Easy Ways to Update Cabinets on a Budget

updating cabinets on a budget // diy kitchen updates // www.Tantrumsandtools.com

If you’re searching for ideas on updating cabinets on a budget, the odds are that you hate the look of your kitchen, want a new kitchen, and need ideas to update your outdated space.

It’s also likely you can’t afford a full kitchen remodel right now and are looking to buy a little time so you can save up. 

Is this you? It certainly was me when I was updating my 60’s home kitchen on a small budget. I had to get creative, but by using these diy projects, I was able to make a huge difference in my kitchen without spending too much money or doing an entire kitchen remodel.

I’m sharing budget kitchen ideas that make a big impact, giving your kitchen a totally fresh look and increase the value of your home without breaking the bank. 

Check out these easy ways that you can do to update your cabinets without doing a whole kitchen remodel.

Just a friendly reminder: This tutorial and any opinions or recommendations are genuinely mine, but this is not a substitute for consulting a professional. I also use affiliate links to earn a commission.

Updating Cabinets on a Budget: Paint

Are you swooning over white kitchens?

Now imagine having one for the cost of a gallon of paint.

I know what you’re thinking: painting your kitchen cabinets is not the new idea you were looking for. But there is a reason, so stick with me! Giving your cabinets a new coat of paint is the easiest and more affordable way to totally transform your outdated cabinets.

Older homes generally have real wood cabinets, and news flash, this is not standard when you buy new cabinets. You have to pay big bucks to get real wood these days, so take advantage of this asset and update the ugly, but keep the asset.

If your home is not necessarily older but rather builder-grade and outdated, then you likely have honey oak cabinets. You know, those orange-ish-looking cabinets with the wood grain? You can paint these too and at a fraction of the cost of replacing them.

Check out my blog post on painting kitchen cabinets here, where I give all the tips and tricks, including the best paint to use. And if you’re updating those oak cabinets, you’ll also need to check out my tricks to hide the wood grain. Don’t let any of this overwhelm or scare you away; you can do this, and it will be more than worth it!

Updating Cabinets on a Budget: Hardware

Another super easy cabinet update is the hardware. Either by spray painting existing ones or investing a little bit and purchasing entirely new hardware. New cabinet hardware will cost you a little bit more, and you have to be careful to get ones with the same hole spacing, but this simple diy will give you a lot of bang for your buck when updating cabinets. 

Updating Cabinets on a Budget: Fronts

The fonts of your cabinets may be out of style, so instead of totally replacing them, you can give them new life by keeping the existing cabinet boxes and getting new fronts. 

The benefit to doing this is the remodeling process is so much shorter since you’re not installing all new cabinets. Especially since the boxes are probably still in excellent condition. There is no point in removing something that is still working because you don’t like the look of the fronts when the fronts can be removed and replaced.

Also, doing it this way keeps the cost of this update much lower since you’re only buying cabinet fronts. 

Updating Cabinets on a Budget: Add Glass

Adding glass doors to a few kitchen cabinet doors will give your outdated kitchen an entirely new, more expensive, and custom look. A few ways to tackle this update include buying a new door with glass or cutting out the door panel and adding glass. If I were going for this whole new look in my kitchen, I’d keep the existing door and add glass. This way, you don’t have to worry about fit and matching finishes.

Cue the Pizzazz

To achieve a more modern look, you can reface your cabinets using wood to make shaker cabinet doors. This project requires some previous DIY skills, but this is totally doable!

Another idea is to focus on the kitchen island – I love added touches such as ship lapping the island or adding a farmhouse x to the sides. These projects are relatively inexpensive but will give a truly updated and custom look.

Swap Them for Open Shelving

How to make your small kitchen feel bigger // Floating shelving // Updating Cabinets on a Budget // Tantrums and Tools

One simple way to update cabinets on a budget is to replace them with open shelving! Open shelves give a totally custom look in the kitchen when done correctly. You have to be neat and organized with what goes on the shelf. 

The best places where open shelving looks good are around the range hood, above a coffee bar, at the end of the kitchen, and above a counter peninsula. 

The most frequently asked question about open shelving is about kitchen storage. Yes, you are losing a closed cabinet and replacing it with an open space, so you have to be way more organized and strategic with what and how you place objects on the shelf. 

The way I make this work in my home is to display my glasses, white dinnerware, and then some decorative items such as large containers for flour, sugar, and oatmeal. 

How About That Backsplash

A new backsplash gives your cabinets a fresh feel without updating the cabinets. If you have an existing backsplash, you can either remove and replace it or keep it and go over it with peel and stick. The option that works best for you depends on your future plans for your kitchen. 

If you’re planning on doing a full-scale renovation and just doing some updates to get you through until you can afford the kitchen remodel of your dreams, then maybe you do the peel-and-stick. 

But, if this update is more permanent than that, I’d spend the extra time and a little bit of extra money on removing the existing backsplash and putting up a new tile

Look At Your Lighting

Another way to give the illusion of updated cabinets, but not really having done anything to them, is the light fixtures. Good lighting is seriously everything! If you have island pendant lights, did you know you can swap out the covers? There are so many options for this; the best part is you don’t have to rewire the light!

Another option is under-cabinet lighting. The simple way to install this is to attach the strands of lights under your current cabinets and then hide the plug using a cutting board or coffee pot.

How About Those Countertops

Have you priced out a new countertop? Wow, talk about sticker shock. But there is a more affordable option, and it’s to paint your current countertops. 

Painting them is especially a good option if you have quality countertops such as granite or another solid surface but you just hate their color and look. 

Painting your countertops will transform the look of your kitchen for little money but a bit of patience and time. This DIY also requires unique supplies, so do your research!

Well, there you have it! So many great ways to update cabinets on a limited budget. I hope you’re feeling inspired and more confident about updating your kitchen cabinets after reading this post!

I’d love to see how you used these ideas in your kitchen; tag me in a photo on Instagram @tantrumsandtools, and I’ll share your results in my stories!



furniture flipping // diy projects // home renovations // modern farmhouse decorating ideas

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