Published on January 7, 2021

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Interior photographed by Johnny Fogg; styled by Jen Levy

“There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen,” Julia Child once said. She was talking about cooking, but the same idea applies to a kitchen renovation. Focusing on surface-level updates with big, visual impact will get you far if you’re on a supertight budget. So you might not have $100,000, but you do have $100—there are still so many upgrades you can make. Take it from interior designer Young Huh: “Purchase a few buckets of paint, roll up your sleeves, and change a wall color.” A soothing shade of sage green or mauve will have your space looking like a million bucks.

Craving change but not sure what else you can do with $100? With help from our friends at Home Advisor, we did the math for you, breaking down the costs of the most common updates. And as Huh notes, be prepared to put in some elbow grease: The money you save will translate to time spent DIYing.

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Photography by Yoshihiro Makino; Styling by Elaina Sullivan

Tackling it alone? Use an S-hook to hold your light up on the ceiling as you twist the corresponding wires together.

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Photography by Johnny Fogg; Styling be Jen Levy

Avoid a true tiling job with peel-and-stick sheets (around $30 per linear foot). Trim any excess pieces with a very sharp X-Acto knife and a ruler.

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Choose knobs or handles that match the existing holes in your doors; otherwise stock up on wood filler and start from scratch.

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A pegboard wall (you can score a 96-by-48 one for $90) is perfect for storing pots, pans, strainers, and cutting boards. Add a splash of paint to take it to the next level.


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The prep work (sanding, priming) is just as important as the tools you use. A quality brush will apply more paint quicker and give you a clean, straight line.

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Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.