Kitchen Remodeling Tips for the Penny Pincher

July 19, 2017

Little Changes That’ll Make You Feel Like You’ve Got a Whole New Kitchen

The kitchen has often been called the heart of the home. If a homeowner has a kitchen that they enjoy working and being in, they will want to use it far more often. Also, even small touches can help increase the value of a home yet don’t necessarily have to have a high price tag.

Before you decide to drain your savings or decide to take out a home improvement loan, there are several-high impact changes that you can make to your current kitchen that is easy to do.

Developing a Remodel Plan

First, take an assessment of what you have in your kitchen now and compare it to the kind of kitchen look and amenities you want to create. Do you really need a whole new set of kitchen cabinetry, or would a coat of paint give you a fresh new outlook? The ideas in this article will show you the cheapest ways to give your kitchen a new look, so consider these first.

Next, collect ideas. These can be found in magazines and on websites. Pinterest ( has been used by millions of people as a kind of online file to collect ideas. Don’t spend too much time on this step. It’s easy to get lost in other people’s kitchens that you forget to work on your own!

Finally, you need to decide on a budget and stick to it. The good news is the kind of changes we are suggesting can feel huge even though they’re inexpensive.


Paint is a good way to give your kitchen a new look without having to spend a great deal of money. Most stores that sell paint will have color swatches available to help you decide what color and type of paint is best. Most painting experts recommend using a latex-based paint because it’s fast drying.

In a kitchen, there’s always going to be the inevitable steam, splatters, spills and other messes that need to be dealt with. A semi-gloss paint on cabinets, walls and ceiling can make it so cleanup only requires a quick wipe down with a damp cloth.

Once you’ve put a coat of paint on your walls or kitchen cabinets, there are other simple ways you can complete the look. Adding new hardware to your kitchen cabinets can be surprisingly more expensive than you might expect. Why not consider repurposing the drawer pulls and cabinet handles, too? Applying a bit of spray paint on your hardware can come out beautiful. If you happen to have some dated faux-bronze or brass hardware, apply a couple of coats flat black paint and you’ll be able to get the look and feel of hardware made of cast iron at a fraction of the cost.

Updating Countertops

One of the surest ways you can update the look of your kitchen is by changing countertops and cooking surfaces. While the look of stone surfaces is the epitome of what a luxurious kitchen should be, the price of real granite might be a little bit out of your budget. You can create the same appeal of granite by purchasing a gallon of granite paint. This specialized paint is available at many home centers, specialty paint stores and online. When a high gloss finish is applied, it can look almost like the real thing.

Butcher block counter tops have remained a popular favorite for decades. A cheap way to do this is to find vintage wood from old buildings and repurpose it. One savvy homeowner was given wide milled planks that were part of antique shop counter at an old hardware store for free! Once the wood was installed and a coat of protective polyurethane was applied, the beauty of the antique wood shone through.

That same look can be easily recreated by using readily available wood planks which are stained to a whatever color you wish, all for the price of under $100. High-gloss polyurethane provides a durable prep surface that is easily cleaned. A gallon of polyurethane coating will cover an area of up to 36 square feet for under $70.

Concrete countertops are also increasingly popular and can be put in place by setting up a frame on the spot. You can usually find someone at your local home center who knows about the proper “slump” or consistency in the concrete that will be necessary. They can also give you tips on how to do it correctly and how long it needs to cure.

Sinks, Faucets & Other Touches

If you’re hankering for a vintage or farm-style kitchen sink instead of the one you currently have, you stand a fairly good chance of getting the kind of look that you need at a store that specializes in home salvage. Stores like the ReStore which is run by the charity Habitat for Humanity receive donations on an almost daily basis. Donations of building materials, cabinetry, appliances, rugs and furniture are donated by private citizens, construction companies, contractors and even retail businesses. Often the donations are brand new or have small defects and can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of going out and buying retail.

Well-made kitchen faucet sets can be pricy. It pays to shop around to find the best deal. Many modern features include a built-in sprayer and hands free functions. Most sets have detailed instructions so you can easily install them yourself. If you or a family member is handy with a wrench, you can save a lot of money doing it yourself rather than hiring a plumber.


Tile and Backsplashes

If you don’t have a backsplash, you will be amazed how much a difference a backsplash can make. Adding tile is a whole lot easier than you would think. Today there are a vast number of different styles and materials available that can make up beautiful and functional backsplashes in the kitchen. Some creative remodelers are using repurposed ceiling tiles along the backsplash to create a sophisticated, vintage feel.

Appliances and Lighting

Almost every homeowner will have to replace an appliance at some point.If your kitchen makeover includes replacing one of your appliances, be sure to look for the Energy Star label so you don’t pay more in utilities. Wondering how to get rid of your old appliance? You can often get free haul away for your old refrigerator from the appliance store.

Even if you don’t change an appliance, you’re sure to change a lightbulb. Take advantage of energy efficient LED bulbs. Though the bulbs are much more expensive than a traditional bulb, they last far longer. LED lighting also generates less ambient heat and can help reduce your energy bill. Under cabinet lighting can also be easily installed with little to no wiring to give more light to work surfaces and make your kitchen a warmer place.

Put down the crowbar and try these simple remodeling tips first. Or use them as a foundation for your larger remodel.

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