Tips for Modernizing an Outdated Kitchen

Is it time to give your kitchen a face lift? We asked professionals to share ideas for revitalizing kitchen space without breaking the bank.

Tips for Modernizing an Outdated Kitchen

Robyn Flint

Robyn Flint is an insurance specialist at, founding owner of a real estate rehab company, and licensed realtor with over seven years of experience.

Warm and inviting

Modernizing an outdated kitchen can be quite costly. However, there are certain steps to take to reduce costs associated with a makeover.

The kitchen is the main room in a home that can make or break a sale. Kitchens are a gathering place and the hub of the family home so making it feel warm and inviting should be the ultimate goal. The first step is a deep cleaning that will reveal areas that could use a pick-me-up.

The next step is to consider your lighting, both fixtures and natural light. Clean your windows and open any window coverings to let the light shine. Update your fixtures to a more modern look. Galvanized fixtures are growing in popularity. They provide a farmhouse rustic feel.

Updating appliances gives an overall modern look. Stainless steel appliances, or simply appliances that match, can give you the upgrade you are seeking. Change your sink and fixtures to give a completed look.

Refacing cabinets or replacing cabinets seems like the most obvious choice for a kitchen upgrade. However, that can be expensive. The easiest option is to paint or stain cabinets and then change cabinet hardware to give a modern feel.

Texture and color

A fresh coat of paint on your upper and lower kitchen cabinets goes a long way in creating a more modern, spacious look. Not only can lighter colors reveal a room’s true character, but they also help make spaces appear larger than they are to the naked eye. Benjamin Moore’s ‘cloud white’ and ‘boothbay gray’ are a couple of favorites to try out.

For additional texture and color, consider adding a kitchen runner. These specialty rugs can give any kitchen a more homey and inviting feel. As an added benefit, the quality and design options are endless, no matter how unique your space.

Kitchens are an easy place for junk piles to accumulate. If clutter is holding back your space from its potential, try placing a larger decor piece (such as a big pot of flowers) on your island, countertop or main table. Minimizing the available space for non-essential items is an effective way to keep your kitchen clean and guest-ready.

Tips for Modernizing an Outdated Kitchen

Adria Spivey

Adria Spivey is the owner of in Castle Rock, Colorado. She currently serves as the V.P. of Membership for the Denver chapter of the Real Estate Staging Association with specialty skills in organizing, decorating, home staging, and social media marketing.

Tips for Modernizing an Outdated Kitchen

Heloise Blaure

Heloise Blaure is a chef and kitchen blogger. She blogs regularly at

Metals, cabinets and appliances

Replace all of the metals

After a decade or so, even the shiniest stainless steel starts to look outdated. Your appliances, faucets, and drawer handles can start to make the rest of your kitchen look awful. To bring your kitchen up to date, replace all of the metals in it. Even if you can’t afford to buy a new stainless steel oven, new drawer handles and faucets can make a big difference.

Get rid of your upper cabinets

Up until the ‘80s or ‘90s, it was common for kitchens to have a second set of cabinets above the primary ones. But because homes aren’t built like that anymore, they make your kitchen look old and outdated. Plus, they make it feel cluttered and claustrophobic. Bring your kitchen into the 21st century by eliminating the top cabinets and leaving some space up top.

Invest in energy-efficient appliances

There’s no reason to allow your kitchen appliances to run up your energy bill anymore. These days, you can have energy-efficient appliances that work better than your old, outdated ones and use less electricity. And most of them are eligible for a tax write-off, too, so you’ll get some money back on your taxes for reducing your carbon footprint.

Quickly and cheaply

There is a lot that can update a kitchen. Right off the bat, I will say countertops are a big one. It can get very pricey to replace countertops, though.

On the cheaper end of updates are cabinet doors. A semi-skilled DIYer can make several cabinet doors in a couple of hours. Shaker style doors are pretty easy to do.

Painting or staining the cabinets can also be done quickly and cheaply. Going with a dark stain or light paint will drastically change the feel of the kitchen.

The kitchen faucet can be replaced in an hour. Having a faucet with a sprayer attachment makes the kitchen look more professional.

Under-cabinet lighting is great and easy to add on a budget. They make battery-powered, rechargeable strips that can mount underneath the uppers.

New hardware is a great update that is easy and cheap. Drawer pulls make a big difference. It’s the first thing I replaced in my house (‘70s ranch). The big box stores will charge $7-$15 a pull, but thanks to Amazon, you can find those same pulls for about a dollar.

Tips for Modernizing an Outdated Kitchen

Gordon Jones

Gordon Jones is the owner of, located in San Antonio, TX. He is a veteran of the Marine Corps Infantry and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tips for Modernizing an Outdated Kitchen

Oliver Perryman

Oliver Perryman, the founder of

Earthy ambiance

I started by redoing the [cabinetry] so that it took up less space and had better compartments. I divided all the drawers and cupboards according to the things I owned. Such customizations are mostly overlooked, and getting pre-crafted cabinet spaces causes a lot of wastage due to the shortage of needed proportions to keep your stuff.

I also redid the color palette and opted for darker undertones both for the wallpaper and the wood. I changed my stove to a three-burner glass top from a four-burner, which was more suited to my everyday requirements and convenience. Lastly, I tried playing with the lighting options to get an earthy ambiance, with some additional elements like a plant shelf and a glass cabinet.

Open Shelving

One thing I see that is common in traditional kitchens is placing cabinets on upper walls. They consume the eye and make the kitchen feel crowded or unattractive. Consider removing upper cabinets and transform this place into open shelving. By doing so, you will get space for decoration as well as storage for the kitchen’s items. It will not only give a branded look but also makes things accessible for you. Make sure these shelves are made of modern looking material.

Tips for Modernizing an Outdated Kitchen

Gintaras Steponkus

Gintaras Steponkus, Blogger & Marketing Manager at

Tips for Modernizing an Outdated Kitchen

Keith Melanson

Keith Melanson is the Project Manager of, a home renovation company. Keith would like to share with you how one can modernize their outdated kitchen.

Play around

Modernizing your kitchen doesn’t always require a gigantic rehaul of your space. A simple way to do so is by either replacing your cabinet doors or by merely repainting them. Sometimes, even just changing the handles or knobs can make a surprisingly big difference — it’s often the little things that can attract the eyes.

Also, don’t be afraid to play around with the lighting. Good kitchen lighting can often be the finishing touch for the kitchen you’re hoping to have.

Another detail that can give your kitchen a much more modern feel is upgrading your sink and faucet. It may seem insignificant, but your sink and faucet can be seen as the focal point of the room, which is why an upgrade can be substantial.

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