If I have a super power it is definitely “creating a luxury look on a budget.” I am that annoying person that loves to tell you how LITTLE money I spent on each item/project,/room makeover that EVER happens at our house. I am more than happy to share my budget saving tips with our clients and blog readers. I have saved many a client hundreds/ or thousands of dollars on their kitchen remodels. Here are my top tips for updating your kitchen on a limited budget and some before and after photos to illustrate my points.
Paint your existing Cabinets
This one thing can usually make a HUGE impact in your kitchen. There are lots of great DIY blogs out there on painting your own cabinets. I have personally walked many, many, many people through the process. Funny story, I walked a friend through the process last week. She came by for a visit about 1/3 of the way through the job and said, “I’ll pay you $8,000 to finish my cabinets”. Ha! She was kidding of course, but don’t underestimate the amount of prep and elbow grease involved before you ever get to the painting part. Also, to finish the job properly you need to remove the doors. Think about where in your home you have enough space to prep and paint 20-50 cabinet doors. If you choose not to DIY and you are looking for a professional start HERE.
Update your cabinet hardware
This project can make a big difference in the style factor of your kitchen. Before you buy new hardware, measure your holes. Ideally, you should find something that fits the original pre-drilled holes. Otherwise, you will have to drill new holes, fill the holes, prime, paint, seal and repeat. Cabinet hardware can be expensive. My GO-TO source for cabinet pulls is Overstock.com you can buy bags of 20-25 at a time. This one purchase can save you a few hundred dollars.
Update your lighting
If you are going to splurge on one thing in the kitchen, make it your lighting. A kitchen should have a combination of recessed lighting and task lighting. Don’t forget lighting under the cabinets. We leave ours on all day long. My personal favorite lighting set up is a pair of oversized pendants over the island, a beautiful chandelier over the breakfast table and recessed lighting placed on a grid around the room. Make sure all lights are on a dimmer so that you can control the lighting.
Remove any cabinet doodads or fake valances
A lot of the kitchens we work in have these fake wooden valances and grape vine trim and embellishments. Pop those puppies out before you paint and you’ll get a clean updated look.
Re-think your Countertops
If you don’t have a budget to replace all your countertops consider just replacing the island top. Every granite company known to man has remnant pieces available. For just a few hundred bucks, you can have a beautiful durable, on trend countertop. Another option for small budgets is laminate. Laminate has come a long way and is now available in designs that truly mimic marble and granite. This is one of my favorites in a post be The Lettered Cottage.
Paint your Island a Different Color
We work with several custom home builders and we are in a lot of fantabulous kitchens. 99% of them treat the island as a piece of furniture and have it painted a different color than the cabinets. Painting your island a second color will immediately elevate your kitchen style.
Add Architectural Interest
One of the ways we do this is adding bead board to the back of a plywood island. Another way would be to create some interest on the ends of the island and cabinets with molding. This is one of my FAVORITE photos illustrations of this point from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens.
Update your Soffits
REMOVE your soffits in the middle of the room. This will greatly open up the space. Someone with basic trim carpentry skills can add some plywood and crown molding to cover your remaining/existing soffits to make them look like they go all the way to the ceiling.
Build-in your Refrigerator
Don’t let your refrigerator float in the middle of the room. Build a frame around it and you will create a custom feature. Also, if you are shopping for a refrigerator, think “counter depth”. This means that your refrigerator will be flush with your cabinets and not stick out several inches beyond. This makes for a seamless transition from cabinets to appliances.
Remove the clutter
Stow away the items you don’t use every day. Clean the clutter off the counters. I give you permission to leave your coffee pot, salt and pepper, a pretty vinegar and oil cruet set, a cutting board, hand towel, a bowl of fruit and liquid soap. The rest of the stuff needs to be pulled out when you need it. Hey, you wanted a kitchen that looks like a million bucks, right?
Move your Outside Hinges Inside
Another simple, inexpensive update is to remove your old exterior/outside hinges and replace them with inside hinges. Here they will be concealed by the closed doors and out of site. Instant upgrade.
Buy Fresh fruit and herbs
Ever notice how in the kitchen photos on Pinterest that all the counters are styled with produce, fresh fruit and herbs? Your eyes are drawn to it. If you don’t have a budget for the above projects then make sure you offer some visual distractions in your kitchen. Who can resist a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade? They won’t even notice the chips in your countertop or the ugly wood valance.
Some of my favorite shopping sources for the look for less are:
Copy Cat Chic
One Kings Lane
A couple of side by side before and afters for you:
If you’d like some help on your kitchen makeover or if you’d like to add some beauty to your home with decorative painting or faux finishes we would love to talk to you. Please fill out the form below and we will get back with you shortly.