DIY: Easy Kitchen Upgrades

Little changes like a new backsplash can make a bing difference. Photo Kelly Clare Photography.
written by Melissa Dalton

SOMETIMES A GUT RENOVATION isn’t an option, so we’re taking improvement inspiration from Jenny Keller’s project. “Little touches make a huge statement,” Keller said. She recommends identifying first what features can be worked with and what you absolutely can’t live with anymore. Here are a few suggested DIY kitchen upgrades that can revive a tired space.

1. Switch Hardware

Do as Keller suggests and “start small and go from there.” Hardware is a fun way to experiment, whether you prefer the quirky pulls from Anthropologie or a streamlined cabinet pull from Rejuvenation. If replacing the existing hardware with a different size, be aware that you may need to fill in the holes and touch up the cabinet finish.

2. Change Lighting

Keller had recessed lights installed in the soffit above her stove wall, which lighten up the space for both cooking and photo shoots. If you want to incorporate a little more bling—lighting is called the jewelry of the room, after all—consider trading boring flush-mounts with ones that have more character. Just make sure the room retains enough light to see the cutting board clearly.

3. Repaint

Never underestimate the power of paint to transform. This is the easiest and least expensive option. Kitchen too dark? Opt for a light color to brighten up the space. Or, choose a new hue that picks up the undertones of the existing counters and cabinets. If there’s time, paint the cabinets to really pack a punch.

5. Beautify the Backsplash

There are so many options when it comes to refreshing a backsplash, from traditional ceramic tiles or glass mosaics, to brick veneer or pressed tin. There are even peel-and-stick tile sheets for a low-commitment change-up. Just check that your choice will comply with heat from the stove, as well as withstand water and grease splatters.


Back in Black

Add a pop of black to bring interest to unexpected spots in your kitchen


The freestanding Vadholma Kitchen Island offers extra prep space, undercounter seating for guests, and two shelves for storage. Add the optional rack and it can also hang pots and mixing spoons within reach. Is anyone surprised this hardworking multitasker is from IKEA?












Michelle Aaro started the Portland-based Cedar & Moss in 2013 after she moved into a Mid-century home and couldn’t find any light fixtures that fit her new abode. Now, designs like the Isle Rod Pendant expertly blend old and new. Create a striking moment by hanging the matte black versions over a counter.









The Elroy Finger Pull and Cabinet Knob from Rejuvenation is a little Art Deco, a little modern, and will add a finishing touch to any cabinet. The solid brass hardware comes in an inky oil-rubbed bronze, or can be combined with aged brass for swanky mixed-metal contrast.


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