6 Ways To Upgrade Your Kitchen For Less Than $1,000

couple installing kitchen cabinet.
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Your kitchen is the central point of your home, and more likely than not, it needs some help. Whether you’d like to increase its functionality for your family or make the space more attractive before putting it on the market, you’re ready to give it a little update.

A midrange minor kitchen remodel costs an average of $26,214, according to the 2021 Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling magazine. You’re not prepared to spend this much cash right now, but let’s say you do have around $1,000 — and you want to maximize it.

You might not think you can get too far with a small budget, but that isn’t the case. There’s plenty of minor upgrades you can make that won’t cost a fortune. In fact, you can maximize savings by completing the work yourself — when possible — instead of hiring a professional and choosing materials that are durable, but not high end.

Ready to get started? Here are six kitchen upgrades you can realistically pull of for $1,000 or less.

Open Shelving

If some of your kitchen cabinets can be opened up — or removed entirely — your kitchen and living room will immediately feel bigger, said Kimo Quance, real estate broker and owner of The Kimo Quance Group. “The first thing that a prospective buyer sees while entering the kitchen is the cabinets,” he said. “Having no top shelving opens the kitchen up and depending on layout, it allows it to blend seamlessly into the living room.”

If you still need a storage space, Anastasia Hartmann, an associate with RE/MAX Professionals in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, recommended hanging floating shelves in this area. “Not only do they come in different styles and sizes, but they also come in various shapes,” she said.

Make Your Money Work for You

The average cost to remove kitchen cabinets is $300 to $500, according to HomeAdvisor. Offset the high cost of demolition with a four-pack of Wallniture Arras Floating Shelves for $28.99 on Amazon.

Invest in a New Appliance

A budget of $1,000 won’t allow you to replace all your appliances, so Ben Fisher, a luxury real estate agent with The Fisher Group in Salt Lake City, Utah, recommended focusing on just one. If you have an older appliance that doesn’t work well or look particularly great, this can be an obvious investment.

Home Depot sells a 24-Inch Amana Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher with Triple Filter Wash System in white or black for $404. Alternately, you could opt for the 30-Inch Gas Range Oven in black or white for around $495.

Paint the Walls

A new coat of paint can make your kitchen feel like an entirely different room. “You can apply a fresh color scheme to add a new look to your kitchen,” Fisher said. “A perfect color has great power to enhance the appearance of any space.”

Hiring a professional to paint a 10×12-ft. room costs an average of $200 to $800, according to HomeAdvisor, so you’ll want to make this a DIY project. When doing it yourself, you can expect to spend just $100 to $300.

Change the Cabinet Color

They’re a huge focal point of the room, so if your kitchen cabinets aren’t a color you like, Fisher suggested painting them. He said this can bring a huge change to the look of the room.

Make Your Money Work for You

The average cost to paint all the cabinets in your kitchen is $700, according to Angi. Since this process requires experience, a notable time investment and an array of supplies, hiring a professional is recommended. Clearly, this would take the bulk of your budget, but if your cabinets are seriously dated, it might be money well spent.

Update Cabinet Hardware

Along with painting your old cabinets, Fisher suggested adding new hardware to give them a more modern look. Of course, you can also take this step without a new paint job if you like the current color of your cabinets.

You can buy a 30-pack of NISUOIEN brand brushed nickel stainless steel pulls for $23.99 on Amazon. Alternately, you can get a 25-pack of Homdiy brand brushed brass knobs for $33.99. If you’re at all handy, this should be a relatively easy DIY project. However, if you don’t think you have the right skills for the job, labor will cost approximately $130-$275, according to Angi.

Add Under Cabinet Lighting

Sometimes you want bright kitchen lighting, sometimes you don’t. “With adding under cabinet lighting, not only do you add to the overall ambiance, but it can be used for many reasons,” Hartmann said.

For example, she said your kitchen might be too dark when the ceiling lights are off, but if you’re watching a movie and need to get more popcorn, fully illuminating the space might be a bit much. “From puck style to LED strips, you can have it hardwired, plug in or battery operated — there are many options to choose from,” she said. “Doing this will not break the bank, it will just add impact.”

Make Your Money Work for You

Amazon sells a six-pack of Brilliant Evolution LED Puck Lights for $34.98, complete with simple DIY installation and a remote. You could also opt for the Good Earth Lighting brand Premium SLIM LED 18-Inch Hardwired Light Bar Under Cabinet Lights for $49.98. If you take the latter route, expect to pay an electrician around $35 to $100 per hour for installation, according to HomeAdvisor.

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