Light it up
Changing the lighting is an easy and affordable way to brighten things up and instantly transform the feel of your kitchen. Consider one or two new pendant lights that are not only functional but stylish. If your kitchen isn't suited to a feature pendant because of space or height, even new strip lighting (these days available in a wide range of styles) can have a similarly brightening effect. Or light up your work surfaces with under cupboard lighting. Major retailers like B&Q and John Lewis offer reasonably-priced lighting 'kits', either packs of individual lights or even flexible strip lighting, that allow you to add that practical but atmospheric touch.
Don't replace... repaint
It's amazing the difference a lick of paint can make, and there's no reason you have to limit your brush to the walls. Tired and outdated kitchen cabinets and cupboards can be easily and cheaply changed up with a classic paint colour, while a wooden floor that's seen better days might also benefit from a very pale grey or blue paint job.
Altering the style of your kitchen cupboards need not mean changing them completely. The big DIY stores allow you to mix and match your cabinet elements, so as long as you have the measurements of your existing carcasses, you can buy new doors without breaking the bank, particularly if your kitchen isn't huge. You can even mix it up, with some glass-fronted and some solid. Alternatively, simply invest in new handles that can quickly update your cabinets.
If your kitchen is lacking in wall-mounted cabinet space, shelving can add storage space more cheaply than new cabinets. For instance, chunky wood shelves with metal brackets will not only allow you to display some of your funkiest kitchen bits, but also bring a little rustic warmth to the room. Best of all, you don't need to be a DIY whizz to do it.
With kitchen gadgets, and even some foodie items, increasingly stylish these days, why not use them as part of your kitchen design? A woven basket displaying your glass oil bottles or jars can add a little homely charm to your work surfaces. Even removing the odd cabinet door (remember to fill and paint over the holes) to show off your best homewares can change the look and feel of your kitchen.
So if you're desperate for a kitchen update but are short on cash, get creative and give the room a makeover for a fraction of the price of refit.
Have you managed update your kitchen without spending a lot of money? Let us know how below...