Remodeling your kitchen is one of the best ways to increase your home’s value and upgrade your home life. Think about all the time you spend in your kitchen prepping, cooking, hosting, and dining.
But the situation remains that a kitchen is one of the most expensive areas of your house to redo. It quickly adds up to tens of thousands—and even hundreds of thousands depending on where you live and how “big” you’re going.
The mere thought of spending so much is frightening, but don’t give up your dream kitchen just yet. Small renovations go a long way, and if you want to go bigger, it is possible to save money on a kitchen remodel.
Remodeling on a budget comes down to what you change and how you change it. From countertops to cabinets, the big-ticket items are where you can save the most. And saving doesn’t mean looking cheap.
The advice on the following 6 areas can help you save thousands instantly without compromising quality or style. In the end, it won’t look like you held back at all.
1. Keep Your Current Kitchen’s Layout
The fastest answer for how to save money on a kitchen remodel is to keep your current layout. Layout changes are often the most expensive for a few reasons:
- Moving a sink, fridge, or dishwasher means breaking into the walls to move plumbing features, and it requires hiring plumbers.
- Moving other appliances or lighting fixtures requires new electrical systems and more contractors.
- Cabinets and islands don’t always have flooring under them, so moving these could mean filling in empty floor space. If your current flooring isn’t available, you could end up having to update the entire floor.
- The price tag becomes even higher if you have a small kitchen and plan to alter the surrounding walls.
So, if you feel desperate for a new layout, think about it a bit longer. All the other changes you make might make more of a difference on their own than you realize.
If you still want a change and have enough space, add an island for a more minor update to your layout.
2. Refurbish Cabinets Instead of Replacing Them
Sometimes it is cheaper to replace a broken item than to fix it, especially if it needs continuous repairs. However, in the case of your kitchen cabinets, it’s often more cost-effective to update them than it is to replace them.
Cabinets are expensive to begin with, and the price tag increases when you need to customize them to fit your kitchen. Upgrading the ones you have will allow you to save money and waste less, and you know how they fit in advance.
There are a few ways to refurbish your cabinets into looking brand new.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
Sanding and painting your cabinets is an effective way to freshen them up and get them to match your new kitchen.
After you paint, replace your old cabinet knobs and drawer handles. Have fun picking out the color and level of detail that suits your style.
It’s incredible how well a little bit of trim transforms boring flat cabinets into high-end, professional-looking ones that exude luxury.
If your cabinets need some extra help to look brand new, refacing them can still be a more affordable choice than replacing them altogether. Refacing cabinets means keeping the old cabinet box but replacing the front-facing features, like cabinet doors.
Determined to get rid of your old cabinets once and for all? You can still do an affordable kitchen remodel by choosing shelving over cabinets. Shelves are cheaper in terms of material and installation, and they are an excellent option for remodeling small kitchens since they have a more open feel.
3. Choose Countertop Materials With Care
Countertops are among the more expensive items to consider when remodeling a kitchen on a budget. Plastic laminate is the cheapest countertop you can buy, but the real price you pay is poor durability and visual appeal.
For many, the ideal kitchen remodel incorporates stone counters for a high-end appearance. We’re here to tell you what experts know: it is possible to save on stone counters.
There are many types of stone to choose from, and there’s nothing wrong with going more affordable. Marble is trendy, but it’s also expensive. For a budget kitchen remodel, you can instead turn to granite or quartzite—both of which are more durable than marble.
Another great option for kitchen remodeling on a budget is engineered stone. Engineered stone is made with crushed quartz and is cheaper and more durable than natural stone despite having a similar appearance. It’s also heat- and stain-resistant.
But maybe marble countertops are where you choose to splurge on your remodel. By saving thousands with the tips in this article, you might find that you can afford to go high-end where it matters most to you.
4. Save on Kitchen Appliances
You don’t need us to tell you that kitchen appliances are expensive. Here’s what you can do to save money on appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers when remodeling.
If you can, fix instead of replace.
If your appliance isn’t working as well as it used to, fixing or replacing worn-down parts might be enough. We recommend having a professional assess the situation, so you don’t put money into a lost cause.
If it’s outdated, consider vinyl.
Even if your appliances work, the outdated style or dingy color of that 25-year old dishwasher might hold back the impact of your new kitchen. Before buying a new one, consider vinyl wrap. It has become an increasingly popular option for adding a pop of color to a kitchen or making old appliances look new.
Know how to save on your purchase.
Whether you’re not a fan of the vinyl look or it’s simply time to replace those old appliances, you can still do your kitchen remodel on a budget by buying appliances at a discount.
If you’re patient, you can wait for your dream oven to go on sale. If you have time, shop around for the lowest price. Some stores price match, so if you find the same product cheaper elsewhere, they’ll match it.
You can also ask to purchase floor models that are out for show. A floor model can be a steal—just make sure it comes with a warranty in case the appliance doesn’t work correctly.
5. Be Smart With Your Backsplash
A kitchen backsplash is a fun touch to any kitchen, but covering entire walls in fancy tile adds up quickly.
There are two ways to save on a kitchen backsplash:
- Buy a cheaper backsplash.
- Apply the backsplash to a smaller area.
It is possible to have a gorgeous backsplash without grabbing the most expensive material possible. And if you love the look of one, you can balance the cost by limiting how high you bring the backsplash on the wall.
6. DIY Painting
Not many DIY remodeling options are safe to do on your own, but painting is. It is entirely possible to paint your kitchen yourself, as long as you have the right amount of patience and the right materials.
Materials you’ll need include:
- The paint of your choosing (do a test spot first)
- Paint rollers for large wall areas
- Paintbrushes of various sizes
- Paint trays to hold your paint
- Tarps to protect counters, shelving, and the floor
- Painters tape (for taping off close edges you don’t want to paint over)
- A pair of clothes you don’t mind getting paint all over
- Some good music to get you through it
Painting your kitchen yourself can save you hundreds of dollars. It also gives you a special level of satisfaction.
Take Ownership of Your Budget Kitchen Remodel
It’s important to know that keeping your kitchen remodel on a budget will be up to you. It’s your money, so no one you work with will have the same motivation as you to stay on budget.
A good contractor will know better than to pile on unnecessary costs, but that doesn’t change that the many contractors involved (designers, architects, suppliers, plumbers, electricians, tilers, etc.) will have their own profits in mind.
You may get a lot of suggestions that sound like fun but aren’t necessary to create your dream kitchen. Knowing how to save money on a kitchen remodel means being ready to say no when you need to.
Between that and the big-budget savers in this article, you’re well on your way to an affordable kitchen remodel.
One last tip: Once you’re done and ready to cook your first dinner in your incredible new space, don’t forget to update your home insurance coverage. A remodeled kitchen increases your home’s value, and if anything were to happen, you want your upgraded kitchen to be covered.