Easy Tips To Refresh Your Kitchen Without Trashing Your Dated Cabinets

New cabinets have the power to transform a kitchen, but swapping out the ones you have for something more modern can get expensive (and labor-intensive!) fast. Not to mention, for renters, redoing the kitchen might even be totally out of the question. It's just as well, then, that it's possible to work with what you've got, all while getting a newer-looking space. From updating the cabinets' hardware to installing a brighter backsplash, your kitchen can go from old-school to modern in no time, with minimal effort — and without annoying your landlord. 

When it comes to refreshing kitchen cabinets, there are a number of ways to go about it. One of the best-known (but non-renter-friendly) options is painting the cabinets — and if the old ones you've got at the moment are making your kitchen feel cramped and dark, it's certainly worth thinking about. The problem with painting is that you'll need to disassemble and prep the cabinets, paint, wait for them to dry, and put them back together ... and if you were looking for an easier fix, that might be more than you're willing to take on. 

Luckily, minor swap-outs can make a world of difference without the need for anything being pulled out of the kitchen. In fact, while some ideas for freshening things up include re-tiling, you can even get around that. Bringing your kitchen into the future just got a whole lot easier, cheaper, and more renter-friendly. 

Pick out new hardware

Perhaps the easiest hack to modernize dated kitchen cabinetry is by picking out new hardware. Simply swap out your dated-looking knobs and handles for something more modern, and you're good to go! And, if the fact that it's a small adjustment with a big impact wasn't enough of a drawcard, they can also be easily swapped out again at a later stage. There are some things you'll want to keep in mind before getting started, though. 

For starters, while giving your space an update is the name of the game, you don't want to go too modern — especially if your existing cabinets are straight out of the 90s. As interior designer, Jordan Samson suggested in a TikTok video, opting for a more classic style of hardware is generally the safest bet. Granted, you don't need to go old school. Just resist the urge to pair super modern, sleek chrome finishes with honey oak cabinets, for example. Another thing you'll want to think about is the hardware used in the rest of your kitchen. While mixed metal isn't necessarily an issue, everything should work together for a cohesive look. 

As for price points, another benefit of installing new hardware is that it can be done on a budget. Amazon, for one, offers simple, classic door knobs in a variety of metals for a 30-pack at $45.99. Alternatively, head to your nearest hardware store to see what's on offer. 

Add in a new backsplash and floor with self-adhesive tile

One of the biggest downsides to dated kitchen cabinets is that they often make the space look darker and more closed off. For that reason, it's paramount to find ways to bring light into the space. Your backsplash is a great place to start — and while re-tiling what you already have with a lighter, brighter tile is the more traditional way to go about it, self-adhesive backsplash options provide an even cheaper, easier, and renter-friendly upgrade alternative

Self-adhesive backsplash comes in a variety of patterns, from sleek white tiles to faux stone styles, and with both options retailing for around $40 on Amazon, you can base your choice on the rest of your kitchen and how it all works together, all without breaking the bank. Just one tip: Keep things as bright as possible. Lighter colors help with that, as do glossy finishes.

As for the tiles on your floor, those can also play a major role in your kitchen's upgrade. And, just like with the backsplash tiles, if you're not in the market to re-tile your kitchen floors, you can go for stick-on vinyl options off Amazon (and yes, you can install those over existing tiles). Again, opt for lighter, solid colors, or if you do love a pattern, pick one that's bold, like checkerboard, so as not to look bitty alongside the cabinets. New kitchen, no fuss.