If you’re like me, your kitchen is probably where you spend the majority of your time while you’re at home. Whether it’s cooking dinner, baking chocolate chip cookies, serving up hand-crafted lattes, or doing the dishes– to me, the kitchen is the heart of my home. When we bought our house last year, we knew right away that the kitchen would have to be completely redone. It felt dark and cramped, the countertop was falling apart, and there was a serious lack of storage space. With this in mind, we factored the estimated cost of the remodel into our offer on the house, setting aside a portion of our savings strictly for the kitchen.
The first step for me was doing research, aka spending several hours scouring Pinterest for inspiration. A word of caution: be wary of the Pinterest Trap. There are so many beautiful and perfect images on there, but not a lot of those ideals are realistic for two twenty-four year-olds who just bought their first house. I quickly realized that I couldn’t copy the picture of a perfect dream kitchen, but instead I could use it as a good starting place. I found my central “inspiration pin” and used it as a basis for the color scheme and “vibe” I wanted.
When we met with our first designer, one of the first things she said was, “Just so you guys know what you’re getting into, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is $30,000 to $50,000.” It took every ounce of self-control I had to stop “oh honey, no” from coming out of my mouth. We knew that we could pull off a budget-friendly kitchen remodel if we were willing to put in a little more work.
We shopped around and ended up getting quotes from two different contractors before committing and getting started. We ended up going with Lowe’s for everything. Their kitchen designer really paid attention to what we wanted, and was able to bring my vision to life. As with any large project like this, there were some bumps in the road along the way, but in the end we had a beautiful kitchen at a price that didn’t break the bank.
But enough of that- let’s jump right into the good stuff!
The all-white kitchen trend has been everywhere lately, but I wanted something different, something that felt more “natural.” The lighter, natural maple cabinets really make the space feel larger and more open. We were able to save a ton of money by doing a lot of the work ourselves. Dan and I ripped out all of the old cabinets (okay, that part was mostly Dan), and he laid the floor plank by plank. It’s a vinyl floor that comes in planks to make it look more like real wood, and we love it.
Like I mentioned earlier, adding more storage space was a necessity for us. We added the cabinets and small countertop area by the fridge for more storage and the perfect coffee corner. Also, can we talk about these countertops for a moment? We were originally going to go with a solid surface countertop (remember, we’re on a budget here), but the quartz was on sale for only a few hundred dollars more. Honestly, it was a no-brainer. The quartz is beautiful and it holds up again pretty much anything. We went with this speckled pattern to bring out some of the different tones in the flooring.
Tearing down that ugly wainscoting was so much work, but so rewarding. With it gone, the whole kitchen feels brighter to me. Dan tore it all down and replaced it with drywall, and then we painted the entire kitchen a soft green-gray color. We also added the ceiling fan, and we chose cabinet hardware that would match the darker tones in the fan and kitchen table. Another way that we were able to remodel our kitchen on a budget is by breaking it into “phases.” Phase Two is coming later: building a cute little corner booth in place of the kitchen table. Phase Three might be a new oven, but the one we have works just fine for now.
This picture shows some of my favorite elements of the kitchen. This subway tile with gray caulk is life. I love the porcelain sink (even though it scratches easily), and the wine rack/storage cube was a happy solution to a small measurement problem.
We couldn’t be happier with how our kitchen turned out. Even on a budget, it was still a big investment for us. Having a beautiful space that was tailor-made to our tastes, and that we put our own hard work into creating, is worth every penny.