Two 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.
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)
Lighting Fixture: $0 (Sold our old one and used the money to buy the new one)
New Rug: $25
TOTAL = $975
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)