Kitchen remodeling can be an expensive and taxing process. As a homeowner, you can’t be entirely sure that you’ll get your money’s worth if you decide to spend thousands of dollars completely renovating your kitchen. Rather than gutting the room and starting over, why not do smaller projects? You can change up the look and feel of your kitchen for less than the cost of a remodel -- and you’ll still get a new room for a fraction of the cost. Here are some small-scale kitchen renovation projects that will pay you back in spades: (To read about varying approaches to home renovation, see article: 4 Types Of Home Renovation: Which Ones Boost Value?)

1.  Add a fresh coat of paint.

Rather than knocking out the walls and starting fresh, take a few steps back. Look at the condition of your walls. Depending on their current state, you may spend considerably less to add new patterns and designs to the existing walls. You might also refresh them with a few coats of paint. Paint gives you the ability to personalize or update your kitchen, depending on how old it is and how much wear and tear it has endured over the years. The cost to paint a kitchen will vary, but expect to pay between $350 and $600 on average.

2. Find creative storage solutions.

Unless your kitchen is completely cramped, there’s a good chance you have unused existing space where storage could go. Consider installing open shelving in tight areas where appliances may not fit. You could also move bigger appliances such as the refrigerator a few inches to the left or right to open up space for cabinets or shelving.

If your pantry is looking particularly crowded, reorganize it and see about installing lazy susans or spinning spice racks to open up more space. These are inexpensive options that open up space and make the kitchen easier to work in.

3.  Add decorative accessories.

To enhance your kitchen’s design without removing its existing pieces, consider investing in decorative accessories. Some pieces you might add include:

  • Pendant lighting with an appealing design
  • A rug made of carpet and different colored squares
  • Artwork that matches your new paint job
  • Candles that add natural light and fragrance

There are a variety of accents you can add to your kitchen, depending on its design and your budget. You can always speak with an interior decorator about what best suits your space. Decorators usually have access to sources homeowners don’t, so you never know -- they might find that perfect piece for your kitchen!

4.  Update the light fixtures.

Depending on the age of your kitchen, there’s a good chance that its lighting fixtures are outdated and consuming high amounts of electricity. Older homes were built with fluorescent and incandescent lighting and nowadays it’s best to look at greener alternatives. You can go one of two ways when updating light fixtures: (For related reading see: Ways To Slash Your Home Energy Bill.)

  1. Replace old bulbs with CFL light bulbs, which cost anywhere between $10 and $20 at a home improvement store.
  2. If you have hanging, chandelier-like lighting, you can replace your lighting fixtures with recessed lighting for about $400.

Investing in the second option yields long-term results for two reasons: one, you avoid hitting your head against hanging lamps, and two, it gives your kitchen a modern look and feel that increases its appeal to future buyers. Hanging lamps are a good option if they are placed over a butcher block or are otherwise out of the way.

5.  Build cabinets vertically.

Another option to optimize the space in your kitchen without remodeling it is to use all of the vertical space. Oftentimes, homeowners decide to build cabinets and shelving horizontally, which takes away a lot of the space above and below them. However, if you build cabinets that reach from the floor to the ceiling or stack on top of each other, you can better optimize the wall space. It might be harder to reach the cabinets that are near the ceiling, but you can have a stepladder nearby if needed.

If you don’t want to pull out your old cabinets and start over again, you can also make use of the leftover space above by storing items you don’t use often -- big pots, pans, vases and so forth. Depending on the space between the top of the cabinet and ceiling, there could be a lot of extra room for storage.

The Bottom Line

Without spending a large amount of money, a homeowner can make strategic updates to his or her kitchen that can make a world of difference. (For related reading, see article: Home Improvements That Really Pay Off.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of HomeAdvisor and are subject to change at any time due to changes in market or economic conditions. The comments should not be construed as a recommendation of any individual holdings or market sectors. This material does not constitute any specific legal, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with qualified professionals for this type of advice.

Investopedia and HomeAdvisor have or may have had an advertising relationship, either directly or indirectly. This post is not paid for or sponsored by HomeAdvisor, and is separate from any advertising partnership that may exist between the companies. The views reflected within are solely those of HomeAdvisor and their Authors.



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