10 Ways to Upgrade your Kitchen on a Budget

Is your kitchen getting tired looking, or stuck in a decade you can’t even identify? The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, so why not make it a place you enjoy spending time in. However, it is a recession in Calgary, so doing a whole kitchen renovation is probably not high on people’s to do lists. There are many things that you can do on your own if you are a yourselfer, or quick jobs you can hire a contractor for that won’t be costly. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Redo your counters

These are a huge visual in the room and getting them redone can add a completely different feel to the space. A laminate countertop is the best bang for your buck and comes in a large variety of colors and textures. Quartz however, is bit more of an expensive option, but extremely durable- so a good investment.


Reface Cabinets

This can change the entire color scheme of the room and make it look like a new space. You can either get them sanded down and refaced with a stain or laminate, or repaint them yourself. Try painting them black, white or both for a sleek modern feel that won’t clash with accents already in the room.


For your kitchen you want to make sure you choose flooring that is aesthetically appealing, yet durable and easy to clean. Sticker tiles that mimic different materials like wood can be a great DIY project. Linoleum, laminate and vinyl are also affordable options. See “Five New Surprising Flooring Surfaces To Consider For Your Calgary Home” for more information on flooring options.



Changing the lighting in a room changes the dynamic and also acts as another accessory, tying everything together. Consider adding new a new ambient light piece to create a spotlight on a certain area of the room. You can also add some accent lighting to highlight different areas, adding personality and visual interest to your kitchen. See “The Ins And Outs Of Lighting Fixtures” for more lighting ideas to switch it up.



Replacing the knobs and handles of your cabinets and drawers are a cheap and easy way to pull your kitchen out of whatever decade it is hiding in- it is also easy to do yourself.

Window Accessories

Adding a new window treatment to windows and doors can be an easy way to add a punch of color and brighten up your tired kitchen. A good option could be Honey Comb Shades, as they come in a variety of different colors and patterns, and are not costly. They also do a good job of blocking the sun when it is at that perfect point in the sky where it is glaring straight into your kitchen. See Window Coverings for some different options to try out in your space.

Kitchen Accessories

No kitchen is complete without the decorative element to add personality and tie everything in the room together- this is what will take your kitchen from “blah” to “wow.” A cost effective option is to look for quality-reclaimed items that will be original and unique finds. Check out The Reclaimed Trading Company, Its Vintage YYC or even local garage sales around Calgary for pieces to jazz up your space.


Gut your Pantry

A jam-packed pantry is the worst. Getting rid of all the food you are not eating, or that expired 4 years ago will free up storage space to take some of the clutter off of your counters and cabinets. Repaint, label and create as much storage space as you can to take advantage of the hidden space. Make this your summer project and by fall you will have a beautifully arranged and organized pantry.

Decide what stays out and what goes away

In other words, what should you leave on your counters or in the open, and what should you put behind a cabinet door? Things such as organizers, accessories and appliances are all aesthetically pleasing and are things you want to show off. Things like cleaning supplies, dishes, extra dish towels- you get the hint- should all go in drawers, cabinets or even your pantry so that they do not clutter up your counter space and lets be honest, none of those things are pleasing to look at anyways!



This is the most important part to having a tidy, well-put together kitchen. This alone can clean up you entire space and make it look like new. Here are a few DIY projects that are cost effective and will reorganize your kitchen:

  • Wicker Baskets/ mason jars/ vintage cans: use different shapes and sizes for diversity and add ribbon or paint for a punch of color
  • A pots and pans hanger: show off your beautiful shiny pots and free up storage for something not so aesthetically pleasing
  • Label: chalkboard paint works great for this as it looks very vintage and you can change the label neatly if you switch the contents. Print labels also work well and can add a creative aspect to your organization
  • Peg board: if you do not have much storage space use this to hang and organize all of your kitchen utensils
  • Add a magazine rack to the back of your pantry door to hold cutting boards
  • Create shelving out of left over scraps of wood. This will add a rustic feel for your kitchen and give you more shelf space
  • Create a magnetic spice rack and organize in alphabetical order
  • Frame a conversion chart: instead of always using Google to find out how many tablespoons are in a cup, hang this chart up for convenience- it will also work as a decorative element
  • Under your sink: take advantage of the space and add a rod for spray bottles, hooks for cleaning accessories and baskets for sponges and cloths


If you do want to hire a contractor to do any of these mini projects check out Who to Call and find a service provider that will meet your price restrictions, but give you the quality you are looking for.




Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen, founder of Who To Call Inc. Taking care of a house with three boys I always needed a good drywaller on speed dial. When I moved to Calgary I quickly discovered it was an Olympic sport to find home service businesses that provided the quality service and advice I was looking for. This experience inspired Who To Call – a website dedicated to helping Calgarians find quality home service repair companies. Sign up to post your project and find quality companies today!
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