Kitchen Renovation On A Budget: The $12,000 Challenge

Are you renovating your kitchen and wanting to do things on a budget? No worries, here's a guide to helping you create your dream kitchen.

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The Hausera Editorial Team

When it comes to home renovation, budget is the foundation for most families and individuals. It’s simply unrealistic to assume that any given person could afford to completely overhaul their space without any consideration for the cost. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot update your home while staying within a price range that works for you.

We’re going to outline what it would look like to spend $12,000 on a kitchen renovation, which would generally be considered a limited budget. This is because the average renovation will run you about $23K, and this includes all new appliances. On the higher end, a kitchen can cost you $34K+, and on the lower end, it can cost you in the $4K range, but this is all dependent on what you want to do, whether or not you want to change the fundamental structure and layout of the space, and how much labor you need to outsource versus what you can do on your own.

On top of this, you always want to budget at least 10-15% more than you anticipate for repairs and for the inevitability that something will go wrong in the process. This especially tends to be true when you’re renovating an older home, as it’s common to come across certain issues — perhaps bad piping or electrical work that’s no longer up to code — that need to be resolved.

Related: The (Don't Get Burned) Kitchen Remodeling Guide

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When it comes to a kitchen budget, here’s what you can generally anticipate spending for the most common parts of a redesign. The first column refers to the lowest possible cost you can anticipate, and the third refers to the highest. The middle column is neither discount nor luxury; it’s somewhere in the middle. Of course, it’s also possible to find appliances or materials far more expensive than this, as it’s also possible to repurpose and budget in other areas, too.

Item Budget Price Average Price Luxury Price
Appliance $100-$200 per appliance $200-$400 per appliance $400-$600 per appliance
Cabinets $100-$200 per cabinet $200-$300 per cabinet $300-$500 per cabinet
Countertops $200-$500 $400-$1,000 $1,000-$2,500
Faucet $125-$200 per faucet $200-$300 per faucet $300-$550+ per faucet
Flooring $600-$1,000 $1,000-$1,500 $1,500-$3,000
Sink $100-$250 $250-$400 $400-$600
Backsplash $150-$400 $400-$800 $800-$1,200
Painting/Adding Wallpaper $100-$200 $200-$400 $400-$600

How To Lower The Cost For A Kitchen Upgrade

If you’re really looking to change the look of your space but you don’t have unlimited funding to spare, there are ways you can lower or at least significantly reduce your budget by repurposing some items, doing some repairs yourself, and so on.

Any of these items, or a combination of them, won’t be the same as a complete remodel, but it’s absolutely possible to breathe some new life into your space on a small budget.

Give Your Cabinets A Refresher

Next to appliances, new cabinetry can be one of the most expensive aspects of a redesign. You’d have to pay not only for the materials (which can often run you a few hundred dollars per item), but you also have to pay for installation or if you need anything custom-made.

However, there’s a much easier way to give your space a new look: Paint your cabinets and then change out the hardware. With just some paint and sealer, you can completely change the look of your cabinetry — even if it’s a material like wood — and then with updated hardware (perhaps gold handles, or some other kind of statement piece), you have a totally different-looking space.

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Learn To Do Some Work Yourself

Though there are some aspects of the redesign that you want to leave to the pros — this includes, but isn’t limited to, anything potentially dangerous like electric or maneuvering extra-large materials — there are other things that you can certainly learn yourself.

For example, you can paint your own walls or learn how to re-tile your backsplash. If this is the case, you’d only have to pay for the materials, and given that the square footage tends to be minimal, the cost would remain low. If you don’t want to learn to do it yourself, ask a family member to help. Even if you hire them, they’ll likely give you a better price than a contractor might.

Fix Appliances

One of the major costs associated with kitchen renovation is replacing some of the heavy-duty appliances.

This can include but isn’t limited to the refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove. However, if you can hire someone to fix an appliance that isn’t working, you’re going to save a lot of money right there. Then there are ways to update them that won’t completely break the bank, such as perhaps adding chalkboard paint to the refrigerator, giving it a fresh, black look and some functionality.

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The Importance Of Retaining The Layout

However, the most important aspect of ensuring that your kitchen remodeling budget stays as low as possible is keeping the layout as it is. This is important because if you want to change, say, where the cabinets are or how the entire room is laid out, you’re going to have to pay to replace or move everything as well as to relay the plumbing and electric.

Given that it’s important that the kitchen stays the way it is mapped out already, there are other elements that you can change that will still make it look very different.

