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Renovating a Kitchen on a Budget

Updated on December 11, 2013

How to Renovate your Kitchen

How to Renovate your kitchen on a Budget. Before and After photos. Do not be put off having the kitchen of your dreams because you think it is too expensive. Follow my journey with tips on how to achieve your dream kitchen. When I upgraded and redesigned my kitchen on a budget.

No matter what your budget, you can have the kitchen of your dreams. Being a single mother I was conscious of my money. And wanted to make sure I got the best kitchen possible that would last for years, be practical and work for us as a busy household. I also had good appliances already so I wanted to make sure I could integrate these too.

At this time I was a single mother working full time, and did not really know much about home improvements or DIY, I soon found out I had a lot to learn, I wanted to share my journey as actually it was a really enjoyable experience and if I can do it then so can you. Saving you a small fortune.

Follow my kitchen renovation story and pick up handy tips to save money. Learn how you too could create your dream kitchen on a budget.

picture Credit

Planning a Kitchen - Save or spend

Before I could start remodeling my kitchen l had a lot of planning to do. and I wanted a rough estimate for how much it would cost me.

There were several walls and cupboards I wanted removed and a boiler to be moved too, to open up the space more. I wanted to create a dining area too.

That was a lot of work.

Would you do all the planning yourself to save money

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This was my kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen before makeover
Kitchen before makeover

These pictures were taken just as the work had started, you can see where the hot water boiler had been (right hand side above table) and the doors that lead to the cupboards that I wanted to remove, you can also see I had no storage space in the kitchen at all.

Its gonna get messy
Its gonna get messy

kitchen Interior Design

planning your kitchen

The first and most important step was investigating our local building regulations, since I was removing internal walls, for just getting a new kitchen you do not need this. I had a large part of the kitchen made up of cupboards and the old coal cellar, I wanted to remove this and open up the back of the kitchen.

So I had to apply to my local authority in the UK, for a building warrant. This is also needed if you are going to re-sell your property, and need proof you have kept within the regulations, and the work is at an appropriate standard

Now I will share a funny story, I got a bit of paper roughly drew the kitchen floor plan, and I though I created a lovely drawing showing exactly what I wanted. I did indeed submit this.

When it was refused I was outraged, I had included lovely window boxes too. After a lengthy telephone conversation I made another drawing.

  • use graph paper to scale
  • include length and breadth of kitchen
  • measure out length to doors and windows
  • electrical sockets, if there are any

then using a red pen, highlighted where the changes would be made and new electrical sockets etc.

I then submitted the drawing, which were really just like being back at school and working to scale,as I drew my own plans that were accepted I did not need to pay anyone for these drawings, it was not rocket science and If I did it you can too, just make sure your scale makes sense (like 1 square = whatever is easiest for you to convert)

Top Tip: I actually used the free kitchen design service one of the local superstores offers, and you get to keep the plans, these have all the measurements on them

Free Graph paper online

COST of Drawings : £0

COST of building warrant £90 (UK) as at time of writing

Picture Credit @LisaAuch and is her own- of taking down kitchen wall

New kitchen - Designs and layouts

kitchen layouts

Decide whether you want the same company to supply and complete the job, many home DIY stores offer it as a complete package, or investigate, buying your kitchen separately and getting another company to fit it. This was the easiest option and cheapest option for me.

Saving me thousands of pounds. If I had had the money I would have loved the luxury and got the whole thing done as one, but it is expensive.

To do it separately yourself takes careful planning, budgeting and negotiating.

The general rule of thumb is the kitchen triangle design, where the cook will not need to go far for the cooker > Sink > fridge/freezer like an imaginary straight line drawn from the center of the sink, to the center of the cooker top, to the center of the fridge and finally back to the sink.

Getting these units as close together as possible is said to make your kitchen more user friendly:

These days, kitchen can be any shape you desire, from 1 wall to L shaped. Don't let the kitchen Triangle stop your design after all it is your family that will be using it.

I chose the triangle shape, as I wanted to create a family kitchen, where we wanted to have a fully functional kitchen for cooking family meals together.

We used a free service from a leading home improvement store that came out measured and designed exactly what I was looking for and including all the finishing touches, like wine racks, under-shelf lighting. Just make sure it is free, and you can keep the designs and measurements.

We actually ended up going else where and bought exactly what we needed at the best price.

Top Tip: look on-line for your local Free kitchen design companies, and tell them you are just looking around (this is to stop the hard sales technique, very easy to get carried away and sign up just because it seems like a great price at the time, remember they are paid for their commission so will try anything to get you to sign) so make good use of this, and get a price from them, tell them you will be considering other companies too, this will help bring down the priced, they are desperate for your custom.

