Remodel Kitchen on a Tight Budget – I Show You How!


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
The kitchen is the heart of the household. A lot of good things come from the kitchen, and it doesn’t matter if the food that comes from it is a microwaveable meal or a fancy multi-course dinner. Food is life. Food brings the family together. And the kitchen is the center of all that.

We live in a home that used to belong to my grandmother. It’s a lovely house, but it’s definitely showing its age. No area more so than the kitchen. The flooring was replaced with tacky linoleum back in the 1980s. There’s peeling paint. A few of the cabinets and the ceiling have age-related cracks. And the sink tends to accumulate mold a bit faster than I would like.

I used to think that these elements gave our kitchen “character,” but the truth is it made preparing food in it (as well as eating – we eat a lot of our meals in the kitchen) a bit of a drag. Given the importance we place on food, we decided to renovate. I wanted a kitchen my family would be proud of, and would be happy to eat in.

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My Top Tip for Making Your Kitchen Look More Upscale

Before we discuss the various methods we used to save money, I want to share a little trick to make all the items in your kitchen (and the rest of your home, really) look more expensive or upscale. Now, I’m not saying expensive-looking automatically looks good (there is so much tacky, high-priced furniture and decor out there!). What I meant to say is, you can make your kitchen look more sophisticated without spending too much money. The method is such a no-brainer, I’m surprised not everyone does it.

To make your kitchen more sophisticated, stick to a limited color palette. If your family likes the color blue, try to get items and decor in that color. You can add some accent colors as well, but I would recommend sticking to neutral tones like greys and whites.

Muted or neutral color schemes look more sophisticated and low-key luxurious (the so-called “Scandinavian design”). When things are more coordinated, space looks more “put-together,” and it appears as if the owner of that space put more thought into decorating… which you actually did! So stick to a tight color palette, and the space will look like you spent more money on it than you actually did.

Okay, with that preamble out of the way, here’s my list of kitchen remodel ideas on a budget!

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Buy unbranded fixtures from the hardware

When renovating, most of us drool over trendy interior design blogs and magazines. Most of them show trendy branded items. And like all branded items, those cost a lot of money. To save money when you buy hardware like cabinet handles, go to the, uhm, hardware.

The hardware has lots of stylish fixtures you can buy for cheap. Quality-wise, these are just as good as their more expensive, branded counterparts. So don’t pass up generic items! You can save lots of money getting these instead.

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Get DIY cabinets and furniture

I’ve never worked for a furniture manufacturer, but I think much of what we pay for is assembling the items. I came across that conclusion when I discovered that do-it-yourself cabinets and furniture cost way less than the built counterparts. We’re all familiar with Ikea, but you should also check out a shop called The RTA Store. This shop has all sorts of cabinetry and furniture that are selling for super-cheap.

The trade-off is that you’ll have to build these things yourself. But to me, that is actually a benefit, since I’m pretty handy and enjoy working around the house.

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Don’t change the kitchen layout

When renovating a space, it’s tempting to tear everything down and build something we think is new and better. But doing that costs a heck of a lot of money (and may even be impossible, if some of the elements you want to tear down are load-bearing). Sometimes, we need to compromise and work with the space that we have — this is a budget kitchen remodel, after all.

When we redid our kitchen, keeping the old layout actually encouraged us to be more creative and find new ways to utilize the old space. Plus, it still reminded me of my grandma’s old kitchen, which is a big plus.

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Get appliance packages

Buying in bulk is a common way to save money. Who would have thought that also applies to remodeled kitchens on a budget? You can save more money by buying so-called appliance packages, which include several different types of appliances at a more affordable price. You save money buying these together, than if you had bought everything separately. Sadly, these types of sales don’t always happen, the best time to look is around Black Friday, which is the time we scheduled our kitchen renovation. (Precisely because we wanted to make good use of all the Black Friday deals that would be available.)

We snagged a package that included a fridge, microwave, oven, and oven hood. When we added everything up, our savings amounted to about $300!

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Reuse your old organizers and storage items

When reconfiguring your kitchen, it might be tempting to get new everything. But the truth is, you might not have to change everything. Organizers and storage bins might not cost a lot individually, but when you buy lots of them at once, you’ll be surprised by how much you would end up spending. To save more money, we decided to reuse what we had. It was a good, frugal decision that left us with more money to spend on the more important stuff. And speaking of more important stuff…

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Know when to get pricier items

I know this post is about frugal kitchens, but getting pricier items can sometimes save you more money in the long run. Towards the end of our renovation, we bought a coffee maker. Who cares, right? It’s just a coffee maker. No need to get the pricier model. Well, we’re now on our fourth coffee maker. Those things keep breaking down. When the third one broke down, I made the decision to get the higher model.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide which items are spending more money on. A good way to decide is to look at your lifestyle and single out which items will get more use than usual. For example, my husband and I drink lots of coffee. We should have known to get a better model in the first place. Consider these purchases as an investment.

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