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14 ideas for a kitchen makeover on a budget

Desperate for a fresh, modern kitchen but strapped for cash? These budget kitchen makeover ideas will make a big impact on your kitchen but not on your wallet.

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Are you desperate for a kitchen makeover, but held back by a limited budget? You’re not alone. Many people are feeling the pinch but still want to explore what home improvements might be feasible.

The good news is, we’ve got some fantastic, cost-effective ideas to revamp your kitchen on a budget.

14 ideas for a kitchen makeover on a budget

A combination of creative kitchen DIY makeovers (don’t worry, we have plenty of expert guides to help you!) and ideas for cheap new kitchen updates, this post will help to breathe fresh life into your kitchen.

Find inspiration from our budget kitchen ideas below, and be sure to check out our kitchen remodeling cost guide to help cost up your project.

1. Paint your cabinets

Cheap kitchen makeover

One of our favourite ways to upgrade a kitchen on the cheap is to paint the cabinets.

If your kitchen cupboards are looking a bit worse for wear, or if they’re old and need some rejuvenation, you can make a huge impact by simply adding a new coat of paint.

You can also do this especially cheaply if you have some DIY skills and the right equipment:

  • Remove all handles and wash down the doors with soapy water to remove grease and dirt
  • Apply a fine sandpaper if they need smoothing
  • Use a wood or melamine primer depending on your unit’s material
  • Finally, apply two coats of your favourite colour

While this may seem like an easy DIY kitchen makeover project, some homeowners don’t have the time or skills to ensure a good quality, long-lasting result.

But don’t worry, we do. Just take a look through our directory of experienced tradespeople to see the painter/decorators who come highly rated in your area.

2. Install new light fixtures

kitchen makeover ideas on a budget

If your budget restricts you to one key design upgrade, consider a bold and beautiful light.

Eye-catching fixtures can make for an amazing centrepiece above a breakfast bar or island. It can also tactically draw attention away from the areas you haven’t yet managed to revamp!

Check out this post to cost up the price of a qualified electrician.

Shop around for striking, low-cost kitchen lighting on the high street or on websites such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

If you have some DIY skills, you can create some fantastic pendant lights at home by filling mason jars with fairy lights and hanging them from the ceiling, to give a charming, rustic glow.

Need some more design inspiration? Read our blog small kitchen ideas on a budget for more savvy solutions.

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3. Have a deep clean

cheap kitchen makeovers

Kitchen makeovers on a budget don’t need to cost anything with a few basic household items.

While not a makeover in the traditional sense, deep cleaning your kitchen can drastically improve its appearance and functionality, besides extending the life of your oven and other equipment.

The next best thing after a new kitchen is a kitchen that looks like new! Get your hands on the following supplies before starting:

  • Degreaser
  • Disinfectant
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Abrasive brush
  • Mop and bucket
  • Dustpan and brush

With these supplies, you can get to work on your fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher, countertops, cabinets, walls, sink, floor, windows, and fixtures.

Be sure to empty the bins and do an extreme declutter before cleaning and voila, your kitchen will be like new!

If you’re considering deep cleaning your entire house, take a look at our house cleaning cost guide.

4. Include rich timber elements

Inexpensive kitchen makeover

If your kitchen is plain white, you can really enhance its appearance by adding various rich timber elements, such as countertops, rattan baskets, wicker bowls, and even chopping boards.

This might be slightly more expensive to add than other options, but it doesn’t have to be.

To help keep this within the realm of cheap kitchen ideas, we suggest sourcing cheap timber and staining it with a rich-coloured oil to make it darker and more waterproof.

Finish the look off with a few trailing houseplants.

5. Consider a worktop makeover

Cheap countertop makeover

If you’re planning a kitchen makeover on a budget, you might assume a new worktop is out of your price range.

However, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are tonnes of cost-effective laminate work surfaces out there.

Laminate is easy to maintain, durable, and cheap. If you pick the right design, you can really improve the overall aesthetic of your kitchen.

Choose between various designs that mimic natural materials. For example, stone, wood, marble, and granite will give you the visual benefits of these materials, without the hefty price tag.

Consider your kitchen’s style and choose wisely. Check out our guide to kitchen worktop trends to help you make the right choice for your space.

But if you’d rather trust an experienced professional with this job, don’t hesitate to search our leading directory of approved tradespeople.

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6. Opt for kitchen cabinet replacement

cheap kitchen cabinet makeover

If your cabinets are too old or damaged for you to get away with a simple paint job, consider new cabinetry.

The latest trends in handles include seductive matt black, glamorous gold, and classic brushed brass; all of which are versatile choices that would work with most kitchen cabinets.

There’s also a growing trend for trim oversized drawer pulls, which can be used on the horizontal for wide drawers and on the vertical for tall cupboards.

If the carcass of your kitchen units are sound, another cheap kitchen makeover idea is to simply replace the cupboard and drawer fronts.