Order your kitchen units ASAP because sometimes the waiting time can be a few weeks. This way you can start to organise plumbers electricians and joiners


During the renovation Pictures

Nothing would have prepared me for the destruction ahead, and the dust got everywhere, I also needed new electric sockets and this proved extremely difficult as the walls were "fired" bricks and extremely hard to cut into, trust me to have bought an older house, but at least it is solid.

Choose your kitchen Color scheme
Choose your kitchen Color scheme

Paint color Charts

choose your colour scheme.

Kitchens have developed and you can have every machine available to make our jobs easier in the kitchen, but ask yourself "do you really need them?" I bet you never use 1/2 of them.

I decided on neutral colors, I felt cream would be easier to keep clean in a family home, with large dogs. But the colour of walls and the tiles were important too, so I decided to use a colour chart, from the local DIY store, I actually used dulux kitchen colours online, to choose my color scheme. another good paint color chart is here @

choose your tradesmen wisely
choose your tradesmen wisely

Finding the right Builders or workmen

Be Careful

If you decide to do it completely yourself, from designing to building, then you need to find reputable workmen in your area. Now I decided to contact a local tradesman who I know my mum and dad had used in the past, now he knew my family and our circumstances, (I had also recently just lost my mother) he told me he would do me a great job at a great price....and I fell for it. Unfortunately that was not what he did at all, and I had to get another workman in to help me sort the problems he had caused. And I got a refund eventually from him, as I had to threaten legal action. When asked for an itemised bill I was amazed to see he had charged me for individual NAILS, to try to justify the final price he had wanted me to pay. I was lucky to find another tradesman willing to finish the job at a great price. But I learned my lesson from this. Do not assume becasue you know them it will mean they will do a good job, as the electric cables had to also be sorted.

Top Tips:

Interview and get price quotes from at least 3 different builders/workmens, tell them everything you want done, I needed the boiler moved to my loft so this was a big job. you want to know how long it will take them, and if they have done any work in the local area, these are good questions to ask, and you will be able to see by their reactions if they are going to be good tradesmen, remember it is YOUR money, and never pay them in advance, or work out in advance how you were going to pay them, As it was near christmas, the joiner and I had arranged to pay him half way through and on completion of the job, as he had a young family, he even did a couple of extra jobs for me, like fitting skirting boards etc, as it had helped him greatly.

I was a bit nervous but I knew I had paid for the work and if he did not return I could still pay someone else to finish it. the electrician was great and also done extra jobs too, not taking any money? however recently when my heating system broke, Funnily enough he was the firstI called. It is a tough market just now for self employed guys, so dont abuse their good nature, and in turn they will help. and give lots of cup of tea.

Total cost of labour approx £1,000 this included joiners, who also fitted laminate flooring (because I was cheeky and asked them, and he added on £50) electrician/plumber, and a plasterer who was a friend of my brothers.

Picture Credit

Choosing your kitchen

how to save money on your kitchen

Once I had got the walls re-plastered it was time to arrange for my kitchen to be delivered and arrange the kitchen fitters to start. As it was near Christmas, I found this a nightmare for decorating because of the weather, but the deals on the kitchen units and appliances were amazing, and I saved a fortune.

I ordered the kitchen cabinets, separate from the appliances - I wanted good electrical appliances that would last me, and I already had my washing machine, and fridge freezer etc.

Cost:£2,000 - 1/2 price sale on cabinets, and appliances

Top Tip: If you are looking for electrical appliances round the shops, and see what you like, take the serial numbers from the display and when you get home go shopping online to find the cheapest, this is great for TVs etc, so you can see what they look like in real life and then order online for home delivery you can normally knock off a few hundred pounds this way too.

Pictures of my Kitchen after the remodel

I did actually originally painted it all in a cream color, however, with 2 very large family dogs, this did not stay very pretty long, When you are choosing your colours think about what your families needs are, will it be practical?

I wanted a nice clean area and decided to go with a chocolate Brown, I was very unsure of how it would work, but as we had the cream cabinets, and wooded panel, (this is very easy to clean!) I think it looks great, we get a lot of light at the back of the house too so it is not too dark. but at night time sitting round our table for dinner is lovely and cosy.

This is a Picture of my dining area (it looks small here but it can fit 6 people easily around this table when extended!)

This is a picture of my U shaped kitchen, and I love it as it suits my needs, with some days having limited mobility it means I have everything near to hand, with an easy turn, mind you when I am cooking we all seem to gather at this end of the kitchen, (including the dogs too)

I must admit I had a great time remodeling my kitchen, Things I have learned. it does not need to be expensive remodeling, shop wisely and really do get your 3 quotes from different builders, and go and check out their work. If like me you were watching the pennies, then this is your money, and you want to spend it wisely. so make sure you are getting your moneys worth.

my next wish is a conservatory out into the back garden.....

leave your questions, tips and suggestions here Anyone is welcome to leave their comments, please note that all comments are moderated.

