19 Cheap and Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen in 2019

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Sylvie Li)

Do you love 2019 already? It’s okay, we’re still on the fence about it, too. What about your kitchen? If you’re not totally enamored of your kitchen, we’ve got some ideas to help you heart it some more in 2019. Each idea is seriously easy and inexpensive (especially compared to a renovation) to pull off. And you don’t have to do all 19, either — pick and choose from this list and your kitchen will be more lovable and up-to-date in no time.

1. Hang some art.

We are huge fans of art in the kitchen. Whether you have some blank walls, room to rest a frame directly on your counter, or even a giant gap between your upper cabinets and the ceiling, we say you should add some art! Framed stuff belongs in your kitchen just as much as it belongs in your dining or living room. The style is obviously up to you, but we do have some suggestions on where to look: Try Etsy (for prints that get mailed to you and digital downloads), Minted, and Society 6.

2. Add a rug.

A rug does so much for a kitchen: It covers an ugly floor, adds color, and makes for a cushier surface for your tired feet. We love the options at West Elm, Wayfair, and even Urban Outfitters, if we had to pick a few.

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

3. Paint something.

We’re not telling you to paint your kitchen cabinets. (While it is possible and makes a huge difference in your space, it’s not all that easy to do compared to the rest of the ideas on this list.) Instead, you should just paint something. A bump out! A single accent wall! The toe kick! Anything!

4. Add some wallpaper.

There are so many great peel-and-stick wallpapers these days — especially at Target. You can sort the options based on pattern (geometric, for example) or color (blue, gold, etc!) to find something perfect for your space. Want something extra subtle? This one is made to look just like white subway tiles!

5. Plug in a pendant light.

Don’t want to start dealing with electricity and circuit breakers? We totally get it! You can still add new lighting without messing with all that dangerous stuff. Home Depot offers plenty of pendant lights that get plugged into an outlet (just plug one in, swoop the cord, and hang from a hook in the ceiling). The home improvement store also has pendant conversion kits, which allow you to screw a pendant light wherever a recessed bulb would usually go.

6. Swap out your stools.

If you have an island in your kitchen, big change can come just by getting new bar stools (donate your old ones!). Some of our favorite sites for bar stools: Wayfair, World Market, and Industry West. We’re also huge fans of Amazon’s two private-label furniture brands, Rivet and Stone & Beam.

7. Get a colorful small appliance.

Small appliances are basically like throw pillows for your kitchen — only way more useful. Get a KitchenAid Stand Mixer in your favorite color, a cute coffee machine, or a pastel SMEG toaster, and leave it out on your countertop. As long as you look at or use the machine regularly, it’ll be worth the real estate it takes up.

8. Or even just a tea kettle.

Maybe you don’t need any new small appliances? Maybe you could use a new tea kettle, though? This one is a classic Le Creuset item (second only to the brand’s Dutch ovens) and comes in more than a dozen fun hues. Leave it out on your stove for a pop of color.

9. Hang new window treatments.

Did you know that Minted sells curtains? They do, and the options are as gorgeous as the stationery (because the patterns are made by a lot of the same artists!). Switch out your curtains in your breakfast nook for a fresh, new look.

10. Add a backsplash.

Once again, peel-and-stick technology comes through with the win: You can add a backsplash without having to deal with grout. Home Depot has a bunch of stick-on backsplash panels, which couldn’t be easier to install. We’re partial to these faux subway tiles, but could totally see a kitchen pulling off these marble hexagon tiles or these copper-like ones.

11. Hang some shelves.

Even if you’re not a fan of the full-blown open shelving look in the kitchen (Tupperware has to hide somewhere!), we’re guessing you can handle (and love!) a few shelves. Not only do they add extra storage, but they also give you a space to add some decorative touches. And believe it or not, Urban Outfitters has some of the coolest and most unique shelves we’ve seen.

12. Install a new faucet.

If you shop for a faucet with the same specs as your existing one, you can easily swap it out without having to replace your sink or drill new holes in your countertop. You’ll be amazed at the difference a new faucet will make (looks-wise and when you’re washing dishes!).

13. Make over your countertop.

Replacing your countertop is probably a bigger job than you realize. That’s where transformation kits, like this one, come in. They include everything you need (paint, little flecks, rollers, and directions!) to make your old countertop look like it’s fancy granite.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

14. And your fridge.

It’s entirely possible to make over your appliances! We’ve got step-by-step directions to show how you how to paint your refrigerator. Or you can cover it with sticky contact paper. Or you can use liquid stainless steel paint to make your fridge and oven look like a matching set.

Read more: 8 Smart (and Inexpensive!) Ways to Make Cheap Appliances Look So Much Better

(Image credit: Hannah Puechmarin)

15. Pick up some plants.

Plants make everything better. The easiest way to get a bunch? Shop them on Amazon. That’s right — Amazon sells plants (because, of course they do). For a kitchen, we recommend hearty options like Aloe Vera plants, Spider plants, and English Ivy.

16. Get a pretty organizer.

In the past, most of us would never put the words “pretty” and “organizer” together. There were things made for decoration and then there were things designed for function. That’s changing more and more. Take these organizers by YAMAZAKI home, for example. Each one is more beautiful than the last. We get that you have to store stuff in the kitchen — just do it in a stylish organizer and the space will look infinitely better.

(Image credit: Morgan Schemel)

17. Add under-cabinet lights.

Being able to see what you’re doing in your kitchen is, um, kind of key. Plus, lighting helps to add some ambiance, too. Enter: under-cabinet lights. They’re inexpensive and super easy to install. There are a few types, but we’re partial to these Wireless LED Puck Lights with Remote Control ($35 at Home Depot), which are battery-powered and mount with either screws or adhesive tape.

18. Swap out your hardware.

You’ve probably heard this tip before, right? But maybe you haven’t done it because you weren’t sure where to start? Anthropologie, Target, and Wayfair all have great, stylish options.

19. Buy some cute canisters.

If you’re going to have stuff out on your countertops, it may as well be cute stuff. Skip the stuff that’s designed for a pantry and go for a work of art that’s meant to be displayed. These Textured Canisters from World Market come to mind. And we’re totally in love with basically every canister option from West Elm.

Are you doing anything to update your kitchen in 2019? Tell us what you have planned!