Renovate Your Kitchen on a Budget

A quick and dirty guide to fixing up your home.

Image of Roller Brush

A kitchen renovation can get expensive really quick. Just a new countertop can cost as much as a car! With these five tips you can get a brand new kitchen at a fraction of the cost.

1. Painting existing cabinets

This is a big project, but can save you thousands of dollars if you are willing to put in the work and the time. The prep work in painting cabinets is what is going to make your kitchen look amazing. Make sure to do all the necessary research on this! There are some amazing resources out there on how to do a professional job on your own.  My favorite resource is the facebook group called, “Kitchen Cabinet Painting Experts.” They aren’t lying when they say they are experts! 

Before and After Kitchen

2. New Hardware

All new hardware can do wonders all by itself. When picking out hardware you need to be aware that it might not match the existing holes in your cabinets. You can either find a size that fits for a really easy transition, or fill the holes with a wood filler, and sand down before you paint. If you aren’t painting your cabinets, make sure to fill the holes with a stainable filler, or make your own filler with sawdust and wood glue. Then, sand and stain to match your cabinets. There are wood stain markers that work great for touch ups or small areas like this. 

When making the new holes for your hardware, buy a cabinet hardware jig to make sure you get your holes straight. Once the holes are marked using your jig, use a phillips screw driver and a hammer to make a little hole in your marked spot. This will help keep your drill steady as you start the hole. Don’t overlook this step! It would be really sad to spend all this time filling holes, sanding, staining, and measuring, to have crooked cabinet pulls.

3. LVP Flooring

Flooring is such a big deal! And it can really get expensive fast. If you just want to replace your kitchen floor, you can find a great deal on quality flooring if you know where to look. Whenever someone buys flooring, they are recommended to buy 10% more than the square footage. This sometimes leaves people with a lot of extra flooring they don’t need. Since a kitchen generally isn’t thousands of square feet, you can usually find someone trying to sell their leftover flooring for a great price. When looking for flooring, look for water proof flooring, not just water resistant. A kitchen needs to be waterproof or you will get warping in your floors. The best diy option is Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring, or LVP.  It is completely waterproof and very diy friendly. Try to find a 20 mil wear layer or thicker since kitchens tend to have a lot of traffic. Hiring someone to install it is convenient, but it can double the price of your floor! This is a great DIY project and is so satisfying to finish. Make sure to watch a bunch of how-to videos like this one before you start.

4. Update backsplash

There are some really clever ideas out there on how to update your backsplash for a small amount of money. If you already have a tile backsplash, you can paint them for an instant and fast makeover. Make sure to first sand, then prime the tile with an epoxy bonding primer like Valspar Bonding Primer/Sealer so your paint can stick to your tile. Otherwise your paint will chip and peel super easy! You can use a regular latex paint to paint the tiles. Stencils can be super fun with tile and can really make a big statement with your kitchen. Seal the painted tiles after the paint has completely dried with two or three coats of water-based urethane sealer. This will protect your paint job from scuffs, scratches and moisture. 

Another affordable option is peel and stick backsplashes. They are very quick, very easy, and can look amazing. Check out this list for some great peel and stick tile options. 

5. Countertop Makeover

Countertops have such an effect on the overall look of a kitchen. Luckily you don’t have to put in a marble slab to make them look amazing. There are some really cool tricks to making the most out of your budget and getting a great finish on your countertops. 

First option is to refinish your existing counter. This is the cheapest option, and the easiest. Epoxy counters are becoming more and more popular and can look just like the expensive stuff.  The easiest route is to buy a kit from one of the many epoxy counter companies. They have a lot of different patterns and looks you can choose from, and their step by step guides make it fun and easy to do. 

Another option for a countertop makeover is to put in butcherblock. You can buy slabs of wood for this from Home Depot or Lowes, or check another local lumber yard. Make sure you get help, because they are heavy! When cutting them to fit your counter space, measure A LOT! You only get to cut once. With the help of a cutting guide, you can get nice straight cuts with a circular saw and a jigsaw. Sand everything smooth, including the sharp edges. Then you’ll have to decide if you want to stain and poly it, or treat the wood with butcherblock oil like food grade mineral oil, or pure tung oil. If you treat it with the butcherblock oil, you will need to oil it every week for the first month, and then on a monthly basis after that to protect the wood from drying out, and to protect it from moisture getting in as well. It is a continual upkeep to have wood countertops, and that’s why some people choose to use polyurethane. The poly protects the wood so you don’t have to oil it every month, but the downside is you shouldn’t put your food directly on the counters. Some are ok with this, and always use cutting boards to prepare their food. The choice is up to you! Both options have some really beautiful results.

Go Create!

Really, the best way for you to save money doing any project is to dig in and learn how to do it yourself! There are so many supportive DIY groups out there and endless amounts of tutorials for anyone to learn how to conquer any project on their own. So get in there, and make your house your own.