Kitchen remodeling projects can be expensive, but there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. Here are 6 tips to save money on your kitchen remodel.

Carefully Plan and Prioritize

Planning is key to keeping kitchen remodel costs down. Make a list of your needs vs. wants so you can prioritize what’s most important. Focus first on changes that will make the biggest impact. For example:

Install new cabinets and countertops – This makes a huge visual impact, but is expensive. Opt for budget-friendly cabinets and countertops like laminate.

Update appliances – Swap out old, inefficient appliances for new Energy Star models that will save on utility bills. Shop sales and rebates.

Paint the walls – A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in improving the look of a kitchen for minimal cost.

Change hardware – Replacing dated hardware like cabinet knobs and pulls or light fixtures can modernize the space. Shop discount home stores.

Don’t take on more than you need. Simple upgrades can give a big bang for your buck.

Shop Secondhand and Salvage Materials

Used and salvaged building materials are an eco-friendly way to get quality materials for less. Check out:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStores – For lightly used cabinets, countertops, sinks, flooring and more at 50% off retail price. Selection varies.
  • Salvage yards – For reclaimed wood, vintage tiles, windows and other items. Great for a unique, rustic look.
  • Classified ads – People redoing their own kitchens often sell cabinets, appliances and fixtures for cheap.
  • Clearance outlets – Retailers like Home Depot offer specials on discounted, discontinued and returned items.

With some hunting, you can find great secondhand materials for big savings. Just be sure to measure carefully to find items that will fit your space.

Do Demolition and Prep Work Yourself

Knocking down walls, removing old cabinets, flooring and appliances are demolition tasks you can likely take on yourself to save on labor costs. Other DIY prep work:

  • Remove old wallpaper, trim, moulding
  • Take down drywall
  • Rip up flooring
  • Detach plumbing and electrical
  • Take cabinets to the dump

This work causes a lot of debris so be prepared to haul away rubbish. Always turn off electrical/gas/water lines before starting. Doing this prep work can cut thousands off renovation costs.

Hire Contractors Directly

Skip the middleman markups by hiring specialists directly for the installation work:

  • Electrician – For any electrical system upgrades like new lighting or outlets
  • Plumber – For any sink or appliance plumbing needs
  • Carpenter – To install new cabinets, trim and custom elements
  • Tiler – For new backsplash or floor tiles
  • Painter – For fresh wall paint

Find contractors through referrals from friends, reviews or directly via online ads. Get at least 3 quotes for comparison. This ensures quality work for the best price.

Use Budget-Friendly Materials

There are inexpensive options these days that still look great:

  • Laminate countertops – At $20-50 per linear foot installed, laminate is affordable and comes in many styles resembling stone. Brands like Formica and Wilsonart offer great quality and warranties.
  • Vinyl plank flooring – Vinyl is very budget-friendly at $2-5 per square foot installed. Opt for stone or wood-look planks. Brands like LifeProof and Armstrong offer durable floors with long warranties.
  • Shaker cabinets – These simple slab-front cabinet styles are achievable for DIYers or cost effective to buy. Opt for budget brands like Hampton Bay.
  • Quartz composite sinks – At $200-300 installed, these sinks cost a fraction of natural stone but offer great durability and styles. Brands like Kraus, Ruvati and Lordear are quality choices.
  • Faucets under $200 – Affordable faucets from brands like Excel, Wolean and Virtu USA offer full functionality for much less. Read reviews to find great value picks.

Do Some Tasks Yourself

With some DIY know-how, you can save thousands in labor costs by taking on achievable updates yourself like:

  • Painting cabinets, walls and trim
  • Installing new cabinet hardware
  • Laying sheet vinyl flooring
  • Tiling backsplashes
  • Hanging lighting fixtures
  • Replacing door hinges and handles

Watch online tutorials to learn. Have an experienced friend help you. Focus on quick, simple projects first to build confidence for more difficult tasks later. Even minimal DIY work adds up to big savings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions homeowners have about saving money on their kitchen remodels:

How much can I expect to save by refinishing my existing cabinets vs. buying new?

On average, you can save 30-50% by refinishing your cabinets instead of replacing them. Refinishing costs roughly $2,000-5,000 whereas new cabinets start around $5,000 and can easily run $15,000 or more.

Should I keep my existing cabinet layout or reconfigure for better function?

Keeping your existing cabinet footprint saves on demolition and reconstruction work. But reconfiguring may better suit how you use the kitchen. Balance improved function with added costs.

What are the most affordable countertop options?

The most budget-friendly countertop options are laminate ($20-50 per linear foot), tile ($10-50 per square foot) and butcher block ($30-70 per square foot). Carefully installed, these can look great while costing a fraction of natural stone or quartz.

What are signs my kitchen may contain hazardous materials requiring remediation?

Look for peeling paint (possible lead paint), crumbling plaster walls (may contain asbestos) and adhesive vinyl flooring (could have asbestos backing). Testing will determine if abatement is required which adds cost.

Should I install new appliances before or after other updates?

It’s generally best to install new appliances towards the end after cabinets, countertops, flooring and painting is complete. This prevents damage during other work. Wait until the room is prepped for appliances.

Are there grants or tax incentives available to help fund my kitchen remodel?

You may qualify for an energy efficiency rebate by buying ENERGY STAR appliances. And there is a federal tax credit for up to $500 for other energy efficient home improvements which can apply to certain kitchen upgrades.


Smart planning and decision making can help you create a fresh, beautiful kitchen without breaking the budget. Focus on the most important elements first. Take advantage of secondhand and budget materials. Do what you can yourself. Hire specialists directly for major installations. With some creativity and elbow grease, you can have your dream kitchen on a real-world budget.