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How I Remodeled My Kitchen for Less Than $1000

By Casey Slide

Kitchen RemodelTwo and a half years ago, my husband and I fell in love with a very simple home. It was incredibly plain, but we saw a lot of potential in it. The kitchen was painfully boring with white counter tops, white cabinets, and cream-colored walls. We needed an update, but we were on a tight budget. After about a year of planning and another few months of work, my husband and I finally got the kitchen we envisioned when we first fell in love with the house…and for less than $1,000! Here are six tips on how we made it a reality that you can apply not only to your kitchen remodel, but to just about any remodel you are considering in your house:

1. Choose the Most Important Aspects to Remodel

You do not have to change everything to get a dramatic transformation. Of course you should change the things you hate or drastically devalue your home, but consider keeping certain aspects around that you either like or are at least neutral towards. For instance, even though my husband and I did not like anything about our kitchen, we still considered the possibility of keeping either the cabinets or the flooring, and complementing them with the rest of the changes. Ultimately, we decided that we could have a very nice kitchen even if we kept our old cabinets, and it saved us a ton of money.

2. Do It Yourself

This is definitely not a new concept. However, I want to encourage you. If you think you can’t, please reconsider. During our kitchen project, we learned how to tile, build a frame, drywall, and lay flooring by watching instructional videos on the Internet. I am not saying that it is not difficult or stressful, but you can save a lot of money and be very proud of your work. It’s a great bonding experience as well!

3. Shop Around

I really dislike shopping. Once I find what I am looking for, I get it just so I can be done shopping. It drove me crazy that my husband would want to keep looking even when we found something decent. It took us six months just to pick out the backsplash, but in the end, it was well worth the wait. We saved a ton of money by going to pretty much all of the tile stores in metro Atlanta and in southwest Florida. Not only did we save money, but we got exactly what we wanted. In retrospect, I realize that being patient before making a decision paid off in the end. When shopping around, remember to also look online at eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon.

4. It’s the Simple Things that Matter

Sometimes it’s the small things that have the greatest impact. Plants can really liven up a room and add some color. So can pictures and even dishtowels. Consider new light fixtures (and remember to sell your old ones on Craigslist or at a garage sale). Change the cabinet hardware or the sink faucet. And it goes without saying to paint the walls. All of these ideas are inexpensive but can be really transforming.

5. Be Creative

If getting new appliances and replacing countertops and cabinets seems like too much work for you right now or too expensive, get creative. Did you know that you can spray paint your refrigerator? Instead of getting a new one to match your updated kitchen, just paint it. Cabinets can also be painted instead of replaced. Or maybe recycle by using old cabinet doors as cookbook shelves. Also, just about any type of wood can be easily restained to look classy and new. What have you done to creatively update your kitchen?

6. Remodel in Phases

It can be overwhelming to do home remodeling. If the project is taking a long time, it is easy to get discouraged. That is why I suggest splitting up your project into phases. If you split your project into phases, you can work toward each goal at a time without always feeling as though you are in transition. It is also an opportunity to save up money for the next phase. For example, we had three phases in our kitchen remodeling project: build a bar and replace the counter tops, backsplash and paint, and install flooring. It was nice to take a break between each phase and be proud of what we had already accomplished.

FINAL BILL

Using the above techniques, we were able to update our kitchen for $975. Here is a breakdown of our expenses:

Countertops: $150  (We spent $250, but we were able to sell our old countertops for $100.)

Supplies to build bar: $50

Backsplash tile and supplies: $500 (Probably could have saved more here except we wanted a specific type of tile)

Paint: $50

Lighting Fixture: $0 (Sold our old one and used the money to buy the new one)

Flooring: $200

New Rug: $25

TOTAL = $975

Before

Before

After

After

Don’t forget, the great things about these tips are that they apply to just about any type of remodel you might be considering; they’re not limited to only a kitchen remodel. But if it’s more kitchen remodeling tips you’re looking for, check out these articles: Five Frugal Tips for Kitchen Remodeling and Design on a Dime: Kitchen Edition.

What are your kitchen remodeling success stories and tips? Have you had success remodeling other parts of your house?

(Photo Credit: Dru Bloomfield)

Casey Slide
Casey Slide lives with her husband and baby in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and worked for a prominent hospital in Atlanta. With the birth of Casey’s son in February 2010, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Casey’s interests include reading, running, living green, and saving money.

