Five DIY kitchen upgrades under $100

The kitchen is, on average, the room that will add the most value to a home, and a few low-cost upgrades can yield a huge return on investment.

Ryan Pelham/The Beaumont Enterprise/AP/File
The kitchen of Rose Hill Manor in Port Arthur, Texas.

My husband and I just purchased our first home, and it's a bit of a fixer-upper. Because we're on a budget, we've been trying to prioritize our home improvement projects and choose which rooms to focus on fixing up first. As the kitchen is, on average, the room that adds the most value to your home, we decided to start with some minor upgrades there, all easy for us to DIY for under $100. 

According to Laura Gaskill of, smaller, less expensive home updates are make the biggest impact on the value of your home, because when the time comes to sell your home, you typically only get back about 65 percent of the money you put into it. For this reason, we don't want to do a major overhaul, but here are five projects we can complete with a little bit of time, and just $100.

Paint the cabinet doors.

If you want an easy kitchen update that's relatively cheap and easy, this is a good place to start. The key here is to be patient with your prep. Clean your cabinet doors, fill in any holes, and sand them, sand them, sand them! Don't skimp on the prep or you'll end up unhappy with the update. Keep in mind that lighter colors will make the space feel bigger, and the higher quality the paint, the longer it will hold up to your everyday use. We plan on painting our cabinets this winter and will be using this tutorial from This Old House.

Replace cabinet hardware.

If your cabinets are in decent shape but need a quick and easy update, try out some new handles on the doors and drawers. Go with something classic over trendy and you'll get longer use out of them. If you don't want to re-surface your current cabinets, be sure you check into how the hardware is currently connected. You'll want to use the same hole that's already drilled in your cabinet, rather than drilling new ones and having to fill old ones.

Increase your storage space.

You don't have to add new cabinets to get more space for your stuff. Look into simple, ready to use space savers, like the Container Store's Roll Out Cabinet Drawers or Stacking Shelves, which I use in my pantry to add more space. Think about stacking up for extra space or utilizing things like the backs of doors for hanging storage.

Give yourself some more prep areas.

For a kitchen with minimal counter space, rolling kitchen carts can be a lifesaver. If you have the space, go for something stationary like this Kitchen Island from Wayfair. If you need something that's easy to push out of the way, try this Rolling Cart from Walmart. Just be sure you get something that has a counter-height top that you can use for prep work.

Install a stick-on backsplash.

This is a project that's on my own list of budget updates. Peel and stick backsplash tiles are cheap and easy to install yourself, which saves you big time on labor costs. These come in panels with multiple tiles you can stick to your wall until you have the coverage you want. I've seen them in tile, stone, and metal styles, and you can buy them per panel or in panel sets, although on average, the sets are usually a better value.

This article first appeared in Brad's Deals.

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