Budget Kitchen Makeover

I am beyond excited to show you guys the latest project my hubby and I just finished!

Budget Kitchen Makeover

To really get a sense of how far this kitchen has come, you’ll have to see it as it was when we bought the house.  I’ll have to warn you…it was pretty ugly!

It had pastel blue counter tops, peel and stick tiles, mismatched appliances, and caked grease on every imaginable surface.


The kitchen had some good bones but the decor was…well…let’s just say it’s seen better days. 

Cabinets before

Fast forward a couple of years later, and that ugly duckling of a kitchen is now a beautiful place!

Budget Kitchen Makeover after!

Under cabinet lighting adds a good mood to the kitchen! Budget Kitchen Makeover

Budget Kitchen Makeover-great tips on how to get an upscale look on a budget!

Beautiful backsplash and countertops done on a budget!

Save money and do a kitchen upgrade instead of a renovation! You'll get a brand new look for a lot less!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  See my full disclosure here. 

The budget kitchen makeover included:

 Here’s the best part–we did all this for about $4,500!  Today I’m spilling all the secrets of how we did it so you can too!

How To Do A Budget Kitchen Makeover

Do Some Of The Work Yourself

I am very blessed to have a very handy hubby that can do a lot of home projects.  We did all the work on our kitchen ourselves which saved a lot of money.

What if I’m not the DIY type?  The good news is do-it-yourself skills can be learned.  Just because you don’t know how to do it now doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to do it!  

  • Take an installation class at your local home improvement store.  
  • Get advice from the folks at the hardware store
  • Ask a handy friend to help

Save money by finishing the easier projects yourself and hire out the more difficult projects.  You don’t have to do all of it yourself.  

Complete Projects Over Time

The best way we’ve been able to budget for this kitchen makeover was to complete small projects over time as our budget allowed.  The entire process from the before to the after took about 8 years.  Yes, 8 years is a long time but you don’t have to go as slow as we did!  Completing projects one at a time helped us spread out the cost and helped us pay off a project before starting the next one.

Paint Cabinets That Are In Good Shape

I wanted to replace our kitchen cabinets because I hated the color.  The cabinets were in great shape so there was no good reason to replace them.  After years of convincing, my hubby finally convinced me to paint them white.

Here’s the before and after:

How To Paint Cabinets White

See how much brighter the whole kitchen feels?  If you’re thinking about painting cabinets, here’s my full step-by-step tutorial about How To Paint Cabinets.

If you’re wondering about the paint, we used Krylon Color Creations in Satin White (which is now called Krylon Cover Maxx in satin white)

Crown Moulding

Crown moulding is a small detail that adds so much class!  The best thing is it only cost about $20!  I always knew I wanted to have crown moulding on the cabinets but never realized it would make this much of an impact! Crown moulding is the best way to transform builder grade cabinets into custom luxury-looking cabinetry!

Here’s the cabinets before…Cabinets before crown moulding

…and after the crown moulding was added.  Such a small detail that adds so much visual impact!

Add crown moulding for an easy way to update the look of your kitchen cabinets! Cabinets after crown moulding. This is much better!

 These don’t look like builder grade cabinets anymore!

Upgrade your kitchen cabinets on a budget

Budget Countertops

Granite, marble or quartz countertops are beautiful but can be very expensive.  Our “granite” countertops aren’t actually granite–they’re laminate! High definition laminate countertops can give you an upscale look for a lot less.  We have about 19 feet of counter space in our kitchen and we were able to replace it all for about $500 using the high definition laminate countertops.

Choose Reasonably-Priced Appliances

I love the look of stainless steel appliances but we simply didn’t have the budget for them.  We chose to have the major appliances in a black finish and the smaller appliances in stainless steel.  This way we get a stainless look for a lot less.  

Save money on stainless steel major appliances and get smaller appliances in a stainless steel finish!

See how you can get a stainless steel look just from a couple of small appliances? 

Budget Kitchen Makeover-great tips on how to get an upscale look on a budget!

Let There Be Light

Having the right kind of lighting in a room makes an enormous difference!  To prove that point, I took a photo of my kitchen on the same day with the lights off and then another photo with the lights on.  The difference was pretty surprising!

without lighting:

Cabinets without lighting 

with lighting:

Save money and do a kitchen upgrade instead of a renovation! You'll get a brand new look for a lot less!

 See how the kitchen has a lot more life and personality when it’s all lit up?  The lights above the cabinets highlight the beautiful crown moulding.  The lights on the bottom of the cabinets help highlight the new backsplash and shiny countertops.  

Without the lights on you can’t really notice those small details!

Spend A Little More On A Focal Point

Wait….isn’t this about saving money?  Yes but hear me out.  

Spending a little more money on a focal point for the kitchen is worth it.  We chose to splurge on our backsplash.   This was the biggest priced project of the whole kitchen but we still kept the price reasonable by installing it ourselves.Love this glass and marble backsplash!

