Completing Your Kitchen Remodel on a Tight Budget

After putting it off for years, you’re finally ready to remodel your kitchen. Congratulations! Here’s the bad news, right off-the-bat: unless you have an unlimited budget (and who among us does?), you probably can’t do everything you’re envisioning.

So, knowing that, where should you start, what should you prioritize, and where can you get good value? In this article, we’ll walk you through how to navigate the kitchen remodeling process on a limited budget.

Prioritize your new countertops and cabinets

Due to the high upfront cost (combined, countertops and cabinets represent 39% of the average kitchen remodeling cost, and that’s before installation!), homeowners on a budget might be tempted to cut corners when it comes to new counters and cabinets—or skip upgrading them altogether. We don’t recommend this. First, if your primary goal is to add to your home’s value and curb appeal, an updated kitchen that either has cheap or outdated countertops or cabinets isn’t going to be much help. Most homebuyers in today’s market see new, high-quality counters and cabinets as essential to a remodeled kitchen—which means that they’re often willing to pay more for a home with them than they are for one without them.

While new countertops and cabinets will likely take up a majority of your kitchen remodeling budget, keep in mind that these two “big ticket” items generally see a high return-on-investment (ROI). Buy from quality manufacturers and use quality installers, and you should be on the path to seeing your home’s value increase.

Save by keeping it simple

Home remodeling TV shows have popularized the “open kitchen,” a trend where homeowners are removing interior walls, moving sinks, and connecting previously closed-off kitchens to the wider home. This open floor plan has its benefits: it can make the home feel larger, allow more natural light into the kitchen, and allow room for a kitchen island. 

However, when trying to complete a kitchen remodel on a tight budget, you might want to avoid this trend. Opening up walls can involve hiring several professionals to move structural supports, electrical wiring, and sink pipes. While an open kitchen can add value to your home, the high initial investment often means the return on investment is lower than many other upgrades you can make.

Make small, inexpensive upgrades with high ROI

There are many projects you can complete as part of your kitchen remodel that contribute to the space as a whole without breaking the budget. Here are just a few of them:

  • Lighting: The right type of lighting can add class to your new kitchen while highlighting its best features. Consider pendant lighting over your kitchen island or under-cabinet lighting that is both functional and flashy.
  • Painting: Painting the walls of your kitchen is one of the best bang-for-your-buck projects you can complete as part of your kitchen remodel. Pick a neutral color (whites, off-whites, grays, dark grays) that matches and complements your new countertops and cabinets.
  • Backsplash: Peel-and-stickbacksplash tile on the wall above the countertop is in-style right now. The right backsplash can be the finishing touch for your new kitchen and bring your countertops and cabinets together as one.

Do what you can and leave the rest to the professionals

There are many parts of your kitchen remodel that you can take on yourself, lowering your installation and professional service costs:

  • Installing new vinyl or laminate flooring
  • Hanging new pendant lights
  • Applying the backsplash tile
  • Repainting your kitchen walls

Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable working with electrical or flooring, make sure you bring in a professional. When it comes to your countertops and cabinets, have a professional handle the installation. Not only is the install process more complicated, but improper or shoddy installation could negatively impact the value you get out of your kitchen remodel.

Get more out of your kitchen remodel for less

By prioritizing the most important aspects of the remodel and sticking to your budget, you can complete your kitchen remodel for less while getting more value out of it than you ever thought possible. 

For even more tips for saving money and staying within your budget, check out the kitchen remodel infographic.