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Revamp a cramped kitchen on a budget

March 4, 2024

Revamp a cramped kitchen on a budget

Upgrading your kitchen on a budget can seem like a daunting task, but with some planning and creativity, it is possible to give your kitchen a whole new look without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for revamping a cramped kitchen on a budget:

Take Stock of What You Have

The first step is to take a good look at your existing kitchen and make a list of what is working and what needs to change.

  • Carefully look at the layout and workflow of your kitchen. Does the triangle between the fridge, sink, and stove work efficiently? Is there enough prep space near the sink and stove? Are the most-used items within easy reach?

  • Look at the storage solutions in your kitchen. Are the cabinets and drawers maximizing the available space? Is the storage functional or do you have to rummage to find items?

  • Make notes on the condition of cabinets, appliances, floors, and countertops. Cosmetic updates like painting cabinets can make a big difference. But appliances and countertops showing wear may need replacement.

  • Prioritize changes starting with quick fixes like decluttering cabinets or adding organizational products. Move on to DIY projects like painting cabinets and simple cabinet upgrades. Big ticket changes like new countertops can come later.

Give Cabinets a Makeover

One of the easiest and most affordable kitchen upgrades is a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets.

  • For worn or dated cabinets, a coat of paint in a modern, neutral color can give the kitchen a whole new look for less than $100.

  • Sand cabinets lightly to rough up the surface, then apply primer and paint. Use high-quality paint formulated for cabinets.

  • Paint the inside of cabinet doors and boxes for a finished look. Change out old hardware for updated knobs and pulls.

  • For cabinets in good shape, try trends like two-tone cabinets with a dark color on lower cabinets and light shade up top. This can make a small kitchen feel more spacious.

Add Clever Storage Solutions

Lack of storage and clutter are common problems in small kitchens. Get organized with DIY storage projects:

  • Pull-out shelves in base cabinets double your storage space. Buy ready-to-assemble units or slides and plywood to make your own pull-outs.

  • Pegboards mounted inside cabinet doors turn empty space into storage for spices, utensils, foil, etc. Use pegs and hooks to customize.

  • Plastic dividers for drawers neatly corral utensils, gadgets, plastic containers, and other small items. Customize the layout.

  • Shelves like wall-mounted spice racks, floating shelves, or decorative ladder shelves expand storage.

Update Countertops Affordably

New countertops can really transform a kitchen, but natural stone and solid surface materials can be expensive. Some budget-friendly options:

  • Laminate has come a long way and now offers stylish options that mimic stone, concrete, wood, and more—at a fraction of the cost.

  • Butcher block countertops bring warmth and texture. Use unfinished wood and coat with food-safe sealant.

  • Tile like subway tile is an easy DIY option for protected areas without direct food contact. Use with a wood edge for durability.

  • Look for discontinued or discounted options from home improvement stores or materials retailers. End-of-line items are often deeply discounted.

Refresh Floors and Backsplash

Floors and backsplashes take a lot of abuse, so they tend to show age. Updating them on a budget yields great visual impact.

For floors:

  • Resurface worn laminate flooring by cleaning thoroughly and applying a clear sealant.

  • Swap out dated vinyl sheet flooring for peel-and-stick vinyl tiles. These click together easily with no glue needed.

  • Paint dated tile floors using epoxy paint formulated for high-traffic areas. This brings colorful new life to old.

For backsplashes:

  • Use self-adhesive tiles like subway tiles or faux mirrored tiles to inexpensively upgrade a dated backsplash.

  • Paintable wallpaper offers easy application and endless patterns—from fun retro to simple shiplap looks.

  • Use removable wallpaper or contact paper to temporarily refresh a backsplash for less commitment.

Lighting and Accessories

The finishing touches like lighting and accessories don’t have to cost much but make a big impact.

  • Update old ceiling lights with new covers or replace entire fixtures. Pendant lights over islands and counters provide task lighting.

  • Undercabinet lighting illuminates countertops and workspaces. Choose battery-powered or hardwired LED strips.

  • Incorporate functional accents like pan racks, paper towel holders, and shelves for oils and spices. Paint or match to other finishes.

With creativity and elbow grease, you can give a cramped, dated kitchen new life on a budget. Prioritize changes that make the space more livable and functional. Cosmetic updates like paint and accessories make a visual impact at low cost.

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