5 Cheap Kitchen Updates to Sell Your House (for More Money)

Wanna know a secret? 

You DO NOT need to spend thousands to dramatically improve your kitchen space.

The biggest mistake homeowners make remodeling before sale is over-investing. The truth is, you can make a huge difference (like a 3-7% difference in sale price) with just a few hundred bucks. 

We’re going to break down how to make 5 killer kitchen upgrades - each under $100 dollars. These simple, inexpensive improvements will make you more money, sell your home faster, and help you move up into your ideal house.

But first, especially if you have a limited budget, I want to share why you should focus on your kitchen.

Free Seller Resource: Complete price analysis for your home. Includes neighborhood history, competition analysis, and the optimal price range for your property. Learn more here.

Why You Should Focus on the Kitchen

According to Consumer Reports, you can increase the value of your home 3-7% with just a few hundred bucks.

That is pretty crazy when you think about it. For every $100,000 of house, you might end up with an extra $5,000.  Why is investing in your kitchen so effective?

Simply put, it's what the majority of buyers care about the most. According to the 2017 Remodeling Impact Survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, kitchen related updates both had the biggest appeal to buyers and had the biggest increase in home value.

In other words, if you are only going to make a few updates before sale, focus on the kitchen.

“Renovating the kitchen is always the biggest way to add value to your home,” - Grace Fancher, agent in Kansas City

5 Cheap Kitchen Upgrades That Will Increase the Value of Your House

1) Upgrade your Lighting Fixtures

Estimated Cost: $40-70 per fixture

I love lighting tricks.

Honestly, lighting is an overlooked asset you can use throughout your entire house, but especially in a kitchen.

Well lit kitchens feel larger. They are warm. They are inviting.

Just look at the difference this single fixture makes to this room.

 You should have two goals in lighting.

First, you want to focus on functionality. We call this “task lighting” The most important areas to consider are right above the sink and range. Nab a great fixture highlight (like this Black Edison Scone) for $30-$50, install, and marvel at the improvement.

Second, you want put the right ambiance in your space.

One major reason the picture above makes such a huge difference is that it switches out the harsh white fluorescent light with a great warm tone.

Another great trick is to introduce puck lights. Lately, I've also begun seeing more and more rope light solutions, especially along the bottom of kick plates. This can almost "lift" the kitchen, giving more dimensionality to  the space.

2) Enhance Your Cabinets with New Kitchen Hardware

Estimated Cost: $20-30

I admit, this is the least exciting tactic on this list.


It is effective, especially if your current setup is dated, worn, or has “cheap” looking materials.

You can get beautiful, heavy-duty steel or brass knobs with matching cup pulls for draws for well under $30. Or you can opt for a more modern look. 

I love the ones that Mr.Kate chose in this remodel (video below). The video is set to jump straight to the new handles, but if you want to see just how big of a difference you can make for $300 feel free to play from the beginning!

Steals from Amazon

Gold Cabinet Hardware (featured in video) - 10pk $22

Satin Nickel Traditional - 5pc $22


While this improvement won’t increase the assessment value of your house, it can help make a great impression on potential buyers.

BONUS TIP: Match the size of your existing handles so that you don’t have to drill new holes. If you really, really like the ones that have a different dimension, you can always calk up the pre-existing holes with some Elmer's wood filler.

3) Upgrade Your Faucet/Plumbing

Estimated Cost: $70-200

Little things matter.

A leaky faucet is a huge turn-off. Same with an old faucet model.

Buyers don’t see that they could easily replace it for a hundred bucks. Instead, they see what you have.

An awesome trick to see what buyers want today...

When picking out any type of fixtures, you want to make sure that you are selecting for current taste. One great way to do this is looking up the "most wished for" home improvement items on Amazon. 

These are the exact items people are uploading to their wedding registries and wishlists.

Here is the link to the “most wished for” faucets.

The best part….

