How to Upgrade a Builder-Grade Kitchen

builder kitchen updates

I may not be the first person to whip up a homemade meal from scratch, but I do enjoy being in the kitchen. Especially when the kitchen design is full of personality! It is the DIYer in me. I’m inspired by the designs around me. Not feeling inspired by your kitchen? Your kitchen needs to be the perfect place for gathering, deep conversations, and impromptu dance parties. This is why I am sharing how to upgrade a builder-grade kitchen. I want you to have the kitchen of your dreams! 

builder kitchen refresh www.angelarosehome.comReface Cabinets

Do you know what the real secret is to updating kitchen cabinets? Refacing! What’s refacing you ask? It’s when you replace all of your cabinet door and drawer faces with new ones in a fresh style and color. 

When I updated my kitchen from builder-grade to a custom kitchen, I partnered with Nieu to design a line of beautiful cabinet fronts in a variety of colors. I used the color Dream Dusk (an amazing modern green) to reface the kitchen cabinets. 

builder kitchen upgrade

Refacing works on any type of cabinetry and is another great way to get that custom designer look without spending a ton of money. I also used Winter White in my kid’s loft playroom. Plus, you can even custom order doors and trim pieces that will fit your kitchen perfectly. Then all you have to do is attach the doors and hardware. 

Add in a Hutch

Most builder-grade kitchens have a standard layout, but I love adding personality to make things different. It creates more of a one-of-a-kind feeling in one of the most important places in the home.  

refresh your builder kitchen

In my kitchen, I built a countertop kitchen hutch where the bottom drawer slides out so I can easily access my toaster and blender. Not only is the hutch functional, but it adds a special quality to the entire kitchen. Plus, having these small appliances off of my countertop space makes my whole kitchen look cleaner. And it makes it so much easier to quickly wipe crumbs and spills off of my counters. 



Incorporating these special touches like hutches, or even hidden microwave cabinets, add so much to kitchen spaces.  Just make sure you plan out your space so that the dimensions can fit your appliances. Also, don’t forget to include places for your appliances to easily be plugged in with ventilation when you’re planning appliance-friendly cabinetry.

Refresh the Island

As part of my kitchen renovation, I tore out my old kitchen island and installed a new modern waterfall kitchen island. If you don’t love it, change it! DIY is all about creating a space YOU love. If you want to rip out your island and start from scratch, check out this post where I go through all the steps. 

When I ripped out the island, I was trying create something that was more ME as well as create a place to pull up stools for quick snacks with the kids in the kitchen. For my home, it made sense to start over, but don’t feel like you have to create something brand new just to get a custom look for your kitchen. 

kitchen DIY upgrades

If you like the set up of your kitchen island, you can still bring in a custom feel by adding details to what is already there. Try refacing the cabinetry. Add some wood details like shiplap or board and batten. Or, you can even try a fresh coat of paint. I love kitchen islands that are a different color than the rest of the cabinetry. It adds so much personality to the space! Whatever you choose to do to your kitchen island, I know it will be great! And no one will ever know it started off as builder-grade. 

Update the Hood (or Add One)

Looking for the perfect kitchen upgrade? How about updating your hood (or adding a hood range) to make the vibe in your kitchen truly unique? Creating a range hood for my kitchen instantly turned it into the kitchen of my dreams! Check out this post to see my process for this DIY range hood so you can make your kitchen dreams come true too.

Some builder-grade kitchens do come with a hood range. But, if you’re not loving the design of what is already there, you can totally add some special DIY details. There are so many hood styles out there…clay texture, shiplap, brushed metal, etc.  Find what will work well with your overall design and then go for it! You know I’m always here cheering you on!

builder kitchen updates

Home Decor Elements

I don’t know about you, but there’s just something in the design details of a project that inspires me. It could be because I appreciate the thoughtful way that the finishing touches bring a space together. Or it could also be because those details keep me motivated to finish up a project. Either way, I am all about the custom feel that comes with the finishing details of home decor elements. 


To make your kitchen feel like one-of-a-kind with home decor elements, try adding in textured rugs and runners, modern chairs, updated light fixtures, and hardware that makes a statement. In my kitchen I used aged brass hardware to give the overall finishing touches a custom look. Check out how to get the look here.  

DIY HACK: If you want to add in new light fixtures, don’t worry about where your wiring is. You can actually add working light fixtures without hardwiring them. Check out how to do the DIY project yourself here

builder kitchen to custom

How to Upgrade a Builder-Grade Kitchen

I can’t wait to see which projects you pick from this list of how to upgrade a builder-grade kitchen. I know whatever you pick is going to be AMAZING! Just like you! Don’t forget to tag me @angelarosehome when you show off your kitchen. I love seeing all of your projects. Make sure you are following me on Instagram and TikTok because I am always sharing my current DIY projects and tips that will make your projects even easier. Remember…you’ve got this! All you have to do is stop pinning and start doing!


Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

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