Do you enter your kitchen each morning and think, ugh? You’re not alone. Because kitchens are the most expensive room in the house to remodel, we tend to live—in a state of resigned loathing—with what we have. If this is your situation, I say loathe no more! Consider the following affordable kitchen ideas, pursue those that fit your budget, and start each day in your kitchen not with an ugh, but with an ahh.

1. Add or change out lighting:
If you have ceiling fixtures that make your kitchen feel dated, change them. It’s not hard to do yourself—check online for some great tutorials. If the prospect of doing it yourself is frightening, hire an electrician or bribe an experienced friend with a nice meal.

Ceiling fixtures can be quite affordable and will add great interest. Under-cabinet lighting can add a dramatic effect. You can find very inexpensive battery operated LED lights that you simply stick in place—it’s the old “fake it ‘til you make it” technique.

2. Introduce a new rug or floor mat: 
What a great way to bring color and texture into your space as well as add comfort for your tootsies on those cold mornings. Make sure what you choose can be cleaned easily since you’re in a area known for sloppy stirs and spills. As an added benefit, your addition may help distract from a floor that you don’t love but can’t yet afford to replace.

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3.  Replace your faucet:
A shiny new faucet will immediately make your space feel more updated. Most home improvement stores have featured faucets with big savings. Also, if you or your honey-doer can install it, your savings will be even greater. If you’re a plumbing novice, review online how-to videos to help you decide if you can or can’t do it yourself.

4. Change your switch plates and outlet covers:
Sometimes it’s the little things. Changing multiple dingy white or beige “contractor grade” plates and covers can make your space pop with a fresh look. Home improvement stores now carry knockoffs of expensive plates and covers at big discounts. This is definitely a do-it-yourself project and can be done quickly with minimal effort.

5. Add or change cabinet hardware.
Think of this as jewelry for your cabinets. Prices can vary greatly depending on what you want, so take your time and be selective. Be patient and you are likely to find a great look for an affordable price. If you already have handles and pulls and are looking for an extremely inexpensive alternative, you can remove them and spray paint them. A fresh coat of paint means a new life.

Some combination of these small steps is sure to make a big impact in your kitchen. Granted, you won’t end up with your dream, but until your dream becomes reality, at least you won’t be stuck with a dud.

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Now, what will you do next to love where you live?

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