Want to renovate your kitchen but don’t want to spend so much money? Check out this 5 tips for remodeling a kitchen on a budget.
If you are not happy with the way your kitchen looks, are on a tight budget, and are willing to do a few DIY projects, then this may just be the right place for you! The thing about remodeling your kitchen on a budget is that you don’t have to go crazy buying brand new things. You can make something feel and look new by simply cleaning it well, painting it, or just changing a small part of it.
After my partner and I renovated one of the units in our rental property, we found ourselves on a really tight budget. A second unit needed some upgrades and we knew that it would cost a lot of money if we decided to gut most of it. The plan was to save as much of it as possible but still make it look and feel brand new. The kitchen was the room that needed the most work.
We also live in a 100 year old home and although we haven’t done any major changes to the kitchen, we have made small changes that fit our style and needs. After making the small changes to our kitchen and renovating our rental property kitchen, I learned that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to transform the look.
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Here are 5 tips to help you remodel a kitchen on a budget
Tip #1: Refinish Original Cabinets
Change the Hardware
If you are not a fan of your kitchen cabinets you can simply just change the hardware. Maybe you like the color, but feel like something is missing? Try adding new knobs and pulls. Just this simple change can make your cabinets feel updated. Lowes, Home Depot and Amazon have great options on knobs and pulls. I usually purchase hardware on Amazon because they have better prices for a bulk order of knobs or pulls. Changing your kitchen cabinet hardware is a really simple way to start remodeling your kitchen on a budget.
When we moved into our home 4 years ago, I loved the white cabinets but wanted to change the pulls. I simply just changed them to these purchased on Amazon. That alone changed the look a bit. There’s still so much that I would like to do but while we save money, making simple changes like this makes a big difference.
Did you know that you can change your cabinet hinges. Check to see if that is an option for you! During the remodel of the rental property kitchen the original cabinets had semi concealed hinges (you can see the hinges on the cabinet frame) and to give the cabinets a modern new look, after painting them, we installed soft closed concealed hinges (see photos below).
Paint your cabinets
Have time for a weekend project? Paint your cabinets! If you are not a fan of your cabinets, maybe the wood is too yellow? Too dark? Brighten them up! The paint colors are endless. You can do a bold color, do a bright white, or go dark and moody. It may take some work as this is a bigger project to remodel your kitchen on a budget but its worth it!
We painted the rental kitchen cabinets Sherwin Williams Iron Ore (for more, take a look at How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets. It’s the perfect dark gray color. I just love how it turned out!
Reface your cabinet doors
Instead of completely replacing your cabinets you can just reface them. You can change the cabinet doors without changing the entire thing. There are companies who specialize in just refacing your cabinets at a fraction of the cost. Sometimes cabinets are actually in pretty good condition, it’s just the doors that need replacing. You can also do it yourself if you are handy and have the tools.
Tip #2: Keep the same layout
Plan around your plumbing and appliances
You don’t have to go crazy moving things around. When remodeling your kitchen, simply keep the same layout by just updating the existing items. Moving the sink or appliances requires plumbing and possibly electrical work which adds cost. Making any major layout changes can mean dealing with missing flooring (flooring isn’t usually added under cabinets) and so that alone can drive your cost up as well.
For our rental property kitchen we kept the original sink right where it was and just replaced the faucet. We purchased a brushed nickel pull down sprayer faucet for a great price on Amazon. I wanted to add a tall faucet because the window sits higher than usual above the sink so by adding a taller faucet it helps balance the space between the window and sink.
Add budget friendly storage
Depending on your budget and space, some kitchens can use more cabinets or you can add shelves on bare walls for more storage. For example, during our rental property kitchen remodel the only thing we did was extend the wall where the stove was in order to add new cabinets. There wasn’t much storage or counter space in the kitchen and so it made sense to add just add a few new cabinets on the wall around the stove. The stove was just on this one wall with nothing around it. (Check out the photo below). Always make a plan so you can allocate your funds to where it’s needed most.
