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6 DIY Kitchen Upgrades for People Who Love to Cook

A kitchen sink, the inside of a kitchen sink, and a kitchen shelf
Amazon Basics/VOKIM/armocity

If you love cooking for your family and friends, you likely spend a lot of time in your kitchen. If it could use some improvements, there are a lot of projects you can DIY, or that would be worth the investment to hire out. These six upgrades can give you the kitchen of your dreams and increase your resale value.

Whether your space is large or small, there are many ways you can upgrade your kitchen and make it a cooking oasis. Whether you DIY any of these six projects, or hire someone to do them for you, here’s how you can remodel your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Expand Your Sinks

The kitchen sink gets used a lot in most homes, whether a cooking hobbyist lives there or not. However, when you’re cooking, you need plenty of space in the sink to wash vegetables, and measure water and other wet ingredients. Oh yeah, and you also need room to stash dirty dishes.

You can make all of these tasks easier if you expand the size of your sink. A wider area will allow more things to fit in there, while a deeper sink will make filling large pots much easier. You might even want to install two sinks: one for food prep and one for dishes.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) cut through your counters to make your sinks bigger, you can replace a traditional two-sided sink with a basin-style model that’s deep enough to fit larger pots and pans, as shown in TJ Lawrence’s video above.

VOKIM 33-Inch Drop-In Kitchen Sink Workstation

Plenty of room for chopping veggies, washing dishes, and more.

Increase Your Counter Space

Nothing is more frustrating when you’re cooking than realizing you don’t have enough room on your countertop to prep (or just set down) another item. To ensure you never run out of prep space again, you might want to consider hiring a contractor to expand your countertops.

If you feel capable of DIYing this project, though, Skillfully yours Maris will walk you through the process in the video above.

Another way to add more prep space is to add an island in the middle of your kitchen. You can hire someone to do this for you, but an easier (and far less expensive) way to go about it is to just purchase a mobile one. You’ll get the extra space you need without all the hassle and mess of contruction.

Yaheetech Kitchen Island

The easiest way to add more storage and counter space.

Install a New Lighting Fixture

A task light over a stove.
Amazon Basics

Good visibility makes cooking much easier and far more enjoyable. From reading recipes and measurements to slicing and dicing veggies, there are tons of reasons why you need excellent lighting in a kitchen.

If you’ve been cooking under dim, yellow-ish lighting in your kitchen for far too long, simply swapping out the bulbs could vastly improve your cooking adventures.

Amazon Basics 65W Equivalent LED Light Bulb

Proper lighting makes a huge difference.

However, if the fixture is the problem, consider replacing it with something that will provide enough bright overhead lighting to properly illuminate all the surfaces.

ZGLAOJT Semi-Flush Mount Four-Light Ceiling Fixture, Matte Black

Improve the lighting and upgrade your décor with one purchase.

Light color is measured on the Kelvin (K) temperature scale. A lower number means a light is more yellow, while higher numbers mean it’s more white or blue. A warm, yellowish-white falls between 2,700-2,800K, while a whiter warm light will be closer to 3,000K.

A neutral white light would be between 3,500-4,000K, while slightly blue, bright white lights would be above 5,000K. The best lighting to use in a kitchen will generally fall somewhere between 3,500-5,000K.

If you don’t want to replace the fixture(s) in your kitchen, another option is to just install some task lighting above your counters, stove, or other work areas.

Prioritize Storage Space

Home chefs usually own a variety of appliances, cooking utensils, and pans that are necessary to make all their specialties. Instead of wasting precious counter space, investing in additional storage space will make sense for a lot of cooks.

There are several ways you can go about this, but the option you choose will depend on the layout and features in your kitchen. For some, remodeling the existing cabinets might make the most sense, while others might decide to either have some additional cabinets installed, or get an entirely new set.

Of course, this is another project you can hire out, but if you want to can learn more about installing them yourself, check out Get It Done Home Repair’s video above.

If you don’t want to replace your cabinets, but could still use more storage room, a hanging rack for those space-eating pots and pans could make a huge difference.

Sorbus Pot and Pan Ceiling Rack

Extra storage with no remodeling required.

If it’s your counters that need to be cleared (and you have the room), a basic storage hutch could be the answer to your storage woes.

Armocity Kitchen Bakers Rack with Hutch

The easy way to clear off those counters.

Install Quartz Countertops

Quartz is a popular stonework option for kitchen countertops due to its durability and appearance. It’s definitely pricey, but because it’s scratch- and stain-resistant, many people believe it’s worth the investment.

Not only can quartz handle frequent use, it’s also non-porous, making it the perfect surface to handle messes and spills in high-traffic areas, like the kitchen.

Again, you can hire a contractor to do the job for you, but it would definitely save you some money if you feel confident enough to do it yourself. Check out the video above from This Old House to learn about the process.

Weiman Quartz Countertop Cleaner and Polish

Keep your quartz countertops looking brand-new.

Build a Pantry

Having a pantry is ideal for home cooks because you need storage for all of your ingredients. It can also help you keep all of your herbs, spices, and other dry goods organized so you can find them easily when you need them.

If you already have a pantry but could use more room in there, just adding a few more shelves or baskets might do the trick.

XINFULL Wire Storage Baskets, Set of Four

Add extra storage in your pantry.

You can add a ton of extra storage to your pantry with a simple over-the-door organizer.

Another option is to turn a coat closet into a pantry if you have one in (or near) your kitchen. Or, if you have the space, you can purchase a standing cabinet to store your ingredients.

If none of the above is an option, however, you can also have a pantry built—or check out Home RenoVision DIY’s video above and build your own. While this will take up some space in your kitchen, it will improve your cooking experience because your ingredients will be out of the way, but much easier to find when you need them.

You can also store small appliances, tools, and other items in your new pantry instead of on your counters or inside your cabinets.

DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill

A necessity for DIYers.

Cooking is a whole lot easier (and more fun) in a kitchen that’s actually built for it. From replacing the lighting to building your own pantry, a little DIY can take your kitchen from cluttered to classy, not to mention far more functional.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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