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Kitchen Resources

10 Kitchen Remodeling Ideas on a Budget

Do you love the idea of a kitchen remodel but not the hefty price tag that comes with it? Then good news: you are in the right place. Here, we are sharing our top kitchen remodeling ideas on a budget.

Kitchen with white cabinets

Table of Contents

1. Make a Plan

Freewheeling is fantastic for a road trip, but for a kitchen remodel? Not so much. Doing some pre-planning will allow you to create a beautiful kitchen and avoid overspending. 

Take Inventory

Before you sign a construction contract or begin your DIY, evaluate your current kitchen space. Note your likes, dislikes, anything that is awkward or uncomfortable, and features you would like to keep. The more features and fixtures that stay, the more money you will save. 

DIY Design

Knowing your design style helps avoid expensive change orders later. The homework phase is a fun one, filled with Pinterest saves and mood boards. Brainstorm by collecting photos of kitchens and features you love. Once you have lots of ideas, start editing your choices as you notice commonalities in colors, design styles, and fixtures. If you hire a licensed kitchen remodeling contractor, share these visuals with them as a starting point for their design. 

Create a Meal Plan

Your kitchen will be out of commission for several weeks, so you will also need to figure out how mealtime is going to happen. Decide on a temporary meal preparation station and determine how often you will dine or order out. Before your remodel begins, batch cook and freeze meals to save money on food — simply thaw and reheat when you’re ready to eat. 

2. Use Your Existing Layout

If you are happy with your kitchen’s layout, all the better. Knocking down or adding a wall, moving plumbing fixtures, and running new electrical can cost thousands of dollars in labor and materials. The less each trade is involved, the more money you will save. This will enable you to pick and choose from these kitchen remodeling ideas on a budget instead of spending your whole budget re-doing the layout. 

3. Do Some of the Work Yourself

If you are up for sacrificing a few weekends and putting in some elbow grease, taking on some of the remodeling work is a way to cut costs. While extensive electrical and plumbing work is best left to the pros, painting cabinets, installing light fixtures, and doing light tile work are examples of tasks you can DIY and save money. Discuss your DIY remodeling plans with your contractor before work begins to keep your project on schedule. 

4. Keep the Cabinets

Keeping features and fixtures can reduce your kitchen reno expenses. Bonus points if what stays includes a high-ticket item like kitchen cabinets. New cabinets make a dramatic impact in a remodel, but they can set you back up to $1,200 per linear foot. The good news is you have options for giving your cabinets a refresh at a fraction of the cost of buying new:

Reface cabinets: In a refacing project, the cabinet framework or boxes stay while the fronts (drawer front, doors, hinges, and hardware) are replaced. Boxes and facings get treated with a new veneer or laminate in your choice of color or stain. 

Paint them: Colorful kitchens are stylish and on-trend, repainting kitchen cabinets is a fun way to add flair and personality to your space. Choose a crisp white to enhance natural light, opt for a calming gray, or bring in elements of the outdoors with green. 

Replace the hardware: Sprucing up your cabinets can be as simple as changing up the details. Swapping out the hardware to match or complement the kitchen’s new theme or color palette is a quick and cost-effective update. 

Install molding: Never underestimate the power of a little architectural detailing to create a big impact. Install molding on cabinet tops to add visual interest and character. 

5. Or Buy Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets

If you have your heart set on brand-new cabinets and are on a tight budget, consider purchasing stock or ready-to-assemble cabinets. Your style and choices are limited per retailer and you or your remodeling contractor must take precise measurements to ensure a proper fit. But if you find a design you like, you can score brand-new cabinets at significant savings.

6. Add Open Shelving

Open shelves extend sightlines in the kitchen and make it look larger. They are also on-trend and cheaper than traditional cabinets. Consider swapping out some upper cabinets for floating shelves that match or complement your kitchen’s color scheme. 

7. Buy Floor Model Appliances

Kitchen appliances can easily derail a remodeling budget. Raw material costs, supply chain issues, and increased demand contribute to their rising costs. And while sometimes you can get lucky with a retailer’s sale, even package deals can be pricey. 

An alternative is to pay a visit to the dent-and-scuff aisle of your local big-box retailer or appliance store. Sometimes you can find floor models and less-than-perfect units with only minor imperfections that are barely noticeable. Because the retailer is unable to charge full price for these appliances, they will offer them at a discount, which could amount to considerable cost savings in your kitchen remodel. 

8. Save on Countertops

With an average cost per square foot up to $175 or more, natural stone countertops like granite and quartzite are beautiful for your kitchen but not so great for your pocketbook. Fortunately, there are several other quality countertop material choices that can help you achieve the look you want at a lower cost.

Tile: Ceramic or porcelain tiles come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes for you to create a custom look. 

Average cost per square foot: $20 to $70

Butcher block: Long cuts of wood in maple, walnut, or oak are glued together in strips for a functional and on-trend countertop. Warm woods are making a comeback in the kitchen and complement modern farmhouse, transitional, and contemporary styles. 

Average cost per square foot: $50 to $100

Solid surface: Countertop material is manufactured using a combination of resins and pigments to mimic the appearance of natural stone. Corian and Formica are popular examples of this countertop material 

Average cost per square foot: $50 to $90

9. Get Creative With the Backsplash

Who says you need to have a tiled backsplash? The labor for tile installation can be costly. Happily, there are great-looking alternatives that are easier on the budget. Beadboard, shiplap, paint, and moisture-resistant wallpaper create a unique and unexpected design element in a kitchen. 

10. Pick a Splurge Feature

All this talk about budget and savings doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge in a couple of little luxuries. This is your kitchen, after all, and you deserve to love it on any budget. Evaluate your kitchen remodeling budget and decide on a couple of splurge features or fixtures. Maybe you have your eye on hand-painted tiles for your backsplash or a couple of fabulous pendant lights. Pick a couple of big-ticket items then design around them with more budget-friendly features.

Key Takeaways

Using these kitchen remodeling ideas on a budget, you can still make a modest budget stretch far. For best results, discuss your plans with a licensed kitchen remodeler who can integrate your ideas with their value engineering expertise for a beautiful kitchen you’ll love for years to come. 

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