We purchased these Diamond Now in stock kitchen cabinets from Lowes Home Improvement. They were on sale and a lot cheaper than ordering custom cabinets. These were going to be painted Sherwin Williams Iron Ore so the color of the wood did not matter to us. The cabinet face was similar to the original cabinets. They both have raised panels and although the original upper cabinets have an arch and the new cabinets don’t, making them all one color didn’t make that detail stand out. It looks pretty cohesive. You really can’t tell they aren’t the same cabinets unless I point it out (I’m sure you’ll notice now 😉) Painting the original cabinets saved us from buying all new cabinets. We only had to purchase five cabinets vs thirteen had we removed the original ones.
For the kitchen in our own home we added a small island to add countertop space and storage. I purchased this small kitchen island from Facebook Marketplace which was cheaper than buying a new one at a department store. It was in great condition too!
Tip #3: Add a budget friendly backsplash & countertop or upgrade existing
Adding or updating a backsplash can make a huge difference! Check for tile that’s on clearance or paint your existing backsplash. Sometimes around the holidays or seasonal changes, backsplash tiles go on sale. We purchased a PVC beadboard to do an accent wall in the bathroom and added the same to use as a backsplash for the kitchen. I found these at Lowe’s.
If you have a backsplash but don’t like the color, did you know that you can just paint it. You can paint it using epoxy paint or tile paint. If done correctly, the tile will last a very long time and look great. I haven’t painted tile yet but there’s a pretty good article from Home Depot that explains how to paint tile.
You can also paint your countertops. They sell different kits to paint your countertop and make them look like stone or granite. The Giani Marble Countertop Paint Kit is a popular one with great reviews (photo below).
The original kitchen countertop in the rental unit was in pretty good shape but because we added cabinets around the stove and couldn’t find a matching countertop, we decided to add butcher block. Butcher block is another budget friendly way to update your countertops. We purchased this Baltic 4ft Butcher Block at Lowe’s that was pretty inexpensive compared to getting granite or a quartz counter top.
Tip #4: Keep original flooring
Another costly item can be flooring but here’s what you can do. If you have tile flooring take a look at your grout lines. They can get pretty gross and may just need to be cleaned. Once you clean them they’re going to make the space feel new.
I found and used ZEP Grout Cleaner and Brightener and it worked great! Other products and methods that have great reviews are Dawn dish soap and perioxide, Rubbermaid power scrubber, and Grout-EEZ. The tile in our rental kitchen looked great after cleaning them really well.
You know what else you can do to your floors? Wanna take a guess at what I’m going to say?… Thats right! paint them! You can paint and also stencil your floor if you’d like. Rust-Oleum has a great floor coating kit to paint your floors. It’s a base coat (come in different colors) and a topcoat for protection. I found their kit on Amazon for a great price.
Tip #5: Shop for scratch and dent appliances
Appliances can be super expensive! Did you know that there are lots of scratch and dent appliance stores? Check your local area. Some of those appliances are in great condition and just because they have a minor scratch or dent (some of which you really can’t see) they put them on clearance or are sold at scratch and dent stores.
Be sure to do your research and use your own judgement when shopping. A lot of these places only have a warranty for just a couple of months. We purchased the stove, refrigerator and over-the-range microwave, for the rental unit at a scratch and dent store and so far they work great.
You can also purchase parts for your existing appliances and change them but thats based on skill level. Make sure you know what you are doing so that the cost of trying to refurbish one to eventually get a newer one does not end up costing you more.
Remodeling a kitchen does not have to cost you a ton of money. Sometimes a little DIY can go a long way. Paint alone can transform the look. So when you want to remodel your kitchen but are on a tight budget, plan accordingly, don’t overthink it, work with what you have, and get creative!
Let me know what you think about these DIY kitchen remodels below!