Bold Kitchen Remodels on a Budget
Kitchen remodels can completely change the style of your home. It can also affect your wallet, too. Remodeling’s drastic overhauls come with a drastic price…or do they? With strategic planning and clever design tricks, you can remodel your kitchen on a budget, getting the look you want for a much smaller price!
Kitchen Remodel Styles
Start your remodel with a vision for the overall style you want to achieve. These popular kitchen remodel styles work well even on a tight budget:
Bland to Beautiful
Many older kitchens feature bland cabinets and laminate counters that make the space feel dull. Some simple upgrades can enhance its original beauty while maintaining a modern style.
For example, if you replace cabinet doors with new shaker-style doors, you’ll get a pleasing look that doesn’t clash with the original aesthetic. Since dark or splotchy colors on wood sometimes indicate age, paint the cabinets a light, airy color like cloud white (for bonus points, match the subway tile backsplash in a similar color, like white or light grey!).
Countertops can also wear down over time, so it’s important to make sure they’re sturdy for everyday use. Going with the light theme, replace laminate counters with quartz in a neutral tone. Of course, installing modern hardware, and matching light fixtures, will go a long way to brightening the beautiful space you’ve cultivated.
Classic White Kitchen
The crisp, clean look of an all-white kitchen never goes out of style. This creates a lighter environment and acts as a blank canvas for key accents you may be interested in adding. Ideas for a white kitchen remodel include:
- Paint existing cabinets or install new economical options like shaker-style cabinets
- Use a white quartz countertop and white subway tile backsplash
- Install a white apron-front sink and new chrome fixtures
- Accessorize with bright pops of color like teal bar stools or yellow curtains
A country kitchen evokes a warm, homey feeling with natural materials and textures—like a room transplanted from grandmother’s cottage in the woods. To get the look on a budget, paint cabinets in a light color (white or light blue), or add new knobs and pull in an antique brass finish. You can also use butcher block countertops and an apron-front sink (AKA “farmhouse sinks) to match the country aesthetic.
If you’re interested in adding decorations, there are plenty of country/old-timey decorations to spruce up your woodwork! Decorate with plaid or gingham curtains, ceramic chickens, and distressed wood cutting boards (possibly with favorite sayings on them). If you’re wondering how to use some open space, consider a vintage cabinet with antique glasses and plates.
Galley kitchens present a decorating challenge with their narrow footprint but can be made highly functional. Ideas include:
- To make the space appear wider, use a lighter color on the upper cabinets and a darker color on the lower cabinets.
- Take out the upper cabinet section and put in a breakfast bar instead
- Install glass cabinet doors above and solid doors below for an airier look (similar to “Bland and Beautiful” style)
- Use glass tile for the backsplash to continue the open visual
- Add recessed lighting in the ceiling to make it seem higher
Bring the beauty of nature into your kitchen remodel with these budget-friendly ideas:
- Use wood-look porcelain tile flooring for an organic yet durable option
- Paint the cabinets a soothing green like sage or sea glass
- Select a granite-look quartz countertop in a natural stone pattern
- Incorporate rattan into lighting, bar stools, or cabinet accents
- Use a backsplash with a mosaic leaf design or marble-look tile
- Display succulents, woven baskets, and artwork with botanical motifs
Small But Stylish
- Use glass cabinet doors to create the illusion of more space (other transparent materials can also work)
- Install shelves open shelving for frequently used items
- Get creative with vertical storage using wall-mounted pots and pan racks
- Use reflective surfaces like a backsplash to bounce light around
- Maximize every inch with pull-out drawers and a kitchen island that folds back into storage
The Best Kitchen Remodel Ideas
There are many examples you can take into consideration when creating ideas for your kitchen remodel. When painting cabinets, walls, and trims in light colors, it helps bring more light into your home. You can change cabinet doors instead of replacing or repainting a cabinet itself. Crown molding along the cabinets can be another alternative, too. Besides cabinets, using marble contact paper to refresh laminate countertops is another good option. Adding any new hardware brings an instant facelift to your kitchen as well.
