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6 Inexpensive Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen Cabinets, According to Real Estate Pros

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Your kitchen cabinets play a major role in your kitchen’s decor — and when you’re living with cabinets that are dated, well-loved, or simply not your style, they may be one of the first things you want to change. Unfortunately, replacing kitchen cabinets can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. But that’s okay because there are plenty of things you can do to breathe new life into your kitchen cabinets. According to these real estate pros, you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Here are six ways to update your cabinets without spending a ton of money.

1. Get out your paintbrush

Arguably the most affordable and effective way to refresh any space is with a can of paint, according to Rachel Stults, a lifestyle expert with “If you’re sick of your dated cabinets, try painting them,” she says. “If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try two tones — a lighter shade on your top cabinets, and a darker one on the bottom cabinets and kitchen island.” Stults says this look is “oh so trendy” at the moment, which means your quick coat of paint will not only update your kitchen’s look but bring the style current as well. 

Read more: How To Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets So It Looks Like You Totally Replaced Them

2. Swap out your hardware

Freshen up your cabinets by simply swapping out hardware, like the handles and drawer pulls. “Try gold, bronze, or even crystal — or make an adventure of it and scour your local thrift store for vintage hardware that screams your style,” suggests Stults. “It’s not hard to find attractive options in any decor style for next to nothing (a drawer pull, for instance, might start at just $3 or less).” And if you’re striking out at the hardware store, Stults says Etsy is a good place to shop for more hard-to-find or unique designs. 

3. Remove your kitchen cabinet doors

Occasionally, less is more according to Amy Davis, owner of Less Professional Organizers. “Sometimes simply removing a cabinet door can create an open feel and give the illusion of more space,” she says. “My favorite is adding white dishware for a uniform, light look.” 

4. Add stick-on under-cabinet lighting

If you don’t already have under-cabinet lighting, Stults says adding some on your own can be easy when you use stick-on options. “Look for adhesive strip lights on Amazon or at your local home improvement store to brighten up your kitchen instantly,” she says. No electrician needed! 

Related: The Best $12 I’ve Ever Spent on My Pantry

5. Add removable wallpaper to your cabinet interiors

Whether you have glass cabinets or just want to add some flair when you open your cabinet doors, Stults says a pop of color with removable wallpaper applied to your cabinet interiors can make a big difference. “The best part? When you get tired of it, you can peel it right off,” she says.

6. Accessorize under your cabinets

If the thing you hate about your cabinets is actually the amount of unsightly backsplash they show off, you can try the trick AJ Olson Whitfield, a realtor with Villa Real Estate uses while staging homes and decorating. 

“If you have an outdated backsplash, cover part of it with a beautiful wood cutting board,” she says, adding that stores like TJ Maxx and Homegoods always have affordable options for these pieces. “Display it leaning up against the wall and then pair it with a cookbook and a small plant for the full effect.” As an added bonus, Olson Whitfield says that these items also cover up electrical outlets.

Lauren Wellbank


Lauren Wellbank is a freelance writer with more than a decade of experience in the mortgage industry. Her writing has also appeared on HuffPost, Washington Post, Martha Stewart Living, and more. When she’s not writing she can be found spending time with her growing family in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

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