Budget Kitchen Makeover Tips

Kitchens can be expensive rooms to makeover, trust me, I’ve been there recently. So how do you makeover a kitchen on a budget? Is it even possible? The answer is, “it depends”. Let me walk you through some deciding factors as to how cheap or how expensive your kitchen makeover is going to be.

Kitchen makeover by Rustic Country Chic
Kitchen makeover – Rustic Country Chic

Does the Layout Work?

The first thing to ask yourself, and be careful how you answer as this could save you a LOT of money, is “Am I happy with the layout of the existing kitchen?” If you answered “yes” then congratulations! You just saved yourself a lot of money, mess and time!

If your existing kitchen layout does work for you, then you have a couple of options to save money:

  1. Paint the cabinets
  2. Reface the cabinets
  3. Redo the countertops

Paint Your Existing Cabinets

The cheapest way to makeover your kitchen on a budget is to paint your kitchen cabinets. Note, I didn’t say the “quickest” way or the “best” way, but definitely the cheapest way. Painting kitchen cabinets is not for the faint-hearted, or impatient (like me!) But it can look amazing with the right techniques, proper prep and care taken.

Painted kitchen cabinets - In My Own Style
Painted kitchen cabinets – In My Own Style

Check out some of these great tips from other bloggers:

Reface Your Existing Cabinets

If you don’t like the shape or design of the existing cabinet doors, or just don’t have the time or patience to paint them, then another budget friendly option for you would be to reface the cabinets with new doors. This is where you swap the old doors out for new, but keep the existing layout of the kitchen. Jenny from Refresh Living does a great job of talking you through the whole process from start to finish and the end result looks amazing!

Redo the Countertops

There are lots of ways to redo countertops. From painting them, to tiling them, replacing them with poured concrete, or the traditional way of replacing them for an upgraded material like granite or quartz. Hometalk does a great job of offering you 13 Ways to Transform Your Countertops Without Replacing Them. These are all great budget friendly options that cost just a few $100, however they will take more time and skill.

DIY marble countertop - Refresh Living
DIY marble countertop – Refresh Living

If you don’t mind splashing out, my recommendation would be to replace them for quartz if you can afford it. It’s hard wearing, stain resistant, scratch resistant and will last for years. To make it more affordable try looking for remnants that will fit your space, remnants can start as low as $40 per linear foot, so if you have a smaller kitchen it can really give the wow factor for around $1500-2500.

If the answer was “no” to “Am I happy with the layout of the existing kitchen?” then I’m sorry, read on…

Re-Purpose Old Cabinets

If you are lucky enough to know the source of your existing cabinets, then you could save money by re-purposing your existing cabinets and changing the layout of them, or adding more. You’ll have to do some investigation into what new stock cabinets you could buy to match your existing cabinets. However if you really can’t find any new ones that match, you could combine this option with the refacing option above, that way you could re-use the cabinet boxes (the frames without doors) and save some money by just buying new doors. Or even cheaper, re-purpose the existing doors, and new doors by adding trim over them so they match. Brooke from Cribbs Style did exactly that with her MDF kitchen doors, and the end result looks amazing. This is something I’ve also tried in our downstairs bathroom and can confidently say it’s cheap, quick and easy and the results are amazing!

Custom end panels on kitchen cabinets Thrifty Decor Chick
Custom end panels to existing kitchen cabinets – Thrifty Decor Chick

You can add smaller details to existing kitchen cabinets to make them look more custom too. Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick did an amazing job finishing the ends of her cabinets here and island here. With just a few pieces of wood and some paint, the end result looks so much better and more high-end.

Another way to get a high-end look with existing cabinets, is to extend the wall cabinets right the way to the ceiling. Lori from The Stonybrook House does a great job here showing you every step of her kitchen transformation. Laura from Inspiration for Moms also has a great tutorial for how to add height with trim here. This is a great way to achieve a high-end look from a budget kitchen makeover.

