By

Bent Johnson

Dec 23, 2022

31 Budget Ideas to Refresh the Look of Your Kitchen

Take your space from dull to delightful in minutes with these quick style and storage solutions.

Compared to other rooms in the house kitchen makeovers can often quickly rack up in price if you don’t keep an eye on the bottom line. However there are plenty of smart budget kitchen ideas that can give you a dreamy kitchen update without spending £1000s on a new kitchen.

There’s plenty you can do with a little imagination, low-cost materials and a range of clever kitchen ideas to choose from. Paint is a simple way to upcycle an existing kitchen unit, while stick-on-tiles can fake an on-trend tiled floor.

‘Updating your home interior doesn’t need to break the bank,’ says Aisha Cluitt, Content Marketing Manager, Hobbycraft. ‘There are lots of ways in which you can get creative with DIY renovation using clever hacks and upcycling!’

Budget kitchen ideas

Whether you want some simple ideas for a quick update or you just need some inspiration around what you can achieve in your space for under £100, we’ve included it all in this jam-packed budget kitchen ideas guide.

All it takes is a little time, effort and creativity to pep up the heart of your home.

1. Spray paint hardware on kitchen cabinets

Updating hardware on kitchen cabinets is a great way to give your kitchen a quick refresh. Handles are the accessories of the kitchen world, however, buying a new set of hardware while cheaper than buying an entire new kitchen can still end up costing upwards of £20 depending on the style you choose.

If you don’t mind the shape of your existing handles, put your budget kitchen ideas hat on and consider instead updating them with spray paint for under £10.

2. Install vinyl flooring

Vinyl has come a long way since the sticky plastic flooring you might remember in your grandma’s house. These days it is available in realistic tile patterns, and can even be used to fake a wood effect.

The appeal of vinyl flooring is that it is considerably easier and cheaper to install compared to other flooring options as it only needs adhesive to be fitted. However, while a lot of vinyl options are perfect for budget kitchen ideas, they do vary in price range, right from £5.70 per square metre up to £26.37 per square metre, so do bear this in mind.

3. Consider adding a kitchen rug

In the same way that a rug can instantly update a living room, it can do the same thing in your kitchen. While a kitchen isn’t the traditional space for a rug, with careful consideration it can be a great addition to make the space look more expensive on a budget.

‘Adding a rug to your kitchen decor can elevate the space by creating a cohesive look,’ says the team at Ruggable. ‘The most important factors to consider are comfort and cleanability.’

‘To style a kitchen, leave the area around the refrigerator and stove clear from the rug. The best place to place a rug in the kitchen is in front of the sink, since it is the area most used.’

Ruggable have some of the best rugs you can buy for a busy home as they are machine washable. Alternatively, a jute rug is a hardwearing option perfect for high-traffic areas, Dunelm has a version for just £35.

4. Swap cabinets for open shelving

Open shelving can look seriously stylish in a kitchen. Smart kitchen storage ideas can be added to a bare wall to create extra storage to display your favourite cookbooks or crockery collection.

Alternative budget kitchen ideas include simply removing the door of one of your cabinets to create open shelving without spending a penny. However, if you struggle to keep your kitchen shelves tidy, be warned that without a cabinet door there is nowhere for the mess to hide.

5. Upcycle an old window frame

Need a spot in the kitchen to keep the whole family in check? Create a noticeboard by fixing cork tiles onto the back of an old frame using a glue gun or strong tape. Screw hooks into the bottom edge for mini buckets and fix to the wall with picture hooks. Stencil numbers in the corners with black paint, then use to pin postcards and family reminders up.

However, to ensure your family does use it you need to think bout how it’s going to be used when you create it. ‘I would suggest starting off with a cork noticeboard and lots of push pins,’ says Aisha from Hobbycraft.

‘This way the information you want to display can be added and moved around as you like as you discover what works best for you. Once you’ve settled into a rhythm then start looking at ways to further enhance your notice board.’

6. Label your containers

Decanting your cooking supplies into jars yields a certain amount of satisfaction and makes it easy to spot if you are running low on ingredients too. They also double as home decor when displayed on open shelving with beautiful labels.

There are now a whole range of gadgets out there to create beautiful custom labels. ‘If you have a digital cutting machine (Cricut or Silhouette) these are fantastic at creating labels in an array of sizes, colours and shapes and can be cut in next to no time,’ says Aisha from Hobbycraft. ‘The cut labels can be added to all types of smooth-surfaced jars, and they can easily be removed when the time comes to change the jar contents.’

Alternatively, for an even more budget kitchen ideas, you can use waterproof chalkboard labels or make your own clay swing tags. Aisha also recommends trying paint markers.

‘They are ideal for adding beautiful hand-drawn labels to your jars. Make sure to carry out a few test runs before starting work on the final jar, to get used to the pen and drawing on a curve,’ she adds.

7. Mount baskets on the wall

Keep your kitchen surfaces clutter free by hanging a group of wire baskets on the wall from their bases. Use to display cookbooks, spice jars, and condiments or to keep utensils handy.

