Tight on money and time? Here are 5 budget kitchen remodel ideas you can implement over time. Don’t break the bank renovating a kitchen. Follow this plan and do it in stages, choosing projects that will have the most impact without costing a lot of money.
My friends, Debbie and Mike, have lived in their house since 2009, and she’s interested in updating their kitchen. They don’t have the time or money for a full-scale remodel — and really their kitchen doesn’t need that. But it could use a little refreshing and TLC.
So I’m helping Debbie plan out a few budget kitchen remodel ideas they can implement inexpensively, in phases, to give their kitchen a fresh, updated look and feel.
Thanks to a partnership with Kohler, we’ve already started making some of these changes in Debbie’s kitchen, beginning with the installation of beautiful modern faucet and the addition of some colorful new accessories.
Declutter and Redecorate
In a kitchen, it’s nice to have everything close at hand.
But countertops can become catchalls for mail, keys and other things that don’t belong in the kitchen. And cluttered countertops can make it hard to prep food and cook.
The first step to having a kitchen you love is to get rid of as much clutter as possible. In a small kitchen like Debbie’s that means coming up with clever storage solutions for essentials like spices, appliances and pots and pans while keeping the countertops as clear as possible.
Debbie and I both keep our toaster ovens out on our counters. But we both realized they’re taking up a lot of prime real estate for something we don’t use very often.
In your kitchen, maybe it’s the coffeemaker, mixer or blender that needs to go. If you do nothing else, just getting rid of clutter and unnecessary appliances will make a HUGE difference in how your kitchen looks and functions.
Then, you can add some fun and functional decorative items, like a new rug, dishtowels or a pretty hand soap soap dispenser to update the look of your kitchen with almost no effort or expense.
Freshen with Paint
If you’re ready to do a little more work in the kitchen, consider repainting.
I am always amazed at what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room — whether you choose a pretty color, go neutral or give everything a fresh coat of white.
Painting is at the top of Debbie’s to do list for her kitchen. Now the trick is choosing a paint color.
Update Fixtures & Hardware
For just a few hundred dollars and a few hours work, you can make a huge difference in the kitchen by replacing fixtures, such as lighting, sinks and faucets, and cabinet hardware.
We started by switching out the standard faucet on Debbie’s sink with a Elliston kitchen faucet. This is one of two new Kohler kitchen faucets available exclusively at Lowe’s.
The Elliston, the model Debbie chose, has a sleek, refined design that is perfect for her transitional style home. It has an integrated soap dispenser, and a high-temperature limit stop that you can preset to a max temperature to avoid scalding. The Kohler Scratch Shield (TM) finish will resist corrosion and tarnishing, and is a snap to clean.
But I think Debbie’s favorite feature is the pull-out sprayer which has a variable spray control.
The Cardale kitchen faucet is another great choice, with many of the same features as the Elliston. It also has A Sweep Spray™ that creates a forceful blade of water designed to sweep away stuck-on food from your dishes; temperature memory that allows the faucet to be turned on and off at any temperature setting and a two-function spray head with touch control. It also meets CalGreen requirements for kitchen faucets.
Debbie loved the look of both, but chose the Elliston for it’s lower profile since space above her sink is tight.
Installing a new Kohler faucet is pretty straightforward, and it doesn’t require a plumber.
Just follow the included directions to disconnect the old faucet from the water lines and disposal (if you have one). Then drop the new faucet in and reconnect the water lines.
It is good idea to have a helper to hand you tools so you don’t have to keep crawling from underneath the sink.
Normally, it is not necessary to remove your sink when installing a new kitchen faucet.
But in the case of Debbie’s kitchen, it was hard to maneuver around the pipes to remove the old faucet. So the guys had to pop out the sink to give themselves more room.
It was easy to put the sink back in place, and install the new Kohler faucet.
Had we known ahead of time that it would be necessary to remove the sink, Debbie would have replaced it with one to match her shiny new faucet. This is something to consider if you’re planning a similar switch in your kitchen.
You may also want to consider changing out lighting and cabinet hardware at this stage. Debbie has a fluorescent ceiling light in her kitchen, and she could totally change the look with a new chandelier or pendant lights from Lowe’s.
Add Decorative Elements
Once we cleared away the shelf behind Debbie’s sink and added the new faucet, she immediately started talking about adding a backsplash. That would be a fabulous update in her kitchen that won’t cost much money.
There are many options: wood, tile, tin sheets, peel-and-stick options, stainless steel or other metals, brick, marble and the list goes on and on. Installing a backsplash is an easy DIY, and depending on the material you choose, it can be very budget friendly.
Other decorative elements you might consider as part your budget kitchen remodel include
- Adding decorative molding in the room
- Adding decorative storage or molding above cabinets
- Creating a feature wall with paint or by cladding it in a material like shiplap
- Building a banquette for seating and storage
- Adding an island out of stock cabinetry or made from a repurposed piece of furniture
Big Ticket Changes
If you’re ready to take your kitchen renovation to next level, you might want to tackle a big ticket change.
These would include new countertops, new cabinets, new appliances and new flooring. But remember, you don’t have to do all this work at once, if time or budget does not allow. And there are many affordable options for flooring, countertops and cabinets if granite, hardwoods or tile and all new cabinets are too expensive.
For countertops, consider refreshing your existing ones with DIY resurfacing products. Or consider laminate, solid surface, butcher block, ceramic tile, glass or concrete instead of expensive marble and stone.
You may not need to replace your cabinets. Instead, consider refacing them or refreshing them with new paint or stain or even new doors.
For inexpensive flooring, consider linoleum, laminate, concrete or inexpensive tile. Or go the DIY route and paint what is already there!
When it’s time to upgrade your appliances, shop sales or secondhand and also consider retailers’ floor models.
Don’t forget to pin this post so you can look back over these budget-friendly kitchen remodel ideas when it’s time to update your space.