It may not be your dream kitchen, but these easy fixes will be big improvements for your current kitchen.

Laurey W. Glenn

Is a beautiful, top-to-bottom kitchen renovation on your bucket list? Planning out your dream kitchen (especially if it’s a far-off one) is fun, but it can make living with your current kitchen worse than it already was. If a big remodel is not in the cards for the foreseeable future, there are still ways to make your kitchen much more livable—and dare we say, enjoyable. We’ve come up with 5 sneaky ways to make small changes to your kitchen that will actually have a huge impact. And best of all, none of them are super expensive or time consuming.

Make Your Lower Cabinets More User-Friendly

In recent years, kitchen designers and cabinet makers have almost all shifted to installing primarily drawers in lower cabinets instead of regular cabinets with doors. It’s a great practical switch: Drawers allow you to see and access everything at once without getting on your knees and digging around in your cabinets. If your kitchen still has a lot of lower cabinets, you can install pull-out shelves inside them (like these from The Container Store) that will give you the functionality of drawers without making any expensive changes to your kitchen. Better accessibility and organization means eliminating a lot of stress and frustration when it comes to navigating your cabinets.

Add the Light You Need

If your kitchen lacks bright task lighting, it can start to feel cave-like, especially at night. And cooking can become a frustrating task you’ll dread doing. Installing under-cabinet lights is an easy and cheap fix that will make a huge difference in how efficient of a workspace your kitchen is.

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Create Your Own “To the Ceiling” Storage

If you have standard cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling in your kitchen, you’re stuck with an awkward amount of space on top of them that might just be collecting dust, but could be a key place to create usable storage space. For much less than it would cost to completely redo your entire kitchen, you can add smaller custom cabinet boxes on top of your existing cabinets to take advantage of that space. Or, as a more budget-friendly, quicker fix, look for neutral covered baskets or storage boxes that will fit above your cabinets. Seasonal dishes or appliances that don’t see a lot of use can be stored in those boxes and instantly free up cabinet space you can reach on a daily basis.

Lay Down a Rug

Sometimes the most effective change you can make to a space is entirely cosmetic. A new rug for your kitchen might not have a ton of practical value, but if it brings a smile to your face everytime you see it, it’s doing its job.

Clear Off Your Countertops

This is a totally free fix that will just take a little personal discipline. Your kitchen might be feeling more and more cramped because appliances, bowls, books, and other kitchen accessories have become permanent residents of your countertops. Figure out what items most often get left on the counter and create space in an easily accessible drawer or cabinet for those items to be stashed. Decluttering your kitchen will instantly give you peace of mind.