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Why Your Kitchen Looks Outdated and How to Fix It

Why Your Kitchen Looks Outdated and How to Fix It

Your kitchen is a high-traffic area. It’s where you sleepily make your first coffee of the day, host dinners, and perhaps even where your kids study for school. Over the years, all of this activity can take a toll on your kitchen.

Kitchen trends also change. While it may have been on-trend a decade or two ago, today, its age is showing. From worn cabinetry to old-fashioned appliances, it’s easy to pinpoint dated features. If you’re in search of ways to modernize your kitchen on a budget, here’s our guide on how to make an outdated kitchen look better.

Mind Your Metals

Wondering how to revamp a kitchen on a budget? Start with your hardware. Worn, scratched, or overly-ornate pulls and knobs will quickly date your kitchen, so swap them out for a budget-friendly upgrade. Choose hardware with sleek, clean lines that lift your kitchen while adding a modern touch.

And while mixed metals can be done well, it’s difficult to make an old, high-shine polished brass doorknob look on-trend when combined with a sleek chrome refrigerator! Ensure that your hardware color matches your appliances for a cohesive, modern look.

Paint with Modern Hues

Repainting your walls (or even cabinets!) can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen. With a light neutral shade, you can make your space look larger, brighter, and even cleaner. Get inspired — accent colors from millennial pink to sapphire blue can be used to create interest and drama.

Note: Before you begin painting, be sure to swatch your walls. Examine how the color looks in natural light and in your kitchen lighting, too!

Ditch (or Dust) Your Decor

Too much decor, dusty decor, or faded decor can quickly overwhelm your space and give the appearance of a dated kitchen. Start by cleaning and organizing your kitchen, and wipe down anything that’s dirty, dusty, or worn. Then, evaluate your current decor and remove items that no longer fit your goal aesthetic. Minimalism is here to stay, so removing unnecessary decor items will definitely help your kitchen look more modern.

If you can’t bear to part with your decor, incorporate open shelving. Not only does open shelving provide a modern twist, but removing your decorations from the countertops will provide more space for meal prep and other activities.

Make the Most of Light

Too little light can make your kitchen look cramped, unwelcoming, and honestly — dirty. Revive your kitchen by bringing in more natural light, swapping your lightbulbs, and upgrading your light fixtures.

It’s also time for an upgrade if your current curtains are dark, faded, or heavily patterned. Swap them out for lighter, sheerer materials that will help bring light into your home.

In addition to swapping the curtains, exchanging your lightbulbs can work wonders. Replace your current light bulbs with either Warm White or Bright White or energy-efficient bulbs. Installing lighting underneath your upper cabinets also offers additional lighting and an attractive, modern touch.

Replace or Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re wondering how to make a traditional kitchen look modern, try sprucing up your cabinetry. Kitchen cabinets are exposed to heat, steam, and frequent use, so it’s not surprising when they fade and accrue water damage, dents, and knicks. Often, sanding and repainting or restaining your cabinets to a trendier hue will do the trick. Don’t be afraid to go bold and select an accent color or vibrant color palette for your cabinets!

Turn to cabinet veneers if you’re craving an entirely different look. Cabinet veneers are just a fraction of the cost of a full replacement and can completely transform the look of your cabinets and drawers. You’ll have gorgeous laminate and wood options to choose from — and you won’t have to change your kitchen’s footprint.

Should you choose to install new cabinets, bring them up to the ceiling. This approach eliminates dead space and gives the illusion of greater height by drawing the eye upward. Not to mention, you’ll also have more room for storing infrequently used pots, pans, or kitchen gadgets!

Boost Your Backsplash

Looking to spice up your kitchen? Look to your backsplash! The backsplash is one of the best places to get creative with your kitchen remodel, and you can DIY with the right tools. Current backsplash trends include subway tiling, mosaics, marble, and even herringbone patterning.

Play it safe with a timeless neutral, or go bright and bold with a trendy pattern or color — like navy, black, or emerald green. Keep in mind that new builds are bringing backsplash higher up the wall, typically extending all the way up to the cabinets.

Adhesive peel and stick backsplashes are an affordable solution and are perfect for renters. Just keep in mind they’re not as waterproof as their traditional tile counterparts and will likely need semi-frequent replacing! Whether or not you choose to completely revamp your tile backsplash, regrouting and sealing makes a massive difference.

Swap Your Sink

A scratched, stained, or too small kitchen sink can detract from the appearance of your kitchen. It may be time to replace your kitchen sink entirely when a vigorous scrub is no longer doing the trick. You’ll have plenty of attractive, durable options to choose from.

In addition to upgrading your kitchen sink basin, swap out your faucet. Select a retractable faucet head with a modern finish that ties in well with your appliances and hardware.

Change Out Your Countertops

Stains, rings, busy patterns — oh my! Kitchen countertops tend to tell a story, and quite often tell their age. If you’re wondering how to make a traditional kitchen more modern, start by getting rid of outdated tile, peeling laminate, or aggressively patterned stone. These are often telltale signs of an aging kitchen.

To get the look of granite or marble without the cost, consider solid surface countertops. Solid surface countertops are synthetically made using mineral derivatives but look and feel much like their solid-stone counterparts. The end result is a resilient, attractive finish that’s perfect for a high-traffic kitchen.

And if you’re in the market for something unexpected that’s still on-trend, look to wood butcher block countertops. Unlike stone, they’ll bring warmth to your kitchen!

Fix Your Flooring

Scratched hardwoods, stained grout, chipped tile, or outdated linoleum definitely leave a bad impression. Therefore, replacing your flooring is an excellent way to completely give your kitchen a makeover.

Traditional wood and tile flooring options require maintenance. They can be pricey and are prone to damage. For a tough and budget-friendly alternative, look to laminate wood and vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring is attractive, comfortable underfoot, and extremely durable. Not to mention, there are plenty of options to choose from!

Upgrade Your Appliances

No matter how much you love a vintage-inspired look, outdated appliances aren’t doing your kitchen any favors. Your old-school appliances are a sure sign that your kitchen isn’t with the times.

Dated or mismatched appliances will not only drag down your kitchen visually, but they may be eating away at your wallet! Today’s stylish home appliances are created with energy efficiency in mind — which can save you cash! Not to mention, they’re loaded with convenient features. Consider upgrading your dishwasher, range, and refrigerator.

Not only will upgrading your appliances have a significant impact on your kitchen’s look, but you may also find that your energy bills are lower and your meals are cooking more evenly — talk about an upgrade!

Give Your Kitchen the Upgrade it Deserves with Rent-A-Center

Rent-A-Center makes it easy to get brand-name appliances in a snap. Our Instant Happiness option allows you to create payment plans that fit your budget so that you can upgrade your outdated appliances without breaking the bank.

Not to mention, we offer free same-day delivery so you won’t have to worry about transporting or installing bulky appliances. Shop online or visit your local Rent-A-Center location today!

About Us

The good things in life don’t have to be out of reach. Rent-A-Center is here to make the things you want and need accessible, and Front & Center is your resource for living well on a budget.

Each week, we’ll bring you tips and tricks for infusing simplicity, style—even a little fun—into every aspect of your life and home. From decorating advice to money-saving strategies to opportunities to share with others like you, we’ll give you ideas that inspire. Live well, friends. And send your submissions, suggestions and questions for the blog to blog@rentacenter.com. For all customer service inquiries, please contact our Solution Center team at 1-800-422-8186.