Have you re-designed or renovated a kitchen - or are you just looking for ideas just now

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    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      My kitchen really needs new counter tops and cupboards! Oh my, renovating your kitchen looked like a lot of work, but the outcome is beautiful!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      5 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Love your kitchen remodel. Beautiful!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      Yes... I done a lot of work on my kitchen. Just refaced all of the cabinets. I like what you did with kitchen. Looks great. Loved seeing the before and after pics. Excellent tips and advice.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I designed my kitchen with new fixtures at a discount price. Discount lighting is the way to go when your looking for chandelier, nooks, and pendants. I absolutly love the way my kitchen turned out.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image


      6 years ago

      Going through this process right now. Great tips. Thank you!

    • LisaAuch1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Auch 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      @JakeAnderson: Good luck and do let us know how you get on, we are now in the middle of renovating a new house, and the kitchen has to be done again!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm in the process! Great lens :-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thank you I find the beginning process stressful we are planning a small extension new french doors to the garden and knocking down two walls and moving and fitting a new kitchen so many thanks for sharing your experience with me it really helps

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      nicely done

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My kitchen is the hub of my home and it's important for me to keep it warm and welcoming. Remodeling a kitchen can be a huge expense. I love your ideas on how to keep your budget on track. Well done!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Really well done. Kitchens are such an integral part of our homes that a simple redesign can make a huge difference in feel and mood. Not to mention the return on investment. For larger projects many qualified general contractors do basic consulting, helping with design and permits and inspections for a small fee. This can make a larger project much easier to navigate. Thanks for a great Lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      a cost-effective way to restyle your kitchen with minimal disruption and no compromise on quality. go for quality replacement kitchen doors in a wide range of styles and colours to match any type of kitchen.

    • e-xplorations profile image


      7 years ago

      To have a cozy and comfortable kitchen need not be that expensive. Thanks for sharing. Very informative lens.

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 

      8 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Your new kitchen looks very nice. Ours is very 1970's American with a matching 'harvest gold' (or 'nasty yellow') oven, sink and stove...and everything is in odd sizes no one seems to make anymore, or charges double for...ugh! We want to gut the whole thing but the last quote we got was for around $30,000 which is a little scary! I'm not sure I'm brave enough to do it myself although your lens does give me a few ideas so thanks for sharing. :)

    • katiecolette profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow, love the new look of your kitchen!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A conservatory is a great way to add extra room onto your house. Good luck with the project if you do go ahead and add a conservatory

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      The kitchen really looks nice after the remodel. Ours needs doing desperately, but we are only renting unfortunately. It could be a really nice kitchen if it was done right.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I really enjoyed seeing your kitchen go through renovation. Lensrolled to my kitchen lens, Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I agree, every woman should have their dream kitchen and I'm glad you did not give up with that first rejection. Your before, during and after pictures tell the whole story well and your nuggets of information and tips will help others pursue their dream.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good job! A good kitchen adds value to any home.

    • tiff0315 profile image


      8 years ago

      Looks great! My parents are currently remodeling and adding on to their house. It's quite and overhaul and I would hate to DIY. BTW your kitchen looks beautiful

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome, and I'm a DIY fan! Renovating your kitchen on a budget is wise and the result is great. Like all the pictures to show everything.

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      Oh I love your new kitchen! So happy that you added the pics! And I really like the wall color, it's classy and looks really cosy. I bet you're going to have a good time in your new kitchen ;)

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I'm not looking to remodel our kitchen, but I loved seeing what you did with yours! Great job.

    • DallasNicole LM profile image

      DallasNicole LM 

      8 years ago

      Wow! The kitchen is lovely! Great tips here Lisa! Thanks for sharing

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 

      8 years ago from US/TN

      We did some minor renovations to my late grandmother's kitchen last spring in order to prepare the home for sale. It was a little overwhelming but it felt so good when it was done -- and we sold the house quickly too!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      8 years ago from Iowa

      We moved into a 100 year old farmhouse 15 years ago and have been renovating ever since. The kitchen however has yet to be done though is in desperate need of it.

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow! I'm fan of anything remodeling related and am excited to see the results in the kitchen as well as how you remodeled the bathroom. Keep me updated on this, I might find inspiration to START those improvements in my own house, lol.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      8 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Yes, I've done a kitchen renovation, but I love seeing what other people have done with theirs. Can hardly wait to see your photos!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Can't wait to see the finished product!

    • Jhangora LM profile image

      Jhangora LM 

      8 years ago

      Just looking for ideas. Our kitchen is pretty old fashioned.

    • pkmcruk profile image


      8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      I tend to go away on business or we go away for a few days while work like this is being done - I just cannot cope with the chaos LOL But great to see such a brilliant lens!


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