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Kitchen On A Budget – 12 Low-Cost Kitchen Renovation Ideas

Are you looking to renovate your kitchen on a budget? Maybe you plan to move home in the next few years, so it doesn’t make sense to spend thousands on a full renovation but you want to freshen up the kitchen and improve your day-to-day use.

As a kitchen designer for the last 10+ years, I know there are plenty of ways to upgrade your kitchen on a budget.

In this post, I’ll go over ways you can save money on a kitchen renovation and help refresh your kitchen on a budget.

Let’s get into it.

Prefer watching videos? Check out mine below:

Budget Kitchen Renovation Ideas

The cost of a kitchen renovation can often spiral out of control if you aren’t keeping a close eye on your finances. But, there’s no need to splurge thousands to achieve that desirable kitchen facelift.

With some dedication, imagination, and elbow grease, you can rejuvenate that tired-looking old kitchen in no time!

1. Refresh Existing Cabinets Doors

One of the quickest, easiest and most impactful ways to refresh or renovate a kitchen is to simply change the kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts. It’s amazing what a simple colour or style change can do to breathe new life into a kitchen.

There are a few ways you can refresh your kitchen cabinet doors depending on what you want to achieve and how much you want to spend. These changes are only to the doors themselves. It assumes that your cabinets (carcasses) are in good working order.

So it’s more of a cosmetic change rather than anything structural, which saves time and money.

Replace Existing Doors

The vast majority of kitchens are standard sizes, so finding new replacement doors is fairly straightforward. You could even look up the original kitchen manufacturer and see if you can get some new doors directly from them.

You could change the cabinet doors to a different colour or change the style of the door completely. For instance, you could go from a more traditional shaker door to a handleless J-Pull style, or vice-versa.

Top Tip: Always make sure to measure the door sizes and double-check everything before placing an order for new doors. Check whether the new doors come pre-drilled for hinges, if not, this could mean extra time and cost to install them.

Paint Existing Doors

If your existing kitchen cabinet doors are painted, then chances are you can re-paint them. Not every type of door can be re-painted and the process is easy with some than others.

However, if you have painted timber doors (or un-painted timber doors) then sanding them back, priming them and then painting them in a new colour can be a great, cost-effective way to refresh your kitchen.

Painting kitchen cabinet doors - refresh kitchen on a budget

Replace Existing Door Handles

Often overlooked but a really quick win. Changing the door handles and cabinet hardware on your kitchen cabinets can transform the look and feel of your kitchen and give a really big impact!

Changing from dark ornate handles and knobs to fresh chrome modern-styled handles can instantly bring your kitchen into the 21st century.

Equally, changing those generic bar handles to something with a little more visual interest can make your kitchen feel more bespoke and individual.

Just remember to measure the distance between the screw holes and get the same-sized handles if you don’t want to have to fill the old holes and drill new holes.

There are thousands of handles on the internet, so you’re sure to find a matching size in the style you want.

2. Update Your Worktop

Similar to only changing the cabinet doors, changing your kitchen worktop (countertop) can be another quick and easy way to update the look and functionality of your kitchen.

Depending on your DIY skills and the worktop material you may need to hire a professional. However, a worktop change can be as quick as a few hours to a day and can totally transform the kitchen.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective worktop for a new kitchen then laminate worktops could be the answer. Available in a huge range of colours and finishes you’re sure to find something you love at a very reasonable price. There are many options that mimic marble or granite but at a fraction of the cost.

Another budget-friendly option is having timber worktops. Timber looks and feels great, adding some texture and contrast to any kitchen. Different thicknesses and types will cost more or less, so shop around for the best combination for your budget and style.

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3. A Fresh Flow with a New Kitchen Tap

While the sink is a central feature of any kitchen, the tap (or faucet) plays an equally significant role in both functionality and aesthetics. Changing your kitchen tap can be akin to adding a piece of jewellery to a beautiful outfit.

Here’s why and how you should consider this swap:

Reflecting Current Trends

Faucet designs evolve, and what was once considered modern may now appear dated. Today’s market offers a huge choice of designs from brass industrial spiral taps, and matte black sleek minimalist ones, to touchless faucets that offer both convenience and a high-tech look.

Improve Functionality

Modern taps often come with features that older models lack. Think about pull-down sprayers, 360-degree swivels, or even taps with built-in water filters. If you find yourself filling pots on the countertop because they don’t fit in the sink, a tap with a detachable head could be a game-changer.

Water Efficiency

Newer models are typically designed to be more water-efficient, reducing the amount of water wasted. This is not only good for the environment but can also save you money on water bills over time.

