10 Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen on a Budget | Pretty Handy Girl

10 Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen on a Budget

10 Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen on a Budget | Pretty Handy Girl

When I first took on the task of getting my client’s home ready to sell, I knew the kitchen could make or break the sale. Kitchens are the first room buyers evaluate when trying to decide whether to put in an offer on a house. Some reasons a kitchen is an important part of that big decision are:

  1. The kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where you and your family will eat and spend the most time together.
  2. Kitchens usually cost the most to renovate.
  3. Kitchens serve many purposes: They are the spot for paying bills, doing homework, hosting meetings and everyone always congregates in the kitchen during parties.

It makes sense that potential buyers will be turned off by a dated or non-functional kitchen. For that reason, I’d like to share with you 10 Ways to Renovate a Kitchen on a Budget!

First you need to be realistic about the money you want to spend. Check with a realtor or appraiser to find out what your home will appraise for and what other homes in your neighborhood have sold for. If you are already at the top of what the market can handle, you may want to stick with some of these less expensive ideas. If you want to get top dollar for your home and there’s room for higher comps, go ahead and put your money into several of these ideas. Typically spending a few thousand will reap tens of thousands at closing time.

Get your pen and paper ready and let’s break down 10 Ways to Update your Kitchen without breaking your budget.

#1 – Remove dated window treatments – cost $0


Remove any dated valances, blinds and curtains. Don’t be tempted to put up new ones, just leave them bare and let the maximum amount of natural light come in.

Holiday Home Tour - Kitchen | Pretty Handy Girl

More light in your home helps rooms feel bigger. More sunshine equals happier buyers, so let that sun stream in!

#2 – Remove wallpaper – cost $$

wallpapered-kitchen-five-fifteen-and-changeSource: Five Fifteen and Change

Wallpaper is not popular in the kitchen (especially dated wallpaper and wallpaper borders.)

kitchen_with_breakfast_nookSource: Five Fifteen and Change

Follow this simple tutorial to strip your own wallpaper and enjoy a refreshed kitchen for not a lot of dough.

#3 – Replace plumbing fixtures – cost $$ – $$$


Does your kitchen faucet drip or spray everywhere but into the sink? Time to swap out that faucet for a pristine new one. Nothing puts up red flags like something that obviously needs fixing or replacing. Don’t let your buyer wonder what else needs to be fixed in the home. Make sure sink faucets work perfectly.

#4 – Replace the sink – cost $$$


Today’s buyers are not willing to put up with a shallow sink or worse yet one that is rusted, chipped or stained. A big stainless steel sink can be purchased for under $200 or you can splurge for an apron front sink that costs more.

#5 – Replace cabinet hardware – cost $$$


Sometimes you can update your cabinetry by simply installing new hardware. This is a simple task any homeowner can accomplish themselves. New knobs usually cost between $2-$6 a piece.

#6 – Replace Light Fixtures – $$ – $$$

Update light fixtures or replace a recessed light with a pendant light.

Convert a Recessed Light to Accept a Hardwire Fixture | Pretty Handy Girl

Light fixtures are the jewelry in your home. Add a little bling by installing a beautiful pendant light over the sink. There are several options for converting your recessed lighting. For example, you can transform a recessed light fixture into a pendant light with a simple twist in converter light kit in five minutes! Or convert a recessed light fixture to accept a hard-wired light with this adapter (affiliate link).

How to Frame and Install Window Casing and Trim by Pretty Handy Girl

#7 – Paint cabinets – cost $$$ – $$$$

Take a look at your kitchen tones and contrast. Do you have too much wood? Is your kitchen monotone (all one color)?


Consider painting dated cabinets to give some contrast between the floor and the cabinetry. Even if your cabinets are in excellent shape, you’ll attract more buyers with a bright kitchen. Painting cabinets is not a difficult job, but it is time consuming. You may want to hire a professional painter to paint if you are busy packing. At the minimum, the cabinet doors should be painted front and back. And the exterior of the cabinet boxes that are visible should also receive paint. You will need to paint the interior of any cabinets that have glass doors.


#8 – New countertops – cost $$$-$$$$

Countertops are a big consideration for buyers today. Depending on the price point of your home, you will most likely need to say goodbye to laminate counter tops (especially if they have wood trim.) Nothing screams dated like a wood veneer formica counter top.


The price for granite has come down over the years and is worth getting a quote from a granite installer. (Shown above, Giallo Napoli granite counters.) If you can’t afford new countertops, consider transforming your laminate counters with a countertop transformation kit (affiliate link). Any DIYer can transform their countertops, but be forewarned it will be messy, take a few days, and has strong fumes.

#9 – Add a Backsplash – cost $$$-$$$$

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can take your kitchen from builder basic to luxurious in a weekend.


Installing a tile backsplash can be done by yourself or by hiring a tile setter. Save yourself money by buying inexpensive subway tile. You can add the look of luxury by installing more expensive tiles over the range or in a border pattern.


#10 -Replace dated flooring – cost $$$-$$$$

If your kitchen flooring has seen better days, look into some low cost ways to update it. Simple vinyl stick tiles can give you a lot of bang for your buck, but make sure the old floor is in good shape and well adhered to the floor first.


If you choose to remove old tile and install new flooring, play it safe by doing your research to make sure the tiles don’t contain asbestos.


Now that you have 10 Ideas to Renovate Your Kitchen on a Budget, here’s a quick tip about staging your kitchen.

Clear any clutter. Remove excess small appliances and anything else from counter tops. Add some fresh flowers, a few cookbooks and let the rest of your newly renovated kitchen shine!


Good luck with your home sale! You may find this article on creating a luxurious master bedroom helpful.

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home? Create a Luxurious Master Bedroom to Woo Buyers (without spending big bucks) | Pretty Handy Girl

Or these tips to stop you from gutting that bathroom!

STOP! You Don't Have to Gut Your Dated Bathroom | Pretty Handy Girl


5 replies
  1. LJ
    LJ says:

    Great and timely tips! You mentioned painting the exposed areas of cabinets. I’m preparing to do mine and was wondering if people generally pull out the microwave, dishwasher, stove, etc. when refinishing cabinets? I’ve never seen it mentioned in tutorials, but I don’t want to assume. It seems like a lot of work for something that won’t be seen.

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      LJ, if the microwave is a stand alone (not bolted in) then I would remove it. Otherwise, you can leave things like stoves and bolted microwaves in place and save yourself time. Unless you are like me and are a perfectionist. Then you’d pull all those appliances out and paint “while you have the supplies out”. ;-D


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