Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
Home upgrades can boost the value of your house while satisfying your desire to give your rooms the custom look, style and functionality you've always wanted. But remodeling can get quite expensive, and kitchens — which may need new appliances, cabinets and countertops — can be especially pricey.
The good news is there are affordable kitchen ideas that can help you achieve a new look without breaking the bank. If you're willing to put in the time researching purchase options or adding a little do-it-yourself determination, you can completely remodel your kitchen on a budget. Consider these money-saving options before tackling your kitchen remodel project.
Do online comparison shopping. Shopping in person is great if you want to explore appliance features up close or to feel different cabinet, countertop and flooring materials. Just resist the urge to make any impulsive purchases on your first trip to the store. Instead, jot down your thoughts and snap photos of the product names and model numbers that you liked most. Afterwards, go online and see if you can find those items for lower prices at other stores. You can even do this with smaller items like cabinet hardware and lighting fixtures to avoid hitting your budget quickly.
Keep an open mind to second-hand sales. Oftentimes, people who move put their kitchens up for sale – cabinets, countertops and all – within local social media selling groups. You can also scan sites like Craigslist and other similar portals for local deals. These can be great options for finding affordable items with the caveat that you'll usually have to pick them up. This could require heavy lifting and a vehicle and/or trailer to transport your purchase. And be sure you're dealing with a legitimate seller and carefully inspect the merchandise before you complete the transaction. You won't have the same recourse that you would have if you were purchasing items from a large retailer.
Don't overlook leftovers and displays. If you have a small kitchen, you might be able to get steep discounts on a new countertop by looking for remnants at granite supply yards. Also, whether you're shopping for appliances, cabinets or islands, you might be able to save a few dollars by negotiating with the salesperson. Sometimes stores are willing to part ways with their display models, and you may save even more if you point out small imperfections that you're willing to overlook.
Split work with contractors. Labor costs can quickly add up, whether you're paying by the day or by the hour. If you're somewhat handy, you can try to do some of the work yourself. For instance, you might bring in professionals to do electrical work, plumbing and heavy lifting, but save the touching up and cosmetic details like painting and tiling to do on your own.
Give old cabinets a refresh. A coat of paint and some new hardware can work wonders on dated cabinets that are still in good condition. But depending on your cabinets, you might have to strip, sand, stain and paint, which can be a long, tedious process. If you enjoy that type of work, it can be a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a whole new look for less. If you're not the handy type, or if you're dealing with cabinets that are too damaged or warped to save, you might be better off replacing them. If that's the case, consider ready-to-assemble models, which are much less expensive than custom-built ones.
Add some open shelving. Another way to keep cabinet costs down while adding a decorative flair is to hang shelving to stack your dinnerware and drinkware. You can also remove a cabinet door or two to achieve the same open look. You’ll get a sleek, modern style that can add brightness to the room.
Seek less expensive options. If pricey tiles will put you over your budget, seek something more temporary to update your look without breaking the bank. For instance, wallpaper or peel-and-stick vinyl tiles are affordable alternatives to add some color between your cabinets and counters. You can also apply the same concept to update your flooring and countertops. Rather than choosing the most expensive wood for your new floors, consider laminate, vinyl or cork, which are generally more affordable and come in a variety of colors. Or, even better, you can hire professionals to refurbish your current flooring. For countertops, install laminate, wood, tile or solid surfacing rather than granite or quartz.
Keep appliances put. Moving plumbing and gas lines or knocking down walls can escalate costs quickly. If money is limited, think about ways to transform your kitchen without involving major contracting work. Once you bring in electricians and start changing the room layout, you'll discover a whole new host of expenses.
DIY the demo. If you do decide to do a wall cutout or other room restructuring, you reduce the construction crew bill by working the sledgehammer yourself. It may only save you a few hundred dollars — but every little bit helps!
Remodeling a kitchen on a budget takes effort and diligence. By comparison shopping, keeping an open mind, and employing a little creativity and DIY spirit, you can make it happen. Combine some of the affordable kitchen ideas above to easily save money while creating the kitchen of your dreams.