Replace the sink: $75
These days you can buy a nice sink for under 100 bucks. The stainless steel and acrylic (some look just like white porcelain) are the cheapest, while real porcelain may be out of your range.
Refinish your kitchen cabinets: $100
This means either sanding them down and restaining them, or just painting them in a semigloss or glossy latex paint. For a bold change, ditch the white and try a pale blue, a coral red, or even glossy black for a modern look. All you need is sandpaper, paint, and equal parts elbow grease and patience.
Make your own fabulous hardware: $1 a piece
If the hardware you want is out of your range, transform the stuff that’s in it. “One woman wanted brass switch plates in her kitchen but they were $8.00 each, and she needed 27 of them and she couldn’t justify paying all that,” explains Paul Ryan, host of Kitchen Renovations on the DIY Network. “So, we got her metal switch plates for 47 cents each, and some shiny Krylon brass paint.” So instead of spending $216 on switch plates, she spent $22 for the switch plates and a can of paint. The savings: almost $200.
Buy inexpensive under-cabinet lighting: $50
If you can’t afford new lighting, consider lighting you can attach under the cabinets, suggests certified kitchen designer Judy Scott, an associate for Home Depot.. Ikea sells a number of affordable types and sizes -- like the Grundtal ($49) and the Didoder (just $39) -- that plug into wall outlets instead of the electrical wiring in your kitchen.
Add a kitchen lamp: $40
For a cost far less than permanent track lighting, add a flea market find or pop-bright colored table lamp or a hanging kitchen chandelier, to change the whole look of the room. “I put a lamp in mine,” says L.A.-based interior designer Jennifer Delonge, “and it really warms up the kitchen and makes it feel like a whole new room.”
Replace the countertop: $90Paint the refrigerator: $60
Not all countertops are made the same -- or cost the same. “You can buy a 10-foot piece of laminate countertop for $89,” says Scott. (You also need a saw, which you can rent from a local hardware or big box store). It won’t add value to your house, but it can do wonders as a short-term solution.
If you can pull that ’70s-style olive green fridge out of its hole, you can transform it, explains Scott. Clean it, then degloss it by sanding it down with a piece of $1.49 sandpaper so that the primer will stick. Finally, prime it and spray it with a high-gloss spray paint. Voila! A brand-new fridge! (It’s tempting, but you can’t paint the gas range too. Ranges get too hot and will cause your paint to peel; the only high-heat paint you could use is the black matte they use for unshiny barbecue grills. In other words: yuck.)
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from the experts at The NestPhoto credit: Ellen Silverman
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