A rustic kitchen with beamed ceilings and a large picture window during the day

Every now and then, you may look at your kitchen and feel that it needs a facelift to bring it up to speed with current design trends. Thankfully, upgrading your home doesn’t have to break the bank, or require a major construction overhaul. Even small updates like switching out cabinet hardware or applying a new coat of paint can make your kitchen feel brand new.

Here are five small yet powerful ways to update your kitchen without spending thousands of dollars.

Introduce open shelving

Adding open shelving to your kitchen not only creates an additional means of storage, but also an eye-catching display area to showcase your personal style.

Open shelves – whether you incorporate a single shelf, or two to three levels of shelving – can instantly make your kitchen feel more spacious while providing easy access to everyday items like dishes, cups and seasonings. There are many shelving options to choose from, whether you prefer traditional painted shelves with crown moulding or rustic wooden mantels with metal hardware for a more industrial look.

Open shelving in the kitchen doesn’t need to be reserved for simply practical uses, like storing glassware and plates, either. Get creative with your shelf styling and introduce plants, framed artwork, pottery, decorative ceramics, recipe books and more.

Upgrade your hardware

Just like your backsplash or countertops, your hardware can have a powerful effect on your kitchen’s persona. Updating your cabinet handles, sink faucet, light switch plates and drawer knobs can give your space a whole new vibe, whether you prefer fixtures that are modern and sleek, or timeless and classic.

When it comes to picking out new cabinet hardware, think about how you use each cupboard or drawer, and decide if handles, knobs or a combination of the two are best for everyday utility. For drawer pulls, the rule of thumb for determining the best size of handle is to choose a pull that is one-third of the length of the drawer. If you are shopping for a new kitchen faucet, consider how your spout’s height and reach will measure in comparison to your sink. For consistency, your faucet should match your cabinet hardware with a similar style and finish.

Switch out your lighting

Lighting shouldn’t take a backseat in your kitchen’s design. Swapping out one light fixture for a new one, or adding a series of new lights, can really change up the feel of your space.

The key to great kitchen lighting is a layered approach, with a combination of task, ambient and accent lighting. Save bright task lights like puck or hanging lights for work areas where ample visibility is important, such as over the sink, stove and countertops. Ambient lighting – softer overhead lighting that provides general illumination for the room – can take the form of wall scones, track lighting or chandeliers. For a decorative touch, accent lighting should highlight specific areas of the kitchen, such as backlighting in glass-door cabinets.

Freshen up your window treatments

Whether you prefer curtains or blinds, window treatments can help to pull together the final look of your kitchen.

Window treatments allow you to control the amount of light in your space, and provide an extra layer of privacy from the outside. When choosing a window treatment, consider the ease of which you can lift and lower the shades, as well as how you can clean odours and oils from the curtains.

If you prefer to stay away from fabrics in your kitchen, opt for vinyl shutters or blinds instead.

Amp up your accessory game

While it may not increase the market value of your property, refreshing your kitchen accessories can make the space more enjoyable for you and your family.

Updating your accessories can be as simple as swapping out your hand towels, table linens and floor runners, or hanging some kitchen-appropriate artwork on the walls. Introduce a burst of green with plants, or even a potted herb garden for some fresh flavours to add to your dishes. You can also update your small appliances, such as your toaster, kettle, countertop microwave or coffee maker, to add a pop of colour or an eye-catching addition to your stovetop or counters. If you’re feeling extra crafty, consider reupholstering the chair cushions in your dining room.