The glass adds a bit of sparkle & shine while the marble and stone pieces add warmth and luxury.

Such a pretty glass and marble backsplash!

Thanks so much for taking a tour of my kitchen!

What budget kitchen project is next on your list? 

This post shared at: Create It Thursday, Weekend RetreatThink and Make Thursday, Skip The Housework Saturday, Tutorials and TipsWhimsy WednesdayCreative Spark, DIY Like A Boss and Project Inspired.

I also shared some kitchen renovation ideas at SarahTitus.com so be sure to check it out!

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  1. Pingback: How To Change Grout Color For Less Than 20

  2. Your kitchen is beautiful & giving me the inspiration I need to “remodel” my own. I do have a question that has been preventing me from proceeding. How did you transition the red paint above the cabinets into the next room when the same wall continues? (I.e. Dining room) Did you continue with it, & if so, what did you do with the rest of those walls? I’d love to see how you did yours!

    • That’s a great question Peggy! We have the red wall color on just two of the four walls of our kitchen. The wall that continues into our living room does not have the red, like the picture below:
      red paint
      So the red in the kitchen is actually just an “accent wall”
      In your case, if the cabinets run on a wall that continues into another room that does not have the same paint color, you can end the paint color where the cabinets end and use a piece of moulding to separate the paint colors. It can be difficult to make that transition without it looking weird, so if you use elements that coordinate with the cabinets themselves, it will make that transition a little less noticeable.
      Keep in touch & let me know how that works out!

  3. Pingback: Upgrade Kitchen Cabinets On A Budget

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    • Very nicely done. I would change the paint color. It doesn’t seem to flow with all the black, white and grey.

      • My husband and I were really debating on whether or not to keep the red paint color. We decided to keep it with intentions of changing it later down the road. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Your compliments really mean a lot to me since they’re coming from an awesome DIYer like yourself! The backsplash is still my favorite part and I’m so glad we splurged on it!

  7. Pingback: How To Remodel Your Kitchen On A Budget - Sarah Titus

  8. Hey there, your kitchen looks stunning!
    I’d like to know where you purchased your countertops and if you installed them yourselves?

    • Thank you Sarah! We purchased the counter tops at Lowe’s and installed them ourselves. If you’re nervous about installing them yourself, you can pay a little extra and have someone from Lowe’s laser measure your kitchen. This will ensure the counters fit your kitchen exactly right.
      If you have any other questions feel free to contact me!

      • Thank you Cathie! We used a under cabinet light kit from the hardware store. My husband and a friend installed the lighting and hooked it up to an existing outlet. If you have any other specific questions, please feel free to ask!

    • White cabinets really do make a big difference! The only downfall is they show more spills πŸ˜‰ A great cook like you deserves an awesome kitchen!

  9. Hi Carrie – WOWZA… GORGEOUS!!! Your kitchen is absolutely stunning! You have to be so proud of your efforts… are you like that woman in the commercial who is up late at night admiring her new kitchen and the kids are like… mom… time to go to sleep! The kitchen is the heart of the home and what a wonderful place to create beautiful memories for your children. Hugs, Holly
    Holly recently posted…$500 Amazon Giveaway Celebrating a 5-Year SurvivorversaryMy Profile

  10. We did the same thing, almost. We painted our cabinets, and walls, installed new cabinet hard ware, and track lighting on the ceiling, and a new pendant over the sink. We went with black appliances, versus the white that we did have. We also updated the flooring with a peel and stick tile that looks like travertine. (did I spell that right!?) We also upgraded our counter tops. We have the exact same one as you! πŸ™‚ We love our “granite”! It really made all the difference in the world. For years I have wanted a tile back splash, but we have no experience. I am going to look for a class at our local home improvement stores, take it, and install it. I love how yours turned out, it made a huge impact! Since that is all that is left in our kitchen, well wait, I really would like some under the cabinet lighting as well, yours is beautiful, then we will finally be finished! We did our project over time as well, it’s easier on the pocketbook!
    Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh recently posted…Happiness is Homemade #84My Profile

    • Oh yes I’ve seen that peel and stick tile that you can grout–it’s awesome! We used some in one of our bathrooms and loved how easy it was to install and how pretty it is! How fun to be countertop buddies!
      One thing that made installing the backsplash easier was using a peel and stick mortar. It’s a lot less messy and easier than traditional mortar. Hmm….maybe it would help if I blog about our experience with it…

  11. I have thought about painting our kitchen cabinets, but they aren’t real wood (ugh!) and I think it’ll look better to just replace them eventually. If they were real wood and just a color I didn’t like, then I would def. replace them. I love your kitchen remodel, that backsplash is SO attractive! I think I could totally do a backsplash on my own, I love tedious stuff like that! ha!

    Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom recently posted…Thursday Fashion Files Link Up #25: A Fall Layered Look with SplenderMy Profile