The Last Resort – New Kitchen Cabinets

If you’ve exhausted all options above, and you’re tired, busy, don’t know how to swing a hammer etc, then perhaps your only option is to get new kitchen cabinets, but it doesn’t have to cost $10,000’s. There are some tips for finding budget friendly kitchen cabinets, the first is to stay away from custom anything. The cheapest way to get new kitchen cabinets is to by stock cabinets. These are the ready-to-go cabinets from your local DIY store. The options are limited, and you may need to paint them yourself, but they will be cheaper than semi-custom or custom options.

IKEA Veddinge
IKEA Veddinge kitchen

A great place to find well-made cheaper kitchen cabinets is IKEA. They start out very affordably, and can run quite expensive, so to save money stick to the cheaper ranges like the Haggeby or the Veddinge but you can make them feel more expensive with quartz countertops, remnants of course, and upgraded handles. We’re actually going down this route ourselves currently in our new vacation rental property. We chose Oland White cabinets by Klearvue Cabinetry from Menards, which is very similar to the IKEA Veddinge, and upgraded it with white quartz countertops and modern pull handles. Follow our journey on Instagram to see the progress.

I hope this helped guide you through the daunting task of deciding which route to go down on your kitchen remodel. We’ve lived this decision process for the past couple of years with our own home kitchen remodel and now our vacation rental. And both times we opted for new cabinets, and new everything. For reference our vacation rental will cost around less than $5k all in. Even though it is a small space, there are ways to do a kitchen makeover on a budget with new cabinets by shopping around and saving in some places and splashing out in others.

Thanks for reading!


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De-clutter and Restyle Your Home

Firstly I owe you an apology for my lateness. If there’s one thing you can be guaranteed of with me it’s that I take too much on, and I’m always late. I owed you Week 9 – De-clutter and Restyle of my Quarantine DIY Home Projects two weeks ago. I hope it’s worth the wait.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have seen that my husband and I bought our first investment property at the end of July – The Hygge Suite. We couldn’t be happier! It’s a one bedroom condo on a beautiful lake in northern Minnesota, and more importantly, it’s the first step on a path to becoming real estate investors and not just homeowners. However it also came at the same time as my return to full time work, and the tail-end of finishing our bathroom renovation. So things have been a little hectic these past few weeks, as we realize every day how much STUFF you need to set up a vacation rental!

So I will apologize for the lateness of the final two installments of the Quarantine DIY Home Projects, but I’ll hopefully make up for it by bringing you more content on how we set up our vacation rental business and how we completed a full renovation of a tired northern cabin into a modern Scandinavian retreat. Deal!?

Great! Now we’ve got the grovelling out of the way, let’s take a look at this week’s Quarantine DIY Home Projects – De-clutter and Restyle. A pretty broad topic, but another low / zero cost way to instantly make your room feel and look better.

House Doctoring

If you’re reading this and you’re British, like me, you may remember a TV show back in the late 90’s early 00’s called House Doctor with Anne Maurice a Californian Real Estate Stylist. If you don’t, then you’ve definitely missed out on a huge piece of TV gold! The popularity of the show led to the terms “house doctoring”, “curb appeal” and “de-clutter” to be common household terms in British homes. Her mantra was to de-clutter, de-personalize, then add back in some tasteful personality that we know today as home staging. This show had a profound impact on me personally and ever since I’ve styled my homes in this way to make them more sale-able.

scandinavian room interior with mockup photo frame and vase
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Now I’m not going to make this article all about painting your walls off-white and removing all personal belongings. That might be great for selling your home, but what if you actually want to live there? Having personal belongings and trinkets out is a must to make a home feel like a home, but you can and should be careful about how many and what you place on display. But where to start? Here are some tips to get you going.

