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10 Ways to Save Money during a Budget Kitchen Remodel

Need to remodel your kitchen on a budget? These 10 tips will help you save money creatively with a budget kitchen remodel that you’ll love!

In the thick of renovating the exterior of our cottage-style fixer-upper, we faced an unfortunate truth: the kitchen is in sore shape, too. Shucks. With no funds allocated, it’s time to be creative and complete a budget kitchen remodel.

Budget Kitchen Remodel Before and After with 10 Ways to Save Money!

So, what’s in sore shape? Well, the biggest – and most urgent – issues in the kitchen are the following:

  • an uneven tile floor,
  • the patio door doesn’t open (due to the uneven tile), and
  • the laminate counter and backsplash are peeling.
Before a Budget Kitchen Remodel, with Wood Cabinets, White Tile
Before a Budget Kitchen Remodel, with Wood Cabinets, White Tile

Thankfully, I’m always up for problem-solving when it comes to DIY and decor. My husband and I pulled together a list and kicked off a budget kitchen renovation that’s packed with style!

How to Remodel a Kitchen on a Budget

#1: Prioritize the Budget

Before you kick off a budget kitchen remodel, take time to prioritize the project elements. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which portion(s) of the project must be completed first?
  • On which design elements can I compromise to save money?
  • On which design elements would I prefer not to compromise?

In our case, replacing the floor and counter/backsplash falls into the “must be completed first” bucket. In terms of budget, I’m willing to compromise with affordable flooring but not willing to compromise on counters.

Brass faucet and dark quartz counter

I chose dark quartz counters which are incredibly durable and stain-resistant. In terms of budget, quartz is comparable to marble and granite.

For the flooring, we chose a stylish vinyl plank that fits within our budget… I’ll go into more detail below (see budget-saving tip #4).

#2: DIY Demo

Whether you are contracting all – or part – of your kitchen remodel; save money by completing the demo.

Budget kitchen remodel with gray painted cabinets, reclaimed wood shelves, and black range hood

In our budget kitchen renovation, we are removing the:

  • upper cabinets,
  • backsplash,
  • and countertops.

In the case of the counters, we are working with a contractor. While we have many DIY skills, cutting quartz countertops is not within our skillset.

Therefore – rather than have the contractor demo the counters – we saved a couple hundred bucks by completing the demo beforehand.

#3: Take a Phased Approach

One oft-overlooked way to save money is to complete a project in phases. In order to manage a budget kitchen remodel, break the renovation into parts which distributes the costs over a longer period of time.

Budget kitchen remodel with gray painted cabinets and dark interior doors

For example, we divvied our budget kitchen makeover into the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Counters and Backsplash
  • Phase 2: Flooring and Trim
  • Phase 3: Open Shelves and Range Hood
  • Phase 4: Cabinetry and Interior Doors
  • Phase 5: Lighting and Decor

#4: Consider Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank is an affordable mid-range option for kitchen floors. In terms of price, it falls somewhere in between inexpensive laminate and pricey hardwood. As a bonus, it’s incredibly durable and resistant to water damage (i.e. great for kitchens).

Vintage rug on gray vinyl plank floor

I’m not going to lie, I love hardwood floors. The light hardwood floors in our last home were a favorite feature of the house. However, at typically $4+ per square foot, hardwood is outside the budget for this kitchen remodel.

My second choice (maybe first?) for the kitchen is a large stone-like tile floor. While tile is available in a wider range of prices from low to high, the associated labor costs are high. Floor tile isn’t friendly to the average DIYer… I’d classify it as an expert-level DIY project. Plus, our floors aren’t even, which makes it difficult to lay tile.

That being said – of vinyl plank, hardwood, and tile – the vinyl plank is the most durable option. Therefore, if you are looking for quality flooring and budget-friendly, make sure to check out vinyl plank.

#5: Choose an Inexpensive Backsplash

If you need to remodel a kitchen on a budget, you can save a ton of money with backsplash choices – from sizes to materials.

For example, in our kitchen remodel we did a counter to ceiling backsplash in faux brick for less than $150. Other affordable materials include:

  • shiplap
  • classic subway tile
  • tin ceiling tile
  • peel and stick tile
  • etc.

TIP: Learn how to arrange classic subway tile in 11 different patterns.

Budget kitchen remodel with reclaimed wood shelves and a brick backsplash

If a tile is a must-have, you can still save on backsplash costs by reducing its size. Rather than counter to ceiling, install a short 4-8″ backsplash or only extend backsplash to the base of upper cabinetry/shelves.

