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Bang for Your Buck Kitchen Updates {Reader Question}

Last week I opened up the Satori Facebook page to reader questions and was pleasantly surprised by how many were posted or sent in. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to answer all of the questions today, but will try my best to address many topics in upcoming blog posts.

To kick things off, I’m starting with the first question sent in by Amber regarding her kitchen.

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Need Kitchen Help!

“Shauna, I’m crossing my fingers you choose my question to answer as I’m really stuck on what to do. We recently bought our first house in Calgary and our kitchen desperately needs a makeover. It’s currently stuck in an 80’s time warp with its dark wood cabinets and fluorescent lighting. Eventually we want to do a complete overhaul, but need to save up for a year or two before that happens. We’d appreciate any recommendations to make our kitchen look a little better spending no more than $500. I just cannot fathom living with how it is right now for much longer.” Thank you, Amber

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Updates

After a series of back and forth emails to get a little more information about Amber’s kitchen, these are the suggestions I came up with:

Paint Your Cabinets and Walls

One of the most inexpensive ways to update any space is with paint. Although time consuming, painting out dark wood cabinets in an off-white will do wonders for your space.

Adding a color to the walls, such as a soft gray or blue-green will also give your kitchen a fresh and lively look. I think this kitchen makeover using paint by The Handmade Home would translate well to your space.

Kitchen Before and After by The Handmade Home

Install New Light Fixtures

Another update I suggest for your kitchen is changing out the fluorescent lights. Lighting not only changes the mood of a room, but can add sparkle and character as well.

Consider pendants for over the sink, island or peninsula. Fixtures are available at various price points, and the best part is you can incorporate them in your new kitchen design or move them to other areas of your home. Check out these beautiful glass globe pendant lights used in this kitchen design by Aly Velji.

Glass Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island - Aly Velji Design

Switch Out Cabinet Hardware

The final bang for your buck suggestion is replacing your existing hardware. Although brass is making its comeback, your hardware is too ornate.

Because you’re looking for classic styling with a bit of fun, I would stick with a brushed nickel finish with a simple design. Budget-friendly, yet stylish hardware options are available at big box stores, including these from Martha Stewart’s kitchen collection.

Simple Nickel Cabinet Hardware- Martha Stewart

Thanks for writing in, Amber. Be sure to send photos of your kitchen updates!

Next week I’ll be answering more reader questions. If you have a decor or design question you could really use help with, follow the Satori Facebook Page to find out when the next open call for questions is.

One other thing before you head off… If you’re looking for more useful and pretty ideas in your life, make sure you’re on the email list! You can subscribe here.

Enjoy your weekend!

Shauna at Satori Design for Living Blog - Home Decor, DIY, Vintage Finds, Recipes


  1. Kitchens can either be the biggest source of happiness or the biggest source of frustration in our homes I think.  Great advice, especially painting the cabinets.  I’ve done the same in the past and was amazed at how it can totally brighten up a dark kitchen.

  2. I saw you pin those light fixtures and repined right away…loving them and going to check out the price….I’m determined to add hardware to our kitchen this year (90 percent sure) and while I have my eye on something at restoration hardware, I never thought of Martha….will have to check that out as well…..  Thx for the post!  

    1. Yes, those pendants are gorgeous, for sure! They’re called Cyan Design Janus Pendants, and they’re around $300 (but I’m sure there are other versions out there at lower price points).

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