmetic changes, what timeless designs and quality products will we invest in?
  • For cosmetic updates, what easy changes can I make to modernize my kitchen?
  • What updates can help my kitchen look and feel like an inviting “heart of the home”?
  • Are these updates things I am skilled at doing myself?  What research do I need to do?  Do I need to get professional help?  (By the way, it is 500% okay to not know how to do something and even more okay to hire help!  Don’t get caught in the trap of having to DIY every single thing!)
  • Is there a deadline for these updates?  What timeline do I need to implement to get everything done that I want to do?
  • Did I allow margin in the budget for unexpected things?


How to Update a Kitchen in 15 Simple Ways (without remodeling)

#1: Update a kitchen by adding open shelving

Would you ever consider adding open shelving to your kitchen?  Or do you already have open shelving?  Pasha from Pasha Is Home discusses the benefits of including open shelving in your kitchen design plan.

Open shelves are a controversial kitchen addition. This post gives you all the reasons you should install them in your kitchen.  Check it out HERE!

#2: Update a kitchen by updating the stand-alone furniture!

Do you have an outdated table that could use some TLC?  Sometimes just a fresh take on an old piece of furniture can give your whole room a new look.

Jen from Midwest Life and Style shows you how easy it is to give your kitchen table an affordable makeover with just a bit of mistint paint.  Get her tips and tutorial HERE!

#3: Update a kitchen area by restyling a dated hutch.

Do you have trouble styling your china cabinet or kitchen hutch?  You can make a whole kitchen area feel fresh and new just be redecorating in a way that fits your style!

Michele from Vintage Home Designs has some easy step by step ideas on how to decorate your hutch with layers that add uniqueness and interest.  Get her decor tips, ideas, and styling tricks over on THIS post!

#4: Update a kitchen from the 90’s with these budget ideas.

Who has a kitchen from the 90’s?  Probably a LOT of us have dealt with some of those 90’s kitchens and have been ready for some updates.  However, a 90’s kitchen may not actually need a complete remodel.  

Jen from Tater Tots and Jello has some great ideas to update a 90’s kitchen on THIS post.  Best of all?  These are budget-friendly ideas that you’ll want to check out, no matter what era of kitchen you’re working with!

#5: Update a kitchen by giving it a cozy cottage style.

Have you considered transforming your kitchen into a more relaxed and cozy space?  After all, it’s a room that most of us spend a LOT of time.  Why not make it a really cozy space just like the rest of your home?

On THIS post, Kim from Shiplap and Shells will show you 13 simple ways to create a charming cottage-style kitchen.  You’ll love these ideas that you can easily incorporate into your kitchen for a fresh look and style.

#6: Update a kitchen by restyling open shelves.

We chatted earlier about the benefits of having open shelving in a kitchen.  However, when it comes to keeping it freshly styled, THIS post from Heidi at Eleanor Rose Home has got great decor tips.  

If you don’t have open shelving in your kitchen, still check this out.  There are great styling tips and ideas that you can use as inspiration for other shelves too!

#7: Update your kitchen with seasonal accents.

As we transition into spring, do you struggle with how to style your kitchen counters? You can have beautifully styled kitchen counters without a lot of fuss or clutter.  Tammy from White Lilac Farmhouse is sharing some easy ways to bring in those pretty spring accents!

Get Tammy’s tips and ideas for spring kitchen decor on THIS post!

#8: Update a kitchen by adding functional (and fun) elements!

Renae from Peacock Ridge Farm is sharing a fabulous DIY project that not only adds gorgeous European-style charm to a kitchen, but also great function.  At the same time, this could be a perfect storage solutions for smaller kitchens too.

Follow along as Renae shows you how to make an elegant pot rack from copper pipe. See her full step by step instructions HERE!

#9: How can I add better function to my kitchen?

Sometimes the best updates are the ones that happen behind closed doors.  Coco from The Crowned Goat is inspiring us with some easy and functional ideas.

Find her simple tips and tricks on how to keep your pantry and refrigerator neat and tidy all year long HERE!

#10: Update a kitchen by refinishing the cabinets.

How can I update my kitchen without replacing it?

Take a look at your kitchen cabinets!  Actually, that is one of the most popular ways to update a kitchen.  However, it can also be extremely expensive.

Thinking about redoing your kitchen cabinets but need a budget-friendly solution?  Kelly from The Tattered Pew has a post that will give you great resources, tips, and tools to use.  At the same time, Kelly has great inspiration to help you get the project started!

Kelly’s post is a must read on why refinishing kitchen cabinets is a good idea!  Check it out HERE!

#11: Update a kitchen by switching up your decor!

Looking for ideas on how to decorate above kitchen cabinets with a modern farmhouse style? Rachel from The Pond’s Farmhouse shares tips for creative decorating using collectibles and more. 

Rachel has great vintage pieces and you’ll love seeing how she incorporates them into a fresh look for her kitchen HERE!

#12: Update your kitchen by working with what you’ve got!

I love when someone inspires me to throw the “trend” out the window and get creative with what I’ve got.  If you have cherry wood cabinets, this post from Anne and AnnMarie at Simply 2 Moms is a must-read!

Who says a kitchen with cherry cabinets can’t look modern?  They’ve got ideas to update your kitchen with wood cabinets without painting them!  Get inspired HERE!

#13: Update a kitchen with some custom projects.

Looking to update your kitchen or butler’s pantry with a few DIY projects on a budget?  One of these DIY ideas could be the key to making your kitchen feel fresh and new again!

Over on THIS post, Wendy from WM Design House is sharing her one room challenge and how you can take on your kitchen too!  

Learn how to lay a beadboard backsplash over your existing tile. paint your cabinets and pour epoxy countertops.  Get all of the details HERE!

#14: Should I paint my cabinets?

How can I update my kitchen without replacing  cabinets?

Looking to update your kitchen on a budget? Learn how to paint wood cabinets with chalk paint with my good friend Stacy from Bricks ‘n Blooms.  Painting cabinets might sound like a daunting task but Stacy has great inspiration to help you get started.

It’s a budget-friendly remodel that is easy to do and totally worth the effort!  Stacy has great tips and tricks for you on THIS post!

#15: Update a kitchen by restyling your kitchen countertops.

What is the cheapest way to update a kitchen?

One of the most budget-friendly ways to give your kitchen a fresh look is to rethink the decor pieces in the space.  How can you shop your own home or replace some small accessories to give your kitchen a new, bright look and feel?

Often, we can be tempted to get sucked into the remodeling aspect of updating our home.  The reality is that most of us don’t actually need a remodel.  At the same time, we want a fresh look.

Over on THIS post, I’m chatting about how you can update your kitchen simply by restyling your kitchen countertops.

It is tricky to decorate kitchen countertops in inviting ways without feeling cluttered. Follow these simple tips for to make kitchen counter and kitchen island decorating a breeze!

You can also shop my Amazon Storefront for my favorite kitchen decor accessories.

Hint: Almost all of them are also really functional too!

How can I make my bad kitchen look good?

Well, first of all, chances are your kitchen isn’t as bad as you think.  It can be really helpful to do a good deep clean, step back, take a deep breath, and prioritize the needs (and then the wants) for your kitchen!

Here are a few more ideas you can use on a budget to update your kitchen without renovating:

  • Change the hardware
  • Add a temporary backsplash
  • Paint the countertops
  • Cover up bad flooring or paint flooring if possible (a great rug can help too!)
  • Take down doors
  • Add storage solutions, such as a DIY kitchen island or a great furniture piece
  • Add plants!

What are the 3 main tips to consider for updating a kitchen?

Before you ever begin a kitchen update, you’ll definitely want to consider these three important aspects:

  1. Make sure the function of your kitchen has the top priority.  All cosmetic and aesthetic choices should enhance the function, including decor elements.
  2. Be smart and creative with your storage solutions.  Maximize storage whenever possible.
  3. Include as much countertop space as possible; ultimately, this adds to the function.

I love that this entire list of kitchen update ideas all fit these three essential criteria for kitchen design and style!  

Once you have the function your kitchen at the highest capacity, then you can work on adding simple things that make your kitchen feel as welcoming and inviting as possible for you and your family!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  











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