As everybody knows, we bought our forever home early this year and have been renovating it ever since.  And aside from hanging things up on the wall, I think we’re finally done.  Whew.

It has been a ton of work.  I mean, we literally painted every single room in this house, in addition to all of the other projects we completed.  I’m so glad that it’s finally over and I’m more than ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

One of the biggest projects we completed was our frugal kitchen remodel.  This is how the kitchen looked when we started:


The Before Pics

kitchen new 2

kitchen new

kitchen desk 1

As you can see, the kitchen started out in decent shape.  However, a closer look tells an entirely different story.  Here are the things that bothered me about our kitchen when we bought the house:

  • Mismatched countertops- As you can see, the countertops in the main part of the kitchen were replaced, but the countertops in the desk area were not.  Why?
  • Cracked countertops- Although you can’t tell in the pictures, the counter top had a huge crack near the sink. It was ugly!
  • Oak kitchen cabinets- I hate oak!
  • Funky dishwasher- I’m not all about getting the newest and best appliances, but the dishwasher that came with the house was just plain funky.  Not only did it smell weird, but it did an awful job and one of the wheels kept falling off.
  • World’s Ugliest Curtains- Am I wrong?
  • Weird Cabinets- The kitchen cabinet on the right side of the sink made no sense to me.  It didn’t match the cabinets on the other side, and it looked weird.

Although the kitchen had plenty of problems, there was still plenty of good news.  First of all, the refrigerator, stove, and microwave were in top notch shape and clean.  I also loved the wood floors, and planned on keeping them anyway since they were also in the foyer and half-bath.  I also liked the layout of the kitchen which meant that we wouldn’t have to do any heavy demo.  Another bonus: the ugly oak kitchen cabinets were in excellent shape.

My Frugal Kitchen Remodel

DSCF2906With all of that in mind, we devised a plan to spruce up our space.  Here’s what we did:

  • We replaced the countertops- The fact that the countertops didn’t match was one thing, but the huge crack in one was a deal-breaker.  So we gave the countertops to someone off of Craigslist who agreed to come and remove them for free.  In their place, we had new budget granite countertops installed as well as a new undermount sink.  The faucet and reverse osmosis system that came with the home were in great shape, so we just had them reinstalled.  Total cost: $2,100
  • We put up a tile backsplash– Removing the countertops caused some slight wall damage, mostly from the glue that held the old counters in.  So, instead of having someone come and do drywall work, we had a backsplash put up instead.  Total cost: $550 ($250 for tile and $300 for installation)
  • We painted– Once the countertops and backsplash were in, we took the time to paint the kitchen using almost exactly the same colors.  We didn’t want to completely change the look, you know?  We just wanted to freshen it up.  Good news: It worked!  Total cost: $35
  • We bought a new dishwasher- We bought a fairly quiet model this time because our old dishwasher was super loud and annoying.  Total cost: $448 including installation
  • We bought one kitchen cabinet- I had a custom kitchen cabinet made to replace the weird looking kitchen cabinet on the right side of the sink.  The new cabinet is also bigger, so it provided us with more storage space.  Total cost: $350
  • We stained the cabinets- Well, let me rephrase that.  Segment by segment, I hand sanded and stained every single one of our kitchen cabinets in the same way that I did our bathroom cabinets.  Greg watched.  I couldn’t do them all at once because I felt like my arm was going to fall off.  Total cost: FREE (I used the same can of stain that I bought for the bathroom cabinets!!!)

Total Cost of our Frugal Kitchen Remodel: $3,483

In addition to that cost, we upgraded our dining room table to a nicer one from a consignment shop.  But, we sold our old table and a dresser and used the money to buy the new one, so it didn’t cost anything out of pocket.  We also bought new curtains, but they were cheap and from J.C. Penney, so I’m not counting them in the cost, capiche?

Want to see the final results?  Check them out!





I know, I know.  I have amazing taste.  <insert awkward silence here>

Truth be told, we could’ve done it a lot cheaper just by choosing different countertops.  However, that’s the one area where I decided to splurge.  Sue me.  Overall, I’m thrilled with the changes that we made for less than $3,500 and I know that we added much more than that to the value of our home.  Winning!

Have you ever remodeled a kitchen on a budget?  Where are your tips for frugal kitchen remodel success?