Our Design Expert's Best Tips For Hopping On Kitchen Trends On A Budget

Over the years, kitchens have evolved from purely utilitarian places where you make dinner to focal points of the home that make a major statement. Because of this, more and more kitchen trends have been emerging, sparking inspiration for amateur home designers to make their own spaces stand out. From the earthy trend of green kitchen cabinets to the luxurious shift from subway tiles to full marble slab backsplashes, there's a new look to explore every few months. But what if you can't afford to redo your kitchen every time the fad cycle changes? Fortunately, there are ways you can dabble with trends on a budget. We asked a design expert how to do just that so you get the most bang for your buck. 

"When it comes to budget, I always recommend spending where it makes the most impact and will continue to be current five years later," Christina Cruz, principal designer at Christina Cruz Interiors, exclusively tells House Digest. "If you want an all green kitchen because that is what is trending, you need to love the color green." If you know your preferences pretty well and want to update your kitchen but don't know where to start, we break down which ones will give you the most significant payoff below.

Go for bold, statement lighting

One of the most affordable ways to jump on a kitchen trend is to focus on lighting fads. Pendants and lamps aren't as expensive to swap out as cabinets or flooring, and they can completely change the style of your kitchen. "New lighting immediately makes a difference," Cruz told House Digest in an exclusive interview. "Swap out pendant lighting over an island, add a drop pendant over a sink, or opt for a fun semi-flush mount." For instance, designer Jeremiah Brent unveiled a showstopping lighting trend in some of his most recent kitchen designs — architectural lighting that can double as art. You can replace your simple pendant or ceiling fan for something more eye-catching, like the Tempo Vivace Pendant from Anthropologie, which looks like origami. 

However, if you're worried that the lamp you choose will seem dated in a year's time, Cruz reassures you that it will likely come right back around in style. "I never like the word 'trend' because there are all elements of design that are having a 'moment,' but that all stem from the past and will continue to resurface." So you don't need to be nervous investing a couple of hundred dollars into your lighting choices because some element of that design will come right back into the zeitgeist if you wait long enough.

Focus on the finer details if you have wiggle room in your budget

If you want to splurge on something, you might assume that you should direct those funds towards bigger changes, such as updating your appliances. But according to Cruz, you should pay attention to the finer details, such as hardware and cabinet colors. "Hardware is always a great place to splurge and there are some trending hardware that makes a bold statement," Cruz exclusively tells House Digest. For instance, she recommends hopping onto the popular 2024 wavy trend by investing in sculptural Karu Pulls from Lo & Co Interiors. They cost $49 a pop, but will instantly make your space feel fresh without updating a single other thing. Similarly, you can change the entire look of your kitchen by painting your cabinets an unexpected color. "Pick a fun color to refinish your cabinets. Go bold with a darker color like Salamander from Benjamin Moore or Inkwell from Sherwin Williams," she shares. 

Lastly, you can completely change the aesthetic of your kitchen by adopting a trendy backsplash. It will cost more than installing a new pendant, but it's still a budget-friendly way to experiment with a fad without gutting your entire room. "Update your backsplash with a handmade zellige tile for a trendy but timeless look or fun terrazzo tile," Cruz suggests. Since backsplashes are usually small areas, you won't have to invest too much money to acquire  new tiles.