11 Wildly Inexpensive Items That Will Upgrade Your Kitchen, According to Home Stagers

updated Jan 28, 2021
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As an amateur cook, I spend a ton of time in the kitchen — and these last few months, I’ve been trying my best to make it look nice. Something I learned pretty quickly while cooking (and decorating) at home? Kitchen items oftentimes don’t come cheap.

Luckily, The Staging Sisters, Amanda and Jess Salles of Salles Interiors Staging, put their expertise to the test and found surprisingly affordable kitchen items for under $5. The goodies they found prove that if you get creative and look in the right places, you don’t have to dish out tons of cash to upgrade the look of your kitchen. 

1. Glass jars

According to Jess, a kitchen always looks better when it’s organized. That’s why it’s worth it to invest in glass (or plastic) jars for baking items, snacks, and more. Aside from local retailers, Amanda says cookie jars, mason jars, and the like are frequently found at thrift stores and flea markets.

2. A utensil tray 

If there’s one thing any first-time apartment renter knows, it’s that utensil trays are one of the most inexpensive kitchen organizers. Walmart even has this cutlery tray for a whopping $1.97. The best part? It’s still durable and looks lovely.

3. A canister for baking utensils

From metal to ceramic, canisters next to the stove are a kitchen organization staple. They serve as the perfect place to corral wooden spoons and mixing utensils. Amanda says utensil canisters are an easy way to showcase “the things that are attractive like whisks” and more.

4. Aprons and dish towels

The Dollar Store has lots of stylish dish towels and aprons — perfect to hang over your stove or around cabinets. Amanda says they can help bring together your kitchen theme, be it coastal or rustic. 

5. Placemats 

Stores including Hobby Lobby, Big Lots, and the Dollar Store sell scores of placemats under $5. “Eating a meal is a beautiful ritual,” Jess says. Placemats can help make mealtime feel meaningful.

6. Fabric napkins

Yes, you read that right — fabric napkins on the cheap. Surprisingly, fabric napkins aren’t only meant for fancy restaurants. Retailers including Walmart have several options under $5. Plus, Amanda reasons “you can use napkins again and again,” which helps make your stylish kitchen more eco-friendly.

7. Spoon rests

Spoon rests are one of the most underrated kitchen accessories, say the home stagers. They’re purposeful and decorative at the same time. HomeGoods, Target, and Walmart have options that are sure to match any kitchen theme.

8. Wire racks for under-the-sink storage

According to Jess, a “kitchen must be sparkling clean,” especially if you’re about to sell your house. The first step to a squeaky clean kitchen? Organize your cleaning items by hanging a wire rack on the inside of your under-the-sink cabinet. Walmart has surprisingly great deals on this organization hack.

9. Tea lights

Tea lights in the kitchen might sound wacky, but hear the home stagers out. “If you have a rectangular cutting board, you can put five tea lights along it,” Jess says. “If you’re having company or dinner, you light the tea lights and it creates an elegant mood.” You can also place them inside of candle holders to create ambiance.

10. An old-fashioned milk glass vase

You don’t need a farmhouse kitchen to use an old-fashioned milk glass as a vase. Michaels sells them for $2.99, and the Staging Sisters say they’re the best substitute for an expensive vase. You can even forgo flowers for greenery in the yard. “Go outside and cut some green leaves [since] flowers can be expensive,” Jess says. 

11. An olive oil dispenser bottle

One of the classiest kitchen upgrades is using olive oil dispenser bottles. Target has affordable versions and Jess says the Dollar Store even has “attractive” bottles in stock.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Home Stagers Pick 11 Items That Will Upgrade Your Kitchen for Less Than $5