Easy kitchen updates – quick and simple ways to transform your room

From clever tricks to mini decor projects, enjoy our round-up of ideas that will make your kitchen more beautiful NOW!

Looking for easy kitchen updates? It’s easy to tire of a decorating scheme, particularly in a room where you spend the vast majority of your time. And as we’re increasingly using the kitchen not only as a space to cook, but also to eat, entertain, gather as a family and relax, it’s natural we should want to mix things up from time to time. Changing cabinetry can be a costly business, but there are plenty of ways to transform a kitchen without needing to spend big.

Paint is the most obvious way to reinvigorate a tired scheme. From on-trend greys or minimalist white to a feature wall in a bold colour,– the possibilities are endless. Also consider a statement wallpaper or mural in a bold pattern, which is a great way to zone off a dining area.

For more inspiration, check out our kitchen ideas

Lighting also has transformative powers, from oversized pendants suspended over a table to subtle LED strips under cabinetry –– there is a wealth of choice when it comes to kitchen illumination that doesn’t have to cost the earth.

And what about furniture? The introduction of some colourful bar stools can take a scheme from ordinary to urban chic in an instant, while a secondhand dresser lovingly brought back to life with an unusual coat of paint will give a county kitchen a modern edge.

Read on for more of our top tips!

1. Supersize your wall tiles

kitchen mosaic tiles wooden flooring wooden cabinet with white marble countertop with wash basin and dinning table with chairs

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

Oversized wall tiles are a great way to make a statement – and take less time to fix and grout than smaller metro designs. Choose a plain design or go for texture rather than pattern (like this ceramic option with a shimmering, high-gloss finish) then arrange in a striking herringbone formation.

Get the look
Buy now: New Brighton Ocean tiles by BCT in salt, £19.99 per sq m, Walls and Floors

2. Add a peg rail

kitchen with green walls cup of tea and towels

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Boost your storage levels with peg rails for hanging utensils, open baskets and wire racks. That way, you won't have to scrabble around at the back of dark and deep cupboards to find what you need.

Get the look
Buy now: Similar Oak six-hook peg rail, £45, Cox & Cox

3. Go for bright appliances

kitchen with mosaic wall tiles wooden flooring and microwave with white cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

If you're not brave enough to put colour all over your fitted kitchen, stay neutral but pick a bright new cooker or fridge. Both ranges and retro fridges come in a rainbow of happy contemporary colours, such as pink and orange, as well as more traditional shades of blue and red.

4. Pretty up the practicals

living room with bright white wall wooden cabinet with dustbin and towels

(Image credit: Binopolis)

Who says your bin has to be boring? Even the most mundane of kitchen items can look good. This soft close, slim pink pedal bin will also save precious under-worktop space.

Get the look
Buy now: Brabantia 30ltr New Icon pedal bin in clay pink, £65, Binopolis

Related: There's nothing rubbish about this new bin design

5. Paint a blackboard wall

dinning table with chairs blackboard hanging bulb and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tom Meadows)

Just a single tin of blackboard paint and a few pieces of chalk can totally transform a room. If you're any good at art, you could try your hand at typography, as shown above. Or you could have fun and get the kids involved. Painting on a wall with magnetic blackboard paint is perfect for those all-important reminders, shopping lists and toddler scrawls.

6. Fall in love with a larder

white cabinet tea cup bottles and wooden flooring plates and clock

(Image credit: Marks & Spencer)

If you don't want a whole new kitchen but would appreciate more cupboard space, why not invest in a standalone larder? Full of clever storage solutions, such as built-in wine and spice racks, deep drawers and slim shelves, a larder is also a great place to tuck away linens crockery and clutter.

Get the look
Buy now: Padstow larder in cream, £1,799, Marks & Spencer

7. Tap into black

kitchen white brick designed tiles on walls and wash basin with black faucet

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Swap that old, limescale-encrusted chrome mixer for an ultramodern matt black option instead. It'll look fab, whatever your style of kitchen.

