Kitchens are the most expensive rooms to renovate—period. But if paying for new counters, updating your backsplash, and switching out appliances fall outside of your budget, there are other ways to give your space a sense of luxury without spending a fortune. From upgrading your cabinetry hardware to swapping out an outdated light fixture to hanging an affordable piece of art, you'd be surprised at just how many budget-friendly kitchen styling tricks there are for creating a chef-worthy space on a dime. Even if you do just one of these things, your space will instantly look a million times more luxe—trust us.
If you'd like to take your kitchen's design up a notch, keep scrolling for nine kitchen styling ideas that will take your space from standard to special and ho-hum to high-end in no time.
Upgrade Your Hardware
If your kitchen has both large drawers and cabinets, consider using different hardware for each to bring additional details into your décor. Use both pulls and knobs, but keep the finishes the same to prevent the look from becoming chaotic.
Add some greenery to your space to give it a lived-in, luxurious feel. Windowsill herbs are a safe bet and are not only beautiful but also functional. Place small pots scattered throughout the space or opt for a single large planter placed prominently on a counter or island.
Update Your Light Fixtures
We've often said lighting is like jewelry in a design because it adds the perfect finishing touch to a room. With this in mind, switch out light fixtures in expected shapes and designs for items with a little more personality to give your space a custom, designer look.
Personalize With Accessories
To create a rich, special space, consider how you can make your kitchen stand out. Layer in unexpected and unusual elements like wall ferns, decorative accessories on shelves, personal mementos, and interesting textiles to create a unique design.
Lay Down a Rug
By adding a runner or area rug to your kitchen, you'll add warmth to your space while also keeping your feet comfortable as you cook. This will make the space feel just as decorated as the other areas of your home. An outdoor rug is a safe bet to withstand the beating it will likely take and ensure easy clean-up in case of spills.
Opt for Stools
Many kitchens lack the space to have additional furniture items, so counter stools are often the only way to add personality to the room with furnishings. Opt for stools in interesting shapes and materials to add an unexpected element to your décor. If your space doesn't allow for an island or bar area, tuck a single small stool into a corner to not only create a spot to rest while cooking but also to add another layer to your design.
Swap Out Your Faucet
Kitchen faucets have come a long way, and many large manufacturers are now offering them in a variety of shapes, finishes, and configurations. Swap your standard faucet for something a little more interesting and decorative in a finish to match your cabinet hardware to give your space a high-end look.
If you feel like your walls are lacking personality, hang an interesting piece of artwork in the kitchen to introduce color and texture into your space. Break free of traditionally accepted subject matter, like fruit and vegetable still-life paintings, and hang vintage oil works or portraits to create a sophisticated vibe.
Piles of mail, dirty toasters, and wet sponges definitely make a kitchen feel less than special. Keep your counters organized by corralling necessities that you can't hide in cabinets in decorative trays and baskets. Make room in cupboards or high cabinets for small appliances you don't use every day, and hide cleaning supplies in a caddy beneath the sink.
This story was originally published on September 23, 2014, and has since been updated.