5 low-cost kitchen upgrades that are worth the investment


If you’re thinking about remodeling some or all of your kitchen, depending on the upgrades, it can be money well-spent!

Here’s a look at five upgrades under $500 that offer a good return on your investment!

RELATED: These 10 kitchen upgrades could ruin your home’s resale value

1. New sink

According to Consumer Reports, you could spend $600 on a thick metal stainless steel kitchen sink, but you really don’t have to spend that much. Spending about $200 for a thinner kitchen sink can improve the look of your home and will function just as well. ‘While thicker metal typically costs more, gauge made little difference in our tests,’ they said.

2. Paint your cabinets

A brand new coat of paint makes anything look better, and cabinets are no exception. But, the key is using the right kind of paint — and the right color. Even if you wanted to pay someone else to paint them, you’d end up spending about $50 per door, but cabinet transformation kits cost around $80. While installing new cabinets costs on average about $5,000, painting them is a budget-friendly alternative.

Here are the colors that can increase your home’s resale value.

3. Tile backsplash

Installing a new tile backsplash can range between $400 and $600, according to Fixr.com, but this improvement can instantly add some style to your kitchen and make it look more attractive. In addition, a tile backsplash can protect your walls from water and cooking stains and can be easily cleaned with a damp towel. At about $10 per square foot, a tile backsplash is a nice addition to a budget-friendly kitchen upgrade.

RELATED: 4 places to save big on a kitchen remodel

4. An island

Adding an island to your kitchen is a cost-effective way to increase your counter space and convenience when cooking or preparing food. But the key here is to make sure you have enough space to add an island, and also to arrange it in the right place.

Though a custom-built island can come with a big price tag, you could find a ready to assemble island, or if you are repainting your cabinets also, an unfinished island, which start at just under $400.


A rolling island adds a nice convenience factor, while those topped with stainless or granite add a sophisticated look. Just keep in mind, you’ll want a clearance of 36 to 48-inches around the island for it to make sense in your kitchen.

Here are some good avenues for finding kitchen islands:

5. Recessed lighting or upgraded light fixtures

Have those rectangular florescent flush mount lights lost their appeal? Why not upgrade with recessed lighting?

If you’re a little bit handy, doing this project yourself can save you quite a bit, but according to HomeAdvisor.com, the cost of having recessed lighting professionally installed is about $150 per light. If you’re not at all handy, it might be best to leave this to the pros since there are some risks, such as the risk of electrical shock and potential asbestos hazards, depending on the age of your home. A different (and perhaps easier) approach could be to install new lighting fixtures.

Keep in mind that if you want to do a full kitchen upgrade, the cost of your upgrade should be no more than 5-15% of your home’s total value, according to Consumer Reports, but these smaller kitchen upgrades can dramatically improve the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

RELATED: Top 5 lessons learned from an under $5,000 complete kitchen remodel

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