DIY Kitchen Upgrades: Easy Projects to Enhance Your Space

The kitchen is often called the heart of the home, and rightfully so. It’s where meals are prepared, families gather, and memories are made. Enhancing your kitchen doesn’t have to be a costly, overwhelming endeavor. With some creativity and a bit of elbow grease, you can tackle a variety of DIY projects to transform your kitchen into a space that is both functional and beautiful. Here are some easy and affordable DIY kitchen upgrades to get you started.

Painting Your Cabinets

One of the most impactful yet straightforward ways to update your kitchen is by painting the cabinets. A fresh coat of paint can completely change the look and feel of your space.

Sherry Petersik, Blogger and DIY Enthusiast: “The kitchen is the heart of the home, and even small changes can make a big impact. Don’t be afraid to tackle DIY projects – they can be a fun and affordable way to personalize your space.” (Source: Young House Love)

Steps to Paint Your Cabinets:

  1. Remove the Cabinet Doors and Hardware: Label each door and its corresponding location to ensure an easy reassembly.
  2. Clean the Surfaces: Use a degreaser to clean all surfaces thoroughly.
  3. Sand the Cabinets: Lightly sand the cabinets to help the paint adhere better.
  4. Apply Primer: Use a good-quality primer suitable for kitchen cabinets.
  5. Paint the Cabinets: Apply two to three coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly.
  6. Reattach the Doors and Hardware: Once everything is dry, reattach the doors and hardware.

Personal Anecdote: I recently painted my kitchen cabinets a bright white, and the difference it made was astounding. The kitchen looks more spacious and modern, and it was a weekend project that didn’t break the bank.

Installing a New Backsplash

A new backsplash can add color, texture, and personality to your kitchen. It’s a relatively simple project that can make a significant impact.

Nicole Curtis, Home Renovation Expert: “DIY kitchen upgrades are all about creativity and resourcefulness. Look for ways to repurpose old materials or salvage finds to add character and charm to your kitchen.” (Source: Nicole Curtis)

Steps to Install a Backsplash:

  1. Choose Your Material: Tiles, peel-and-stick options, or reclaimed wood are popular choices.
  2. Prepare the Wall: Ensure the wall is clean, dry, and smooth.
  3. Measure and Cut: Measure your space and cut the backsplash material accordingly.
  4. Apply Adhesive: For tiles, apply thin-set mortar; for peel-and-stick, simply peel off the backing.
  5. Install the Backsplash: Press the backsplash material into place, starting from the center and working outwards.
  6. Grout and Seal (if using tiles): Apply grout between the tiles and seal to protect from moisture.

Personal Anecdote: Installing a subway tile backsplash in my kitchen was a fun and rewarding project. The tiles added a touch of elegance and made the space feel more polished and complete.

Upgrading Your Hardware

Swapping out old hardware for new knobs and pulls is a quick and easy way to refresh your kitchen. It’s like giving your kitchen a little jewelry makeover.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, Home Renovation Experts: “Your kitchen doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Embrace the imperfections and create a space that is warm, inviting, and reflects your personal style.” (Source: Magnolia)

Steps to Upgrade Hardware:

  1. Remove Old Hardware: Use a screwdriver to remove the existing knobs and pulls.
  2. Fill and Sand Holes (if necessary): If the new hardware doesn’t match the old hole placements, fill the old holes with wood filler and sand smooth.
  3. Measure and Mark: Measure and mark the new hole placements.
  4. Drill New Holes: Carefully drill the new holes.
  5. Attach New Hardware: Screw the new knobs and pulls into place.

Personal Anecdote: When we upgraded the hardware in our kitchen, we chose a mix of brushed nickel knobs and pulls. The change was subtle but added a cohesive and modern touch to the kitchen.

Adding Open Shelving

Open shelving can create a more airy and accessible kitchen. It’s an excellent way to display your favorite dishes, cookbooks, and decorative items.