1. Tidy Up

A great many of us have now been working from home, or at least in our homes more than we’ve ever been before, and that means one thing – messiness! Even if you’re the tidiest person ever, I’m probably betting that you’ve created at least some more mess than usual. So a great place to start would be tidying up.

If you’re like me and find yourself walking around from room to room in a daze getting distracted and overwhelmed when trying to tidy, read this from Apartment Therapy on 3 Tidying-Up Tricks Everyone Needs to Know Right Now for some solid tidying up tips. (She says while grabbing her laundry basket for all the crap…)

2. Sort

While tidying, you may find things that you no longer need or want, so instead of putting them back on the shelf, toss them to one side to sell or donate. For this task, you’ll probably need to dig a little deeper than surface level mess. What about the dreaded junk drawer? Or (shudder) the closet? You could go all Marie Kondo and throw all your clothes onto the bed to sort through them, throwing any that don’t ‘spark joy’.

anonymous black girl lying on stack of clothes in bedroom
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

However if that prospect scares you (yes!!) then at least skim the closet and donate anything you haven’t worn for at least a year. The same rings true with home furnishings. Trends change, and don’t tend to come back into fashion for a number of years. So instead of hoarding old decor in the cupboard ‘just in case’, donate it or sell it. With all the money you make from selling them, you could invest in some new updated decor!

3. Re-purpose

Not everything that you don’t want anymore needs to be sold or donated. What about re-using? Or re-purposing? Maybe that antique mahogany table would look great painted white? Or the floral armchair re-covered in a clean crisp white linen? Get creative! There are literally thousands of DIY hacks out there to inspire you, just try searching Pinterest!

Image Courtesy of Kendra Dare Home

A great DIY hack, and also a great de-cluttering hack is this one from Kendra Dare Home about Nooks and Crannies. Here she re-purposed an old media cabinet to become a tasteful and practical storage cupboard for all her mud room needs, and added tonnes of personality in a seemingly unsuspecting corner of her home.

4. If in doubt… baskets

If you’re not a naturally tidy person (like me), then the answer every time is baskets! Baskets come in all shapes and sizes and are super stylish for an array of different interior styles from bohemian to farmhouse. Toss children’s toys and games in there, dog toys, newspapers, magazines, whatever you have lying around that constitutes clutter. With a basket you can least hide the clutter and make it look somewhat disguised.

For my pick of the best baskets on Amazon here are a few to choose from. Please Pin It!

  1. BlueMake Woven Seagrass Belly Basket
  2. Goodpick 2pack Jute Hanging Basket
  3. Storage Basket Felt Storage Bin Collapsible & Convenient Box Organizer
  4. Sweetzer & Orange Large Woven Cotton Rope Storage Basket
  5. Extra Large Woven Storage Basket
  6. Spectrum Diversified Vintage Extra Large Cabinet & Wall-Mounted Basket
  7. Large Woven Rope Basket
  8. LUFOFOX Cotton Woven Storage Baskets

Thanks for reading!


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10 Fundamental Rules for Good Furniture Layouts

This week’s project theme in the Quarantine DIY Home Projects comes at zero cost! So what are you waiting for? Rearranging your furniture can make a room look and feel brand new, even though you haven’t spend a penny. And let’s face it, freshening up a room right now will give us a welcome break from staring at the same four walls. So check out these 10 rules for creating good furniture layouts, whether you have an expansive room or a small apartment.

Assess How You’ll Use The Space

The first most important rule is to assess how you’ll use the space. At the end of the day it’s your home, and you have to live in it. So if you use your living room to watch TV, there’s no point in arranging two sofas opposite each other and perpendicular to the TV! So sit down with your family and discuss how you do, or want to use the space before you start moving any furniture.

Good furniture layout and traffic flow in a large open plan room

Traffic Flow

The next most important thing to consider is traffic flow. Traffic flow through a room can drastically dictate the furniture layout. You may have a walkway that flows right through where you’d ideally like to place that large bulky sofa, so you either have to work around it, or move the door!

