This post contains affiliate links. All opinions and recommendations are 100% my own. 

The Seattle real estate market is, in a word, completely nanners. It’s competitive, expensive and stressful. When we bought our house back in 2013, we were looking for a decent neighborhood, some square footage and a non-leaky roof. Everything else was up for negotiation, including kitchen style. Remember the dining room and its Britney and Justin Canadian tuxedo? Yeah, it doesn’t come close to the beige wonderland of our former kitchen.

9 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen for $25 or Less

Brown tones are nice in small doses, but this room bummed me out. After a couple years it was clear we needed a complete overhaul.

9 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen for $25 or Less

A few major changes included:

  • New floors
  • Sanding and painting the cabinets
  • Extending the cabinet height and adding crown moulding
  • Building a utility cabinet, hood, island bookcase and refrigerator enclosure
  • Adding a backsplash that actually covers the wall

All worthwhile, but all pricey. We were all about the savings after such a drastic remodel, and these little touches were affordable and effective.


  1. Cabinet hardware adds so much character to a kitchen. After looking at a few big-box stores, I finally settled on these beautiful bronze pulls from Amazon. They are wicked cheap without sacrificing quality. Price: $24.95 for 10. 
  2. Vents are so easy to overlook, but the right cover adds some class to the room. Another Amazon find, this vent cover lives all over our house. Price: $8.85 each
    9 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen for $25 or Less
  3. Thank jeebus Tiffany blue is back in style! I love this aqua clock from World Market. It adds the perfect pop of color and has a bit of a retro diner feel. Price: $19.99
  4. Have you ever noticed that cookbooks are only good for one or two recipes? I have a hard time buying cookbooks unless I’m absolutely crazy about the chef. A great bookcase alternative were these baskets. They work well for holding gourmet magazines (Cooking Light and Cooks Illustrated are my favs) while adding some texture and warmth to the room. Price: $21.29 each
    9 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen for $25 or Less
  5. The dining room decor is full of faux greenery and I couldn’t resist adding another eucalyptus pot to the baking area. Price: $12.98 for pot and plant
  6. Hand towels are a super easy way to add color and function without breaking the bank. We used these IKEA beauties for the dining room planters and they hang around the oven as well. Price: $3.99 for 4
  7. Aqua, Round 2. Another World Market find, this cookie jar is so pretty. Price: $12.99
  8. I love baking. It’s like an edible art project and there’s a small counter space completely devoted to all things oven-made. These Crate and Barrel jars are perfect for storing flour, sugar, and in our case, risotto, for easy access. Bonus: glass containers provide warmth and color. Price: $9.95-$19.95 each
    9 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen for $25 or Less
  9. When I was 104 months preggers with Mister (or maybe 7) Dave and I took a trip to The Land of Nod to keep my mind off the misery. I’m SO glad we did. These cardboard letters are meant for decorating a child’s room, but Dave and I took one looks at them and had the same idea: kitchen NOMS. As in “OM NOM NOM, we love cake,” etc. It fit our sense of humor perfectly and a little spray paint completed the kitchen’s color scheme. Price: $3.95 each
    9 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen for $25 or Less