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10 Kitchen Update Ideas

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Today I am sharing 10 kitchen update ideas you can do to your kitchen without getting involved in a full-scale renovation. Sometimes your kitchen just needs a little updating not a renovation, to get it into tip-top shape.

We all know kitchen renovations are expensive. Even if you haven’t personally been through one, you’ve seen them on HGTV shows like Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper. Every time they mention the kitchen renovation budget, it’s never less than $15000. However I feel like depending on how in-depth the renovation really is, most full-scale projects can be $30,000 or more. Yikes!

Not only is money a factor when it comes to taking on a kitchen update but, the time it takes to do all these updates is another key component. 

For most people, they don’t have the luxury to move out of their house while a renovation is being completed. So with that being said, the timeline they are working with is usually tight.

Can you imagine trying to renovate a kitchen with a full house? That seems like it just adds to the stress of an already stressful renovation situation. 

A full kitchen renovation requires more than time and money. It also requires a great amount of planning to make sure the vision of your dream kitchen is achieved.  In the meantime, there a few things you can do to update your kitchen without a remodel while you are saving and planning for your future full-scale renovation.  



Updating your kitchen cabinet doors is not the most inexpensive fix you can do. However, if you aren’t in need of a full-scale kitchen renovation updating your doors can make a big impact on your kitchen’s look as well as its style. 

white kitchen cabinets

When I first moved into my home I knew there were kitchen updates I wanted to tackle. Fortunately, the kitchen had good bones and a workable layout. The one thing I couldn’t get past was the cabinet doors.

They were a traditional style, box store, builder-grade cabinet.  Knowing replacing the entire set of cabinets and getting into renovation was out of the question, merely updating the doors would make a world of a difference.

I choose an unfinished shaker front style and painted them all white. Choosing the unfinished door not only saved money, but it allowed me to paint the cabinets the color I wanted. 


To piggyback off of the first kitchen update, painting your cabinets is one of the easiest ways to make an impactful, budget-friendly upgrade to your kitchen without a full renovation.

For the DIYers, it’s the cost of a can of paint, some supplies, and maybe a pizza and some beer to bribe a friend or 2 to help. (Drink the beer after you are done!)

Save time! Get the best painting supplies available!


For all of the non DIYers, you can consider hiring a reputable painting company like WOW 1 Day Painting to come and tackle the job for you, quickly and professionally.

This option will only make it seem like you remodeled your kitchen cabinets. It’s amazing how paint can make such an impactful change.

As I mentioned before, I painted my cabinet doors SW Pure White. But the color possibilities are endless.


Painting your existing kitchen cabinets is definitely one of the best ways you can update your kitchen without a renovation.

two toned kitchen

Just recently I helped my sister update her kitchen. We painted her lower cabinets  Blue Peacock  Sherwin Williams, which is a gorgeous, statement-making teal color.

To complement the lower cabinets, for the uppers we went with Olympus White by Sherwin Williams, a very light, almost white gray. I’m telling you, it transformed the kitchen. No Reno required!

READ MORE: The best kitchen cabinet paint colors.


One of the quickest and easiest kitchen updates you can do without a renovation is replacing the hardware on your cabinets. Now is this going to transform your kitchen? Not necessarily but, it will update it enough to give your kitchen a fresh look. 

I opted for matte black finish hardware to continue my kitchen update. Wayfair has several beautiful options ranging in price. From traditional to modern, the options are endless. 

black cabinet knobs

Of course, Amazon is an excellent option for affordable hardware as well. They also sell this handy mounting template to ensure you are mounting all your hardware in the right spot. It’s inexpensive and it will ensure you mount the hardware in the same spot on all your kitchen cabinets.


Switching out your current kitchen faucet for a new and improved one is another fantastic kitchen update without a renovation that is both functional and visually appealing. 

Just by simply updating your faucet, your kitchen will automatically feel newer.  This, along with some of the other smaller options are a great starting point for your kitchen update.

I just recently updated my faucet for this Moen Align in matte black. I have to say it really made a difference in my kitchen. This particular faucet is on the large size, which gives it a “grand” sort of presence making it the perfect addition to my kitchen.

READ MORE: Amazing Kitchen Faucet Options


Swapping out those old outdated light fixtures is another inexpensive kitchen update that can easily be done without a renovation. Not only is it an easy update but it’s also absolutely impactful.

Getting your lighting right is a guaranteed way to help your kitchen along with the update process. 

Sometimes it could be the size of the light fixtures that make the impact, which happened to be my case.

The pendant light fixtures that came with the house were extremely too small for my kitchen space.

Simply swapping them out for more size appropriate pendants made a world of a difference and didn’t break the bank.

white kitchen


Creating an accent wall is a fun way to put your creative touch in your kitchen update. An accent wall can be as simple as painting it a different color to installing shiplap. Check out how I created my own shiplap here.

Then go find out how to paint shiplap the easy way.

This is a great time to put your creativity to work, especially if you are working within a budget. Stenciling, wallpaper, and even faux brick are other ways to add something unexpected to your kitchen. And the best part about it is it doesn’t require a renovation.

You can find beautiful wallpaper here.


