21 Kitchen Upgrades That You Can Actually Do Yourself

Including options for renters!

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

1. Paint or swap out your cabinet knobs and drawer pulls.

In this gorgeous before and after, they also updated the backsplash. But the painted knobs really make the kitchen seem ~finished~.

2. Use contact paper and gaffer’s tape to make your toe kick pop.

See the how-to here.

3. Use a roll of chalkboard paper to make a custom measuring chart.

Or if you’re not a baker, you can hang a piece of chalk inside instead, and use it for list making, or just noting when you’re supposed to take the garbage out. Get the how-to here.

4. Make your backsplash shine.

You can use plastic tiles that look like they’re tin tiles for this, and they’re removable when you leave. Learn how they did it here, and get similar tiles here.

If you have a bigger budget — and your landlord doesn’t mind, or you own your home — you can use peel and stick tiles like these, or install real tiles (if you want to take on that project yourself, here’s a tutorial).

5. You could even re-do your backsplash with floor tiles.


These are also peel and stick! Once they’re on, you can paint them whatever color your like. See the tutorial here.

6. Tile decals are an easy and removable way to change up your backsplash, too.

This set is $7 for a set of four, here.

7. If plastic or peel and stick isn’t really your thing, you could always paint your backsplash with a cool pattern.

See the step by step for this herringbone pattern here.

8. Or simply change your switch plates.

Faith Durand / Via

This is a great option if you’re renting, because it’s SO easy to swap the old ones back in. There are tons of options out there. Read more about it here.

9. Upgrade boring cabinets with quick molding and a new stain.


You can do this in an afternoon. Get the how-to here.

10. Or add a row of trim to all of your drawers.

It’s a bit more time-consuming, but totally doable. And worth it! Get the tutorial here.

11. You could also opt for the super-simple JAF (Just Add Finials).


They did this in their bathroom, but it would work equally well in the kitchen! See the how-to here.

12. Use a DIY countertop kit to re-do old counters.


Not super cheap, but wayyyy cheaper than replacing your entire countertop. See how they did it here.

13. Or apply a thin layer of concrete to the countertops you already have.


It’s easier than you think. See how they did it here (and see how it turned out when someone followed that tutorial here).

14. Give your faucet a facelift with a coat of bronze spray paint.


See how they did it here.

15. Nudge two kitchen carts together for a brand-new counter, instantly.

And more storage underneath! Read more here.

16. If you want more storage without having to sacrifice floor space, turn an old door into an easy-access kitchen organizer.

This would also work with pegboard (although you might want to mount that on the wall). See how they made this door here.

17. Cover your outdated appliances with a sheet of stainless steel contact paper.

It only costs about $5, and you can do it in about an hour! Get the how-to here.

18. If you can’t paint your cabinets, a layer of removable contact paper can do wonders for them, too.

See how to do it neatly here.

19. Then you can line your doorless cabinets with fabric for a gorgeous focal point.


To make this super easy, you actually cover pieces of foam board with the fabric, then put that in the back of your cabinets. See the full tutorial here.

20. You can also use this technique to make an accent wall. (This is covered with tempered glass to protect it from the stove’s flames.)

The fabric’s stapled to plywood, slipped behind the fan, then covered with the glass. Get the how-to here.

21. Then install plug-in under-cabinet lighting to ~illuminate~ your fancy new kitchen.

In this tutorial, they installed these in one evening, using this brand of lighting.

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