Lots of the things you dream about changing in your kitchen — new countertops, new flooring, new appliances — will cost an arm and a leg. But the good news is that there are things you can do to make your kitchen a better place that won't quite break the bank. Here are five ideas.
1. Paint just your lower (or upper) cabinets.
Two tone cabinets are a huge trend right now, and to get the look you only need to paint half of the cabinetry in your kitchen. Painting lower cabinets a darker color and leaving the uppers white, as seen in Ryan's San Francisco kitchen, can help upper cabinets disappear into the wall and make the room seem more open.
2. Add wallpaper inside your cabinets.
Lining your cabinets with wallpaper (as seen on Domino) is an inexpensive, if somewhat time-consuming, way to perk up your kitchen. Bonus points if you have glass doors, so the pretty pattern will show even with the doors closed.
3. Paint your backsplash.
In some kitchens the backsplash material carries all the way up the wall to the upper cabinets, but in others there's only a 4" lip, usually in the same material as the countertops, and above that there's just plain old wall. Painting the wall between your lower and upper cabinets will add a little cheerful color to your kitchen, and you choose a high-gloss paint it'll be easier to clean, too. Image from Home Stories.
4. Add a vintage piece.
Whether it's an island (as pictured here, from KK Living), or a hutch for storing your extra dishes, or just a little cabinet hanging on the wall, adding a vintage piece is a great way to add character to your kitchen without remodeling or spending a ton of money.
5. Re-tile your backsplash.
Re-tiling your backsplash is a time-consuming, but fairly straightforward, DIY project. Here's a DIY from This Old House, and here's a post that follows Renovation Diarists Sandra and Justin as they replace the tile in their kitchen. Of course tiles run the gamut, price-wise, but there are plenty of budget options out there, including subway tile, which is hugely popular and can be laid in all kinds of interesting patterns (like this sideways herringbone spotted on Flourish Design + Style).