For me, kitchen renovation is like sipping a mug of hot coffee by a glowing fireplace on Christmas morning. It doesn’t get much better than that. Let’s unpack the tips and tricks that went into making this the greatest profit point in our home.
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DIY Kitchen Renovation on a Budget- Where to start?
First of all, when I sit down with my pencil and graph paper (yes, I said a pencil and graph paper. I still use a pink leather bound paper planner for Pete’s sake, and I LOVE it.) I draw out the dimensions of the floor and determine where I want my sink. Every kitchen renovation has to start somewhere, and this is where I start. Two things I think about when placing the sink – the view and the flow of dirty plates.
For the view –under a window is always a great choice, but in this kitchen by putting the sink in the corner, I was able to see out toward the dining room and the family room while conversing with guests and watching little kiddos. This also helped to give me longer runs of upper cabinetry. When I say the flow of dirty plates I mean dinner is over now so where does the dirty plate travel to get from point a (the table) to point b (the sink)? This space needed around the sink I term the “dirty landing zone.” I wanted to maximize counter top space in the dirty landing zone while minimizing the need for foot traffic into the kitchen in order to access that zone.
In our case here, by putting it in the corner there was plenty of dirty landing zone real estate without kitchen foot traffic as dirty dishes could be placed on the bar or handed across.
So back to the graph paper – I placed my sink and practically designed the rest of my kitchen cabinetry from there. Check out How to Design an Efficient Kitchen Around These 4 Work Zones for practical tips and tricks to layout your kitchen.
But for the rest of this post let’s move on to the renovation.
DIY Kitchen Renovation on a Budget- RENOVATION
The very first thing we did was open the kitchen into the dining room. That half wall would then become the bar.
We removed the kitchen door to the side porch and walled that in. Notice the large double-hung window on the left looking toward the backyard?
By replacing this space in the wall with a smaller casement window, we gained cabinet space while still benefiting from the natural sunlight and the view to the backyard.
DIY Kitchen Renovation on a Budget – CABINETRY
We ordered cabinetry from Lily Ann Cabinets which is an online wholesale RTA cabinetry distributor. I also really like the RTA Cabinet Store. You will find solid wooden cabinetry in a variety of options for half the price, including glazing in several colors, painted or stained. They also offer accessories such as pull out trash cans, cabinet dividers, etc. Note these are RTA (ready to assemble), so if you are looking to build some sweat equity this is a very easy way to do so! I built all of these RTA kitchen cabinets myself. You can do it!
We used the York Linen with Mocha Glaze cabinets.
To give you an idea, I bought the cabinets for this DIY kitchen renovation for $2,727.08. Yes that is $2,727.08 with free shipping. These companies frequently have deals that run through each of their cabinetry options, so I waited until the York Linen cabinet was 20% off and then BOOM – floor to ceiling solid wooden cabinetry with soft close doors and drawers for less than $3k.
We used Cosmos Oil-Rubbed Bronze knobs from Amazon.
Due to settling that occurs with old homes there were several inches of difference in the floor grade which made installing cabinetry (and just about anything that needed to be flush or level) a challenge!! We always joke that after this house all projects since have seemed like such a breeze. Baptism by fire I guess!
With the subtlety of a two year old, Gracie decided Daddy needed to take a break from installing the slide out drawers and read her a book.
DIY Kitchen Renovation on a Budget – COUNTER-TOP
When buying a counter-top I looked for companies that were offering “bundled” deals. Granite counter-tops have become much more competitively priced over the years and, at times, can be cheaper than high definition laminates. Companies often have a handful of standard color options that will be offered as part of a “package deal.” (If you are building your forever home I would not sacrifice your dream counter-top to maximize these deals, but for an investment home this is the best bang for your buck as granite counter-tops are often considered a valuable home improvement due to their longevity and quality.) When buying x amount of square feet of this particular color, the package deal included a stainless steel sink, a granite cutting board, and the travertine tiles for our back splash (which we installed ourselves). To find packages in your area, Google “granite counter-top packages in (your) city, state.” The best deals will often be a paid Google advertisement that will populate to the top of your search.
A tip – always compare a quote or a bid to at least 2 other companies. This is true regardless of whether it is a family friend, ranks #1 on Google, or seemingly is the best deal you think you will find. Make sure for the money you are also getting the appropriate quality. One is NOT done in the case of renovation estimates. Do your homework.
The faucet was a Moen Arbor One-Handle High Arc pull down in brushed stainless steel.
DIY Kitchen Renovation on a Budget – APPLIANCES
For appliances, I searched the Sears Outlet which offers discounted appliances all over the country. Another great way to save on appliances is to Google “scratch and dent appliances in (your) city, state.” If a big box store gets a stove that has a dent in the side of it, then they cannot place it in their inventory at full price because it is considered defective.
Enter the scratch and dent market.
Most of these dents are hidden by cabinetry or can be touched up with an appliance marker. These appliance markers are also an easy way to make your current appliances look nicer if they have already suffered some bumps and bruises! You can save thousands of dollars on scratch and dent appliances. Compare deals in your area, and don’t forget to consider if they include warranties!
DIY Kitchen Renovation on a Budget – DESIGN
A note from a design standpoint (more to come in a separate post!) – try to add elements of interest to draw your eye. For example in this kitchen the first impression was of the back wall. I centered the stove but then on either side created niches. To the right was the window with little shelves of spices and on the left was the coffee bar which I highlighted with fluted cabinetry fillers and added the 5 mini-drawer cabinets on either side of the coffee machine. These held K-cups, tea bags, etc. This picture staging is a little cluttered (staging tips to sell your home here), but we are looking back on this photo 6 years later!
The ceiling fan was Hunter Builder Plus 52 inch Brazilian Cherry 5 Blade. Having bought almost a dozen ceiling fans now – this is the only one I get anymore. The Hunter Builder Plus puts off the best air of any of the different styles that we have gotten. Especially in bedrooms – I don’t want a wussy fan!!
The mugs hanging above the Keurig I switched out seasonally to add decorative appeal.
Not including the structural changes or the flooring (we left the original flooring because it was actually in good shape) this brand new kitchen – cabinetry, appliances, electric, sink, faucet, plumbing, counter-tops, back splash – cost us less than $12,000. If you are looking to make money when you sell your home, then consider the tips from this DIY kitchen renovation on a budget! For a much more detailed look at kitchen renovation checkout 10 Mistakes Essential to Avoid When Renovating a Kitchen.