#6: Install Open Shelving

Shelving has been trendy in kitchens for a while, and it’s not just due to looks. Open shelves are significantly cheaper than upper cabinets.

Budget kitchen remodel with gray painted cabinets, reclaimed wood shelves, and black range hood

At well over $100 a pop for a single cabinet, an entire wall of shelving can be completed for near that price. Yes, you’ll sacrifice some storage space, but you’ll save tons of money, too!

TIP: Learn how to organize and style open shelves in a kitchen.

open shelving and brick backsplash in a budget kitchen remodel

#7: Paint the Existing Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets – in lieu of replacing cabinetry – will save $1000+ in a kitchen remodel. In general, I’d recommend painting existing cabinetry if the following conditions apply:

  • the existing cabinetry is quality solid wood,
  • the kitchen layout works well, and
  • the color or style of the cabinets is outdated.
Budget kitchen remodel with gray painted cabinets and black range hood

In our kitchen, we painted all of the cabinets with a single $60 gallon of high-quality cabinetry paint in Mindful Gray from Sherwin Williams.

#8: Refinish the Existing Hardware

If your hardware tastes are pricey (mine are!) consider refinishing the existing hardware. Older homes, in particular, may have solid brass hardware that just needs a bit of cleaning up.

Plus, cabinet hardware – as long as the existing dimensions are standard hole widths – can be replaced down the road. So if you have your eye on an expensive style, save for it. In the meantime, simply refinish the existing knobs and pulls.

Refinished brass hardware and gray kitchen cabinets

In our kitchen, solid brass pulls (and backplates!) look like antiqued brass after a bit hours of elbow grease. Worth it though, this pull/plate combo would cost $20+ each (!) if we purchased them new.

#9: Utilize Furniture

Rather than purchasing custom cabinetry, buy furniture to serve the same purpose. Here are a few examples:

  • an antique bar or work table can serve as an island
  • a dining hutch can act as additional cabinet storage
  • an antique pie safe can provide pantry space
Microwave on an drop leaf table below a vintage plate rack

In our budget kitchen remodel, the microwave sits atop an old drop-leaf table and a vintage plate rack displays dishware.

TIP: Learn how to add under-cabinet hooks for mug storage.

#10: DIY Storage Solutions

Opt for creative storage solutions in lieu of custom cabinetry and high-end storage solutions. There are plenty of DIY storage solutions that improve a kitchen’s functionality on a budget.

Here are a few of my favorite examples, from our kitchen:

Store spaces in a soda crate

Budget Kitchen Remodel

What is the best, and most difficult, way to save money on a kitchen renovation? Patience. Hiring a general contractor is the fastest (and easiest) way to complete any renovation, but it comes with a price tag.

We were in need of new counters and new floors… but our cabinetry, layout, appliances, and hardware were in good shape. It’s not fun having a partly finished kitchen for months, but it provided time to:

  • comparison shop for best prices,
  • learn new DIY techniques,
  • and think through each decision.
Budget kitchen remodel with gray painted cabinets, reclaimed wood shelves, and black range hood

It wasn’t always fun (washing dishes in the bathroom sink… cooking over a stove in the middle of the kitchen… walking on underlayment), but being patient resulted in a remodeled kitchen for under $5000.

Want to know what goes into that total? Here are the details:

Preview(opens in a new tab)

Project ElementMaterialLabor
Remove Tile + Level Floor$700
Vinyl Plank Flooring (300 s.f.)$750DIY
Door/Window Trim + Base Trim$100DIY
Gray Honed Quartz Countertops (80 s.f.)incl.$1575
Stainless Steel Sink (Single Basin)incl.$125
Paint (3 Gallons – Wall, Trim, Cabinets,
Doors) + Caulk
$150DIY
Remove Soffit + Repair Drywall +
Replace 3 Recessed Lights
incl.$725
Remove Upper CabinetsDIY
Faux Brick Backsplash (75 s.f.)$150DIY
Open Shelves (11 ft Reclaimed Wood
+ 10 Brackets)
$200DIY
Range Hood$150DIY
Lighting (Fan + Flush Mount)$200DIY
Interior Door Makeover (4 Doors)$120DIY
Total$1820$2425
note: if a budget includes labor and material, the amount is listed in the labor column and marked “incl.” in the material column

Did you like this budget kitchen remodel? Save it for later!

10 Tips for a Budget Kitchen Remodel

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Qiana

Friday 10th of July 2020

Love your budget-friendly approach. Your ideas for the kitchen are perfect!

Lora Green

Wednesday 15th of July 2020

Thank you!!!