Are you itching to redo your kitchen, but it’s simply not in the budget? There might be a way to make a few small improvements before the holidays arrive.

Here are five kitchen updates that will cost $500 or less.

1.       Freshen up your cabinets.

Are your cabinets plumb, square and sturdy? There are two ways to update them for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. You can reface them which will give you more choices or refinish them which will require more work, however, will cost less.

2.       Add some colour.

A few colourful accessories such as a bold coloured mixing bowl, flowers or even fruit can create an instant focal point. Does your kitchen have an island? This offers you an additional opportunity to introduce colour. Give it a quick coat of paint – but be sure to use a semigloss or high-gloss formula for easier cleanup.

3.      Speaking of Islands…

Adding a custom-built island not only looks great but will add convenience. These can be expensive – but you can save by opting for an unfinished or ready-to-assemble prep table and do the work yourself!

If you’re looking for a high-end look, consider an island topped with stainless steel or granite. Look for rolling casters and storage shelves for convenient features. When you’re staining or painting, go for a wood tone or a colour to complement your kitchen cabinets. Lastly, be sure to leave enough room around the island. There should be a 36- to 48-inch clearance on each side.

4.      Make that backsplash stand out.

Replacing the tile backsplash in your kitchen can be relatively easy and inexpensive. If the existing tile is installed over drywall, the removal should be relatively easy. The tile and drywall can be pulled off with your commonly used household tools (a utility knife, a prybar, hammer, and screwdriver). It is much more difficult to cut out a tile backsplash laid over plaster without damaging the wall surface.

5.      Mix and Match Your Materials.

For years kitchen designs were set up using uniformity – one cabinet type, one countertop material. But nowadays designers are creating excitement by combining a wide range of materials and finishes.

This is good news… Now you don’t have to worry about everything matching perfectly! Look for good deals when you can. Maybe you spend the extra money on some fancy glass-doored cabinets but get a bargain on your wood or laminate-front units below.

Lastly, don’t buy your appliances as a set. Choose the models with the best performance and price – regardless of the brand. Chances are people won’t notice the slight style differences.