Tackling that drab and outdated kitchen doesn’t have to require a total gut and remodel. Sometimes, paint, time and a little imagination are all that’s required.

If kitchen cabinets are still structurally sound, sanding off the old finish and painting on a fresh coat of white can be the way to go. Be prepared for this to take more than an afternoon, though. Prior to sanding off the old finish, cabinet doors and their location in the kitchen should be noted on tape in a back corner of the panel, and cabinet boxes will need to be cleaned with something powerful enough to remove dirt and grease.

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For an unexpected pop of color, consider painting lower cabinets a cheery shade of apple green, light blue or grey and the upper cabinets white.

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To create an open and airy feel without actually removing any cabinets, paint the boxes white and then remove the doors from upper cabinets. Without doors, the cabinets look and feel more like open shelving, perfect for easy access to dishes and/or items worthy of display.

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Another great idea for updating without a lot of money or sweat equity is simply switching out cabinet hardware – or adding some altogether. Changing oil-rubbed bronze knobs for polished chrome or matte black for brushed nickel can alter the entire look of the kitchen.

New Hardware kitchen

To really make a statement, perhaps a new faucet is in order. Add a touch of convenience with a pull-down sprayer and fill the old sprayer hold with a soap dispenser.

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Go from “meh” to marvelous by switching out a utilitarian piece with little personality for a single-handle widespread in a new finish. Choosing a faucet with a taller neck injects an extra jolt of class and makes filling larger pots that much easier.

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