Budget kitchen remodel ideas – 10 ways to transform your space with minimal spend

Remodeling a kitchen on a budget is a tricky task, but done right, it can transform a cramped space into an inviting room for cooking, dining and entertaining

Budget kitchen remodel ideas triptych
(Image credit: Future)

Budget kitchen remodel ideas are one of the top projects in period and country properties, with kitchen remodel ideas also proving popular in new homes too. 

This is because a generous kitchen is now the epicentre for modern home life and a hub for cooking, entertaining, working and more. 

From side and rear extensions to conservatories and basement designs, there are a number options available. 

To help you decide on the most suitable extension for your needs, start by asking your kitchen designer for advice. Extensions are now a common request, so many kitchen companies will be able to recommend a good builder or architect to help bring your kitchen ideas to life. It's also worth asking friends and family for recommendations of tradesmen in your area.

Budget kitchen remodel ideas

'There are huge benefits to a budget kitchen remodel,' says Charlie Kingham, director of Charlie Kingham Cabinetmakers (opens in new tab)

‘Firstly, your kitchen layout will become a more sociable and interactive space. Secondly, you can improve light-levels, traffic flow and overall comfortability so that cooking is more enjoyable. And thirdly, done beautifully – even on a budget, you should see a return on investment, if not profit, when it comes to your home’s value.’ 

Here, we take you through the options for your budget kitchen remodel – plus give you plenty of inspiration for choosing the right layout from the six types of kitchen layout and designs.

1. Give your woodwork a refresh

pink and white kitchen with pink units and island, black crittall style window frames and black framed glass fronted pantry, gray pendant light, rattan bar stools

(Image credit: Garden Trading )

'Steel-framed windows is a wonderful way to let light into a small kitchen,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. 'By using steel-framed doors and windows internally as well as externally, you can unify an existing period property with a contemporary extension. They also allow a space to be filled with light. Fire-rated steel-framed dividers and partitions are also available.'

If investing in new doors or windows is out of the question, then consider creating your own by painting your door frames. There are many paints that allow you to paint on both woodwork or plastic. 

2. Treat your backsplash to a shimmery tile

white and blue kitchen coastal style, with metallic tile backsplash, blue painted island, clear glass pendants, shiplap ceiling

(Image credit: Karen B Wolf Interiors/Raquel Langworthy)

‘A backsplash is an integral part of any kitchen layout project,’ explains Alex Beaugeard, design director at McCarron & Co. ‘As vertical surfaces, they carry significant design weight and there is a real appetite to experiment with unusual finishes and materials when designing a kitchen. Along with kitchen countertops, backsplash ideas are often the first element that’s noticed among your budget kitchen remodel ideas when walking into the room, so designers are keen to make it count.

Here, Karen Wolf, creative principal at Karen B Wolf Interiors (opens in new tab) used an unexpected glass backsplash to add a touch of shimmer and shine to an otherwise traditional kitchen. 

3. Paint your cabinets in a new shade 

pink kitchen with lilac cabinetry, open plan shelving, kitchen table

(Image credit: Annie Sloan )

Painted kitchen ideas are a simple yet effective way to update a budget kitchen remodel. One of the most appealing and varied finishes for painted kitchen cabinets, paint lends itself to both the classic looks of the traditional kitchen and to crisply modern linear designs. 

'You can paint all kinds of kitchen cabinets including laminate; just apply a diluted coat first to ensure the paint grips to the surface. The end result will be a totally unique, charming and characterful kitchen at a fraction of the cost,' says Annie Sloan (opens in new tab), color and paint expert. 

4. Put up some open shelving 

blue and white kitchen with enclosed cabinet, open shelving, island, white countertops, herringbone floor, wooden stools

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

Shelving is a great and easy update to bring a little personality to your budget kitchen remodel idea. It helps to provides both form and function while opening up the space. The key is to keep it simple by not overcrowding; a minimalistic approach is the best way to keep open shelving organized. 

'Rather than displaying all your glassware and crockery, curate your favorite everyday items that can stack to add interest as well as depth and color,' says Al Bruce, founder of Olive & Barr (opens in new tab). 'Not only will the addition of open shelving make your space feel lighter and brighter, but you’ll also have more opportunities to bring your personality to the forefront.'

5. Add a breakfast bar 

blue and white kitchen with white countertops, island, wooden breakfast bar, industrial style pendant lights, open hanging shelving

(Image credit: Industville/Chris Snook @snookphotograph)

Breakfast bar ideas are  the perfect solution for a family kitchen, as it takes up far less space than a table and chairs and can double up as somewhere to prepare and present food, and it can be done on a relatively small budget, too.