An experienced handyperson will be able to complete this job with ease.

You will need to paint the plinths and any end panels to match your new cabinet and drawer fronts.

Tip: Once you’ve selected your new look, take one of the drawer fronts to a paint colour-matching service in your local DIY store. Then simply prime and paint the plinths and end panels to match your new kitchen units. Et voila! A budget kitchen upgrade to be proud of!

7. Add an appliance garage

Appliance garages are convenient kitchen storage spaces that keep commonly used equipment, such as the microwave and toaster, out of sight, but easily accessible.

They can really improve your kitchen in two ways. First, the appliance garage itself is a stylish, modern feature, improving both the appearance and functionality of your kitchen.

Second, appliance garages help to remove clutter, making your kitchen more minimalistic and streamlined. There are many different kinds of appliance garages. Check out these ideas for inspiration.

8. Update your splashback

acrylic splashback in a white, clean kitchen

A new kitchen splashback is a clever way to give your kitchen a whole new look on a budget. We have 7 cheap splashback ideas for you including cost-effective acrylic and textured wallpaper. Check them out!

9. Revamp your wall tiles

Kitchen wall tile revamp ideas

There are so many ways to revamp your tiles for a budget kitchen update.

Paint them, regrout them, replace them, or apply tile stickers; there’s something for all budgets.

Worried about durability? Don’t. There’s plenty of specialist tile paint available – just ask at your local DIY store and be sure to prep and prime properly beforehand.

Not sure grouting is within your remit? Sure it is. Take a look at our guide to regrout tiles to nail this technique.

If you want to go the whole hog and replace tired, old tiles, you’ll be sure to find something within budget.

And if you’re keen on something that’ll stretch your budget too far, consider if you could use less of it. For example, just tile the splashback behind the hob and a narrow upstand, rather than taking the tiles all the way up to the wall cabinets.

10. Create a feature wall

kitchen feature wall of botanical wallpaper

Another fun way to update your kitchen on a budget is to create a feature wall.

A feature wall, by its nature, is just one wall, which is great for a budget revamp as you won’t need to buy a great deal of material.

Opt for paint to get a new look kitchen on the cheap, chalkboard paint if you’re feeling a little more creative (great for scheduling and meal planning too), or a wallpapered feature wall for a more eye-catching design.

11. Update your kitchen sink and taps

farmhouse kitchen sink

Installing a new, or as good as new (check out your local online selling group – you’ll be surprised what people give away!) sink and taps is a genius way to update a kitchen on a budget.

Sinks and taps come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and finishes, so if you do want to research the available options, you’ll find everything you need in our guide to the best sink ideas.

Our guide to the cost of installing a kitchen sink and taps will help you to plan for this work.

12. Lay a new kitchen floor

vinyl flooring in kitchen

Bear with us, we haven’t forgotten we’re talking about kitchen makeovers on a budget.

If your current kitchen floor is old, tired, or even damaged, you don’t need to live with it.

Vinyl flooring can get torn, but it is possible to repair it. Or if you feel it’s time for a new laminate or vinyl flooring in your kitchen, here’s how to complete this budget kitchen update.

Laminate and vinyl flooring have come a long way; it’s now possible to mimic natural wood or stone flooring for a fraction of the cost.

For an ultra-budget but stylish kitchen update, cover your kitchen floor with a jute or sisal rug.

A large, square rug could cover the majority of the floor space, or place rectangular rugs parallel to the work surfaces or underneath the sink area.

13. Spruce up your existing furniture

Choosing fabric swatches to reupholster a chair

Sprucing up your furniture is another cheap kitchen makeover idea that can be created in many different ways.

If your existing table and chairs look a bit tired, why not give them a new lease of life? You can repair wood furniture, sand and oil it, or even give it a coat of chalk paint for a quick and easy update. Bear this in mind for any gems you find on local selling pages too.

If your chair seat pads feel flat and uncomfortable, consider getting them reupholstered. You could even opt for a different style of fabric – you’ll feel as though you have a brand new set of chairs!

14. Buy a second-hand kitchen

Farmhouse kitchen

A brand new, fitted kitchen typically starts at around £8,000. However, opting for a second-hand, or ex-display kitchen, can make this home improvement much more affordable.

Search online for ‘ex-display kitchens’ and you’ll find a number of attractive options.

If you are going to swap out the old for new, here’s how to save money by (carefully) ripping out your kitchen for a refit.

Unless you have considerable DIY skills, you will need an experienced handyperson or kitchen fitter to install your new kitchen.

So there you have it, 14 ways to complete a kitchen makeover on a budget. Whether you want to create a whole new kitchen on the cheap, or pick and choose a few budget kitchen updates, we hope you’ve found some ideas to inspire your new look kitchen.

And remember, if you need reliable and experienced tradespeople to help complete any of these jobs, please take a look at our directory of approved members.

Every Checkatrade tradesperson is checked and approved by us, so you know you’re getting the real deal.

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