kitchen remodel ideas on a budget
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Kitchen Remodel Ideas on a Budget – DIY an Awesome New Space for Less!

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Are you looking for kitchen remodel ideas on a budget?  You’ve come to the right place!  

Here at Our Two Family House, we believe in having a nice place to live without breaking the bank.  Since our house was 100% investment in our future rather than a budget-busting “dream home” – we are fans of function over fabulousness.

However, you know, we want it to look nice.

Don’t want to spend out your eyeballs for a nice kitchen? No time for a full-out gut renovation?

That’s ok!! You can still make a big impact with a few smaller projects. From cabinet refacing to hardware and lighting to paint, these tactics may have just the thing for your cook headquarters.

Here are 15 ways to give your kitchen a facelift without breaking the bank!

Leave the Kitchen Layout

Big money comes with big moves.  

Kitchen remodeling looks easy on TV to “just move the sink over here,” but you might not see the huge lift the plumber makes.  Similarly, moving a gas line for a stove or electrical for your appliances will cost more, too.  

Bigger moves mean bigger bills at the end of the project.  Leaving your layout alone will help keep your things under budget.  

Replace the Cabinet Doors Only

Do you love your kitchen but hate its look?  If your existing cabinet boxes (that’s the inside part) are in good shape, why not just replace the doors instead?  

You don’t have to get all-new kitchen cabinets to achieve a beautiful finish.  Particularly if the cabinet doors are dated, a money-saving fix would be to replace the fronts.  

My parents did this in their galley kitchen – with a small kitchen and custom width existing cabinets, they saved a fortune and updated the look all at once.

Choose New Hardware

Maybe it’s not even the cabinet doors you can’t stand –just the cabinet hardware!  

Changing out the knobs and handles is one of the easiest budget-friendly, simple DIY projects.

To save even more money, pick less expensive hardware.  A difference of $1 – $10 per handle might not seem like much, but multiply it by how many doors or drawers you’ve got– it can add up! 

diy kitchen decorating ideas

Leave Some of It Alone

Are you going crazy for new cabinets?  Budget maxed with the kitchen backsplash?  

Keep your appliances – and here’s the key – “for now.”  

If your budget is tapped out, let go of the stainless finish look and stick with your ol’ white one for a while.  

Take a few months, save a pile of cash, and buy your new fridge guilt-free later.  And then take your “after” pictures.  

Change One Appliance

You know grandma’s quip – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  

Are you looking at a perfectly functional dishwasher and microwave?  Leave them alone!  

There is NO NEED to replace every appliance in your kitchen at once.  Save yourself a fortune and replace only what you need to.  

Trust me, your current appliances will eventually break, and you’ll be replacing them too.   Planned obsolescence is unfortunately a prevalent business model these days.  

Get Appliances on Sale

Hear ye, hear ye!  Do not EVER pay full price for your appliances!  

Labor Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday, and the entire month of December offer appliance sales at your local big box.  Most will price match, too!  

Be patient, shop around, and you might save hundreds of dollars on the priciest pieces of your budget kitchen. 


Much like love, paint covers a multitude of sins.  Paint the trim, the walls, even the table or chairs – paint, baby!  While it’s outrageous how much a gallon of paint can cost lately, it’s still cheaper than replacing an item.  

If your oak cabinets are on their last legs, paint could extend their life for a few years.

You can even paint your countertops!  Check out this DIY by my friend Lanene, who used a sponge to paint countertops to match!  

small kitchen remodel ideas on a budget
…the “after!” Pretty amazing, no?

Switch the Lighting

Many designers would promise you that lighting can make or break a room.  If you’re tossing around kitchen remodel ideas on a budget, consider your lighting.  

Sit in the room at different times of day to see where light comes through and when.  Note what could be improved.

Hanging fixtures over a breakfast bar could make a difference.  Perhaps it’s better wattage or LEDs you’re aiming for.  Recessed lighting makes a big impact!

Maybe your kitchen has half a window blocked like mine did!  (Not kidding: check out Beautiful Open Concept Kitchen – Our First Floor Renovation, Part 2.) 

