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Update Your Kitchen without Breaking the Bank

Read an interesting article in Consumer Reports, of all places, that gave several ideas of ways to update your kitchen at a fraction the price of a full remodel.  With Phoenix real estate and Scottsdale real estate, a modern, chic chef’s kitchen can add tens of thousands of dollars to the market value of your home.


Here are a few ideas to consider, courtesy of the above-mentioned magazine.


Refinish the backsplash.  Small (spelled ‘inexpensive’) to update, yet visually engaging, the backsplash area above your countertops but below the cabinets is low-hanging fruit in the kitchen update catagory.  Consider tile, stone, stainless steel, wallpaper, or even accent paint.


Revamp the Cabinets.  Replacing cabinets and rearranging the layout of your kitchen cabinets are very costly projects.  Consider these reasonably-priced alternatives.  Have your cabinets refinished or refaced.  You can also add slide out compartments for ease of use and crown molding for a finished look.


Add or Update an Island.  Provided you kitchen space can support the addition, a kitchen island can add storage, versatile countertop/prep space, and even room for dining or socializing with guests while preparing dinner.  Your island should be complimentary in style and color to the rest of your cabinets.  You should allow a minimum of 42 inches around your island for smooth traffic flow.


In with the Old.  I was particularly impressed with this option.  CR proposes trolling salvage shops and online sites for used and surplus building supplies, many of which are offered by others free of charge.   There are even online communities that engage in the trading of design and household items.  For example, try or  Even my personal favorite,, has a “Free Items” section.


Upgrade the Appliances.  Today’s appliances offer lower prices, more features, and lower operating and ownership costs than yesterday’s models.  The trend today in appliances is stainless steel which, like the avocado green steel refrigerators of old, may one day fall out of favor.  For the time being, expect a well-done, well-maintained stainless steel appliance package to more than pay for itself when it comes time to sell your house.


Change the Surfaces.  Consider changing out faucets, lighting fixtures, and even flooring and countertops.  The fixtures and faucet change alone can dramatically improve the aesthetic appeal of a kitchen and add to the ambiance of the home.


Make your Lighting Shine.  Just as overhead lighting can be easily updated with dramatic effect, so too should you consider under-counter (surface) lighting.  There are several different styles, from ‘puck’ lights to rope lights, each with its own set of pros and cons. 


The bottom line is that there are many options available to give your kitchen a facelift in lieu of a complete remodel.  Consult with a local Realtor if you’d like a better idea as to whether or not the project you have in mind will contribute more to the value of your home than the cost of implementation.  Your Realtor is also a great resource for finding contractors to assist you with your projects!


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