Whip up big-impact kitchen changes with our stylish alternatives to upper cabinets, sensational floor tiles and textured shiplap. Or whisk in smaller design updates that still go a long way, such as a striking countertop lamp or our ridiculously simple—and chic—solution for corralling countertop clutter. From $40 and up, here are tasteful ways to refresh your kitchen now.

By LuAnn Brandsen

Dishing on Style

Gallery art, rich green color and a timeless countertop and backsplash create big appeal in the kitchen below.

Gallery Kitchen Hang art or lean it on counters or shelves to give your kitchen instant personality.  Bonus: You'll see it often

Living Color Like plants, rich green hues breathe life into both modern and traditional design.

Always in Style Add timeless appeal with marble or look-alike, easy-care quartz that won't stain like its natural counterpart. Here it cascades from backsplash to countertop in a  modern waterfall effect.

On the upside

Just the thought of removing storage might make you gasp, but hear us out. Sans upper cabinets, your kitchen will look larger, and countertops become a more pleasant work space when no longer shadowed beneath cabinets. Open shelving is one way to use above-counter wall space, but windows, pot racks, art and tile also shine.

Light Touch Used in nearly every other room, sconces make sense in the kitchen, too. Their ambient light shines via a decorative touch.

To the Top Continue tile beyond the backsplash and all the way to the ceiling to add big texture, pattern and color. Glossy tiles reflect and bounce light. Patterned tiles mimic the bold look of wallpaper-but with more durability.

Hit Single Hang one shelf at the midpoint rather than stacking two or three. You'll create an elegant, minimal focal point with less visual chaos and the chance to display taller items.

Viewfinder Invite light and frame a view with windows that rise from the countertop, wrap around a corner or fill an entire wall. For a clean look, paint frames to match wall color.

Mix it up

Choosing just one metal finish, lighting style or counter surface is like settling for a one-ingredient meal. Spice things up with a more interesting blend, such as this kitchen's gilded hardware, chrome faucet, copper pendant and black  sconces-all enhanced by warm woods.

All Natural A neutral often found in nature, the color charcoal feels timeless. Team with natural materials, crisp whites and a hint of black.

Clutter Cache Clear the counter by tossing papers, loose change, etc., into one beautiful bowl that can be tucked away when company comes.

Shipshape

Humble shiplap rules as the current go-to wood, adding warmth and texture to ceilings, walls and islands.

Our Top Picks

Clockwise starting at top left

Table lamp A lamp on the counter cozies things up. (Toc Table Lamp, dwellstudio.com).

Faucet Nearly 2 feet tall, the Asaro faucet in a copper finish pairs with any countertop. (signaturehardware.com).

Pendant The Edie light's natural copper dome is handcrafted in the US. (schoolhouseelectric.com).

Countertop Add affordable pattern with the 98-inch Barkaboda walnut countertop that can be cut to size. (ikea.com).

Knife rack Kansas City-sourced walnut with a rich oil finish makes this wall-mounted rack look as sharp as the knives it holds. (nolancousa.com).

Knives Award-winning chef (and Cleveland native) Michael Symon put his name and expertise behind the design of high-carbon steel cutlery. (ergochef.com).

Pattern Play

We're floored by how fresh geometric designs look underfoot, whether in a  pantry or the entire kitchen. Pick a style that nods to your home's architecture for the best staying power.

Left to right

Bold approach Go bold with Popham Design's Honeycomb tile. (annsacks.com).

Artisan style Arte Black porcelain tiles by Merola deliver artisan-inspired style without the high-end price tag. (homedepot.com).

Muted finish Pigmented cement cures in water to create the chalky, muted finish of the Big Al tile. (cletile.com).

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