Best kitchen remodel ideas and tips for tight budgets.


You don’t have to rip out the cabinets and walls to get a modern kitchen. Here are the updates that really count, according to pros on Thumbtack. 

The top 3 easy budget kitchen remodel ideas.

Tip #1: Update your kitchen cabinets.

New cabinets can be an affordable way to update your kitchen’s look. If you’re cramped in your current kitchen and switching out your outdated cabinets, think about building up.

“It’s all about going vertical when it comes to saving space,” says Nicki La Herran of NBL Design. To take full advantage of the space, consider installing a toe kick cabinet (a 4-inch high sliding drawer in the space between cabinet base and floor) and filling it with linens and baking sheets to max out every inch of storage space.

If you’re not sure what color to paint your new cabinet doors, you can’t go wrong with white paint. It’s a timeless option that works with everything and appeals to buyers when the time comes to sell. 

Tip #2: Mix things up with shiny, new kitchen appliances.

Ready to say goodbye to your old, white, energy-hungry fridge? Putting in new appliances can help to instantly modernize your kitchen. If your kitchen is getting old and your appliances are no longer in good shape, replacing them with new ones can quickly make your kitchen look (and feel) brand new. That includes your sink tap, lighting fixtures and more. 

As long as you don’t drastically change appliance size or shape, installation is a quick fix with immediate results. Stainless steel is the most popular finish by far. Before you buy, consider:

  • Who will be cooking and how do they cook?
  • What is my budget?
  • What size stove and fridge do I need for my daily and entertaining needs? 

Tip #3: Install or update a tile backsplash. 

Have you overlooked your kitchen backsplash? It’s easy to do — and even easier to fix. Installing a tile backsplash is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to update your kitchen design. It’s as easy as researching tile options and hiring someone to handle the installation.

If you plan to live in the house forever, you have more freedom to experiment with colors and textures. But if you’re planning to sell any time soon, keep things simple. 

Should you DIY kitchen remodeling projects?

Tip #1: Work on what you know (and what you’re good at).

Take stock of your skillset, recommends interior designer Georgina Lipsey with Spatial Transitions. “There are so many ways to DIY. Do you know your way around resurfacing cabinets? Do you have experience as a ceramic tile setter for the floor or backsplash?”

Take an inventory and see where it makes sense to do it yourself.

Tip #2: The secret to your DIY budget kitchen makeover? A new coat of paint. 

Completely update the look and feel of your kitchen by redoing your kitchen paint job.

“A fresh coat of paint is often a simple DIY project and can do wonders to any space,” shares Mike of Big Brothers Development. Just be sure to tape everything off to prevent drips and spills. Semi-gloss and satin finishes do well in kitchens. Beyond giving your walls a high-end look, they’re easy to clean. 

Tip #3: Project manage the kitchen renovation process.

Taking on the project management side of your kitchen’s new look can save money. As an example, interior designer Nicki shares, “I can select the countertop for their kitchen island, then they can go buy it and do all the footwork to get it from the countertop store to their house. I can select the tile, and they can pick it up and transport it. It all depends on what you have the ability and time to do.” 

How much does a kitchen remodel cost? 

Your kitchen remodel can be as simple as a cosmetic update or as complex as a full-scale renovation. Some of the most popular (and cost-efficient) upgrades include cabinets, counters, appliances, backsplashes, sinks, range hoods and flooring. During a full remodel, your contractor might address everything from water damage and mold issues to peeling paint and loose tiles. 

The cost of your kitchen remodel will depend on the level of repair and prep-work required, the materials you use, and the cost of labor in your area. The biggest factors that affect the price include: changing your kitchen’s layout, moving plumbing lines, and the grade of appliances you choose — from floors and windows to dishwashers and sinks.

The best way to get started is to get a free cost estimate from a kitchen remodeling contractor near you. 

For more on costs, see “How much does a kitchen remodel cost?

Who to hire to remodel your kitchen on a budget.

You can’t DIY it all. Experts can handle design, installation and repair — and keep you from botching that tile work. Find everyone you need for a budget kitchen remodel on Thumbtack:

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