Create symmetry on your kitchen shelving ideas by hanging in pairs in groups of two, four or six. To make a style statement why not spray paint your baskets in a neon shade to add a pop of colour to your scheme.

8. Add a wooden splashback

A great way to pimp up your kitchen on a budget, is by using stained wood as a splashback. It will interest and texture to your space and you might even be able to use wood left over from previous projects. Simple Ikea open shelving above, creates a rustic style display for all your essentials.

Opt for a neutral palette to create a soothing feel plus it will sit well with store cupboard ingredients.

9. Create bespoke herb holders

If you’re a big foodie and often cook tasty meals from scratch, there are ideal budget kitchen ideas for you. Wrap metal cables ties around the neck of a glass jar, leaving enough slack to slip over a cup hook screwed into a plank or wood, or repurposed floorboard. Fill two thirds of the jar with gravel for drainage, then pop with soil and your chosen herbs.

Write the name of each herb on the side of each jar with chalkboard pen and remember to water them often!

10. Upcycle bed slats into a storage solution

This wall rack is actually a set of webbing-mounted bed slats hung from a couple of wall hooks. It is a really cost effective way to add extra storage it saves old bed slats from ending up in the bin.

If you don’t have any bed slats lying around, leftover pieces of plywood cut into small pieces will also work well. Just add S-hooks for hanging bits and bobs. This is great for small kitchen ideas, where storage space is limited.

11. Paint kitchen cabinets

These days paint ideas for kitchen cabinets can deliver a premium look at a budget price point, as long as you don’t mind spending a bit of time wielding a paintbrush.

Understanding how to paint kitchen cabinets properly will ensure you get a professional finish. ‘If the units have been previously painted, give them a good rub down with sandpaper before starting to paint. If you can, find out what type of paint was used previously. If it was a water-based product then you’ll be fine to paint over it with another water-based paint,’ explains Phil Robinson, founder of Paint the Town Green.

‘However, if it was oil-based or a two-part spray, it’s a good idea to use a primer sealer first such as Zinsser’s Bullseye 1-2-3. This will ensure the paint adheres properly when applied and doesn’t flake or peel. This will also work to an extent on a melamine finish, but the adhesion here will vary and you may need to go over your paint finish with a clear decorator’s varnish to protect the paint from chipping.’

12. Replace cupboard doors

If painting is not enough to change the look, you can replace doors and drawer fronts. Rather than buy a whole new fitted kitchen at a cost that could mean remortgaging the house, we’re talking about using budget kitchen ideas to make a world of difference.

Brands such as Superfronts create stylish cabinet and drawer fronts that are designed to work with IKEA unit. For as little as £50 you can create your own bespoke look.

‘Try mixing patterned and plain doors to achieve a design scheme with contrasting detailing,’ recommends Monica Born, Co-Founder, Superfront. ‘If you have a kitchen island, why not go for a bold patterned front, allowing it to stand out from the rest of the room.’

13. Spruce up a fridge with wallpaper

If you can’t afford a swanky Smeg fridge but are desperate to give your boring-looking appliance a splash of colour, why not get crafty with a can of spray paint – a fridge hack that has been used above.

Alternatively, for a less permanent option cover the front of the household appliance with a leftover roll of wallpaper attached with double sided sticky tape.

14. Install new worktops

Dramatically change the look of your kitchen with stylish kitchen worktop ideas. Replacing your worktops is a simple yet effective way to give the space a fresh feel.

Laminate is perfect for budget kitchen ideas, being incredibly cost-effective to purchase. If you have spare cash, consider extras, such as heat rods, that can be fitted into the surface for a permanent pan stand or a built-in draining board.

15. Update your kitchen floor

If a tatty floor is letting the scheme down, there are a range of smart kitchen flooring ideas to choose from that will breathe new life into your space.

You don’t need to go to the hassle of taking it all up either, as you can lay new flooring on top. Most kitchen designers will advise that you can simply run it underneath the plinths, instead of wall-to-wall, which cuts your costs further.

16. Improve your kitchen storage

It’s amazing how much we accumulate over the years. Try setting aside an afternoon to sort out your kitchen cupboards, then organise them so you have access to the things you use every day.

Clearing your worktops can also instantly improve your kitchen and it won’t cost you anything at all. Alternatively, try rethinking storage solutions. Put up extra shelving and hanging rails to make use of every available space.

17. Make your own hanging rail

By simply attaching two handles and a length of dowel to a wall you can create a storage solution for all manner of kitchen accessories. From foil to kitchen towel, the possibilities are endless. Above we see how two leather handles are making a stylish support for a kitchen memo board, on a roll of brown paper.

18. Turn a door into a noticeboard with chalkboard paint

Get creative and give your kitchen personality by creating a feature wall using chalkboard paint for creative budget kitchen ideas. A simple wall of black paint, specifically designed to be drawn on with chalk, is a great way to add a personal touch to your kitchen space.

Not only does it give kids the perfect place to entertain themselves, still within view while you tend to jobs in the kitchen – it also creates an ideal family planner.

