Kitchen Updates with Major Impact

As the heart of the home, everyone tends to gravitate to the kitchen during almost any occasion, whether intended or not. And homeowners are spending more time there than ever doing everything from preparing meals and entertaining to working from home and homeschooling, leaving many ready for a change. But making updates doesn’t have to break the bank. No matter the budget, big or small, here are some updates that can make a major impact.


Change the layout. 

For a more functional kitchen, the greatest impact can oftentimes be changing the layout. On the higher end of the budget spectrum, consider removing an interior wall between a kitchen and living space to create a modern open floor plan. On the lower end, change the configuration of cabinetry and appliances without removing interior walls. Simply adding an island or peninsula can make a huge difference in increasing work surface, seating and storage.


Update cabinetry. 

Changes to cabinetry at any budget point can make a huge impact. On the lower end, new paint and hardware can transform existing cabinetry. On the middle end, new cabinet fronts can achieve the look of custom cabinetry at half the expense. And on the higher end, all new custom cabinetry.


Elevate hardware. 

New hardware and faucets can do wonders to modernize a kitchen. Matching metals is the gold standard. And finishes like brass and polished nickel will stand the test of time as trends come and go.


Update countertops and backsplash.

Countertops and backsplash stuck in the early aughts? Consider a replacement. Quartz is easier to care for than marble and achieves a similar high-end look. Porcelain and soapstone are also great options. For backsplashes, replace anything overly decorative or dated with something clean and classic like slab natural stone or subway tile. Trending this year are seamless backsplashes and countertops that achieve a modern yet timeless look.


Install new sink and appliances.

When budget allows, new appliances and sinks make a huge impact. Replacing a built-in microwave installed above the stove top with a hood is a high-end look. Apron-front sinks continue to be popular yet timeless.


Address the lighting. 

As the saying goes, lighting is everything. Good lighting is critical to maximizing the functionality of a kitchen, as well as setting the mood. Kitchen lighting falls into three buckets – general lighting (overhead lighting like recessed canned lights and pendants over an island,) task lighting (under-cabinet lights and a spotlight over the primary sink) and accent lighting (such as shelf lights.) Assess any weak points and consider installing new fixtures – or any that are dated or mismatched. It’s amazing how transformative some new pendants can be over an island! Other changes to consider are putting general lighting on dimmers, opting for warm LED lighting over cool and cleaning existing fixtures.


Update furniture and window treatments.

For an easy update with major visual impact, consider new furniture like bar stools and dining sets and curtains that match the look of your kitchen. Pro tip, use performance fabric resistant to grease and splatters. Most fabrics can be laminated for use on bar stools and dining chairs – a dream for any parent, pet owner or lover of red wine.


Install new flooring.

If flooring is dragging down the entire look of your kitchen, consider an update. For open floor plans, use the same flooring as the surrounding living areas to create a unified look. But for a kitchen separate from the rest of the house, have fun with a different material such as terracotta, stone or ceramic tile, or classic black-and-white checkered flooring.


Freshen up paint or wallpaper.

Fresh paint goes a long way in updating a space. Whether you paint every surface in the kitchen – or just the cabinets or island – this is a small update that packs a major punch. Using wallpaper or an unexpected color on the ceiling are also fun ways to dramatically change the look.


Look up. 

Beams, wood planks, coffers or simply nice paint add texture, interest and dimension.


Get organized. 

Reorganization requires very little monetary investment but can totally transform the functionality of a kitchen. Go through junk drawers and the bottomless pit of mismatched tupperware containers and divide items into keep, fix, donate and toss. We always love checking out The Home Edit’s website for inspiration when tackling an organization project!


Interested in making some updates to your kitchen? Reach out to us at or (615) 292-7354 to schedule a complimentary consultation and to learn about our three kitchen services to fit any budget– Express Kitchen & Bath, Design/Build and Trace Electrical.