If you’re on a tight budget but are ready for a kitchen upgrade, it’s important to find ways to save money on a kitchen remodel.
Thankfully, redoing your kitchen doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive. There are frugal ways to tackle almost any kitchen remodel project. With some creativity and resourcefulness, you can upgrade your kitchen substantially without spending too much of your hard-earned money.
Read on to learn the best ways to save money on a kitchen remodel while still creating an end result you’ll be happy with for years to come.
1. Choose Ready-To-Assemble Cabinets
New cabinets tend to be one of the biggest expenses in a kitchen remodel. In fact, custom cabinetry can run up your costs by tens of thousands of dollars!
Therefore, if you’re working with a small budget, consider installing ready-to-assemble cabinetry instead. These can be half the cost of custom cabinets depending on the material and cost of installation.
Though, as you can probably tell from the name, these cabinets are fairly easy to put together yourself. So, if you really want to save some money, you could take the DIY route rather than paying for installation.
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2. Refresh Your Existing Cabinets
Another way to save money on a kitchen remodel is to forgo new cabinets altogether and stick with the cabinets you already have.
Cabinets are a main feature in kitchens, so it’s understandable to want to update them. But think of other ways you can work with your existing cabinets without having to rip them out and start from scratch.
A fresh coat of paint in a new color can make a big difference. Or, consider only replacing your cabinet faces, rather than the entire cabinets.
3. Add New Trim
If you decide to stick with your existing cabinets, consider giving them an upgrade by adding some new trim. Hiring someone to do this for you will still be less expensive than buying brand new custom cabinets.
Upgrade box cabinets with crown-molding trim or under-trim to completely transform the way our cabinets look.
4. Replace Hardware
Another trick to sprucing up your kitchen cabinets is to add new hardware.
It’s a small, inexpensive change that can create a big difference in your kitchen.
You can look for inexpensive hardware sets at resale shops or online for a look that’s unique and high-end.
5. Go With Open Shelving
Open shelving is both stylish and budget-friendly. So, if you don’t have the world’s biggest kitchen remodel budget, consider installing open shelves rather than traditional cabinets to save money.
You likely will need to stick with at least a few fitted cabinets to make sure you have enough storage space in your kitchen. But replacing a few of those cabinets with open shelves is a cost-effective option.
For just the cost of some painted planks from the hardware store or some salvaged, refinished wood, you can create a functional, attractive way to display dishes and other everyday use items.
6. Use Alternative Countertop Materials
Granite countertops, while beautiful, can break the bank at $50 to $100 or more per square foot.
Consider using an alternative, less expensive material for your countertops instead.
One inexpensive alternative is laminate. It has the look of stone, and its cost ranges from $8 to $20 per square foot.
If your heart is set on granite, consider using it in tandem with a different type of material, like butcher block. This way, you still benefit from the granite look while also saving money on your kitchen remodel.
7. Keep The Same Kitchen Layout
Whenever possible, keep your kitchen layout as-is. If you can live with the existing layout of your kitchen, you’ll save tons of money on the cost of re-routing any wiring and plumbing.
If you decide to move things around, try to at least keep your appliances where they are. When you add up the cost of moving all the mechanics and electrical equipment for appliances, plus fixing the surrounding floor and walls, it can be costly.
8. Use An Island Alternative
Kitchen islands are a desirable feature for many homeowners, but they aren’t always a budget-friendly addition.
Think outside the box about what alternative surface you could use as a kitchen island. Tall tables or large bar carts look great and will help you save money on a kitchen remodel. Moveable islands are less expensive and will still provide the look and functionality you’re looking for.
9. Shop For Floor Models Or Slightly Damaged Appliances
Ask local stores if they have any sales on their floor models. Some stores offer discounts on floor models and appliances that have cosmetic imperfections.
As long as an appliance is still fully functional, you may be able to repair any cosmetic damage it has, and you’ll likely get a steep discount on it.
Also, consider the placement of appliances in your kitchen; you may be able to hide any scratches or dents by putting an appliance against a wall.
No one will ever know, and you’ll have saved big bucks!
10. Consider A Cutout Instead Of Wall Removal
Open floor plans are all the rage, but creating one can be expensive. Some homeowners want to achieve an open floor plan by knocking down a dividing wall between their kitchen and living room.
However, there are many considerations you have to account for before knocking down a wall. Does it contain electrical wires, water pipes, or vents? Is it load bearing? How will knocking this wall down affect any adjacent walls?
Opting for a cutout rather than a full wall removal is a less expensive option. This will still open up your kitchen, and it will cost far less.
11. Opt For Track Lighting Instead Of Recessed Lighting
Recessed lighting comes with a higher cost than track lighting because the installation process is more extensive. It requires cutting holes in the ceiling and having an electrician install the necessary wiring.
And the cost of this adds up quickly for multiple recessed lights.
To save money on a kitchen remodel, consider using track lighting instead.
It comes in all sorts of shapes, styles, and finishes, so you’re likely to find an option that fits with your kitchen’s overall aesthetic. They give off plenty of light, and you can even install a dimmer to have greater control over your kitchen ambience.