Change the Faucet

If you’re improving on a builder-grade look, I can guess you’ve got a less-than-snazzy kitchen faucet on your hands.  Why not upgrade?  

While a new faucet could set you back a couple hundred bucks, it will make a huge difference in the look and function of your kitchen – especially for whoever washes out the pasta pot.  

Do It a Little at a Time

Our preschooler’s favorite show would advise, “If something seems hard to do, try it a little bit at a time.”  

No mountain of cash ready to deploy all at once?  Do your kitchen remodel “a little bit at a time.”  

Make a 6-month to 1-year plan with attainable goals according to your budget.  Besides, anyone who’s done a kitchen can tell you – it could take 6 months even if you did try to do it all at once!  

For example, if I were replacing cabinet fronts and countertops, plus paint, tile backsplash, and hardware, I would choose one per month for five months, plus a one-month contingency buffer.  In six months, my kitchen would certainly look new and improved!

Clean Out Your Cabinets!  

Did you know? A hotel room or Airbnb looks nice because it’s not cluttered!

Want your house too look like Joanna Gaines just swept through?  Well, clear it out!  

One of the reasons a professionally designed space looks so good is that it is curated.  No piece is placed on a shelf or countertop without a purpose.  Study the photos of your inspiration kitchen and note where less is more.  

Attain the look by getting rid of the old sippy cups, the free-5k-water bottles, and small appliances you don’t use.  (Do you need a toaster oven and an air fryer?).  Open shelves are cute but not when laden with mismatched food storage containers.  

Marie Kondo that -ish and revel in your kitchen’s newfound beauty!  

Take Down Old Styles

Looking at you, wallpaper.

Maybe you want to remodel because you have an outdated kitchen.  Take a step back and ask yourself what makes it look so old.  

I’d bet a lottery ticket that you’re looking at wallpaper, scalloped trim, an old light fixture, and ’70s hardware placement.  Maybe you’ve even got an old-fashioned vent or laminate countertops.  

Cherry-pick the old styles and bring them to modern times, one by one.  A spray bottle of water with fabric softener will cost less than 10 bucks but take down a room full of wallpaper in an afternoon.  Patch, and paint, and you’re on your way!  

Clean the Cabinet Interior and Exteriors

Sometimes a room will look 100 times better just because it’s clean!  Honestly, I believe there are real estate listings out there that could yield another 5 grand on the asking price just with a bottle of all-purpose cleaner.  Scrub-a-dub for a facelift, here. 

Wood cabinets?  We recommend Olde English polish.  

Sell off the Old Cabinets

If you do have the budget bandwidth to replace your cabinets, try selling off your old set to pocket some cash!  

We have an entire post on how to do this: Selling Used Kitchen Cabinets – Make It a Profitable Win/Win! .

Buy a Second Hand Kitchen

If you can live with the thought that someone else stored their saltines in the pantry, consider buying a second-hand kitchen.  (By the way, if you’re not the first owner of your home, you too are using a second-hand kitchen).

Some extremely wealthy people in this world will renovate their kitchens frequently.  Some may even order a new kitchen, have it installed, and then change their mind upon seeing it.    

This is when you, oh budget-wise kitchen connoisseur, come in.  You buy it from them at half price.  

Our friends at Famvestor did this with their kitchen from Habitat Restore – someone bought a kitchen, disliked it upon arrival, and returned it.  Our friends offered to buy it at a discount.  Not too shabby!

We’ve personally purchased one used kitchen (see our Impressive Old House Kitchen Renovation – The 2nd Floor Part 2).  

We’ve also sold off two, yes two, used kitchens.  Here’s how: Selling Used Kitchen Cabinets – Make It a Profitable Win-Win!

Concluding Thoughts on Kitchen Remodel Ideas on a Budget

There are plenty of ways to improve your kitchen without breaking the bank!

While a kitchen makeover can be daunting, if you take things one step at a time and stay within your means, you can improve your space under budget.

Which of these kitchen remodel ideas on a budget will you choose?

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