tips on saving money when updating your kitchen

5 Ways to Save Money When Updating Your Kitchen

The kitchen is often described as the heart of the home and there is good reason for this. The kitchen is a popular area of the home where families come together frequently for meals and to socialize. Memories are made and traditions are also upheld in this space. 

If you’re tired of your kitchen design or feel that it’s no longer functional for you, it might be time to make changes.

Discover how to create a gorgeous and very cost effective kitchen for you and your family to enjoy for years to come with these design suggestions. These tips will help you save money when updating your kitchen: 

1. Cabinets

Since cabinets are generally very expensive depending on your design preferences, it’s best to choose wisely when selecting cabinets for your kitchen. Ordering cabinets online is a great option, but there are a couple of steps to take beforehand. 

Properly measuring the dimensions of your cabinets is critical in order to ensure that you order the right features and that they fit in the available space. Your measurements for cabinet dimensions should be taken by focusing on width and height first.

Move in a clockwise path around the room, and create a to-scale rendering on graph paper. Remember to measure at least three times to ensure accuracy. Once you determine the accurate dimensions, you can explore cost effective options.

Generally, adding decorative trim and adding custom features can give character to your kitchen. However, it also can increase the cost of your cabinets substantially. You may be able to add character to your cabinets with affordable knobs and pulls while not overspending.

Saving money on your cabinets may be accomplished choosing a hardwood veneer or even laminate placed over a substrate rather than choosing solid hardwood cabinets.

These options may cost approximately $35 to $45 per linear foot compared to $75 or more per linear foot for some solid hardwood cabinetry.

Another idea to save money on cabinets is to consider refinishing or repainting the cabinets currently in your home.

By selecting a new stain or paint color for your cabinets you can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen without spending a lot of money.

2. Flooring

The cost of new flooring for your kitchen can range from less than $1 per square foot to more than $10 per square foot, so choosing a cost effective flooring material is essential for an affordable home design plan.

Laminate is typically the most affordable material that is commonly used in kitchens. However, most people tend to enjoy tile flooring in their kitchens due to its durability and gorgeous appearance.

There are several affordable tile designs that may look like higher-end flooring that are available at a fraction of the price. You can also find discontinued or clearance flooring materials online or in local stores.

Keep in mind that flooring installation costs can be significant, so you may save a small fortune if you install the flooring on your own. This is particularly true if you are working with a room with large dimensions for floor space.

If you invest in a tile saw and other essential tools and materials, you may use these to install tile in other areas of your home.

3. Backsplash

The backsplash is one of the more noticeable features in a beautiful kitchen. The good news about choosing a backsplash is that there are numerous budget-friendly materials available.

Tile is one of the most commonly used materials when designing a backsplash. While tile looks gorgeous, it easily can exceed $10 per linear foot.

You can also use painted wood planks, decorative metal tiles, a do-it-yourself mosaic, bead board or even stencils to add character to your kitchen backsplash without overspending. For inspiration on DIY backsplashes, check my home decor boards on Pinterest!

Remember that the backsplash is a defining feature in the kitchen due to its location. While you want it to stand out and be a highlight in your kitchen, it must complement other features in your kitchen as well, such as your countertops and cabinets.

Since you can typically make your own backsplash or install affordable materials yourself, this is one aspect of your new kitchen where you can save money while still making a major impact on décor.

4. Countertops

Countertops are an essential component of your new kitchen design. The price of your countertops will be determined by the dimensions of your space and the material selected.

While granite, quartz and marble are popular materials for high-end kitchens, these materials can take a toll on your wallet. There are some more cost effective materials for countertops that can be equally as stunning and practical.

Laminate is available for a fraction of the cost of the popular natural stone materials. The overall design and finishes available for laminate counters have improved dramatically in recent years, so they now have an equally gorgeous look without the high price tag.

In many cases, it may be difficult to tell the difference between laminate and higher-end materials without a close inspection.

You may find tile which looks similar to marble, granite, slate or other materials at a very affordable price. You may also install granite tiles, slate tiles or other tiles at a fraction of what slab countertops would cost using these same materials.

Butcher block is a classic material for countertops that continues to be popular today. It is affordable and functional and can be sealed and stained in a wide range of hues to correspond well with your kitchen’s color scheme.

Another idea for countertops is to mix and match materials. For example, you may use a more expensive material on your surround area with butcher block or another more cost effective material on the island.

5. Lighting

Lighting is an important element in home design in general because it directly affects ambiance.

In kitchen design, there are usually multiple types of light to serve various purposes. For example, task lighting is bright and focused, and it is usually placed over the sink, the range and a primary prep area.

Ambient lighting may be placed throughout the room and it may be dimmer and indirect. A smart way to address the need for ambient and task illumination in your kitchen design is to use recessed light fixtures. The light fixtures over the work or task areas can be connected to one dimmer switch and the other fixtures can be connected to another dimmer switch. By doing so, you can increase the intensity of task lighting as needed.

Some people also save money on this aspect of their home project by installing rope lighting underneath the upper cabinets. This is indirect lighting that can have a beautiful impact on the kitchen.

Keep in mind that light fixtures are decorative and impact ambiance and décor through their style, material and color or finish.

A common place for decorative lighting fixtures is above the kitchen island. A single large decorative light fixture may be much more expensive than a few well-spaced pendant light fixtures and the effect on décor can be equally stunning.

Since illumination and light fixtures play a major role in decor and ambiance in this space, a wise selection of fixtures may help you to make a major impact at minimal cost.

Updating your kitchen is an excellent way to modernize the décor and it may improve your functional use of the space depending on your kitchen design plans.

Regardless of whether you are updating this space exclusively or this project is part of a larger home design update, you understandably want to save money without sacrificing quality, style or function. 


  1. How to Light a Kitchen:
  2. The Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions Guide:
  3. Laminate Flooring in the Kitchen:
  4. Giving your Kitchen a Facelift:
  5. How to Select a Backsplash:


Photo by Jeff Sheldon

5 Ways to Save Money When Updating Your Kitchen

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