12. Refurbish Appliances Instead Of Replacing Them
These days, there’s lots of information readily available online about refurbishing appliances.
This makes it possible for you as a homeowner to refurbish your own appliances instead of paying a professional to do it for you or buying something new.
This, of course, is dependent on your skill level, but it’s at least worth trying to fix or update your appliances yourself before calling in a professional. Recruit the help of a handy friend and see what you can do with your existing appliances before calling in the pros.
13. Add Backsplash
Backsplash is a feature that makes a big difference in the look and feel of your kitchen. There are so many ways to DIY your kitchen backsplash ranging from single panels to those that require more cutting.
Subway tile is one of the least expensive tile options out there, and it’s a popular choice for kitchen backsplash. It provides a classic, clean look at a low cost.
14. Choose A Self-Mounted Microwave
An over-the-range microwave tends to be more expensive than a free-standing one. But many homeowners prefer the look and placement of a hanging microwave.
One option to achieve a similar result to an over-the-range microwave is to mount your microwave to the underside of a kitchen cabinet. This option prevents you from having to buy a microwave cabinet, and it keeps your counter space clear.
15. Shop Local For Kitchen Remodels
Before firmly deciding on put-together box cabinets for your kitchen, consider all of your options. Shop around to find out if any local contractors offer good prices for woodwork or kitchen installations.
You’re likely to save more money on a kitchen remodel when you take the time to shop around and consider all of your options.
16. Shop Secondhand, Sales, And Rebates
Many big box and home improvement stores put on seasonal sales or offer certain promotions and discounts. Some stores also offer price matches, so it’s worthwhile to shop around to get the best price on new appliances.
It may also be worth it to sign up for the email lists of certain stores, so you can be alerted when they drop their prices or set appliances on sale.
17. Look On Etsy
Etsy is a great place to look for decorative kitchen items that won’t cost you a fortune. From tile decals to hardware, you’d be surprised at what you can find.
Before dropping money at a major retailer, check out your options on Etsy to make sure you’re getting a great price for items you actually enjoy
18. Monitor Prices On Amazon Warehouse
Amazon Warehouse and third party sellers often sell high-end refurbished fixtures for less. Keep your eye on the prices on Amazon Warehouse to save money on high-end finishes. You can even use a price tracker like camelcamelcamel to get alerted instantly when a price drops on an item you need.
19. Buy Refurbished Appliances
Don’t turn your nose up at pieces that have been refurbished. Most refurbished items are fully functional, high-quality, and unique, and they can save you a lot of money on a kitchen remodel.
You can often find great deals on refurbished lighting, accessories and hardware.
20. Make Your Own Drawer Dividers
Drawer dividers are helpful for keeping your kitchen organized, but they shouldn’t be expensive. Buying new drawer dividers costs way more than making them yourself.
With just a bit of scrap wood, you can create your own custom drawer dividers. This is a great option because not only is it inexpensive, but it’s also completely customizable.
You can fit them in your drawers however you want!
21. Do Your Remodel In Stages
When you’re on a budget, sometimes it makes sense to split your kitchen remodel up into phases. This will allow you to save a few projects for later so you can save up in the meantime.
The benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to wait to start upgrading your kitchen.
Just think about which projects are the top priorities and tackle them over time.
22. Do Projects In The Right Order
A common mistake homeowners make when doing a kitchen remodel is they do things in the wrong order. This can cost money and time, and it can also limit your remodel options.
As a general rule, work from the bottom to the top. If you’re doing the entire renovation in one go, demo everything first, then start rebuilding from the ground up. Make sure you have a plan ahead of time, and don’t skip steps, as this could end up costing you extra time and money.
23. DIY As Many Remodel Tasks As Possible
It’s a no brainer – the less you have to pay contractors to help with your kitchen remodel, the more money you’ll save.
Of course, it makes sense to get help with certain tasks that are too grand to complete on your own. But before hiring out for a project, consider what you could do yourself.
Nowadays, there are so many helpful tutorials on the internet that it’s easy to DIY almost anything. There are countless YouTube videos online that explain how to complete almost any renovation.
Being resourceful and seeking out this information first will help you save money on a kitchen remodel.
24. Install Less Expensive Flooring
If you already have hardwood floors in your kitchen, you can spend less by sanding and refinishing them instead of replacing them.
This will save you a huge percentage of what you would typically spend on new floors.
If you’re looking to replace your existing kitchen floor, a less expensive alternative to hardwood floors is vinyl planks.
These have become widely popular because they look like wood but are waterproof and way less expensive. They’re also relatively easy to install, so you could choose to do it yourself and save even more money.
25. Choose Timeless Styles
When you choose sleek, timeless styles for your kitchen, you end up saving money in the long run.
Remember, a kitchen remodel is an investment, and thus, it should last for years to come.
Therefore, do your best to choose elements that are neutral or more natural-colored for a look you won’t easily grow tired of.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on a kitchen remodel, I hope the tips in this article have given you a few good ideas. Whether it be refinishing your cabinets instead of replacing them, opting for less expensive flooring, or completing your remodel in stages, there are all sorts of ways to keep your costs low.
Do you have any other ways to save money on a kitchen remodel? Be sure to drop them in the comments below.