Ten Easy Projects to Renew Your Kitchen

Ingredients for a quick fix: paint; refurbished glass front cupboard doors; door and drawer pulls painted to match; vintage, flea-market tile with corresponding sanded grout; newly painted wood miniblind.

Need a creative, quick save to rescue your faded kitchen but have limited time and money? Here’s how to have a “like-new” kitchen on a slim budget.

These are projects any do-it-yourselfer can accomplish on a barebones budget and still end up with a dynamite result. Some of these projects can even pull together a rented apartment kitchen without upsetting your landlord.

Get started in the morning and be finished in time for dinner guests.

1. Paint. The first and primary hint: paint works miracles on everything. If it holds still, paint it neatly, inside and out. Don't think colors; think both shine and texture. Old wood tone cabinets spray-painted high-gloss white or hand painted with oil-base in creamy white provides yards of look for very little cash.

Fanciful new hardware is worth splurging on. New paint and pulls alone will revitalize a kitchen.

Then repaint the walls with latex satin enamel in soft sheen or no sheen. Use a color to contrast with your " new cabinets." Feeling adventurous? Paint pulls and hinges, too. If you have poor cabinetry, this technique can really pull it together.

2. Pulls. When renovating cabinetry, new pulls add punch. In a small kitchen, put money into pulls and hardware. Expensive pulls can make the worst cabinets sing. Consider vintage pulls.

3. Exposed shelves. Less is more. Look at the cabinets and consider which doors could be removed to expose the shelving. Open shelving helps a kitchen look bigger. Display your favorite dishes, baskets, etc., for a new, updated look. Paint the inside of the cabinets the same as the outside or contrasting or bright color for snap.

4. Glass doors. Replace solid cupboard doors with glass fronts. The glass can be clear or frosted or you can get vintage doors and master them to fit. Showcase dishes, glassware, silver - anything displayable. You can also line the inside glass with sheer fabric. And if you’ve removed some doors to create open shelves, the glass fronts add beautifully to the look.

5. Lighting. Track lights brighten up any kitchen. Wire suspension lights can make the space look contemporary and new. Paper lanterns add life and freshness. All three types of lighting put light where you need it, create space or raise the ceiling. If you have a very small kitchen, make a box or rectangle of lights with extra small halogen bulbs.

6. Tile. Have new countertops in a day. Here’s when it pays to have a small kitchen. If the counter space is not too large, go ahead and splurge on expensive tile. It will make the entire kitchen look luxurious. Or, for small counters, consider buying vintage tile. Tiling a small countertop is simple. Don’t be afraid of irregularities.

7. Floors. Today there are countless self-stick tiles that can be added for a quick floor revamp. Floating wood floors and wood tiles can be done in an afternoon. Or, paint the floor a dark color such as black, then tie in the wall or cabinet color by using that paint to rag or faux finish over the darker floor color.

8. Faucets. Here’s another feature to invest in. Flashy new faucets can make an old sink fade back. Faucets in white or chrome with pull-out sprays look great and, for the money, say " new kitchen."

9. Mirrors. One of the best ways to add space without permanent alterations is to attach a glossy white-framed mirror to the wall at the end of a galley kitchen. It will add dimension and space. Place one above the refrigerator, or hang one on a cabinet for drama.

10. Window coverings. A new window covering makes the window and the wall look fresh. A matchstick blind cut to size or a metal-tone miniblind adds texture and controls light. Small shutters loosely fitted into a window frame can be installed in an afternoon and are readily available in white or natural. Paint them, faux finish them, stain them or leave them alone.