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  • http://www.frugalapolis.com/2010/03/finally-our-kitchen-is-done.html Frugalapolis

    Wow! We just remodeled our kitchen and it cost close to $15K and we thought we did it cheap! Ours was really old (midcentury) and it needs the “big” makeover. We too did the demolition ourselves, painted, installed whatever we could and got rid of the old stuff on craigslist. Tile shopping is always an interesting experience, but we ended up with affordable accent tiles for 0.15 ea for the backsplash. I wish we would have done the tile labor ourselves though because it took the handiman 2 days and cost us $300 just for the labor. But once its all done and paid for, it seems like the cost was insignificant. It makes kitchen parties a lot more fun now.

    • Casey Slide

      Yes, our kitchen is a lot more fun too! We considered hiring a professional to do our tile too, but we were estimating it would be around $450. So $300 for two days of work might not be too bad.

  • http://www.erikfolgate.com Erik Folgate

    That looks great Casey! You guys did a great job! I watch Design On A Dime all the time, and you guys put that concept to practice.

    • Casey Slide

      Thanks, Erik! That is a great show.

  • http://blog.checkadvantage.com/ KaseyS

    Awesome!

    Is that the same fridge? One looks like and the other looks stainless steel, but otherwise they look almost identical. Maybe it’s just the photos.

    Either way – it’s very cool. I like the colors – amazing how a new coat of paint totally transforms a room. I especially like how you added the two-tiered countertop/bar.

    • Casey Slide

      Thanks, KaceyS! I was hoping that no one would notice, but it is a different fridge. We finished our remodel last January, and in August, our old fridge broke. It was 15 years old and past being repaired. I did not include the fridge as part of the remodel because it really wasn’t part of it.

  • http://www.torontokitchen.org Joethekitchencontractor

    Good job. How long did it take you to do all of that?

    • Casey Slide

      Well we did each part in phases so it is hard to say. It took about a day for the counter tops, a day for the bar, a day to do the backsplash tile, a day to paint, and maybe 2 days to do the floor. So I would estimate it was a week worth of work.

  • Victoria

    I must say, I read this article in order to gain some wisdom from your remodeling experience, and I am disappointed. My husband and I remodeled our entire kitchen (gutted) with new cabinets, new countertops and backsplash, all for around $1200, and we finished it in about a month, both of us working full time jobs. I cannot understand how you spent $500 in tiles for a backsplash even if you did want something particular. I also live in FL, and I know that I can find better deals on backsplash tile then that.

    Also, you mentioned how the white cabinets were boring and bland, umm…you didn’t even change them! I also didn’t like my cabinets, so we purchased unfinished cabs at Lowes and stained and finished them to a dark Jacobean color, put in rubbed bronzed pulls, and purchased a solid surface countertop in a beautiful, almost granite like finish. The backsplash tile we used we found at a steep discount because it was discontinued. In all, like I mentioned above, we spent approximately $1200 for everything, and labor was free because we DIY’d.

    This is not a good example of how one can spend $1,000 to remodel a kitchen. The before and after transformation is not even a transformation. Now, if I sent you pictures of OUR kitchen before and after, then you wouldn’t even believe it is the same house.

    • Casey Slide

      Wow, I am sorry I disappointed you, Victoria. I am sorry that my article was not more helpful. My article only discusses my experience with remodeling one kitchen. The purpose of the post was only about that one event. There are many ways a $1000 could be spend to do a remodel, and I was simply telling my story.

      As far as the tile, the $500 was our one splurge. I actually live in the Atlanta area. I think the problem we had with finding a deal on the tile was the particular color that we wanted. I have seen tile for less than half the cost, but it was never the color we wanted. My article shows that you can have a splurge and still remodel for $1000.

      Yes, the cabinets are bland and boring, but now they are not because they are in such contrast with the rest of the kitchen. I was able to resolve the issue of the cabinets without even replaces them.

      I do believe it was quite a transformation. Perhaps the pictures do not do the transformation justice. I didn’t like my kitchen before, and now I do. Every remodel is different with varing results. I am glad you had a good remodel experience!

  • Crystal Thomas

    i move in my home 2and ahalf years ago, and like u i see alot that i would love to do. i’ve been trying to find where to go to get the best deal for my budget i’m low income but i still want a beautiful home even if i have to pay a little at a time and yes i willing to do hard work. just need someone to point me in the right direction. such thangs as flooring, fencing,getting my yard done turning my garage into some kind of income space kitchen and bath rm. i need ideal and help. Hey maybe someone know student who need project i’m your girl HELP PLEASE! any ideal will be appeicate

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