Remodeling a Kitchen on a Budget

Due to the cost of materials and labour, remodelling a kitchen is one of the most expensive things you can do to your home. But the good news is that you can remodel your kitchen on a budget.

As the homeowner, it’s up to you to make sure that your kitchen remodelling project doesn’t cost too much. Contractors, subcontractors, architects, designers, and suppliers are all trying to make the most money they can, while you’re trying to save the most money you can. Even though it’s rare to work with someone who deliberately tries to blow holes in your budget by adding extra costs, you’ll probably still have to remind the other people involved in the project to stay on budget. To keep costs in check, it’s easier to keep an eye on the choices you make when remodelling.

Here are five ways to lower the cost of remodelling your kitchen.

Refresh Rather Than Replace the Cabinets

In general, projects where most of the materials are thrown away and new ones put in cost more than projects where most of the materials are kept. This is very clear in the case of kitchen cabinets. New kitchen cabinets can be very expensive, especially if you need pieces that are made to fit your space. There are ways to update your cabinets that are both cheap and good for the environment, since the old cabinets won’t end up in the junk.

Painting: Painting kitchen cabinets is a tried-and-true way to make them look new. Depending on how many cabinets you have, the steps of sanding, priming, and painting can take a long time. But it’s easy enough that even people who have never done it before can do well.

Refacing: More expensive than painting, refacing adds a new veneer to the outside of the cabinet boxes and entirely replaces doors and drawer fronts. This is difficult to do yourself, as it requires tools and expertise that most DIYers don’t have. But it’s still cheaper than getting all new cabinets, and it will completely change your kitchen’s look.

Hardware: Along with the finish on the cabinets, you might also want to update the hardware. Sometimes all it takes to make old cabinets look brand new is to add modern knobs and handles.

Shelving: Instead of buying new cabinets or refinishing the ones you already have, you could put up some open shelving. Shelves are cheap and easy to match to the style of your kitchen, giving it an open feel that’s almost like a commercial kitchen.

Refurbish the Appliances

In the past, when a kitchen was remodelled, a lot of the old appliances were taken to the dumpster. Thankfully, this old way of thinking is becoming less common, as cities are making it harder to send appliances straight to landfills.

Now, it’s easy to find information about how to fix kitchen appliances. And there is a busy online market for service parts. This means that many homeowners can fix up their own old appliances instead of hiring a professional or buying something new.

Some appliances you can fix yourself include:

  • Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Water heater
  • Water softener
  • Garbage disposal

Whether or not you can fix an appliance depends on your skill level and what’s making it not work as well as it used to. But you should often try to do it yourself before spending more money.

Keep the Same Kitchen Layout

The cost of remodelling will go up if the kitchen layout is changed in a big way. For example, you need to hire plumbers to move the pipes for the sink, dishwasher, or refrigerator. To put in new pipes, they’ll have to make holes in your walls. This means that you’ll have to pay for both the labour and the materials.

On the other hand, it’s a great way to save money to keep your kitchen’s layout pretty much the same while updating parts of it. Most of the time, you won’t need to add new plumbing or electricity. You can also keep the floor you have if you want to. (Flooring usually doesn’t go under cabinets, so if you change the layout, you’ll have to deal with gaps in the flooring.) And you can still give the space a whole new look and feel.

Also, galley-style or corridor kitchens often have so little space that you can’t change the footprint without spending a lot of money on major structural changes to the house. Because one-wall kitchens have an open side, they can be set up in a few different ways. In this case, adding a kitchen island is a great way to get more space for food prep and storage without having to spend a lot of money on a new layout.

Do Some Work Yourself

When you do home improvements yourself, you only pay for the materials and don’t have to pay anyone to do the work. Some DIY home improvement projects that require beginner to intermediate skill levels are:

  • Interior painting
  • Tiling
  • Flooring installation
  • Changing outlets and lights
  • Hanging drywall
  • Installing baseboards and other trim

Common home projects are often taught and shown how to do in local hardware stores and community colleges. Plus, the people who work at hardware stores are usually willing to give advice about products and projects. Even better, many of these learning tools are free of charge.

But time is another important thing to think about when deciding whether to do it yourself or hire a professional. If you don’t have much time to finish your kitchen remodel, you may need to hire a team of professionals. If you have plenty of time, though, you can do most of the work yourself.

Assemble and Install Your Own Kitchen Cabinets

There are times when you can’t fix up your kitchen cabinets. As a general rule, cabinets can be refaced, re-stained, or painted as long as their structure is sound. If not, you may need to take down the cabinets and put in new ones.

If you do need to buy new cabinets, look for ones that are already put together. Most of the time, it’s not too hard to put the pieces together yourself, so you won’t have to pay for labour costs. But it can be hard to find the right size for your kitchen, especially if it has odd angles.

RTA kitchen cabinets can be bought online, at home centres, or at big stores like IKEA that sell furniture for the home. Cabinets come in flat boxes. A new cam-lock fastening system is used to put the cabinets together. None of the pieces are made from scratch. If screws are used, most of the time pilot holes will already be there.

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