When Mohawk Home asked me to write a post about how to get your dream kitchen on a budget, I was beyond excited! I have now renovated two kitchens – one, a full-scale renovation; one, a minor renovation – on a budget. I can tell you from these experiences that, while challenging, you can get the kitchen you want on a budget. Today I’m going to tell you how!
1. A little planning goes a long way.
The best piece of advice I can give you in undertaking any renovation, but certainly for one you are doing on a budget: have a plan.
What do I mean by “a plan”? The first thing to decide when renovating on a budget is… the budget. How much do you want to spend on this renovation? That amount should equal the maximum amount you want to spend plus 10% more to cover any emergencies that might come up (if you’ve read my blog, something like mold or a giant hole in the wall).
Once you’ve got your budget, think about what materials you need to buy. Do you need flooring? Cabinets? A sink? Appliances? Can you use something that you already have, so that you don’t have to buy something new? For example, can you paint your old cabinets, rather than buying all new ones? Knowing what you need at the start and listing them out will help contain expenses down the line.
Next, once you’ve determined what you need to buy, decide what is and isn’t negotiable about those choices. For example, the measurements of the cabinets needed, the floor area, and the appliances needed probably aren’t negotiable in a budget renovation. Know those measurements and requirements and keep them somewhere so that you have them when shopping for those materials.
Further, what other parts of this renovation are non-negotiable? Do you have to have a farmhouse sink, or will a basic stainless steel sink do? Do you desperately want cabinets made from dark wood and can’t imagine ever having a white kitchen? Note those things and anything else that are requirements for your renovation.
Your plan should also include a color scheme, so that the tile, paint, flooring, and cabinets coordinate and look gorgeous together. Gather samples, paint chips, and fabric choices and create your design before you start buying and renovating. Not sure where to start? Start looking through magazines or Pinterest and save pictures that speak to you. Is there a common thread to these rooms? Colors? Patterns? Materials? Note that, because it’s a good indication of what styles you prefer.
For more tips on planning your dream kitchen, please see THIS POST.
By considering and recording all of these things before shopping, you know what you have to have and what you can change. You’ll reduce the chance of needing to swap things out later.
2. Shop ’til you drop.
Well, hopefully not until you drop, but do shop around. If you are shopping at retail stores, look for sales on the materials you need. Sign up for emails from your favorite stores so that you know about the latest sales and deals.
For kitchen renovation materials, check kitchen and bath suppliers for deals. For example, sometimes homeowners special order materials and then change their minds or something happens and they no longer want the materials they ordered. Stores often sell those materials at a discount. The same is true for materials that have been in the store for a while; often, the stores put them on “clearance” pricing to move the merchandise.
This is where knowing what’s negotiable and what isn’t (see above) is helpful. For example, let’s say you had your heart set on a particular glass tile for your backsplash, but it’s priced outside your budget. But you see a similar glass tile on sale, making it affordable to you. If you are willing to make that compromise, you can save money by buying the one on sale. That’s what we did in our kitchen in our previous home:
Note of warning, though: Do not buy anything just because it’s on sale. A good test is to ask yourself whether you would buy the same thing if it were full price. If not, then don’t buy it on sale, either. You’ll regret it later. The tile we chose, above, I loved and would have bought it at full price, for sure. It wasn’t a compromise that way, even though it wasn’t our first choice.
If you are buying one thing from a retailer or supplier, see if there are other things you can order from it as well. They might offer you a discount.
Appliance retailers will often do this: if you buy a refrigerator and stove from them, they’ll include the dishwasher at a reduced price. Or there will be some discount on the whole package if you buy three or more of one brand of appliances. That’s what we negotiated with our kitchen renovation.
The retailers don’t often advertise these types of deals, so ask when you are shopping. Ask the salesperson for the best deal the store can give you.
Also, shop salvage yards for renovation materials like cabinets and sinks.
In our current home, when we moved in, the kitchen had a beat-up stainless steel sink. It was shallow and, despite its material, was stained and scratched. I found this cast-iron sink at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $12! It was dirty, but a little Bar Keeper’s Friend cleaned it right up and it’s perfect for our kitchen.
The ReStore also often has cabinets that have been taken out of other homes. Thus, you can find good quality cabinets there! Check the website for the ReStore in your city for the latest arrivals, sales, and coupons, too.
3. Consider whether there’s a workable substitute.
When renovating on a budget, you aren’t going to be able to get everything in a high-end finish. So, you have to choose where you want to splurge and where you want to save. Consider whether there is a workable substitute for an expensive material you want.
For example, marble countertops are gorgeous, but come with a higher price tag than other materials. But now manufacturers are making laminate countertops that look like marble. If that’s a workable substitute, then use the laminate and save a good bit of money.
4. DIY what you can.
Doing some of the work yourself is a good way to save money on a kitchen renovation. Rather than paying someone to do demolition, for example, do it yourself. Just be careful, wear safety gear, and know that, if you are out of your comfort zone, you can always call in the pros.
5. Ask friends who’ve been there before.
Sometimes the best sources of information are those who have been through a renovation like the one you’re planning.
Whether they are designers or bloggers whom you trust or friends or neighbors, ask people in your area who have renovated their kitchens what worked for them. Where did they find the best deals? Which electrician/plumber/contractor would they recommend? Where is the best place to buy paint? You get the idea. Ask around. People love talking about their homes and renovations!
Are you thinking about renovating a kitchen on a budget? Or have you completed such a renovation? Share in the comments and let us know what your advice would be for how to get your dream kitchen on a budget!
For tips on organizing your kitchen once you’ve renovated it, please see THIS POST.