Get the look
Buy now: Cooke & Lewis side-lever mono mixer kitchen tap in black, £57, Screwfix

8. Make your own shelving

kitchen with white designed brick tiles on wall white windows and white cabinet with microwave

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jonathan Jones)

Give your kitchen an urban edge by using old scaffolding boards and industrial pipework to build sturdy, open shelving. It's perfect for displaying all of your fanciest cookware and jars.

9. Hang a collection on the wall

living room with white walls wooden flooring and dinning table with chairs clock on wall

(Image credit: Mark Bolton/Future PLC)

Wallpaper is not the only way to transform a wall. How about displaying clocks, in all shapes and sizes? If the ticking and tocking doesn't appeal, you could do a similar thing with plates, or different fabrics framed in embroidery hoops.

10. Stack your appliances

bedroom with white cabinet and white window with white door

(Image credit: TBC)

If floor space is tight, have your washing machine and tumble dryer fitted on top of one another inside and old larder or tall cupboard. It hides them out of sight, saves space and helps to streamline laundry days.

Need a new machine? Best washer dryers for rainy laundry days

11. Paint your island

kitchen with white walls wooden flooring and white marble countertop with potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Gordon)

Turn your kitchen island into a statement focal point by painting it in a striking shade. Go for a colour that contrasts with yet complements your cupboards and walls for real impact.

12. Refresh your countertop storage

kitchen crockery oats in glass tins and coffee in tins

(Image credit: TBC)

Nothing dates faster than a canister, so update yours for an instant restyle. We like flat-topped jars, as they can be stacked for space efficiency but also look great in a row. Or you could mix and match containers of different sizes and materials, mimicking this stylish arrangement. We like hunting for storage jars at TK Maxx, as they often have discounted designer bargains.

13. Update your kitchen textiles

kitchen towels and microwave

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Details are often inexpensive but make a huge difference, so pick up a set of coordinated linens. Think tea towels, oven mitts and aprons, all in matching or complementary patterns. They'll smarten up your kitchen in no time!

14. Zone your lights

Good lighting is essential but it doesn't have to illuminate the whole room at once. Using clusters of lights in different areas can completely change the atmosphere of your kitchen. You could hang a small group of decorative pendants over a breakfast bar, or add strip lighting at the bottom of your wall units to create handy task lighting.

15. Fit new cupboard handles

door with knob and rope with heart

(Image credit: TBC)

A quick and inexpensive way to change your kitchen is with new handles. Do, however, make sure you choose ones with the same number of screw holes. Leather straps and traditional cupped metal handles are on trend, as are copper and brass finishes.

16. Create a feature wall

kitchen with wallpaper on wall black countertop with plates and clay tins

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Give the impression of floating open storage behind a sink by fixing a shelf at an easy-access height, then wallpapering a bold design above it. Paint the shelf and the wall beneath it in the same co-ordinating colour to complete the floating effect.

Get the look
Buy now: Great Ormond St Signature wallpaper, £86 a roll, Little Greene

17. Give walls the edge

kitchen with white mosaic tiles o wall with blue wall and wooden flooring wooden chair and wooden countertop with wash basin

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

Stray outside the lines and use tiles in a chevron motif to create an interesting finish to walls or splashbacks. Keep the rest of the space a solid colour to ensure the tiles are the hero.

Get the look
Buy now: Bastille white crackle metro tiles, £34.95 per sq m, Walls and Floors

18. Put up a handy rail

kitchen with handrail white tiles on wall and scissor cooktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Nick Pope)

Hang kitchen utensils from a rail to free up space in drawers, and rather than having a pot of them cluttering up the countertop. Hang ladles and whisks in height order for a chic, uniform look, and try to colour coordinate as much as possible.

19. Slot in a kitchen trolley

More things to think about: Small kitchen design ideas

A kitchen companion of many guises, a butcher's trolley will not only supply extra storage and prep space, but can also be used as a mini kitchen island for eating and working at. It makes a great cocktail bar, too!

Even if you only carry out one or two of these fast fixes, we guarantee your kitchen will look fabulous in no time.

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.