Styled, Staged & Sold

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Making a Bigger Impact With Your Kitchen Makeover on Any Budget

Design trend expert Lisa Seeger explains how to maximize your remodel without breaking the bank.

By Lisa Seeger, N-Hance Wood Refinishing

Continuing to spend more time inside, homeowners are taking a closer look at their surroundings and noticing flaws in areas where they spend most of their time. The demand and pursuit of home improvement projects has continued to surge.

For most, the kitchen is the heart and central gathering spot of a home, so naturally, it becomes the most common focus for renovation. Kitchen remodels may seem daunting and expensive at first. But there are several simple changes that can make a drastic impression on the overall look of your kitchen.

Here’s a breakdown of simple changes that can give your kitchen what feels like a complete makeover, regardless of how high or low your budget is:

Low-Cost Upgrades ($1,000 and under)

Kitchen: Low Cost
Photo courtesy N-Hance Wood Refinishing

Fix up your fixtures: Simply swapping out cabinet pulls, sinks, and even light switch plates or other hardware around your kitchen is all you need to do to elevate the look of the room. Matte black and gold fixtures are trending; zone lighting, chandeliers, and lights above the cabinets can create a more modern look. Shop around at craft stores, thrift stores, and even online retailers like Amazon for affordable hardware. In total, upgrading kitchen fixtures and faucets can cost around $500.

Kitchen: Low Cost
Photo courtesy N-Hance Wood Refinishing

Add a new backsplash: Although commonly overlooked, your backsplash has the power to tie the whole room together, bridging the gap between your countertops and cabinets with minimal effort and cost. Marble, large-format tiles, and smaller, more uniquely shaped tile are some of the most popular trends this year and can help add dimension to a modern kitchen. A new backsplash can start as low as $1,000 for professional-grade service. Some retailers also sell more affordable mosaic options that you can install yourself.

Mid-Range Kitchen Upgrades (Up to $3,000)

Midrange Kitchen
Photo courtesy N-Hance Wood Refinishing

Add color to the focal point: When kicking off a kitchen renovation, the simplest way to make a big difference is to add color to the room. One way to add a splash of color is to paint your kitchen island a dramatic, bold color. For example, in an all-white kitchen, a jewel tone on the island is the perfect way to create a focal point in the room. Painting the island as well as upgrading hardware and faucets could possibly be done for about $2,000, depending on the size of the island.

Refinish your cabinets: Your kitchen may just need a simple refresh. Over time, the finish on your cabinets can get worn and tired-looking. Refinishing your cabinets is an affordable way to make a transformational change in your kitchen without having to tear out and completely replace existing cabinetry. With the help of a professional, you can restore the natural beauty of your wooden cabinets for around $3,000, depending on the size and materials of the cabinetry.

Higher-Cost, Higher-Impact Kitchen Upgrades ($3,000 and above)

Kitchen: High Cost
Photo courtesy N-Hance Wood Refinishing

Cabinet color change: Cabinets are another main focal point of the kitchen, so a color change can make all the difference. Some of the top color trends for kitchen cabinets right now include: darker stains, like deep walnut or modern ebony; all-white; two-toned, often with a darker color on the bottom cabinets and lighter color on the upper cabinets; soft blues and sages; grays; and black. It could cost around $5,000 to refinish your existing stained wood cabinets. Of course, the kitchen size and cabinet materials will have a bearing on that final price.

Kitchen: High Cost
Photo courtesy N-Hance Wood Refinishing

Upgrade your kitchen island and countertops: If you’ve got a little wiggle room in your budget and want to make a big impact, consider upgrading your island and counter tops. Right now, quartz is gaining popularity as a high-end choice for island counters, with granite still trending, too. If you want a warmer look, consider installing a high-quality butcherblock counter.

Kitchen: High Cost
Photo courtesy N-Hance Wood Refinishing

Customize your cabinets with new doors and built-in storage elements: For a kitchen that is perfectly tailored to your lifestyle, consider looking into replacing cabinet doors or custom built-in storage to fit your style. For example:

  • Customized cabinet doors: Perhaps you decide to go from a dated arched profile to a clean, simple shaker style. Paired with a refinish, the new doors and cabinet boxes could cost around $6,000.
  • Cabinet roll-out shelves: Empty cabinets can waste a big portion of the space they take up if not properly organized. Roll-out shelves are great for storage of items like pots and pans and help maximize the space in your cabinets.
  • Trash bin pull-out rack: Regular trash bins can be an eyesore, get in the way, and make for unpleasant scents. Tucking the bin away in a designated roll-out drawer makes the whole room look nicer and taking out the trash a simpler task.
  • Electric mixer lift: Whether you have a passion for baking or just enjoy a fresh batch of cookies every now and again, an electric mixer lift creates an easily accessible, elevated place for you to mix your ingredients together without taking up too much counter space. Not to mention, it offers easy cleanup and storage.
  • Built-in wine rack: The perfect combination of class, style, and functionality: A simple, lattice-style wine rack looks gorgeous in practically any space, can easily substitute open shelving, and makes it easier than ever to grab your favorite Pinot Noir.
Kitchen: High Cost
Photo courtesy N-Hance Wood Refinishing

About the Author

Lisa Seeger

Lisa Seeger is a design trend expert at N-Hance Wood Refinishing, a company that refinishes hardwood floors and kitchen cabinets. After graduating from Purdue University and Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) with a degree in interior design, she spent her early career working in both the residential and commercial interior design sectors, working with companies like Ethan Allen Gallery and Herman Miller. Seeger has owned an N-Hance Wood Refinishing franchise in Chicago for the past eight years, where she has consulted on more 2,000 kitchens in the greater Chicago Metro area.


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