1. Replace outdated appliances with energy-efficient ones. Even if you don't have tons of money to put toward a kitchen remodel, this is something that can be done in phases. The money and energy savings in the long run can make a dent in that initial cost. We found that installing an energy- and water-efficient dishwasher would save us money on both electricity and water bills each month, making it a smart kitchen investment. Look for Energy Star appliances on Craigslist, too!
2. Paint cabinets, inside and out, with low-VOC paints. A change of color can freshen up a space for a small amount of cash—and we've found that having our inside cabinets painted bright white has helped the cabinets look cleaner and more organized!
3. Re-floor with a sustainable choice. If you're up for a big overhaul, look at eco-friendly flooring options: cork, bamboo, sustainable hardwood, tile, and more.
4. Utilize cork. Not up for a cork floor? It's still a great material in the kitchen. Line your shelves with cork to protect them and offer your prized pots a safe place to sit. Or maybe try a cork countertop.
5. Update fixtures. Install a water-wise faucet and change out your lightbulbs for CFLs (or the energy-efficient bulb of your choice).
(Image: via Design*Sponge.)