'Give your kitchen extra value by adding a breakfast bar to your existing island,' says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens. 'If you're handy with DIY then it would take three pieces of wood, or, it's worth asking a joiner to make you a custom design that will fit next to your island. It doesn't need to be very deep, just enough for bar stools to fit under and space on top for coffee and a plate or bowl.'

6. Change up your flooring 

black kitchen with black marble hex vinyl flooring, white shiplap walls, white pendant lights, marble countertops, bar stools

(Image credit: Carpetright)

The floor is likely to be one of the largest surface areas in your home, so kitchen flooring ideas always deserve some careful thought and attention when planning a budget kitchen remodel. 

'Vinyl kitchen flooring, laid in a sheet, is an inexpensive way to add color, pattern and personality to a room without compromising on safety or quality,' says David Snazel, buyer of hard flooring at Carpetright (opens in new tab). 'It’s a great choice for busy families with children as it is highly durable, moisture proof and slip-resistant whilst being softer underfoot than laminate.  Being resistant to heat and moisture, it is the perfect solution for bathrooms and kitchens.'

7. Add new hardware to your cabinetry

white and gray kitchen with white metro tile backsplash and white wall cabinets, pale gray painted base units, chrome tap, marble countertop

(Image credit: Cohesively Curated Interiors/Carina Skrobecki)

'New cabinetry hardware really transforms the look of your kitchen and also allows you to change the metal finishes throughout,' advises Emily Ruff, owner and principal designer of Cohesively Curated Interiors (opens in new tab). 'The trickiest part is finding the right size. All cabinetry hardware has a center-to-center measurement which is from the middle of each screw hole to the other.'

'As long as you find hardware with the same center-to-center measurement, you’re good to go. Alternatively, you can use hardware with a metal backplate if you need to use a different size handle than you have now.'

8. Update your countertops 

white kitchen with white cabinetry, marble countertops, glass fronted cabinet, open shelving, dark wood floor, copper pans, artwork

(Image credit: Hub of The House Studio/Meghan Bob)

Choosing a kitchen countertop carefully is a vital part of the budget kitchen remodel process. It's important not only that the material suits the look and style of your kitchen, but that it suits your lifestyle too. 

'When designing a new kitchen that feels true to the original home, selecting the appropriate materials is critical,' says Karen Harautuneian, owner and principal designer at Hub of the House Studio (opens in new tab). 'For this 1920's Beverly Hills Spanish Revival home, nothing seemed more appropriate than honed marble for the perimeter countertops and a teak butcher block for the island.'

9. Choose new pendants

kitchen with marble island, large clear glass pendants, marble backsplash, open shelving, brass details, blinds

(Image credit: Folding Chair Design/Jenn Verrier)

Kitchen lighting ideas are an important part of any successful budget kitchen remodel, with functional and aesthetic illumination particularly important in a space that is used increasingly for socializing as much as cooking. 

Small updates make all the difference in this small kitchen layout, these oversized clear glass pendant lights with brass fittings will illuminate this key part of the kitchen while not detracting from the scheme – that's the beauty of clear glass and being able to 'see' through it.

As all kitchens will require multiple different types of lighting, consider exploring a multitude of kitchen lighting trends in your space by mixing and matching different fixtures.

10. Paint your kitchen island in a contrasting shade 

green and white kitchen with green painted kitchen island, white cabinetry, sink in kitchen island, glass pendants

(Image credit: Olive & Barr )

Kitchen island ideas boost the room’s preparation and storage space plus they often add seating, but they have a huge aesthetic impact on the room, too, so it is worth considering how they impact the overall kitchen color scheme.

'Give a new lease of life to your kitchen island with a fresh lick of paint,' says Al Bruce, founder of Olive & Barr (opens in new tab). 'Instead of taking on the large task of painting the whole kitchen, find smaller areas to inject a new seasonal color. Choose a warming color that complements the existing cabinets such as sage green.' 

How can I remodel an inexpensive kitchen?

The easiest way to remodel an inexpensive kitchen is to consider replacing large surfaces. 

When compiling budget kitchen remodel ideas, it is tempting to focus on the room's finished look, but the functionality, durability and ease of cleaning of the kitchen countertop you choose is a priority, too, because longevity must be a top consideration for anyone remodeling an inexpensive kitchen. 

'While every aspect of a budget kitchen design is important, the choice of countertop material is particularly so, as it has such a visual impact. Consider the characteristics of each material, and your existing kitchen cabinet ideas, to make the best choice for your lifestyle,' says Melissa Klink of Harvey Jones (opens in new tab). 'You'll be surprised by just how many beautiful budget options are available.'

Laminate work surfaces are more affordable and easier to install, but less robust than other materials. However, today’s premium finishes can be a good solution, particularly for areas such as kitchen and laundry rooms.

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.