Swapping out a kitchen tap is a straightforward task, especially if the new one matches the existing tap hole configurations of your sink.

If you’re handy, this can be a DIY project, but hiring a professional ensures any complications are swiftly managed. Before starting, always shut off the water supply to avoid any unexpected kitchen showers!

Top Tip: Before purchasing, think about how you use your sink. Do you need a tap with a high arch for filling large pots? Would a double handle for separate hot and cold controls be useful, or would a single lever suffice? These considerations ensure your new tap is both beautiful and functional.

Modern matte black kitchen tap. Budget kitchen upgrade

4. Get Some New Light Fixtures

One of the quickest yet transformative changes you can make in your kitchen is adjusting your lighting.

If you have pendant lights, consider swapping out the old shades for new ones. It’s remarkable how this simple switch can not only modify the aesthetics and focal point but also refresh the ambience of the space.

Pendant shades come in a variety of designs, materials, and colours and finding one that complements your kitchen’s theme can give it a contemporary edge without a hefty price tag.

Also, consider installing some under-cabinet lighting. They can significantly improve task efficiency on countertops and add a subtle mood-enhancing glow. With today’s LED options, they’re energy-efficient and can be tailored to suit both warm and cool lighting preferences.

When contemplating kitchen upgrades, remember that lighting isn’t just about illumination—it’s about setting the mood, improving functionality, and making a style statement.

5. Shop The Sales

If you’re buying a new kitchen, shop smart and buy at the best times. Many kitchen companies will run sales in January (summer sales are also popular) so take advantage of these sale periods to get the best price you can.

My advice is to be prepared. Don’t rush the design and purchase all in the last week of the sale. That’s when mistakes happen!

Start your design process in November or December and take your time to get it right. Then, when the sale hits in January you’ll be ready and confident to pull the trigger and bag a deal.

Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to haggle and ask for the best price and if there is any additional discount to be offered. Especially towards the end of the month. There often is, and simply asking means you get it.

6. Think About Appliances

There are a few ways you can help your kitchen budget when it comes to appliances.

Reuse

Firstly, can you keep and reuse any of your existing appliances? Maybe the dishwasher is only a year old or the ovens are in perfect working order. If you are on a budget now this can be a good place to save money.

So many appliances are standard sizes that it’s easy to replace/upgrade later on when you have a bit more spare cash.

Secondhand

You can also consider secondhand appliances. Exploring secondhand markets, such as online classifieds or consignment stores, can uncover hidden gems at significantly lower prices compared to buying brand new.

Not only does buying secondhand appliances save you money, but it can also be an opportunity to find high-quality items that still have plenty of life left in them.

Before purchasing secondhand appliances, it’s important to thoroughly inspect them to ensure they are in good working order. Look for signs of wear and tear, test all the functions, and ask the seller for any available warranties or maintenance records.

Budget Options

Consider more budget-friendly brands and models for those appliances that aren’t as important to you, or that aren’t on display. For instance, you can save £100s on an integrated fridge and/or freezer you’ll never see that does the same job as a more expensive brand.

The same could go for your integrated cooker hood. Pick and choose where you are willing to go for a budget brand to help save money on appliances.

Hit Those Sales

Lastly, shop the sales! Lots of kitchen companies will include the appliances as part of your overall price, and while that can be helpful it always pays to have a look online and shop around yourself. You could save £100s on the exact same appliances just by doing some research.

It benefits to be prepared and know what you want so you can be ready for those January sales.

If you don’t want to have to order everything online yourself, you could try going back to the kitchen company and asking them to price-match everything you have found. Most will be willing to do so (if they can) and it means you don’t need to coordinate deliveries.

That bit of extra work and research could save you some serious cash.

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7. Consider Your Kitchen Flooring

If part of your kitchen renovation includes having a new floor, there are options that can help your budget out.

Vinyl or laminate flooring can be great cost-effective kitchen flooring options. They are quicker and easier to install as well as much more budget-friendly than stone tiles or engineered wood.

There is a huge choice in styles and colours with vinyl and laminate flooring, from wooden boards to stone tile lookalikes. You’re sure to find the look you want at a fraction of the cost.

Vinyl flooring is also waterproof and easy to maintain and care for. Making it an ideal choice for busy kitchens. Budget aside, vinyl can be a great option for many kitchens.

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8. Revamp Your Backsplash

Another transformative yet economical way to give your kitchen a fresh makeover is by focusing on your backsplash.

The beauty of revamping a backsplash is that it gives maximum visual impact with minimal effort and expense. It’s one of those changes that doesn’t just improve the look of your kitchen but also its feel.

