Upgrade Your Kitchen Without Breaking the Bank

See how fresh paint, new hardware and other little changes can transform your cook space into the kitchen of your dreams. 


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Raise the Bar (Pulls)

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Think of hardware as jewelry for your home. Start by replacing old styles with sleek knobs and handles, and consider coordinating switch plates, shelf brackets and window sashes.

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Get Glowing Reviews

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A boring builder’s grade ceiling fixture is a real turnoff, so swap yours for a large pendant or chandelier. Add character and task lighting with a sconce above the sink.

Dark trim pops against white walls and plays off the gray grout lines of subway tile. 

Pieces with mixed materials, like these metal-and-cane stools, can work in any style setting—modern, homey, traditional.

Vintage kilim runners camouflage spills and protect wood floors. 


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Play with Pattern

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The space between your counters and cabinets is a blank canvas. Go all in with a backsplash made of ceramic or cement geometric tiles. For a budget-friendly alternative, fill only the space right above your cooktop.

Glass-front cabinets highlight prized serving pieces, while open shelving provides easy access to everyday essentials. 

Warm up cooler-colored cupboards with rich wood tones. If butcher-block countertops feel too serious-chef, a few cutting boards will do the trick. Hang them from hooks or lean a couple against the wall. 

Choose a fun accent color that works with your cabinetry, then repeat that shade throughout your cook space with colanders, pitchers and enameled dishware.

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Have a Brush with Greatness

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Paint makes a huge impact, especially on cabinetry. Give your cupboards a fresh coat—soft blues and grays are popular right now. Or rock a two-toned tuxedo look with white uppers and black bases.

Soup up plain-Jane stock cabinets with decorative moldings.

For a major farmhouse vibe, shiplap is the way to go. You can use this kind of paneling to highlight an island, as shown, or as a floor-to-ceiling wall covering.

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Get the Look: Align Pre-Rinse Spring Kitchen Faucet in Chrome


This sculptural chameleon is equally at home in an industrial or a traditional kitchen. Moen.com for stores, $433


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Calphalon Signature Nonstick Bakeware


Scratch-resistant and oven-safe up to 500°. Williams-Sonoma stores (available late October), $100/set of 6 pieces

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Barkaboda Walnut Countertop


Handsome herringbone for your counters. Ikea.com, from $229

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Essential'Z Collection Pull in Golden Champagne


Luxe look-alikes at half the price of solid brass. Amerock.com for stores, $5 to $12 each

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Braun Multiquick7 Hand Blender (MQ777)


Talk about power tools: hand-blending inspired by German automotive engineering. Braunhousehold.com, $150

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Merola Tile Twenties Collection Tile in Petal

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Like pieces of a puzzle that come together for major design impact. Homedepot.com, $2 per 7¾-inch square tile

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Philips Viva Collection Airfryer (HD9920/26)


Frying with hot air means far less fat than using oil. Philips.com/airfryer, $250

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Black+Decker Performance Convection Countertop Oven


High-caliber cooking without preheating. Qvc.com (available 12/1), $180