Erin Napier, Interior Designer and TV Personality: “DIY kitchen upgrades are a great way to add value to your home without breaking the bank. Start with small projects like painting your cabinets or changing your hardware, and then work your way up to larger projects like installing a new backsplash or countertops.” (Source: HGTV)

Steps to Add Open Shelving:

  1. Choose Your Shelving Material: Wood, metal, or glass are common choices.
  2. Find the Studs: Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs.
  3. Mark and Drill Holes: Mark the placement of the brackets and drill pilot holes.
  4. Install the Brackets: Secure the brackets to the wall.
  5. Attach the Shelves: Place the shelves on the brackets and secure them.

Personal Anecdote: Adding open shelving above our coffee station made it so much easier to access our mugs and coffee supplies. Plus, it added a charming, café-like feel to the kitchen.

Creating a Kitchen Island

If you have the space, adding a kitchen island can provide additional counter space, storage, and seating. You can build one from scratch or repurpose an existing piece of furniture.

Monica Mangin, DIY Expert: “Don’t be intimidated by DIY kitchen projects. With a little planning and research, you can tackle almost any upgrade yourself. And the satisfaction of completing a project yourself is priceless.” (Source: East Coast Creative)

Steps to Create a Kitchen Island:

  1. Choose Your Base: An old dresser, table, or pre-made cabinet can serve as the base.
  2. Add a Countertop: Install a countertop on top of the base. You can use butcher block, granite, or even a repurposed wooden door.
  3. Install Casters (optional): Adding casters can make your island mobile, which is great for flexible kitchen layouts.
  4. Add Storage Features: Attach hooks, shelves, or racks to maximize storage.

Personal Anecdote: We repurposed an old dresser into a kitchen island. Adding a butcher block top and some fresh paint turned it into a functional and stylish centerpiece for our kitchen.

Installing Under-Cabinet Lighting

Under-cabinet lighting can brighten up your countertops and make your kitchen feel more inviting. It’s a relatively simple project that can be completed in an afternoon.

Steps to Install Under-Cabinet Lighting:

  1. Choose Your Lighting: LED strip lights are a popular choice for their energy efficiency and ease of installation.
  2. Measure and Cut: Measure the length of your cabinets and cut the lighting strips to fit.
  3. Mount the Lights: Use adhesive backing or clips to attach the lights to the underside of your cabinets.
  4. Connect to Power: Plug the lights into an outlet or hardwire them for a more permanent solution.

Personal Anecdote: Installing under-cabinet lighting made a huge difference in our kitchen. The additional light made cooking and food prep much easier and created a warm, welcoming ambiance in the evening.

Refinishing Countertops

If replacing your countertops is out of your budget, consider refinishing them instead. You can use a countertop refinishing kit to give them a fresh, new look.

Steps to Refinish Countertops:

  1. Clean and Sand: Clean the countertops thoroughly and sand them lightly to help the new finish adhere.
  2. Apply Primer: Use a primer suitable for your countertop material.
  3. Apply the Refinishing Kit: Follow the instructions on the kit to apply the new finish.
  4. Seal the Countertops: Once the finish is dry, apply a sealant to protect it.

Personal Anecdote: Refinishing our laminate countertops with a marble-look kit gave our kitchen a high-end look without the high-end price tag. It was a weekend project that completely transformed the space.


DIY kitchen upgrades are a fantastic way to personalize your space, add value to your home, and enjoy the satisfaction of completing projects yourself. Whether you’re painting cabinets, installing a new backsplash, or adding open shelving, there are countless ways to enhance your kitchen on a budget.

Sherry Petersik, Blogger and DIY Enthusiast: “The kitchen is the heart of the home, and even small changes can make a big impact. Don’t be afraid to tackle DIY projects – they can be a fun and affordable way to personalize your space.” (Source: Young House Love)

So, roll up your sleeves and get started on your next DIY kitchen project. With a little creativity and effort, you can create a kitchen that is functional, stylish, and uniquely yours. Happy renovating!

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Nyla Rose

Say hello to Nyla Rose, a special person who helps people make their homes pretty and comfortable. Mary went to the University of Creativity to learn all about making spaces beautiful.

For more than 10 years, she’s been sharing her smart and fun ideas about home decorating with people all around the world. Mary loves to talk about cool DIY projects, how to decorate on a budget, and choosing the perfect items for your home. Her friendly tips and stories are loved by many because she makes home decorating easy and joyful!

Contact: E-Mail

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