You could tile or re-tile your kitchen backsplash to change things up. Although it might not be the cheapest option.

Otherwise, here are some ways to do so without making a big dent in your wallet:

Peel-and-Stick Tiles

One of the most cost-effective and DIY-friendly options is the use of peel-and-stick tiles. They come in a plethora of designs, from classic subway tiles to trendy mosaics or even faux stone finishes.

The application process is straightforward, simply clean the area, peel off the backing, and stick the tiles in place. The beauty of this option is that it’s also easy to replace should you wish to update the look again in the future.

Paint Over Existing Tiles

If you already have tiles in place but they’re dated or not to your taste, consider painting them. Tile paint is specially designed to adhere to glossy surfaces and can stand up to the occasional splash and splatter.

Begin by cleaning the tiles thoroughly, then lightly sanding to ensure better paint adherence. After a couple of coats, you’ll have a completely revamped backsplash that aligns with your aesthetic.

Top Tip: Regardless of the material or method you choose, always remember to measure your space accurately. It ensures you purchase the right amount of materials and reduces waste.

Revamp kitchen backsplash to help update a kitchen on a budget

9. Optimise Your Kitchen Layout

A way to potentially save £1000s before you’ve even started fitting a new kitchen is to think about the layout.

The more you can utilise the existing layout the more likely you are to save money on additional building work. If you are moving the position of your sink or hob from where they currently are, that could mean moving the water supply and waste pipes or gas supply around to suit the new layout.

Guess what, that means more work and more money spent on your kitchen renovation.

Where possible, keep things like the sink, hob and ovens in the same position or minimise their relocation to help keep additional building work costs down.

You will need to consider if creating a new layout will improve the functionality of your kitchen and if that is worth the additional cost it may incur. Sometimes it’s definitely worth it, but if you’re on a budget thinking about your layout could save you a lot of money.

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10. Consider Ex-Display Kitchens

If time is on your side and you don’t mind looking around and inquiring with kitchen companies, getting yourself an ex-display kitchen can mean huge savings.

Almost all kitchen companies will refresh their displays at least every few years and when that happens they sell off the old displays at a seriously reduced rate.

There are even online companies dedicated to the selling and buying of ex-display kitchens with many of them also selling off the appliances on display as well. Double bargain!

While this can be a great way to grab a kitchen on a budget there are a few things to keep in mind. It can take time and a lot of looking around to find the type of kitchen you want as an ex-display.

And, even if you do find the style of kitchen you are after, it may not have the correct number or configuration of cabinets that you need.

This means you might have to still buy some new cabinets to fill in the gaps or be stuck with some extra cabinets you don’t need.

However, play it right and you could end up saving a lot of money!

Top Tip: Some kitchen companies may also have outlets where they sell slightly damaged stock, last season’s look or overstocked products. These can also be great places to find a bargain.

11. Look At Open Shelving

Consider installing some open shelving for an affordable yet effective kitchen update

Transitioning from closed cabinets to open shelves instantly gives your kitchen a more airy and spacious feel. Ideal if you have a small kitchen.

The open design invites you to display your beautiful dishes, glassware, or decorative items, turning them into pieces of art that add character to your kitchen.

However, as you opt for open shelving, it’s essential to be mindful of what you display. It’s best to keep items you use regularly on these shelves, ensuring they remain functional and not just decorative. Rotate items occasionally to keep the look fresh and intriguing.

Open shelving might not be ideal for everyone, if you can’t cope with the idea of all that grease, dirt and dusting, maybe give this one a miss! 😂

Open shelving in kitchen. Budget kitchen remodel idea

12. Installation Costs

Lastly, there are ways you can save on the installation itself to help keep your kitchen on a budget.

What is your DIY skill like, can you do any of the installation yourself? Even if it’s ripping out the old kitchen or taking everything down to the dump yourself.

Anything you can do yourself means you’re not paying for someone else. Within reason, try and do as much of the work yourself as you can to help save some money.

If you’re not into DIY and need to hire a professional, doing some research and asking around locally could mean you save £100s. A good, well-trusted local kitchen fitter or carpenter could be cheaper than going with the kitchen company’s fitters.

And you may end up with a better-quality finish.

It’s not always the case but depending on the type of kitchen and how much is involved in the project. Organising your own tradespeople could mean you save big on your installation costs.

Kitchen being installed

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Final Thoughts…

There you have it. My top ways to help renovate your kitchen on a budget.

You don’t have to implement all of these budget kitchen remodel ideas to save money. Just picking one or two could be enough to get that fresh new kitchen on a budget that suits your needs.

So, what are you waiting for? Roll up those sleeves and get to work!

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.