Assuming you don’t want the expense and hassle of moving the doors in your room, there are ways to navigate an awkward flow. The basic rule is, always try to allow at least 3 feet around furniture, and try not to place objects in the way of a traffic flow.

Always allow at least 3 feet around furniture

Focal Point

Next you should decide what the focal point of the room will be, and try to arrange furniture around it. It might be something obvious like a fireplace, or a view through a large picture window. If you don’t have an obvious focal point though, you can add one with a large mirror or piece of artwork.

Good furniture layouts in an open plan room with defined areas

Furniture Layouts for Open-Plan Living

If you have an open-plan living area, think of it as separate rooms still. For example, you could position a sectional sofa in the middle of the room, where the back of the sofa creates a distinct visual “living room”. Rugs are another good option for clearly defining individual spaces within an open-plan room. Try to make them large enough, so that all the furniture sits on them though.

Don’t Squeeze Furniture Up Against Walls

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I’ve seen so many times, people squeezing furniture up against walls on the perimeter of the room. This might be the easiest layout, but it’s definitely not the best. Try leaving even a 12″ gap between furniture and the walls to create the illusion of more space.

Scale and Balance

When rearranging furniture layouts, think about scale and balance. If you have a massive bed or sofa, don’t place tiny end tables next to them. Try swapping them for larger tables you might have elsewhere in the house.

When it comes to balance, think about size but also color and patterns. A good tip is to repeat the colors throughout the room to tie it together better and make the design more cohesive. So if you have a blue armchair on one side of the room, and a cream sofa on the other, try adding a blue cushion to the sofa to balance it out.

Conversation area - good furniture layouts

Create a Conversation Area

Arranging furniture layouts to promote conversation is a good thing, especially in these days of being ‘always on’ with technology. But back to my first point, don’t arrange your sofas opposite each other if you know you love a good Netflix binge each night! You can create smaller conversation spaces with armchairs positioned next to each other with a small table in between. Make sure they’re not more than 8ft apart though, otherwise you’ll be shouting to your partner!

Optimal TV Position

And although we probably all love the idea of going technology-free, we probably all have a large screen TV somewhere in the house. So what is the best position for it? There are a few basic rules when it comes to positioning the TV. Your seating should be roughly 8-12 feet away, and the angle of the TV should be no more than 30 degrees. Also, try not to position it opposite or next to a bright light source, unless you have suitable shades.

Good bedroom furniture layout

The Bedroom

Rearranging your bedroom furniture can definitely make your room feel new again. There are a few different layout options for your bed position, and it really comes down to personal preference. I always like to position a bed away from a window wall, ideally looking out onto a view. So when you wake up in the morning, and pull back the curtains, you can can take in the beautiful view. However I’ve seen a lot of people positioning the bed over a window, even in a large room. This layout option definitely isn’t for me, as I feel it would darken the room, and make it difficult to close the curtains, but if you’ve found it different I’d love to hear about it! The general rules for bedroom layouts though are – 2 feet around either side of the bed, and not within 3 feet of the door ideally.

You should leave 2 feet either side of the bed

The Dining Room

And finally a great tip to maximize the space in your dining room, is to reflect the shape of the room in your dining table. I.e. if you have a rectangular room, opt for a rectangular dining table. If you have a square room, or small room, a circular table is a good option. Make sure that you leave about 3 feet around the table, and 6″ between each chair. Each place setting should have around 20-24″ of space.

So what are you waiting for? Start rearranging your rooms! But first, a good tip that will save you any unnecessary heavy lifting, is to use a floor planner tool like Planner 5D. By measuring your room dimensions and translating that to a floor plan on screen first, you can drop in your furniture and size it to the exact dimensions to see if it will fit. You can then see it in 3D to see if you’ll like it first. I use this tool for every room I design now, and it has been a great way to create great furniture layouts before ever moving a chair.

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Thanks for reading,