5 Ways to Remodel Your Kitchen on a Budget

The cost of labor and materials makes kitchen remodels one of the more expensive areas of a home. The good news is that a budget remodel of the kitchen is possible.

It is ultimately your responsibility as a homeowner to keep costs low for your remodeling project. All the other parties involved, including contractors, subcontractors and architects, as well as designers, suppliers, and designers, are trying to maximize their profit. Although it’s rare to have to deal with someone who willfully tries sabotage your budget by adding extra costs, you may still need to remind the other parties to stick to the budget. It’s easier to control the remodeling choices that you make to keep costs in check.

Here are five ways to reduce your kitchen renovation budget.


Even though it may be tempting to do some of the work yourself, hiring a professional is the best way to save money and time, as well as to ensure your safety. Assess your abilities prior to undertaking some of the most difficult projects.

1. Cabinets can be refreshed rather than replaced

All projects that require tearing out and replacing materials are generally more expensive than those that use most of the original materials. Kitchen cabinetry is an excellent example. New kitchen cabinets are expensive, especially when you need pieces that are custom-made to fit your space. There are eco-friendly and cost-effective ways to update your old cabinets.

    • Painting: The classic way to update kitchen cabinets is by painting them. Sanding, priming and painting cabinets can take a lot of time, depending on the number of cabinets you have. It’s easy enough for beginners to achieve good results.
    • Refacing While more expensive than painting, refacing involves adding a new veneer on the outside of cabinet boxes and replacing the doors and drawer fronts. It is not easy to do this yourself as it requires specialized tools and knowledge that most DIYers lack. It’s cheaper than buying all new cabinets and will completely transform your kitchen.
    • Hardware: Consider updating the hardware in addition to the cabinet finish. Modern knobs and handles can make old cabinets look brand new.
    • ShelvingInstead buying new cabinets or refinishing old ones, install some open shelving. Shelves are cheap and can be easily matched to the style of your kitchen, giving it an airy, commercial-style feel.

2. Refurbishing Appliances

In the past, many kitchen appliances were sent to landfills during a remodel. This antiquated way of thinking is slowly fading away, as many municipalities have put restrictions on sending appliances to landfills.

Now, there is a wealth of information on how to fix kitchen appliances. There’s also a thriving marketplace for service parts online. Many homeowners can now refurbish their appliances themselves, instead of paying a professional to do it or buying a new appliance.

Some appliances you can fix yourself include:

      • Dishwasher
      • Refrigerator
      • Microwave
      • Water heater
      • Water Softener
      • Garbage disposal

It depends on how skilled you are and what’s wrong with the appliance. It’s worth a try to do it yourself before spending more money.


Always be safe when working with appliances. Make sure they are unplugged and disconnected from the water supply and drain lines. Be on the lookout for appliances that could tip. Dishwashers, in particular, have a tendency for them to tip forward after they are removed from the bays in the base cabinets. Refrigerators can also be top-heavy.

3. Keep the same kitchen layout

A dramatic change in the layout of the kitchen will increase the cost of the remodel. To move plumbing for the refrigerator, dishwasher or sink, plumbers are needed. The plumbers will have to drill holes in the walls to run the new pipes. This will add to your labor costs.

It is much more cost-effective to keep your kitchen layout the same and update the elements within it. In most cases, you won’t need to add new electrical or plumbing. If you want, you can also keep your current flooring. If you want to change the layout of your home, you will have to deal gaps in the floor. You can still achieve a completely new look and feel for the space.

Galley-style kitchens or hallway kitchens are often so small that they don’t allow for much flexibility in terms of layout, unless you’re willing to spend a lot on structural changes. One wall kitchen layouts offer a little bit more flexibility due to their open side. In this case, adding an island can be a great way of gaining more prep space and storage.

4. Do Some Work Yourself

Do it yourself home remodeling projects let you pay only for the materials, while reducing labor costs to zero. Some remodeling projects require intermediate to beginner expertise from DIYers.

  • Interior painting
  • Tiling
  • Flooring installation
  • Change outlets and lights
  • Hanging drywall
  • Installing baseboards, trim and other trim

Local hardware stores and community colleges often offer classes and demonstrations on how to do common home projects. Hardware store employees are often available to provide advice on projects and products. These educational resources are often available for free.

Time is also a factor to consider, along with cost, when deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional. If you are on a tight schedule, it is best to hire a team of professionals. However, if you have time, you can complete the kitchen remodel yourself.

5. Assemble Your Own Kitchen Cabinets

It’s not always possible to refurbish your cabinets. If your cabinets are structurally sound they can be refaced or re-stained or painted. If not, you may need to replace the cabinets.

If you need to replace your cabinets, consider ready-to assemble options. You can usually assemble the pieces by yourself. This will save you money on labor costs. It can be difficult to get the right fit, especially if your kitchen has odd angles.

RTA kitchen cabinets can be found online, in home centers or at large home design stores like IKEA. Cabinets are flat-packed. Cabinets are assembled using a cam-lock fastener. No pieces are made from scratch. Pilot holes are usually pre-drilled if screws are used.

Many RTA retailers sell pre-assembled RTA cabinetry to save time, money and frustration. The same cabinets you would assemble yourself are assembled in a factory and then shipped to your home by freight.

Due to the higher cost of labor at the factory, and the significantly higher shipping charges, pre-assembled RTA cabinet costs are more expensive than flat-packed cabinets. Pre-assembled RTA cabinet helps homeowners to get past the assembly phase.