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If your kitchen is in need of a little extra love but an affordable, quick fix is all you have in mind at the moment, you’ve come to the right place. I asked designers about the best items to purchase to add instant polish to the kitchen for under $50, and they delivered! Below you’ll find eight go-to, pro-approved product picks that you can add to your online shopping cart right now. They’re just the finishing touches to bring a little bit of class and sophistication to your space — I promise!
Shop for a set of sweet serving plates
Whether you like to shop vintage or prefer more contemporary pieces, one way to zhuzh up your kitchen is by upgrading your tableware collection. “I love using pretty plates to make every morning feel like a celebration,” says designer Michelle Gage.”I stock my cabinet with vintage and artisan styles for everyday use,” she adds, noting that Anthropologie is one of her favorite places to shop for these types of goods new. Why not make the everyday feel a little more whimsical with a cute floral dessert plate, which is equally useful for serving English muffins in the morning or pastries in the evening.
Buy: Sarah Gordon Dessert Plate, $18.00 from Anthropologie
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Display colorful fruits in a bowl
Accessorizing with produce? Hey, why not! Designer Mary Kathryn Wells enjoys displaying a bowl of citrus fruits — think lemons, limes, or oranges — on her kitchen counter at all times. “They add the same punch of color and life that fresh flowers can but at a fraction of the cost,” she notes. “Plus, they require no arranging, and they’re actually edible or great for a festive drink garnish.” The exact vessel you choose to house these fruits is entirely up to you. “Whether you use a simple, basic bowl or something really fun and punchy, dumping a bag of clementines or lemons into a bowl on the counter is such an easy way to add a pop of sophisticated color,” Wells concludes. In fact, this is one of the things almost every interior stylist does to add color to a cook space when prepping it for a shoot.
A timeless marble bowl like this subtly-footed one will add a luxe touch to any countertop and can be used to house other natural displays, too. Fill it with pinecones or air plants if you wish, or change it up depending on the season.
Buy: Flint Grey Marble Bowl, $49.95 from Crate & Barrel
Give your hand and/or dish soap an upgrade
Designer Ellie Mroz is a proponent of picking up a special bottle of hand lotion or soap to place next to the sink. “It’s a splurge in comparison to regular soap but overall a small luxury that can make you smile and also serve a function,” she notes. As an alternative, you can simply purchase decorative reusable soap bottles you can refill time and time again. A white ceramic design will look nice and sleek. Plus, they’ll work with virtually any style of kitchen, from ultra-modern to English cottage.
Buy: Mayer Ceramic Soap Pump, $20.00 from Pottery Barn
Set out a special display piece
“Incorporating a stone trivet, cake stand, or footed bowl on your countertop is a great way to add polish and visual interest to a kitchen,” explains designer Molly Torres Portnof of DATE Interiors. Many ways to use such vessels and pieces exist, depending on the occasion. “Display dessert, fruit, florals, or leave it bare to instantly elevate your space,” Portnof suggests. Designer Djalna McSween likes pedestal bowls in particular. “A pedestal bowl is a perfect balance of style and function,” she says. “Its heightened scale makes it sure to stand out and pop from the countertop.”
Buy: Madison Marble & Brass Cake Stand,
$45.00 $40.50 from West Elm
Make cabinet doors and drawers shine bright
Whether you own your home or rent, this hack that designer Paige Garland recommends will greatly improve the state of your kitchen. “The quickest (and likely cheapest) way to update the look of your cabinets is to swap out basic outdated hardware,” she notes. “A touch of gold or silver makes a world of difference to the overall aesthetic.” If you rent, be sure to keep the original pieces on hand so that you can re-install them prior to move out!
Buy: Goldenwarm Gold Cabinet Pulls, $24.99 for a 5-Pack from Amazon