7 Budget Kitchen Renovation Ideas

The room that potentially holds the most value in your home is the kitchen. A beautiful, functional kitchen can significantly raise property values and make your home a more comfortable place to live. On the other hand, a poorly designed kitchen has the opposite effect.

“If you have a dated kitchen … and a buyer walks into that kitchen, they’re going to think that in order to redo that kitchen, they’re going to have to spend $40,000 or $50,000,” says Steven Aaron, a Beverly Hills realtor, in a U.S. News interview. He goes on to say that renovations usually cost about $19,000 on average, but typically have a higher return on investment—up to 85 percent.

Most people don’t have that much money lying around, however. When you only have a small budget for renovations, it can be hard to get the kind of return you’re hoping for unless you know the right tips and tricks.

1. Repair, Don’t Replace Appliances

When renovating the kitchen, it’s tempting to purchase brand new appliances. However, doing so could set you back tens of thousands of dollars. It’s much more economical to simply repair and update your existing appliances rather than investing in new ones if the parts are still salvageable. You can keep a stove going at full capacity for 15 years if you service it properly and make a few repairs here and there.

Sometimes, a simple repair isn’t good enough for your appliances, however. When they’re past their prime, you’ll want to look into replacements. Until that point, you can save a lot by working with what you have.

2. Reface Instead of Replacing Cabinets

Updating cabinets instead of replacing them is also a great way to save. Unless your cabinets are rotting or falling apart, simply update their appearance to save money.

Remove the cupboard doors, remove the paint, and sand them down. Add a fresh coat of paint or varnish to liven up the appearance. You could also update the hardware or add simple wood paneling around the edges to give them an affordable facelift that looks luxurious.

3. Choose Beautiful, Economical Flooring

Hardwood is a popular option for your kitchen floor, but it’s not a cheap install. It also requires higher maintenance to maintain its beauty for years to come.

Instead, opt for a more economical option like laminate made to look like wood. It’s resilient, easy to care for, and gives your floor a high-class look for less money. Tile is also a more affordable install that looks great, is easy to maintain, and will last for years.

When it comes to flooring options, linoleum isn’t the best choice. You want something that will last and attract buyers in the future, and linoleum usually doesn’t fit that bill.

4. Shop for Sale Items

If you don’t have a set idea in mind for your renovation, design your new kitchen using sale items. Shop online and at local hardware stores for flooring, backsplashes, paint, and other materials on sale. When you find a great deal within your budget, make the investment and plan your kitchen design to match.

5. Invest in Lighting

Sometimes a kitchen doesn’t need a complete renovation—just updated lighting. Take out your cafeteria-style fluorescent lighting and install more contemporary fixtures instead.

Recessed canned lights are among the most popular options for kitchens, but they’re not always the most affordable. If such an addition stretches your budget, consider non-recessed canned lighting, cute lamps above your sink, or a hanging light over your island. Light is an inexpensive detail that can pull everything together.

6. Paint Your Countertops

Like your cabinets, your countertops might only need a simple facelift to restore beauty. Installing a granite or marble countertop would be ideal, but it’s hardly doable when you’re on a small budget.

A beautiful, yet affordable alternative is to paint your countertops. There are dozens of tutorials that explain how to provide this affordable facelift. Painted countertops, admittedly, won’t last as long, but they’re a great alternative while you save up for something better.

7. Add Small Details

Design really is in the details, especially in the kitchen. You might not be able to afford a floor replacement or an update to your chipped laminate countertops, but you can change your faucet fixtures, replace door handles, paint the walls, and add other small details that bring a little vivacity to the room.