If you’ve been following our kitchen makeover journey from the beginning, you know there was a string of unexpected and expensive life moments between week two and three that almost derailed the entire project. It had nothing to do with the cost of those events versus the cost of the makeover, and everything to do with being good stewards of our finances and the values we keep for our family. In some respects, I’m glad it happened because it forced us to rethink our priorities, reassess the budget and learn “grace giving skills” in the midst of what seemed like a week of constant frustrations.
I’m sharing this with you because I know there is someone out there right now in the middle of reconsidering makeover and project options because they’re facing unexpected and expensive life stuff too. It takes a little extra work “to get the look for less” but it is possible.
Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for Easy Ways to Save Money on a Kitchen Makeover… (Affiliate links provided for your convenience. You can read our full disclosure policy here )
Complete kitchen projects in phases – The first part of our kitchen makeover phase started in March of last year when we installed white subway tile, created a coffee bar area and painted the walls. Phase two was organizing the pantry, painting the kitchen cabinets, customizing the kitchen island, installing new pendant lights over the island, updating the hardware, barstools and kitchen rug. Phase three will be a custom reclaimed hood, relocating the microwave, adding custom feet to the existing cabinets, crown molding and bringing the kitchen cabinets closer to the ceiling.
Being able to concentrate on a single set of objectives really helped to direct our resources (time, money, energy) more efficiently. It allowed us to pay cash for each project. It also allowed us to work on tasks in the midst of busy work schedules while still making progress on our goals.
Rethink kitchen hardware – We have 15 drawers and 24 doors in the kitchen. All of our hardware was in excellent shape and went well with the stainless steel appliances. Cup pulls have been on my priorities from the very beginning but the ones I wanted were $5.99 each and the knobs were $3.99 each. Installing new hardware would have been around $187. Our budget friendly solution was to spray paint the existing knobs with oiled rubbed bronze spray paint. We bought the cup pulls at a local craft supply store at 50% off and sprayed them in the same color as the knobs for a cohesive look. Buying hardware in bulk will also help to keep costs down.
Shop Around for Multiple Lighting Options – The pendant lights I originally wanted for the island were $99/each. Given I needed two lights that would have been about $200. I was ecstatic when I found these which were a similar style and $34/each cheaper.
Chose an Indoor/Outdoor Rug – In the beginning, I found a vintage rug with neutral tones that I had my heart set on for months. In the end, I was able to find this one which had a similar design and neutral tones but with indoor/outdoor durability that was about $100 less.
Create Inexpensive Kitchen Art – We have very few walls in the kitchen so I knew the art needed to be special. We have black and white photographs of old Florida hanging up around the house so they fit perfectly in the kitchen. Using photographs of places you love, family members or beloved pets is a great way to personalize your space. You can find inexpensive frames at IKEA or on sale at your local craft supply store. You can usually have prints of photographs made at places like Staples or Walgreens for a reasonable price.
Making vintage or antique inspired signs is also great way to save money on art. I made the Suwannee Sugar Cane sign as well as the sign in the breakfast nook from scrap pieces of wood.
Buy Chairs or Barstools in Sets – Two of the most expensive items in the kitchen makeover were the upholstered bar stools. The original stools I wanted were around $175 each due to the fabric and wood trim. I found these upholstered barstools with nail head trim for the price of what one of the original stools would have been.
Shop Your Home – This one really helped to save a lot of money because I’ve been collecting pieces of ironstone, creamware and milk glass for years. By using some of the existing pieces that were already in the kitchen and featuring them en masse it helped to create a collected statement above the cabinets. I was also able to save money by turning this hutch set from my childhood into a display space/indoor drink station.
Re-imagine Something on the Priority List – One of the features I had to compromise on was the built in plate rack. At $100 it was a completely doable part of the budget but I didn’t really need it. In the end, I was able to create a plate wall installation to achieve the look I wanted but without the $100 price tag. Most of these plates were either thrifted or gifts so my only expense was in the plate holders. You can usually find plates like these for as little as $.50 to as much as $40 depending on which area of the country you live in.
Make Your Own Curtains – I thought we were going to be able to use no sew pom pom style curtains in the breakfast nook but they fell a bit flat once I hung them up. As soon as I tried the gray and white buffalo check curtains that were purchased from Ballard Designs in my office I knew we had hit a home run. Unfortunately, those curtains came with a $200 price tag. Thankfully, I found a similar seasonal fabric at a local craft supply store and used a 40% off coupon for a grand total of $37. It all but made me skip out of the store.
DIY or Embellish Your Current Chandelier – The light in the breakfast nook also came from Ballard Designs and we have the larger version in the dining room. While I didn’t want to change it too much I definitely wanted to give it an elegant vintage feel. I was able to use a mix of new crystal strands and antique crystal drops I already had on hand to create a fresh take on our existing chandelier. You can read about it here.
I hope these tips have helped. I completely understand how frustrating it can be to have to change course so to speak in the middle of a project especially over budget concerns. Rest assured with a little bit of patience, planning and imagination you can still create a look you’ll love.