The top 3 "most wished for" faucets are ALL under $100

Looking over the list, it's pretty obvious that sprayers are wanted. If you're kitchen doesn't have one, you can install one in about an hour. 

4) Give your kitchen walls a fresh coat

Estimated Cost: $50-100

New paint is one of the easiest, most effective DIY projects you can do.

Generally speaking, you want to go for light, neutral colors.

Lighter walls will make your kitchen feel large and bright. You can easily grab a couple of gallons to cover the space for under $60.

That being said, there are a number of items we’re not going to touch in your kitchen.

Your backsplash, appliances, countertops, and flooring all need to come together.

Still, the most popular colors are white, muted grays, and blues. Accent walls are also popular. However, if you’re preparing your home to sell, I highly recommend playing it safe and allowing the next buyer to go from there. 

5) Paint Your Cabinets

Estimated Cost: $100

While this is one of the most dramatic improvements you can make to your kitchen, it is also BY FAR the most time intensive tactice on this list.

That being said, if you have the time (or the extra cash to hire someone), you can completely change the feel of your kitchen in a weekend.

You don’t always have to go white.

Here is a great example of how you can add beautiful contrast to your kitchen.

Before, the neutral color blends right into the countertop. Defaulting to white would have had a very minimal effect. The grey gives a great contrast to the rest of the walls, and really allows the other white in the room to stand out. 

How to Paint Your Cabinets

The type of cabinets you currently have will dictacte the best method to use.

Wood cabinets are the easiest and best surfaces to work with.

It doesn’t matter if your current setup is already painted, stained, unfinished, real or not. All wood is a good candidate for this upgrade.

1: Prepare Like Your Project Depended On It

Mostly because it does.

This is probably the most important step in the whole thing. Preparing your cabinetry for paint requires a number of sub-steps.

  • Clean: Remove all dirt, grease, and grime from the surface.
  • Label: You’ll want to mark each frame with tape and number so you know where to put them back.
  • Take off all hardware, such as knobs.

2. Prepping Stage 2: Sand & De-gloss

Yep, prepping is extended and important enough to merit two stages.

The goal here is to make sure your primer and paint stick. Each surface will present it’s own particular challenges.

If you’re working with stained wood, use a 220 grit sandpaper to scruff it up. If you’re cabinets are already painted, you should move up to a 120-grade.

Alternatively, you can use a liquid de-glosser to etch into surface and allow your paint to grip. This is probably the best choice if your cabinets are ornamental, with a lot of ridges in them.

3. Prime

Next, you want to put on a good layer of prime. 

Again, it is worth the investment to buy separate primer and paint. Unfortunately, combo products don't do the job, and allow grain to show through (especially if you are opting for a lighter color. 

​4. Invest in Good Paint

Latex paint is easiest to work with, but many recommend oil as the best way to go. 

Regardless, you will want to select a satin finish, and apply multiple coats (at least 2). Your cabinets will take a beating, and you want something that will last, be easy to clean, and look fantastic all the while

Free Seller Resource: Complete price analysis for your home. Includes neighborhood history, competition analysis, and the optimal price range for your property. Learn more here.

Next Steps

You just took the first step in improving the condition of your home for sale!

Next, you want to apply these ideas to your unique situation. Which ones make sense? Which ones don't? 

Finally, there are four primary factors in a successful house sale. Sellers need to focus on

  • Optimal Price: Determining the optimal price for their needs
  • check
    Market Conditions: Understanding current neighborhood dynamics influence everything else.
  • Condition of Home: This article focuses on preparing your kitchen, but you probably have other rooms, yards, and personal property.
  • Marketing Plan: The most important factor, a strong marketing plan is essential to maximizing profit.

If you would like help with any of these, just let me know which ones at [email protected] or 402.312.9447.

PS: Can we send you an email?

Once a week or so we send an email with our best content. We never bug you; we just send you actionable advice to help you (and the people you love) prepare for your next home. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.