The kitchen is the hub of the home: It's where we cook, sometimes where we eat, and it's always where the real party is. So if your kitchen is in need of a makeover, it's hard to ignore — after all, you're in the room all the time.
But, while a full kitchen reno can run into the hundreds of thousands, there are small decorating upgrades you can do on a shoestring budget — or for nothing at all. Here are a few of our favorite ideas.
1. Switch up your lighting.
It's no fun cooking in a dark, under-lit kitchen. Invest in LED bulbs for natural-looking, super-bright lights, or even under-cabinet lighting for hard-to-access areas.
2. Make your kitchen work for you.
Think about how you use your kitchen. Do the kids cluster around the counter? Why not add some bar stools so they can sit comfortably. More seating is also a great solution if you're a frequent entertainer.
Also, consider your storage options. Do you use all the appliances on your countertop? If you don't, it's time to hide whatever isn't used at least once weekly in a cabinet. Where are the tools you use most often? They should be easy to find when you're cooking. Is there anything you can remove from your countertop and mount on the wall or a cabinet, like a paper towel holder, spice rack, or dishwashing tools? Organizing your kitchen to suit your needs is one of the simplest and most effective ways of upgrading.
3. Clear your refrigerator doors.
Life admin in the form of receipts, school notes, and bills love to cling to the fridge door with the assistance of magnets purchased from souvenir shops and those received in the mail from your local plumbers. Freshen up your kitchen with a simple declutter: get rid of it all!
Try purchasing a magnetic notepad for notes and shopping lists, or a family calendar that can keep all of the chaos contained. Throw out the magnets you don't need (which is most of them), and if you must have magnets, invest in quality ones that won't look like an eyesore in a year.
4. Clean your appliances.
Trust us: Your toaster and kettle would love a polish. Mix cream of tartar and water into a thick paste and apply to your stainless-steel appliances. Leave for 10 minutes and wipe the paste away to reveal a shine so bright you might need sunglasses.
5. While you're at it, clean your sink.
Hygiene experts often say your sink is the most germ-ridden place in your home, and while you may think it's clean, it most definitely is not. Sprinkle baking soda all over the sink and scrub with a soft sponge doused in white vinegar. Add a bit more baking soda and rinse with white vinegar, then rinse again with boiling water.
6. Clean your gas burners.
More cleaning, sorry! But this one makes a huge difference, trust us. Soak those gas burners in ammonia and they'll come up gleaming.
7. Invest in a large chopping board.
If your countertops have seen better days — or are just plain ugly — but you're not inclined to replace them yet, use a large chopping board to cover the space: beautiful and functional.
8. Get creative with your cabinets.
If the interior of your cabinets is fine, but the doors could use a makeover, try covering them with decals or even contact paper. If you're feeling slightly more ambitious, why not give them a lick of paint? Bold kitchen cabinetry will instantly transform the space.
9. Display art.
The kitchen is often neglected when it comes to art, which is crazy — adding art is a simple, inexpensive way to inject your kitchen with personality whether you're propping up a small framed piece or placing personal mementos on open shelving.
10. Put your cookbooks on display.
Cookbooks and coffeetable books are beautiful — so use them to make your kitchen more beautiful. Set aside an existing shelf, or add a floating shelf to display your loveliest cookbooks.
This article was originally written by Homes to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.