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13 Design Ideas to Make Your Kitchen Look Expensive

Get the kitchen of your dreams, even on a budget.

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Clear off the fridge

Photographs can add a sweet touch of nostalgia to your space, but a fridge that’s plastered with magnets and mementos looks chaotic. If you’re not ready to part with all your refrigerator art, pick just a few favorite photos to hang in a line with simple magnets for a more streamlined look.

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Swap out your hardware

For a quick update, replace your old cabinet and drawer pulls with all new hardware. Add interest by using different designs for drawer pulls and cabinet knobs, but make sure to stick with the same finish for a streamlined look.

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Pick a new faucet

With all the great designs on the market, there’s no excuse to settle on a boring faucet. Pick a sleek one in the same finish as your cabinet hardware to immediately add an expensive-looking touch to your sink.

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iStock/Jun Zhang

Invest in great lighting

One of the first things people do when they step into a kitchen is take a look at the lights on the ceiling. If yours is outdated or just plain boring, get your hands on a gorgeous light fixture. Pick one that reflects your personality, whether it’s a classic chandelier or a line of modern spherical lamps. Learn 15 things your home decor reveals about your personality.

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iStock/Anna Idestam-Almquist

Go for stainless steel

Even if you can’t afford all-new appliances, you can get the look of stainless steel with the ones you already have. Coat your fridge or dishwasher with a stainless steel finish for a high-end look that doesn’t cost much.

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iStock/Dean Mitchell

Hang beautiful art

Kitchens might feel utilitarian, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from adding fun touches like a stunning work of art. No need to stick with same-old-same-old still life paintings of fruits—feel free to hang up any tapestries, landscapes, or abstract works that speak to you.

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Stick with light colors

Light colors reflect more light, making the whole room appear bigger and brighter. Go for white cabinets and walls to trick the eye into thinking your kitchen is larger—and more expensive—than it is.

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Get rid of clutter

When you think “expensive,” you never think “messy,” but the kitchen can easily become a hoarding ground for mail, files, and bags. Find a permanent spot for as much as you can (and make sure it gets back to that home every day), and corral come-and-go items like mail and your kids’ schoolwork in a decorative basket to keep them contained. Try borrowing these 10 daily habits of clutter-free people.

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Tuck away appliances

Leave out the items you use every day, like the toaster and coffee maker, but find another home for the ones you use less often. No matter how annoying you think it will be to lug out your stand mixer once a month, it will pay off with your clear, clutter-free counter.

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Get your hands on potted plants

Scattering a couple plants in your kitchen will add a pop of natural color to your space and make it look like you put effort into the décor. As a bonus, you can use those herbs on your windowsill to add the fresh flavor to your recipes.

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Add a rug

Give your floors the attention they deserve by laying down a funky rug to dress up the space. Unless your cooking gets messy, you can probably get away with any design you want, but stick with an easy-to-clean outdoor rug if you expect lots of spills. Make sure you know these 10 secrets of people who have spotless homes.

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Find cool stools

If you have an island or bar in your kitchen, the stools you choose are a great opportunity to add visual interest to your kitchen. Hunt for unique ones that are sure to garner compliments. Even if you don’t have counter space calling for a stool, tuck a small seat in a corner to create a fun, unexpected sitting space.

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iStock/Debbie Lund

Update your cabinets

If your cabinets are looking dinged and dull from everyday wear and tear, don’t call a remodeler just yet. Replace just the fronts of your cabinets, or sand and stain the ones you already have to freshen up your kitchen’s look and hide any cheap-looking scuffs. Don’t miss these other 52 things that make your home look more expensive.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.