4 DIY Kitchen Updates That Make a Huge Impact

February 2, 2023

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Today I’m sharing the 4 DIY kitchen updates that made a huge impact to my kitchen. Last winter I took on my biggest remodel job ever! I had been wanting to update my kitchen for a long time. And while I did some minor updates over the years, none of them came close to the changes I made last year. A full kitchen renovation.

While I did move some cabinets and plumbing around, today’s four game-changer updates don’t require any of that. Just a small budget and a little bit of DIY skill..

Can you cut wood with a miter saw? Drive in a screw with a power drill? Do some sanding with an orbital sander? Then you should be able to complete these four simple DIY kitchen updates….no problem.

And if you answered “no” to any of those questions above, it’s ok, they’re really not as hard as you may think. You’ve got this! Let’s dive into these 4 kitchen design updates…

Header Image for diy kitchen updates post

4 DIY Kitchen Updates That Make a Huge Impact

Boring Pantry to Butler’s Pantry

Butler’s pantry’s are all the rage right now! And why wouldn’t they be? Whether your pantry is huge or falls more on the smaller side, recreating the space into a butler’s pantry will free up so much other space.

With this weekend DIY-project change, I was able to remove small appliances taking up precious real estate. Making a dedicated home for them in my pantry freed up so much countertop space.

Not to mention, I was able to bring my kitchen into modern day, by just the simple change of moving my microwave out of sight. Housing it in my pantry made a big impact on the overall look and feel of my new kitchen.

I love having easy access to all of my small kitchen appliances in one central location. You can check out exactly how I transformed my pantry into this modern look, in this post.

Girl standing in butler's pantry as part of the DIY Kitchen Updates post

This was one of the best updates I could make to my kitchen. The only thing I questioned at the end of it all was, “why didn’t I do it sooner?”

And let me just say, my pantry is not huge. While it is a walk-in, it is a small space. I never knew the full potential hiding in this small closet until I conquered this DIY kitchen update.

Extend Kitchen Cabinets to the Ceiling

Moving onto the second game changer in my four DIY kitchen updates–getting rid of that awkward space above my upper cabinet doors.

Back in the day, the design style was to put decor up there. But for several years now, it has served solely as a place to gather dust. And, in my opinion, an eyesore.

Extending these cabinets to the ceiling, makes my kitchen feel bigger and the ceiling feels taller. This was another easy kitchen update that catapulted my kitchen into the 2020’s.

Girl standing at sink filling a mug with water

While I contemplated completely removing my upper cabinets and going for the open shelving look, in the end, I’m so glad I didn’t. For us, open shelves is just not practical.

Maybe once our kids have all moved out. But for now, I just don’t foresee my kids appreciating the beautiful, curated shelves I envision. I see a mess of plastic cups and mass chaos. Not the look I’m going for. And not one of the best ways to reduce stress.

So the cabinets are staying and are more beautiful than ever. With all new cabinet door fronts, new hardware and extended to the ceiling, I’m so thankful I didn’t rip them all out.

Extending your cabinets to the ceiling can really change the look of your kitchen. Check out how I extended my cabinets to the ceiling in this article.

Changing the Countertops the Easy Way

Would you believe this countertop….

Countertop sanded and smooth before DIY faux marble countertops for DIY kitchen updates post

Is the same as this countertop…

View of kitchen sink and faucet for diy kitchen updates post

They are! Amazing what paint can do! This faux marble technique is so easy to do and sure to restore even the most hideous countertops.

A project that can be done in a weekend and is so rewarding. This easy kitchen upgrade transformation is incredible.

Kitchen counters can be so expensive and out of the price range.

Working on a tight budget, I knew there were other areas I wanted to spend money on when it came to my kitchen remodel. So being able to save in the countertop budget, freed up so much more money for other things.

A couple new appliances was one area I applied that savings toward.

And the best part, people are always shocked when I tell them they’re Formica countertops. What a savings for what looks like the real thing.

A great way to update your countertops, and look like you spent a fortune.

See how easy this simple change in my 4 DIY kitchen updates truly is, in this post.

4th DIY Kitchen Updates: An Island

Way back in the early days of our marriage, my husband and I fell in love with a kitchen island, while house hunting. This island was unlike any I had ever and have ever seen before. It was huge!! While we didn’t end up buying that house, I never gave up on the dream of one day owning an island like that one.

So, during my recent kitchen remodel, an island of my dreams was a must-have. While it’s not as big as the island I fell in love with so many years ago, it is still a dream come true.

Big enough to accommodate our huge and growing family, this thing is a beast! I love that it is the gathering place when everyone comes over. It’s perfect! The extra storage space it provides is a huge win also!

Full view of diy kitchen island with baskets, a plant and modern light pendants for DIY kitchen updates post

And really, it wasn’t hard to build. I share my easy full tutorial on how I did it, in this post. Be sure to go check it out and make your island dreams come true too!

While there was so much more that went into my kitchen makeover, (new light fixtures, new flooring and a new faucet, just to name a few), these 4 DIY kitchen updates are what really stole the show. I felt they were the ones to really focus on because they are so easy to replicate in not a lot of time.

If you’re looking to update your old kitchen space, tackling these four projects will really elevate your space. A great opportunity to go from dated to modern, in just four weekend projects. Not to mention, these four easy DIY projects can increase the value of your home. How amazing is that!?

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Drop your questions and comments below. I promise to get back to you soon.

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

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