Changing your backsplash is a kitchen update that will definitely make an impact. Depending upon what your current backsplash situation is,  this can range in price

If you do not currently have any backsplash, one inexpensive way to make an update is by using a fun stencil like this one. This will give you the look of an elaborate tile without the cost.

You can also opt to install a tile of your choice. With tile being available in all different price ranges, it will be easy to find one you love. 

Find your tile here.

tin tile backsplash

Have an existing tile? Consider painting it.  Not into painting your tile? Think about installing tin tiles like these tin tiles over the existing backsplash. They are mid-range in relation to cost but they are extremely easy to install.

This is how my sister updated her backsplash and what a statement it made!


If you love everything about your kitchen except the appliances then why not consider upgrading them?

Is this the cheapest kitchen update?

No, not quiet. But if it’s the only update needed you are still saving a considerable amount of money in comparison to a full-scale kitchen renovation.  


Not only is buying your kitchen appliances in a package deal a fantastic way to save money, but it will also provide your kitchen with a cohesive feel.

Don’t need to update all of your kitchen appliances? No worries! You can 100% purchase what you need at the moment.

Sometimes it’s not the big appliances in your kitchen that need an update. The smaller appliances make a difference too.

Consider treating yourself to a fun colored KitchenAid mixer to add an enjoyable pop of color to your kitchen. Find more KitchenAid mixer colors here


Updating your kitchen sink will not only be a beautiful kitchen update but it will also be functional. And Let’s not forget it’s a great update to do without renovating.

The kitchen sink may not always be the first thing you think of to update. However, it’s a fantastic option.

Sinks come in all shapes, sizes, and styles now. There are way more options than the familiar stainless steel sink. You can find anything from gorgeous copper sinks to Granite Composite sinks.

When I updated my kitchen I opted to go with a white farmhouse sink. Not only was it the style that drew me in, but the functionality of it as well.  Sure it’s fun to have a “pretty” kitchen, but additionally, it needs to be a working kitchen too.

Consider this show-stopping farmhouse sink to really add some wow to your kitchen.


The last, but certainly not the least kitchen update- countertops. You may think that the only way to update your counters is to completely replace them. This isn’t true. If you have laminate and aren’t a fan of the color, paint them. Rust-Oleum makes this Specialty Light Base Satin Countertop Resurfacing Kit that you can find at Lowes. There is also the  Giani Countertop Paint Kit that is very highly rated on Amazon.

Another countertop option for your kitchen update is butcher block. It’s less expensive than granite or stone and it will still make an impact on your kitchen. Ikea has great butcher block options.

Like I mentioned earlier, I helped my sister update her kitchen. Being on a budget we had to get creative for her countertops. Originally the kitchen had a tiled top, so painting it was out and the butcher block was a little over budget. 

two toned kitchen

We decided to make our own bar-style counters out of plywood and this Epoxy Resin Coating.  They came out amazing and were budget-friendly. Win, Win.

If you do have the budget for a stone countertop It will most certainly make an immense impact on your kitchen.

Before you start demoing your entire kitchen, stop, and really evaluate what your wants and needs are for the kitchen. Not all kitchens need to be fully renovated. Using these kitchen update ideas will save you time, money, and aggravation in the long run.


  1. Replace your kitchen cabinet doors.
  2. Paint your existing cabinets.
  3. Update your kitchen cabinet hardware.
  4. Upgrade your kitchen faucet.
  5. Update outdated light fixtures.
  6. Create an accent wall in your kitchen.
  7. Add a fun backsplash.
  8. Replace your appliances with upgraded ones.
  9. Update your kitchen sink.
  10. Invest in new countertops.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to updating your kitchen without a renovation, there are so many different ways to do it while sticking to a budget.

Not all kitchens need a full renovation. Sometimes it’s just a few updates here and there that will do the trick.

Before you decide to start ripping your kitchen apart, step back and access what updates your kitchen really needs. You may be surprised how you can give your kitchen an upgrade without renovating it.



Monday 9th of May 2022

Where do you order cabinet doors?

Lisa A Edlind

Sunday 10th of November 2019

I noticed your slider didn't have window treatments or blinds. I have repose gray on my walls around my sliding door, a window above my sink and chairs that need to be recovered. How about an article on how to choose fabrics? I'm struggling with finding grays that match the repose!

Cate Griffing

Friday 22nd of November 2019

That's a great idea, Lisa. I'll add that to my list of post ideas!


Thursday 28th of February 2019

Great ideas Cate! I can't wait to update our kitchen with painting the cabinets, a new counter top and back splash, and some special touches. I don't even take pictures of it as-is right now. :( Our kitchen and light fixtures around the house are definitely not my style!

Dori Turner

Wednesday 27th of February 2019

Wow! These are some great tips! And your kitchen is beautiful! Thanks for the budget friendly advice!


Thursday 28th of February 2019

Thank you so much Dori!


Wednesday 27th of February 2019

My kitchen is famous! But seriously, our kitchen wouldn't look even a fraction as great as it does now without all of your amazing help!!!


Wednesday 27th of February 2019

I was happy to help! Whats our next project?

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