When focusing on the kitchen wall, you can add a peel-and-stick tile backsplash as a cheaper alternative to redecorating a wall. You can even install floating shelves for open storage, and it’ll bring more style to your kitchen. You can also change the lighting in your kitchen with hanging lights, sconces, or simple under-cabinet lights.
Other Great Ideas
- Open shelving instead of upper cabinets makes a kitchen feel more airy
- Add a backsplash using budget-friendly options like sheet tiles or tile stickers
- Install a budget-friendly laminate countertop like white Formica
- Swap out an old range hood with a stylish stainless steel chimney-style
- Update plain cabinet fronts with decorative trim pieces for a custom look
- Install a DIY concrete countertop for an affordable industrial vibe
- Create a “faux” subway tile backsplash with clever use of wallpaper
- Add a breakfast bar by removing an upper cabinet section
**Work within the existing footprint to minimize construction costs, and look for reusable or discounted materials at salvage yards and Habitat for Humanity ReStores.
An eye-catching backsplash can completely transform your kitchen. Affordable backsplash ideas include:
- Sheet glass tiles (look great in white, blue, green, or mirrored)
- Marble, travertine, or herringbone mosaic tiles
- Subway tiles in white, black, or bold colors
- Peel-and-stick backsplash panels in stainless, copper, stone, or faux brick
- Painted wood reclaimed from old fences for a rustic charm
Replacing dated hardware is an easy and affordable way to update your kitchen’s look. Ideas include:
- Sleek stainless steel bar pulls for a modern style
- Vintage-inspired porcelain knobs for a retro cottage look
- Matte black hardware for an ultra-chic style
- Hammered metal pulls for a traditional farmhouse feel
- Clear acrylic knobs for a streamlined contemporary vibe
Managing Remodel Costs
Kitchen remodels can be expensive, so it’s essential to carefully manage your budget. Here are some tips to keep costs down:
How Do I Budget My Kitchen Renovation?
- Get quotes from at least three contractors to compare pricing
- Set a realistic budget considering the cost of materials, labor, permits, etc.
- Prioritize must-have updates vs. nice-to-have extras
- Consider doing some work yourself, like painting and installing backsplashes
- Choose budget-friendly materials like stock cabinets and laminate counters
Tips for Budgeting Awareness:
- Complete the two most important renovations first, then move on to others if you still have a budget left.
- Shop for sales at home improvement stores for appliances and fixtures.
- Use stock cabinets instead of custom-built options.
- Consider DIY additions like lighting and backsplash tile.
- List all desired elements and research pricing based on your selections.
- Remember other costs such as demolition, plumbing, electrical, and permitting fees
- Add contingency of 10-15% for unforeseen expenses.
DIY vs Contractor
What You Can Do Yourself
With some basic skills, you can DIY parts of your kitchen remodel to save substantially on labor costs. However, electrical or plumbing work should be left to the professionals. Ideas for DIY projects include:
- Painting cabinets, walls, and trim
- Removing old backsplashes
- Minor carpentry work like removing soffits or walls
- Installing new lighting fixtures and accessories
- Purchase ready-to-assemble cabinet systems from home improvement stores
Refresh Rather Than Replace the Cabinets
- Give existing cabinets a facelift with new paint or staining
- Upgrade door and drawer fronts to a new shaker or recessed panel style
- Remove doors entirely for an open-shelf look
- Add trim molding for decorative detail
- Change out cabinet hardware like knobs and hinges
How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?
According to HomeAdvisor, the average national cost for a major kitchen remodel is around $26,800, while a minor remodel averages $14,000. Costs vary widely based on the scope of work, finishes selected, and region.
How to save money on a kitchen remodel
Ways to save on your kitchen remodel include: re-using existing cabinet boxes, choosing budget-friendly counters like laminate, installing backsplashes or lighting yourself, buying discounted or second-hand appliances, and limiting changes to one or two elements like cabinet fronts and hardware.
With strategic planning and design decisions, you can execute a beautiful kitchen remodel that’s within your budget. Be sure to focus on major projects like cabinetry, countertops, and backsplash tile while keeping in mind cost-saving tips like choosing affordable materials or doing some work yourself. Get inspired by the ideas presented here, roll up your sleeves, and you’ll end up with a kitchen that looks like a million bucks—without actually paying a million bucks.