Home Improvement

15 Brilliant Ideas to Make Your Kitchen Look Expensive

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We’ve all been there, right? Scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest, drooling over those picture-perfect kitchens that seem to have walked straight out of a luxe magazine.

The crisp cabinets, sleek countertops, and stylish accessories make our own cooking spaces feel a little…drab. 

But what if I told you that you don’t need to break the bank for a kitchen worthy of the ‘gram?

With a few clever tricks and budget-friendly updates, you can give your kitchen an expensive makeover that’ll have your guests doing a double-take.

I managed to do it with my own kitchen on a shoestring budget, so I know it’s totally doable!

Let me show you how.

1. Use Under-Cabinet Lighting

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Lighting is the magic wand that can transform any space, including your kitchen. Installing some warm under-cabinet lighting is an easy win that’ll make your countertops glow and add a cozy, ambient vibe.

Trust me, it’s way more affordable than you think and makes such a difference! I still remember the first time I flicked on those little LED strips – it felt like my kitchen had leveled up instantly.

2. Replace Some Cabinet Doors With Open Shelves

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Open shelving is all the rage right now, and for good reason – it adds a touch of airy elegance to any kitchen.

Swap out a few of your cabinet doors and replace them with trendy shelves to display your prettiest dishes, cookbooks, or decorative pieces.

Not only does it look high-end, but it’s also practical for keeping your most-used items within easy reach.

3. Swap Harsh Overhead Lights for Warm White Bulbs and Dimmer Switches

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Speaking of lighting, ditch those harsh, fluorescent overheads and replace them for warm white bulbs.

They’ll instantly create a cozier atmosphere that feels way more inviting. And while you’re at it, install dimmer switches so you can set the mood for casual brunches or intimate dinner parties. Your kitchen will feel like a total treat for the senses!

4. Add a Kitchen Runner or Small Area Rug

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You know what they say – it’s all in the details. Adding a stylish kitchen runner or a small area rug is an easy way to inject some personality and warmth into your cooking space. 

But beyond aesthetics, a well-chosen rug can also elevate the overall look and feel of your kitchen, making it feel more polished and put-together. Look for patterns or colors that complement your existing decor. Instant upgrade.

5. Paint Your Cabinets

If your cabinets are looking a little worse for wear, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders. Opt for a trendy shade like sage green or navy blue for a chic, high-end look that’ll make your kitchen feel brand new.

And if painting seems like too much work? Try updating just the cabinet boxes or frames for a two-toned effect.

6. Use Decorative Trays or Bowls to Stylishly Organize Countertop Items

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Countertop clutter is the ultimate kitchen buzz-kill. But you can turn that mess into an artful display by corralling all those loose items onto decorative trays or bowls.

I like to use a decorative wooden tray on my countertop to keep my everyday essentials – olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper shakers – readily available while also adding a touch of rustic charm. It keeps my cooking zone organized and visually appealing.

7. Display Artwork, Framed Prints, or a Curated Collection of Cookbooks on Open Shelving

Remember those open shelves we talked about earlier? They’re the perfect spot to show off your personality and curate a gorgeous display of artwork, framed prints, or your favorite cookbooks.

It’s an easy way to make your kitchen feel warm, inviting, and uniquely you.

8. Upgrade Old Cabinet Hardware

Don’t underestimate the power of new cabinet hardware! Swapping out those dated knobs and pulls for sleek, modern options can instantly elevate the look of your kitchen.

And the best part? It’s an affordable update that’ll make a big visual impact.

9. Add a Touch of Life With Strategically Placed Potted Herbs

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There’s something about incorporating a little greenery that just breathes new life into a space.

Pick up a few potted herbs like basil, rosemary, or thyme and place them around your kitchen for a fresh, vibrant touch. Not only do they look lovely, but you’ll have fragrant garnishes at your fingertips for all your culinary adventures.

10. Install Crown Molding Around the Top of Your Cabinets

Crown molding is like the little black dress of home decor – it’s classic, chic, and makes everything look more expensive.

Adding this elegant trim around the top of your cabinets will give your kitchen an instant facelift and a custom, built-in look that oozes luxury.

11. Replace Your Faucet With a High-Arc Pull-Down or Touchless Faucet

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Let’s be honest, the faucet is the workhorse of your kitchen, so why not treat it to an upgrade?

A sleek, high-arc pull-down or touchless faucet is both functional and stylish, giving your sink area a modern, high-end vibe. Plus, it’ll make washing those mountain loads of dishes feel just a tiny bit more bearable.

12. Add a Stylish Backsplash

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Adding a backsplash is a great opportunity to get creative and add personality to your kitchen.

Whether you opt for subway tiles, Moroccan-inspired patterns, or even a show-stopping slab of marble, a new backsplash can completely transform the look and feel of your cooking zone. It’s a project that’s totally worth the splurge for that luxe vibe.

13. Hang Some Large, Decorative Mirrors

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Mirrors are like the superheroes of small spaces – they bounce light around and create the illusion of a bigger, brighter area. They are a perfect choice to make any kitchen look more expensive.

Hanging a few large, decorative mirrors in your kitchen will not only make it feel more open and airy, but it’ll also add a touch of elegance that screams “high-end.”

14. Install Luxury Vinyl Tile

Luxury vinyl tile (or LVT) is a game-changer when it comes to budget-friendly flooring that looks anything but cheap.

These bad boys mimic the look of real wood, stone, or tile at a fraction of the cost, making your kitchen look fancy. Plus, they’re durable, water-resistant, and a breeze to install – even for a DIY novice like yours truly.

15. Keep Countertops Clear and Organized

Last but certainly not least, one of the easiest ways to make your kitchen look expensive is to keep those countertops clear and organized.

Stash away appliances you’re not using, invest in some chic canisters for dry goods, and keep surfaces clutter-free. A minimalist, streamlined look is the epitome of high-end style.

Wrapping It All Up

There you have it – 15 brilliant, budget-friendly ways to turn your kitchen into an Instagram-worthy oasis of luxury.

So what are you waiting for? Get decorating and prepare to field all the compliments from your guests! And if all else fails, just take my advice and fake it ’til you make it.

After all, an expensive-looking kitchen is the key to feeling like you’re living that luxury life, even if your bank account says otherwise.

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is a home improvement expert, contractor, avid DIYer, and security manager. He is passionate about home repairs, remodeling, and teaching. Read More