These 8 Hacks Can Help You Fake a Kitchen Reno

Giving your kitchen a makeover can be an expensive and time-consuming project. However, with some clever hacks and DIY solutions, you can totally transform the look of your kitchen without spending a fortune. Here are 8 ingenious hacks to help you fake a kitchen renovation on a budget.

Refresh Cabinets with New Hardware

One of the easiest ways to update the look of your kitchen is by changing out the cabinet hardware. Switching knobs, pulls, and hinges to more modern styles can give your cabinets a brand new look for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. Opt for brushed nickel, black iron, or matte brass hardware to give your kitchen a slick, contemporary vibe. Make sure to measure your existing holes and spacing so you can find replacement hardware that will fit properly. Installing new hardware takes just a few minutes per cabinet, but makes a world of difference.

Freshen Up With New Countertops

Tired laminate countertops can really date a kitchen. Laminate is also easily scratched and stained over time. Replacing countertops with materials like quartz, granite, or solid surface can cost thousands. A budget-friendly alternative is to apply new laminate sheeting right over your existing counters. The installation process is similar to applying wallpaper. Just thoroughly clean the counters, apply adhesive, and smooth the laminate into place. Choose a modern solid color or pattern to give your kitchen counters a brand new look. This DIY facelift can be done over a weekend and costs under $100 for materials.

Disguise Cabinets With Paint

Does your kitchen have cabinetry that is structurally sound but looks worn and dated? With some sanding, priming, and painting, you can give those old cabinets a complete transformation. Painting cabinets allows you to choose any color you want to match your new kitchen vision. White, gray, navy, or black painted cabinets can look incredibly chic and modern. Make sure to thoroughly clean, lightly sand, and properly prime the cabinets first to help the paint adhere and avoid chipping. Pay close attention to reach all sides and inside edges evenly. Be patient waiting for coats of paint to dry fully between applications. With some effort and care, you can end up with kitchen cabinets that look brand new for less than $100.

Update Backsplash on a Budget

The backsplash is one of the first things you notice in a kitchen and can really set the tone for the whole space. However, tile backsplashes can be expensive, especially for large areas. An easy budget hack is to use Peel and Stick backsplash tiles instead. These can be applied right over existing materials as long as the surface is clean and smooth. Peel and Stick tiles come in chic patterns, shapes, and materials for under $5 per square foot. Use these affordable tiles to disguise outdated backsplashes. You can also create patterns by alternating colors and designs. Installing Peel and Stick tiles is as easy as peeling off the adhesive backing and firmly pressing into place.

Disguise Appliances with Custom Panels

Stainless steel appliances are popular in contemporary kitchens. However, replacing appliances can cost thousands of dollars. If your kitchen has quality appliances that are slightly outdated in finish or style, you can give them an update with custom panels. Many companies sell ready-made panels that clip or screw onto existing appliance frames to disguise them. You can also make your own panels cut to size out of wood, mirrored glass, wallpaper, etc. Adding custom panels allows you to hide black, white, or other colored appliances with any material and finish you like for a fraction of the cost of buying new ones. Keep the quality appliances running and just change their style.

Refresh Windows with New Trims

If your kitchen windows are surrounded by worn-out wood trim, this can make the whole room look drab and dated. You can give your windows a quick facelift simply by replacing the window trims with new materials. Take a trip to your local home improvement store to browse options like pine boards, PVC trim pieces, corner blocks, and molding strips to frame out your windows. Updating kitchen window trims allows you to change the shape and style easily. Install new trims with finishing nails, caulk the edges, add a fresh coat of paint or stain, and enjoy your newly styled windows.

Add Under Cabinet Lighting

Most kitchens rely heavily on overhead lighting which can cast unflattering shadows on work areas. Installing under cabinet lighting creates great task lighting for food prep areas and illuminates workspaces. LED strip lighting is easy to install with peel and stick backings. You simply clean underneath your cabinets, remove the backing, and press into place. Connect the lighting strips and plug into nearby outlets. Use remote controls or smart lighting technology to make adjusting brightness and temperature easy. Under cabinet lighting also highlights your beautiful new kitchen updates. The transformation can be dramatic and it’s an affordable investment starting around $25.

Style with Accessories

Accessorizing is the finishing touch that brings a kitchen renovation together with personality and flair. Display your freshly organized cookware in new pots and pans racks. Roll out a charming new runner rug. Add baskets, trays, and canisters in natural textures. Group some colorful, cheery bowls or stand mixer right on your countertop. Arrange fresh flowers and herbs in the window sill. Swap out dull light fixture covers for something fun like bamboo or rattan. Declutter surfaces and style with some bright, sleek kitchen accessories in your favorite colors. These little touches help create ambiance just like a completely remodeled kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Faking a Kitchen Reno

What are the benefits of faking a kitchen renovation?

The benefits include cost savings, less disruption, and quick updates. Faking a renovation with DIY projects and simple changes allows you to inexpensively update the look of your kitchen without the mess and headaches of a full remodel.

How much does faking a kitchen renovation cost compared to a full remodel?

Faking a reno with things like paint, hardware, lighting, accessories etc can cost a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars compared to $15,000-$30,000 for a major remodel involving cabinetry, countertops, flooring and professional labor.

What are the best hacks for instantly improving the look of a kitchen?

Great instant upgrades include painting cabinets, installing new modern hardware, replacing dated lighting fixtures, applying new backsplash tiles, and adding under cabinet lighting. Refacing cabinets, adding appliance panels, and replacing worn trims and pulls also make big visual impacts.

What mistakes should be avoided when trying to fake a kitchen renovation?

Avoid partial updates that look obviously outdated and mismatched. Don’t leave old floors or countertops that clash with fresh paint or cabinets. Pay attention to details like updating trims, window coverings, and light fixtures for a cohesive finished look.

Should you fake a kitchen renovation if you plan to sell your home soon?

Minor updates can improve a home’s salability and appeal to buyers. But significant changes in layout or permanent materials may not provide much return on investment if you plan to sell quickly. Focus on paint, lighting, hardware and surfaces that can be refreshed inexpensively.

Can you change the layout or remove walls as part of a faux renovation?

It’s best not to attempt major structural changes yourself as part of a faux reno. Removing walls or altering layouts can get tricky with wiring and plumbing. Fake updates using cosmetic changes and beautifying existing permanent structures and elements of the kitchen instead.

Is faking a good option for rental properties?

Yes, faux renovations with paint, peel and stick tiles/laminates, cabinet updates, and lighting can beautifully transform a rental kitchen on a budget. These are affordable updates that can be removed and refreshed between tenants as needed. Just clear alterations with the landlord first.

How long does a fake kitchen renovation take compared to a full remodel?

Faking it can take a few days to a few weeks of evenings and weekends for DIY projects. A full gut renovation takes months with demolition, materials purchasing and construction phases involving multiple contractors and labor.


With some creativity and elbow grease, you can utterly transform the look of your kitchen without taking on a full blown gut remodel. Small upgrades like new cabinet hardware, paint, trimwork, lighting and backsplashes go a long way to freshening up your space. Take it from a quick DIY facelift to a deeper re-imagining by refacing cabinets, disguising appliances and experimenting with colors and materials. The best part is all these clever hacks give you a new kitchen for a fraction of the cost and time investment of a total renovation. Get started this weekend and fake your way to a breathtaking kitchen revamp.