There is nothing like looking at a design magazine or reading an inspiring article to get you excited about renovating your kitchen, but on a tight budget your options might feel limited. With so many resources available and enough elbow grease, you would be surprised how easily you can transform your kitchen.

Here are some simple ways to update your investment property kitchen without breaking the bank:

Paint

It goes without saying that paint can truly transform a room. Thankfully it is also a very cost effective way to update an otherwise ugly space. The avocado green walls may have suited your grandma, but it’s contributing nothing but retro vibes to your kitchen right now. Aim to choose warm neutral tones as these colors give a welcoming impression, but also are more appealing to potential buyers.

Deep Clean

Nothing sends people running faster than a filthy kitchen. This might seem like an obvious step, but a sparkly clean space is one of the most inexpensive ways you can maintain the value of your investment property. Once your kitchen has gone through a deep clean, it will peel back layers of grime that accumulates through the years revealing some things you may have never noticed before. If the grout was once stained but cleaned up nicely, you might be able to skip replacing it. A clean start will help you determine the areas that truly need updating and other areas that you can save.

Update Accessories

One extremely minimal way to update your kitchen is simply to change out a few prominent kitchen accessories. This includes a new:

  • spoon rest
  • hand towels
  • fruit bowl
  • wine rack
  • colorful floor mat
  • decorative shelving
  • pretty utensil container

Another way to freshen up the kitchen on a dime, is to display fresh fruit like lemons or oranges in a large apothecary jars or place a vase full of fresh flowers on your kitchen counter. Sometimes a pop of color can add so much warmth. Lisa Canning, a Toronto-based interior stylist adds, “ Swapping kitchen accessories in and out, such as dishtowels and counter-worthy accessories, is another simple and effective way to change the color and feel of a kitchen with minimal cost.”

Get Creative

Anyone on a shoestring budget knows you have to think outside of the box when it comes to decorating. A wonderful way to save while updating, is to re-purpose old items. Laura Gaskill of Houzz suggests, “ Work in rustic elements. Farmhouse accents instantly add warmth and character to a bland kitchen. Replace the kitchen or pantry door with a sliding barn door, hang copper pots from a ceiling rack or bring in a timeworn antique wooden stool.” Try visiting your local thrift store to see if you can find some statement pieces with rustic appeal. Glass mason jars also add a creative solution to storing grains, cereal, and spices, while still looking pretty on display.

Add a Chalkboard

Chalkboard walls bring a fresh, functional addition to your kitchen. Since, the kitchen is the hub of the home, having a feature that is so easy to add and remove is a great budget-friendly investment. Chalkboards are great for displaying your menu, sharing note-worthy quotes, and entertaining children. There are several approaches you could take:

With enough creativity, the possibilities are endless and easy to paint over if you grow tired of it.

Revamp the Hardware

Changing the drawer pulls on your kitchen cabinets can give them an instantly modern new look. While focusing on cost effective ways to update the kitchen, you should consider spray painting the old pulls. Beautyandbedlam.com shares some real-life design advice, “Why, oh why, did it take me so long to spray paint my kitchen cabinet knobs (or “pulls” for the decorators out there)? It took all of thirty minutes and makes such an amazing difference. Seriously, if you have those infamous 80’s and 90’s ‘in your face, gold brass knobs’ take a minute and update them. You’ll add a fresh, perfect punch to your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom…wherever you have outdated hardware (and trust me, my whole house is full of it).

Install a Back-splash

A lovely back-splash can give your kitchen a quick updated look. Don’t think just because you have a small budget to work with that your options are completely limited. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for finding a fresh back-splash:

  • peg board
  • vintage postcards or maps
  • salvaged wood
  • home-made mosaic

Add a Kitchen Island

You might not be able to go out and add the kitchen island of your dreams, but there are plenty of alternative use items that function as beautiful islands. Consider converting an old table, vanity, or desk into a statement piece for your kitchen. Check out your local thrift-store and see what funky pieces you can find. Add a fresh coat of paint, install some new hardware and your once bare kitchen will dazzle. You can add cup hooks or shelving to one end for extra storage and a few barstools around the edge to provide additional seating. Kitchen Designer Nadia Hursky shares,“Have a large open-plan space with a kitchen island if possible. Buyers often want to multitask in the kitchen. They want to cook, and have their kids to their homework and socialize in it.”

Factor in the Splurge

Chances are, there is one thing about your outdated kitchen that significantly bothers you the most. This is an area worth spending on, however there are ways to cut corners and get the most bang for your buck. Narrow down the major problem areas of your kitchen and work your budget backwards, taking into account what update will yield the best investment down the road.