Design Trends, Ideas + Inspiration

5 Ideas For Fast + Easy Modern Kitchen Updates

You have a few weeks until that birthday bash you agreed to host, and your kitchen is looking tired. What now? If you’re not quite ready for a complete remodel or ripping out any cabinets, but ready for a quick refresh, here are a few modern kitchen updates that will give new life to your kitchen in less than a weekend’s time.

Light it up

Ohio24 Scraplight Natural Pendant Light from Graypants | YLiving Modern Kitchen | YLighting
Ohio24 Scraplight Natural Pendant Light from Graypants

Replacing light fixtures is a great way to make your kitchen feel more modern and gives you the chance to take on a whole new look. Pendant lights generally hang right in the center of a kitchen—over the island—where all the action happens. Why not replace those babies with something more impactful (or less, if that’s your thing). This is an especially easy project if you’ve already got the wiring, or you can select plug-in pendants for even faster installation. Keep it classic and neutral with a metallic or glass option, or really commit to your art and pick something unexpected like felt or wood.

Legrand Adorne Undercabinet System | YLiving Modern Kitchen | YLighting
adorne Under Cabinet System from Legrand

Another simple way to change the whole feel of your kitchen is under-cabinet lighting. These not only give a warmer glow of light to the room, but can help spotlight that shiny new Alessi Domenica Wok you can’t bear to hide away in the cabinet.

Store more

Cube Column from Componendod | YLiving Modern Kitchen
Cube Column from Componendo

A place for everything and everything in its place. The saying has lived long and prospered because it’s fool proof. Adding extra storage is a great way to get, and keep, your kitchen organized. And nothing gives a kitchen a quick breath of fresh air like clearing the clutter. So where to put it all?

Drop Bookcase from Cattelan Italia | YLiving | YLiving Modern Kitchen
Drop Bookcase from Cattelan Italia

Start small by adding some decorative shelving that can be used to house your wineglasses and barware, like the appropriately named Drop Bookcase. Or go vertical to create something both aesthetically interesting and functional with a cabinet like the Cube Column shown above.

Antonello Italia Aura 180 Sideboard | YLiving Modern Kitchen | YLiving
Aura-180 Sideboard from Antonello Italia

If you have the space for a more major storage addition, consider a modern buffet or sideboard in the kitchen area. This is a terrific place to keep those awkwardly large serving dishes, counter appliances, or extra table linens and dishes.

Swap seats

Charles Ghost Stool By Philippe Starck, from Kartell | Modern Kitchen | YLiving | YLiving
Charles Ghost Stool By Philippe Starck, from Kartell

An easy modern kitchen update that requires no elbow grease is replacing existing seating or adding some bar stools or counter stools to your island or counter. Options really run the gamut as far as materials and looks go—metal, wood, polycarbonate, leather, minimal, upholstered, backless—just keep comfort in mind if your friends and family tend to congregate around the kitchen during gatherings.

Spruce up your sink

Farmhouse 2418 Kitchen Sink from Native Trails | YLiving Modern Kitchen
Farmhouse 2418 Kitchen Sink from Native Trails

Unless you’ve just recently replaced them, swapping out your sink’s faucet or the basin itself (or both) is an instant facelift for your kitchen. Go crisp bright white glazed fireclay, classic stainless steel, earthier with the combination of jute and concrete used by Native Trails (pictured), or maybe go dark and polished like the Precis MultiLevel 1.75 Bowl with Drainer made from durable Silgranit from Blanco. But the truly fun part is the faucet, this is the cherry on top. It’s up to you if that cherry has a svelte, minimalist profile, or (for those inclined towards culinary creativity) it’s time to get serious and finally have your own professional-style pull down faucet.

Try texture

Luna Wall Flats from Inhibbit | YLiving Modern Kitchen | YLiving
Luna Wall Flats from Inhibbit

In an effort to change things up where your walls are concerned, you could pick a new paint color and spend a weekend taping off your cabinets and appliances before laying on a new hue. Or you can add some depth and architectural interest using embossed, three-dimensional wall tiles in a number of textures. Inhabit’s Wall Flats are molded from a 100% pre-consumer sugarcane waste so they are both easy to install and easy on the environment.

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Sarah Burton

Sarah Burton

Sarah is a freelance writer, happily burdened with an addiction to clean, smart lines. This obsession culminated during her time as Editor of Tucson Home Magazine, and doubled in size after participating in the Sonoran Institute’s Urban Design Academy. Sarah lives and works in Southern Arizona, balancing her penchant for modern furniture with a four-kid household.

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