19. Create a feature wall… or two!

Wallpaper is a great way to add colour and vibrancy to an old kitchen. You can either cover the entire wall, or create a feature wall ideas for a cheaper but equally stunning look.

Make sure you choose wallpaper that is specially designed for the kitchen so it is heat and steam-resistant.

20. Change your cabinet handles

If the basic structure of your kitchen is in good condition, you can change the look of the room by simply replacing the handles. Right now, leather and brass are hot finishes.

21. Liven up your scheme with fun accessories

Accessories will brighten your kitchen in an instant and you can choose a theme to bring the look together. Display selected items on open shelving and think about reorganising your worktop so you only have your favourites on show. If you have a dresser, this is the perfect place to show off neat stacks of crockery, cups and glassware.

22. Use fabrics to bring in colour

From new seat cushions for tired old chairs to pretty blinds and tablecloths, fabrics can work wonders and don’t have to cost the earth. Even a change of tea towels can make an impact.

22. Install extra lighting

Smart kitchen lighting ideas can make a big impact to a kitchen’s look and feel.

Ideally, you should have task lights, such as spotlights, over the worktops; halogen bulbs on the extractor; and overhead lighting with ambient light in a dining area. Always use a qualified electrician for anything complicated – visit the Electrical Contractors’ Association to find one in your area.

23. Make a statement with a kitchen appliance

New appliances can refresh your kitchen without changing any of the furniture. You’ll need to ensure that they will fit into the existing space, though.

There are plenty of kitchen appliance layout ideas that offer smart ways to smoothly incorporate appliances into your space. Freestanding appliances can be replaced more easily – and can make a real impact if you go for something brightly coloured, like this Smeg fridge. A new kettle or toaster will make a splash, too, and won’t cost the earth.

24. Add some panelling

There are a range of wall panelling ideas available to try out in your home. This on-trend design is a great way to give a kitchen a fresh, country look using budget kitchen ideas. And, best of all, you can do it in a weekend.

25. Change the tap

Taps add distinctive character to a kitchen and you can change the feel of yours in a jiffy by adding a copper tap or one with white ceramic handles to your kitchen sink ideas.

A stainless steel design will create a contemporary feel or a distinctive black one will make a real statement.

26. Cover up with a curtain

Integrating appliances can be a costly business but leaving them exposed sometimes means they can spoil the look of your kitchen.

If you’re a whizz with the sewing machine, use budget kitchen ideas to make a pretty curtain to conceal your appliances or cover any shelves. This softens the scheme by making sure unattractive machines or spaces without unit doors are disguised.

Choose a fabric that emphasises the theme of your kitchen and links with the colours of the walls and accessories – whether it’s something muted like this, or a bolder pattern.

27. Introduce vintage furniture

It’s easy to give an industrial slant to your kitchen and introduce a completely different feel with vintage furniture. Scour charity shops, car boot sales, reclamation yards and even skips (ask the homeowner first before you take anything). After all, what’s one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure!

Old stools teamed with a row of stylish pendant lights can be used to create an edgy breakfast bar. And if the finish isn’t to your liking then a quick coat of paint can easily sort that out. Choose the best paint for furniture and find the right shade for the job.

Vintage cookware adds charm – antique shops, charity shops and eBay are great sources. Affordable pieces, such as a vintage dresser with glass doors or repurposed furniture, can be used to store and show off your favourite china, achieving a simple yet effective kitchen makeover.

28. Display wall art

Add playful personality to a scheme and introduce a retro vibe with eye-catching kitchen wall decor ideas. For maximum effect, display against a cool white backdrop and bring in blasts of bold colour with pop art and signage in a palette of primary shades that can be picked out in your accessories.

Vary the way artwork is displayed by hanging some on the wall and propping other pieces casually against it for an informal feel.

29. Hang a pan rack

If you’re short on storage or simply want to have kitchen essentials close to hand, invest in a spacious ceiling rack for your big, bulky pans and utensils.

It’s a great way of making a feature of kitchen island ideas and lending a period feel to a scheme. Soften the look by decorating with dried flowers and rustic baskets.

30. Make a statement with lights

Shed new light on a budget kitchen scheme by incorporating dramatic ceiling lights. Oversized metal pendants are the perfect way to make a statement and introduce an industrial feel.

Hang them over a table or island to create a focal point and provide both task and mood lighting. If you choose a smaller design, follow the stylist’s tip and hang them in threes for maximum impact.

31. Alter the splashback

There are a whole host of kitchen splashback ideas available that are perfect for protecting your walls in style. Glass and stainless steel can be expensive options, but sometimes less is more and you can use a small amount to make a statement.

‘Often a worktop might not look great because of the splashback and paint colour surrounding it. Re-paint the units, update the splashback with some different tiles and suddenly the kitchen is transformed by the power of juxtaposition!’ points out Phil from Paint The Town Green.

Tiles, are a good budget buy and a great opportunity to add colour and pattern, although grouting needs to be regularly cleaned to prevent mould and mildew. Take your pick from standard size, mosaic or brick, and a selection of materials including ceramic, glass and stone.