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

When it comes to changing the look and feel of a space, it’s all about the lighting. One of the first things you should consider is the fixtures in your kitchen, perhaps even recess lighting or anything that makes it brighter, cozier, or whatever look you’re trying to achieve.

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A post shared by Danielle (@ahomefitforkings) on Dec 30, 2019 at 11:12pm PST

Keep Design Consistent

If the rest of your home has a modern, neutral design, try to incorporate those elements into your kitchen so that it creates a cohesive flow. Often when people try to introduce a new style that’s too different from what the rest of the house looks like, it results in even more renovations being made.

Focus On The Staples

After updating your cabinets and lighting, consider a new sink, backsplash, faucet, or even just one new appliance. The truth is, anything you add to the space will help it look better and better. You can finish the repairs over time but start with the basics.

Recreating This Kitchen Style On Your Budget

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A post shared by Chase Tate (@chasingcontracts) on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:19pm PDT

Beginning with an inspiration photo is a great way to get started on a re-design because it can be challenging to visualize how each part of the room can work together without first seeing it done. In addition, you can get inspired or even consider a design you previously hadn't considered.

In the case of this kitchen, it's a really elevated look that's still achievable on a budget. Notice how each of the elements work together: there's consistency in the choices they made in everything from the lighting fixture to the faucet. There's also a similarity in the way they chose the geometrics and stylization of the space. The overall style of the space is distinctly Mid-Modern, yet there's still a touch of sophistication and chicness to it.

Here are some of our favorite products to help you build something similar:

Delta Essa Touch Single Handle Kitchen Faucet 

Technology-friendly appliances are in and a great addition to your kitchen, especially if you're wanting accessibility and workspace versatility. Consider a touch faucet, like this single-handle pull-out spray from Delta--the water turns on and off, just by a simple touch on the spout or handle. The best part about this faucet (besides the Touch2O technology) is that the water shuts off automatically after four minutes, to help conserve water.  

Kohler Indio Under Mount Kitchen Sink

Get rid of the old stainless steel sink and consider this under mount sink from Kohler--either in matte black, biscuit, or white. Along with the three faucet holes, this double bowl styled sink comes with a wire sink rack and a walnut cutting board. Not only is the cast iron material coated in a non-porous enamel guaranteed to not chip or crack, but the material is recycled and eco-friendly. 

Recreating This Kitchen Style On Your Budget

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A post shared by C L A I R E B E C K E T T (@chalkinteriorsbyclaire) on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:23pm PDT

If you're looking for a more relaxed, natural, and trendy kitchen, this design might be for you. The white subway tile, wood countertop, grey countertops, and industrial lighting give it that classic, lived-in, almost "farmhouse" appearance while still looking distinctly updated, sleek, and functional. Fortunately, a lot of these materials are less expensive than others (wood countertops are always going to be more affordable than a stone such as marble, for example), making it even more accessible. Note how a lot of the elements work together: the pendant gives the hardware focus, as does the exposed shelving and wide stove. 

Here are some of our favorite products to help you achieve the farmhouse chic kitchen look: 

Rohl Shaws Lancaster Two Bowl Farmhouse Apron Front Fireclay Kitchen Sink

Invest in a double bowl sink for your kitchen. Not only is it accessible and versatile for the workspace, but the bowls are deep enough to fit large pots and pans. The finish is glazed in acid and alkali-resistant, which helps avoid discoloring. This Rohl sink package also comes with a wire sink grid and a basked strainer. What more could you ask for? 

Newport Brass Chesterfield Double Handle Bridge Kitchen Faucet 

If you're going to splurge on a new faucet to go with your kitchen sink, consider a double handle bridge faucet, like this one from Newport Brass. A double handle faucet is ideal and the polished chrome finish pairs well with a white or beige fireclay sink.

Home Depot Swing 6-Light Antique Bronze Chandelier 

Who doesn't love a luxurious chandelier? This industrial light fixture from Home Depot is offered in an antique bronze finish, which is great if you're looking to add a touch of vintage decor to your kitchen space. Not only does the exposed light bulb design allow for bright lighting, but the look is sleek and a more modern take on an antique design. 

A Note On Styling

Though all of these products can help you create the look you're going for, remember that a lot of it is also styling. You'll want to pull inspiration from different sources and incorporate small touches that really bring the space together. For example, there's a rustic-looking box to hold soap on the counter, an old-fashioned bread box, and an old radio on the shelf. All of these come together to give the space a really authentic feel and an even more cohesive look.