10 quick, easy and affordable kitchen updates

Looking to revamp your kitchen quickly? Maybe you're on a budget or have a small kitchen that only needs a few clever touches? Try these quick and easy kitchen updates to transform yours fast

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If you’re designing a stylish kitchen on a budget, looking for quick fixes for your kitchen or simply updating a small space fast, use this round-up of fresh ideas to choose the best design ideas.

1. Swap old kitchen cabinet doors for new ones

If your unit carcasses are in good working order, but the doors are worn or not to your taste, replacing them could be the answer for a total transformation. This should be easy if you bought your kitchen from a supplier that still stocks carcasses of the same dimensions, but bear in mind that you may need to buy end panels, infills, panels and corner posts as part of the package. Find inspiration for your kitchen's new look in our 25 kitchen cabinet ideas feature.

White kitchen cupboards with blue walls and open shelving

(Image: © Topps Tiles)

2. Paint tired cabinet doors

If your kitchen cabinetry is in pretty good condition but could do with a lick of paint, why not DIY-it? Painting kitchen cabinets is an easy job, as long as you choose a suitable kitchen cabinet paint for the surface you're painting. Perfect for a Shaker-style kitchen, which will suit more moody tones, flush cabinet doors can be painted to give you a colourful contemporary kitchen. Some cabinetry, such as those with a high gloss finish, won't take paint brilliantly, so always do a patch test in an unseen corner before you take the plunge.

inky blue kitchen from Farrow & Ball

Paint colours by Farrow & Ball

(Image: © Farrow & Ball)

3. Paint the kitchen walls

Choosing the right paint colour for a kitchen can instantly transform it – all for the price of a tin of paint, and it's an easy update to move on from when you want a brand new look (again). Be inspired by the best kitchen paint colour schemes to transform your kitchen. 

Napoleonic Blue from Annie Sloan in a kitchen with white cupboards

Napoleonic Blue from Annie Sloan

(Image: © Annie Sloan)

4. Hang wallpaper in the kitchen

Wallpaper needn't be limited to a living space or bedroom. Putting a modern wallpaper in a kitchen – especially an open plan kitchen diner and living space or vintage-style kitchen – will add instant personality to a kitchen. Ensure it's wipeable, and protect any areas that might get repeatedly splashed with glass splashbacks. 

Kitchen vintage style

Wallpaper, Little Greene

(Image: © Little Greene)

5. Update your kitchen's splashbacks

If your kitchen lacks splashbacks or perhaps you have perfectly even but very ugly tiles you're not quite ready to spend the time and money hacking off and replacing, new panel laminate splashbacks like these could be the perfect solution. Resistant to heat, water, grease and dirt, they can be quickly glued on to the wall behind your kitchen worktop and hob (except gas). 

Ikea kitchen with colourful splashbacks

Lysekil reversible splashbacks, Ikea

(Image: © Ikea)

6. Make the most of a small kitchen window

In a small kitchen, a window dressing that sucks light and space is a real 'no'. Space enhancing kitchen blinds are affordable, DIY-fit shutters let in light – but cheaper, slimmer and quicker to fit still is window film. Choose a design made to fit your window for best results, and pick a decorative design to add character to your kitchen quickly. 

Window film on window in room

Window film from Purlfrost

(Image: © Purlfrost)

7. Add a freestanding kitchen island

Designing a kitchen isn't something we always get right first time, so if you've not planned enough worktop space into your kitchen but still have enough room, a freestanding kitchen island will be a massive bonus to both prepping and storing. Or, perhaps you're renting and frustrated by the lack of kitchen storage in the room? A freestanding kitchen island is something you can take with you when you move... or flog. Plus, it often comes packed with kitchen storage space, worktop space and room for kitchen island seatingbar stools to you and me.

Kitchen with kitchen island

Products shown by Amara

(Image: © Amara)

8. Boost kitchen storage

There's no getting away from it, good storage for small kitchens (in fact, storage for all kitchen sizes) will improve how your kitchen looks and functions in a heartbeat. Storage jars, laundry storage ideas, pantry storage ideas... they'll all help your kitchen feel neater and look more streamlined. Say no more.

Ikea storage shelves

Storage items, all Ikea

(Image: © Ikea)

9. Introduce a dining area to a small kitchen

No matter that you have a small kitchen, there's often space for an inventively squeezed-in dining area. In the smallest of kitchens, a table that folds flat against the wall when not in use and chairs that similarly concertina and can hang on the wall; if you have a little more room, a breakfast bar with bar stools tucked neatly beneath will give you somewhere to perch while you eat; or, if there's room under a window, a small dining table (even a half-moon-shaped one) will do the trick.

Small kitchen

Small kitchen by Ikea

(Image: © Ikea)

10. Add personal touches

You might not have the budget to pay for an interior designer, but adding interior design touches to a kitchen needn't cost a fortune if you know how. Plus, adding personality to a kitchen with anything from house plant display ideas to clever arrangements of artwork might be something you can do for free – after all, it's likely you already have everything you need hanging about at home.

Kitchen island

All products, Ikea

(Image: © Ikea)

More fab ideas for your small, budget kitchen: