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!

Jo

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Kitchen Reveal

The time has finally come to reveal our kitchen make-over. What started out as a 6 week project turned into the 7 month project from hell! Anything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong. Even after months of pre-planning, Gannt charts and double checking everything. We had cabinets that didn’t fit; doors that were warped; fridges, microwaves and vent hoods that didn’t fit; walls that undulated; ovens that didn’t work… I’m glad to say that this nightmare project has now come to an end, and boy was it worth the wait!

Here’s a reminder of what it used to look like…

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And here’s the new kitchen…

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Full list of products used:

  • Cabinets: Austin cabinets in Urban Stone by Cliqstudios
  • Countertop and backsplash: Calacatta Gold by Silestone
  • Flooring: Vintage French Oak by Lumber Liquidators
  • Cabinet hardware: Knobs by Emtek style 86152US3NL, pulls by Emtek style 86123US14 both in polished nickel
  • Window: 400 Series by Andersen Windows & Doors
  • Paint: White Veil by Behr
  • Kitchen chandelier: Halo by Gallery
  • Dining room chandeliers: Rosalias modern cage light by Warehouse of Tiffany
  • Oven: Slide-in gas range by Samsung (model:NX58H9500WS)
  • Refrigerator: Counter-depth refrigerator by Samsung (model: RF23M8070SR)
  • Faucet / tap: Alea pull-down faucet in polished nickel by Pfister
  • Instant hot water faucet / tap: Insinkerator in polished nickel
  • Sink: Apron front sink by IPT Sink Company
  • Stools: Gelsomina counter stool by Joss & Main
  • Upholstered dining chairs: Kenleigh tufted side chair by Wayfair with upholstery nails added
  • Dining table: Emma dining table by Hom Furniture
  • Cane dining chairs: Bought from a friend

To learn about how the kitchen was planned read my blog ‘Goodbye 1987’. To learn how to overcome common kitchen renovation problems read my other blog post ‘Kitchen update: How to avoid delays’.

As always, thanks for reading!

Jo (aka Britflipper)

x

Goodbye 1987

The time has finally come to say goodbye to 1987.

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Current kitchen – installed in 1987

 

It has served us well over the past 3 years that we’ve lived at our house, and I’m sure it served the previous owners for the 29 before that. It’s a quality kitchen with all the mod-cons for a glamorous 80’s lifestyle, complete with warming drawer and even a wall mounted toaster! Which I can honestly say I’ve never seen before, and will probably never see again. It has certainly stood the test of time, being in immaculate condition, and as good as the day it was installed.

But as most things in life, all good things come to an end, and in 2019 this house makes way for a new type of luxury – a modern kitchen.

Grey Family Kitchen traditional-kitchen

This kitchen by Tom Howley is probably as close to a perfect kitchen as they come. It’s fresh, contemporary yet traditional, and just oozes quality. I love the color of the cabinets and the light flooring, and the warmth added by the wood. With a little bit of glam added by the sparkling polished nickel hardware. It’s everything I love – it’s a little rustic with the wood, it’s definitely country with the traditional inset door cabinets, and it’s very chic. There’s just one problem, Tom Howley kitchens are based in Manchester, UK, and our house is in Minnesota, USA, just a few 1000 miles away. So I began the hunt for a similar style…

White Painted Inset Cabinets kitchen-cabinetry

That’s when I found Cliqstudios. I actually happened upon them via a Facebook ad in my feed, and when I had a look at their site I found that they did in fact have the inset door style that I liked. After searching quite a few online kitchen retailers and big box stores, I found that Cliqstudios had a niche in their offering of the inset door style. So I ordered a sample and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the door. They’re 3/4″ solid wood with 2 1/4″ mortise & tenon joints, and the paint is thick and lustrous. Funnily enough they’re actually based in Edina, MN but are purely an online retailer with the cabinets being made in Indiana and because they’re sold factory direct and online they’re 40% cheaper than most similar cabinets you can buy on the high street. And the best bit? We ordered ours today!

I have to say I was a little nervous about ordering cabinets online. But we had a great designer who we called and emailed frequently to get us to our final layout. He also had the patience of a saint, having started the original enquiry about 2 years prior to actually ordering the cabinets, and going through many, many revisions. But we’ve arrived at the best layout for our needs now and we’re really excited about seeing them in situ in a few weeks time.

Kitchen Moodboard
Mock-up of the new kitchen

If you can ignore the terrible PowerPoint skills to make this mock-up, you can get a feel for what the end result is going to look like. We’ve chosen light grey inset cabinet doors with exposed hinges to get that old English handmade cabinet feel. We’ve added touches of warmth with a French Oak engineered hardwood floor, and a light oak distressed beam. And the glam is provided by the polished nickel hardware, faucet and show stopping crystal halo chandelier.

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Mock-up of new kitchen

Here’s the moodboard:

Kitchen Moodboard 2

And a close up of the samples:

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We’re using Eternal Calacatta Gold quartz by Silestone, and Austin Urban Stone painted doors in the kitchen, Carbon in the bar area, with polished nickel solid brass hardware by Emtek and Baldwin. The floor is Vintage French Oak by Lumber Liquidators.

Stay tuned for the gradual reveal as we go through 6 weeks of chaos to get to the end result.

Thanks for reading, until next time,

Jo