If you’re hoping to sell your house as is, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money on a complete overhaul because, let’s face it, it can cost upwards to tens of thousands of dollars!

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Your kitchen may look amazing, but that doesn’t mean you’ll recoup the costs when you sell.  Even still, in order to appeal to buyers, you’re going to need to spruce up the space and make it look warm and inviting. 

These cheap kitchen update ideas are exactly what the doctor ordered! You’ll find that these ideas are cost effective, easy to do, and will appeal to a large pool of buyers. 

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Clean every inch of the kitchen

When someone buys a house, they expect it to be spic and span. They don’t want to move in and have someone else’s grease splatters on the vent or dust bunnies hanging out in the pantry. So the very first thing you should do is make sure that every inch of your kitchen is spotless. You can pick up cleaning supplies at your local dollar store, roll up your sleeves, and make a weekend of it. It may not be the most exciting kitchen update on this list, but it is one of the cheapest!

Use neutral paint to freshen up the space

Much like any other room in your house, the kitchen can benefit greatly from a new coat of paint. New paint can freshen your kitchen and make it feel brighter and cleaner. A few gallons of a neutral paint color (you don’t want to use bold wall colors because not everyone may appreciate your choice) and supplies may cost a couple of hundred dollars, but it can make a world of difference!

Also, it’s worth noting that there’s a specific kind of homeowner who likes wallpaper and you want to appeal to as many buyers as possible. So while you may have a perfectly fine wallpaper in a neutral color and design, you may be limiting your buyer pool if you leave it up. 

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Brighten the space with new lights, bulbs, and window treatments

It should go without saying, but a kitchen should be one of the most well-lit rooms in your house. A well-lit kitchen isn’t just a matter of safety, but who really wants to spend a lot of time in a dark and dingy room? Certainly not buyers! 

You can brighten your kitchen by updating the light fixtures and replacing the old light bulbs with bright white LED ones. When you’re choosing fixtures, you should think about the metal elements like the faucet, curtain rods, cabinet hardware, and so on. You want the fixture to match the rest of the metals in the room so that the design feels more cohesive and “put together.” 

Along with new lights and fixtures, the best way to brighten your kitchen is by letting as much natural light into the space as possible. This means using light window treatments instead of heavy curtains in dark colors. If you have blinds, keep them pulled up (or at the very least opened) so the light floods the room.

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Paint existing cabinets

If you have kitchen cabinets that have seen better days or are an outdated color (we’re looking at you, maple!), a fresh coat of paint can make a world of a difference. Do keep in mind that painting cabinets is no easy task, but when you take your time and do the job well, you’d be surprised by how elegant and modern the kitchen will look. 

Note: Be wary of falling for trendy kitchen cabinets because any other trend, who knows when it will go out of style.

Replace cabinet hardware

After painting the cabinets, you don’t want to use the same hardware as before – especially if they’re the bright faux brass knobs from the early 2000s. Instead, opt for hardware that looks more modern. When you’re choosing the hardware, remember to select hardware in the same metal finish as the other metals in your kitchen. 

If you’re having a hard time deciding which style of cabinet hardware to choose, Wayfair has an excellent guide that you can check out for ideas. 

Create focal points throughout the kitchen

One would think that the kitchen doesn’t need a focal point because it’s more of a utility room rather than a room to relax in. However, that’s not the case. You spend a lot of time in this room, so it should feel welcoming and homey… but not cluttered. 

Some ways you can create a focal point include: 

  • Have a glass bowl filled with fresh fruit
  • Use fresh flowers in a vase or a vibrant green plant for a pop of color
  • Have a few cookbooks sitting on the counter
  • Fill clear jars with dried beans, rice, candy, etc.
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Replace the countertops

Okay… We said that this list would be full of cheap kitchen update ideas, but hear us out. If you invest in new countertops, your kitchen would definitely look amazing, but you’d recoup the cost when it comes time to sell. Although marble and granite continue to be some of the most popular materials buyers want, you can find faux natural stone laminate countertops for a fraction of a price! Another cheap option that’s coming back into style are tile countertops, which is even cheaper per square foot. 

Kitchen updates don’t have to cost an arm and a leg

When you make the decision to sell your house, it’s understandable that you want to spruce it up so that buyers will love it as much as you do. The downside is that renovations can be pretty expensive and finding the money for said renovations can be tricky if you’re looking for a new house while selling your old one. These cheap kitchen update ideas may not cause buyers to fight over the house, they definitely can make the space feel brighter, fresher, and more welcoming!