Your kitchen is one of the most-used and most visible spots in your home, so even the smallest, quickest, and least expensive upgrades can have a big payoff.
Need ideas for some spruce-ups to tackle? Here are four DIYs that are a cinch to pull off—plus, expert advice to help your bigger, pro-led projects run smoothly. (Hint: Enlist a major retailer that stands by its pros and its products, like BJ’s Wholesale Club.)
Swap out your faucet.
Updating this fixture to a striking, sculptural-looking one makes your kitchen feel instantly more high-end, and it’s a lot easier than you might think. First, shut off the valves under your sink to turn off the water, says Jeff Crippen, a BJ’s home improvement expert. Next, screw on the hot and cold water supply lines, and disconnect the faucet from the countertop. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the new faucet and connect it to the water lines, and then test it by turning on the water to make sure there’s no leaking. (Extra credit: Install a water filtration system too, and no need to ever buy bottled water again.)
Give your backsplash a redo.
“A new backsplash dramatically changes the look of a kitchen,” says Crippen, and self-adhesive metal makes this update a breeze. All you have to do is cut the metal tiles to the right size for your wall space, and then use the pre-applied adhesive to set them in place.
Change up your lighting.
It’s one of the simplest, and most often overlooked, updates, but lighting improvements can have a huge effect in a kitchen. (If you can hang a picture on a wall, you can do this.) Install LED lights under your cabinets to make it easier to prep and cook—all it takes is double-side tape or small screws!—or swap your regular bulbs with ambiance-adding vintage-style ones or smart bulbs you can control wirelessly from your phone.
Refresh the hardware.
Knobs and pulls are the type of thing you don’t really notice—until you’ve got beautifully sleek ones, and then they make the whole room. “It’s so simple and takes only a moment to unscrew a knob or pull, and install a new one,” says Crippen. Plus, it’s super cost-effective; many home stores carry a range of styles starting at about $12 each. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
And if you want a bigger update…
Nail down a licensed contractor.
If you’re spending the money on home improvement, “you want to ensure you’re using a reputable pro that’s properly licensed, background-checked, insured and bonded,” says Crippen. “When you book a project with BJ’s Wholesale Club, you get not only a contractor who will stand behind the work but a company that will too.” In fact, as part of its Member Pledge, BJ’s surveys every customer once their project is finished to check on the contractor’s performance, and if you’re not satisfied, they’ll address the issue.
Pick projects with benefits.
It’s a good idea to prioritize kitchen updates that will up your home’s resale value or offer some other type of return (like reducing your energy bills), according to Crippen. New windows, for example, “not only add beauty but can greatly impact the energy-efficiency of your home, lowering your bills, and can increase UV protection to keep your furniture from prematurely fading,” he says. New flooring is a good move too, especially if the type in the kitchen is currently different from the flooring in the rest of the house—unifying it can make your whole home feel larger. And while a full kitchen remodel “is typically not cost-effective since it generally won’t return its value,” Crippen adds, “refacing cabinets, changing the countertops, and updating appliances are all smart ways to transform the look of a kitchen.”
Get an expert opinion on appliances.
The most common mistake people make when updating their kitchen is choosing the wrong-size appliances, says Crippen. “It’s important to make sure the ones you pick will fit in the space your old appliances occupied.” An expert can make sure you measure accurately, and that you’re aware of any other improvements you’ll need to make. “For example, if your new stove has a built-in indoor grill, you’ll likely need to put in a vent hood.” What’s more, if you order your appliances from BJ’s Wholesale Club, you can save money too: Members get up to 20 percent off major appliances from Whirlpool, with free delivery and installation included.
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