Tackling a Kitchen Makeover on a Budget

Has this ever happened to you? You're standing at the counter chopping vegetables, your eyes filled with tears, when suddenly, it hits you. It's not the onions that are making you cry. It's your kitchen.

It's old. It's blah. It's the same old that you've been looking at for too many years to count.

So, what can you do about it? A full-on kitchen remodel is really expensive and really difficult. (Any divorce attorney will tell you huge remodels are great for business.) But luckily, there is a cure for the hate-this-kitchen blues. Introducing the BCR, the Big Cheap Redo, also known as a DIY kitchen makeover on a budget. 

The Big Cheap Redo shouldn't drain your savings or ruin your marriage. A successful BCR requires creativity, research and planning, not a big bank account.  

DIY Kitchen Makeover: Go Cheap or Go Home

Start your low-cost, low-stress remodel off right with discounted DIY magazines from your favorite used bookstore. Or execute the perfect BCR move and go one step cheaper by spending a couple of hours at your local library perusing the magazine section.

Of course, the handiest tool in your Big Cheap Redo kit is exactly where you are right now, the wonderful world of the World Wide Web. You'll find plenty of innovative, inexpensive ideas online at thousands of websites, from Pinterest to Create a BCR folder on your desktop, fire up your favorite search engine with the words "kitchen remodel cheap" and get ready for a lot of clicking and saving.

The Starting Line


There's no faster, cheaper way to get from, "I hate my life!" to "I love my new kitchen!" than a splash of great color. Fresh paint can instantly turn your blahs to wows without having to take out a second mortgage. If you can't replace the cabinets, repaint them. Or go the minimalist route and just paint the back wall of the cabinets to add a visual pop every time you open a door.

Backsplash, tile and countertops

Hate your dingy, dinged-up old countertops? Do a quick search for local companies that sell surplus building supplies. Or, visit the nearest Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a nonprofit clearance center for new and gently used appliances, home accessories and building materials.

If your budget can't quite stretch enough to cover new countertops, focus instead on replacing the backsplash to bring new color and texture into your kitchen.

Cabinet doors

 On? Or off? When it comes to cabinet doors, you decide. Try removing one cabinet door to see if you like having dishes, cups and glasses on display. If you don't like it, you can always put the doors back on and start looking for the right paint or design element to spruce up old cabinets.

Hardware and handles

Talk about cheap thrills! High-impact decorative hardware can be found everywhere. Whether you're shopping online, in hardware or craft stores, at thrift stores or estate sales, discovering the perfect drawer pulls for cheap can be more fun than a treasure hunt. 

Faucets and sinks

Once again, building surplus stores and nonprofits such as ReStore can help you score an affordable upgrade on a kitchen sink. Also, spend some time scrolling through websites such as DealYard, FaucetDirect and Overstock. 

Want it even cheaper? With a little patience and persistence, you could benefit from someone else's Big Cheap Redo. Drop in on sites such as Craig's List and NextDoor to find garage sales and estate sales in your area. Both websites also have a "free items" page, too. You never know what'll turn up, so keep clicking!


 Can't afford new kitchen chairs or counter stools? Take a paintbrush to them or freshen them up with new cushions or upholstery. If you're crafty and artistically inclined, you can transform that same old, same old kitchen table with new paint or stain, add stenciled designs or even try your hand at a tile or glass mosaic.


 One of the fastest, cheapest ways to change the look of your kitchen is to change the lighting. Even different kinds of light bulbs can make a huge difference in a room. Again, discount and surplus stores often carry fixtures, ceiling fans and simple utility lights at great prices. Puck lights (shaped like hockey pucks) are terrific for dark corners, and some are battery-powered, so no electrician required. The bulbs in puck lights are LEDs, which means they last a long time and they don't overheat. Rope lights, also LEDs, are another inexpensive way to add a warm glow to your kitchen.  

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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