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Budget Modern Kitchen Remodel Plan

We are starting another kitchen remodel. See the plan for remodeling a kitchen on a budget!

I am having a little deja vu. Weren’t we here this time last year? The difference, is last year we were remodeled our own kitchen to a beautiful blue & white two tone kitchen. And this year, we are remodeling someone else’s.

UPDATE: This stunning modern kitchen remodel is done. We managed to completely transform the space as planned and stay on budget so make sure to check it out.

The Kitchen Before

This kitchen was well made and had lots of high-end finishes. Unfortunately those finishes were very dark and dated. It was past time to bring this kitchen into the new millennium.

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Face on view of the before of the dark and dated kitchen.

The kitchen also had a good flow. The sink sits in front of a cute little window. And the working triangle was, well, working! That is a good thing for our budget.

Close-up of the long wall in the outdated kitchen before the modern kitchen remodel.

The biggest problem with the kitchen is the tiny island. It almost seemed like an after-thought. And while the kitchen was a great size, the island was too small. We have big plans to fix this.

Side view of the before of the kitchen.

The Budget Kitchen Plan

Of course we are working on a budget. Originally the plan was to do the entire remodel for under $6000. But then in order to upgrade a few appliances and add the same flooring throughout the rest of the open living space, it was increased to $8000. 

We will be keeping the current cabinets, except the kitchen island, but update them with new doors and hardware. And to unify the old with the new, we will be painting all the cabinets. 

Straight on view of a 3D rendering of the modern kitchen on a budget.

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Also, we are keeping the current granite countertops on the perimeter of the kitchen. But the new kitchen island will need it’s own countertop. Instead of trying to match the granite, we are taking this opportunity to pick a coordinating, but more modern color… black!

And the new kitchen island will be made of DIY kitchen cabinets. We are turning the kitchen island to give more room on the sides to access the kitchen, and then making it huge by extending it into the open empty space at the edge of the kitchen.

The new 8′ kitchen island will be a focal point. And because of that, a big portion of the budget will go into the new countertops. Since it is a single slab, we can look at discontinued or clearance slabs, or use budget friendly quartz to save some money. But we still want this to be the showstopper.

And the biggest show stopper will be the beautiful pedestal base at the end of the kitchen island. This will also be a DIY build, and turn the end of the island into a table. The perfect place to pull the kids up to while working in the kitchen.

Top view of the plan for the modern kitchen remodel on a budget.

The other major show stopper in the kitchen will be the new open shelving around the oven. We are removing a few of the awkward cabinets there to help open up and brighten up the space. 

But instead of just putting in new more functional cabinets, we will be leaving the space open. The white porcelain tile backsplash will go all the way to the ceiling to give the space style and brightness. And the open shelves will be a great place to show off fun kitchen accessories.

The old tiles are being replaced with hew luxury vinyl plank flooring. It is a great option for adding “wood” floors on a budget. Plus it is super easy to install. And since we are installing 850 square feet of it, easy is definitely going to be good.

Kitchen remodel sketch of kitchen with gray cabinets, black granite island, open shelves around the stove and wood flooring.

How to Save Money on a Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen remodels are the most expensive remodel in a home. If you have been putting off remodeling your kitchen because of cost, here are some of my tips of helping to save money.

  1. DIY anything you can. The easiest things to DIY are demo, painting, tiling a backsplash, and installing hardware. But if you want to save even more money, look into things like building your own cabinets or DIY cabinet doors, installing cabinets (even pre-made ones) or other bigger jobs. You will save a lot more money that way. 
  2. Only look at the cheaper options. If you go into a countertop store and look at the items on display, they will probably be the most expensive options. Instead, walk in and ask them to show you the cheapest options in the material you want. If you like something there, go for it. If not, ask for the next price point up, and so on. It is harder to love the lower price if you fall in love with the most expensive first.
  3. Pick a couple spots to spend your money. Figure out where the focal points of your kitchen are and spend a little more money there. Then save on areas that are not as important. Like in this kitchen, the backsplash tile will be a focus with the open shelving so we are spending a bit more on that. 
  4. Work with what you already have. If you can reuse something, do it! If the cabinets are good, update them with paint or new doors. If the appliances all work, no need to update just to update. Use that money for replacing items that are needed.
  5. Remodel in stages. If you want new cabinet doors, but cannot afford them right now. How about keeping the doors and updating with paint. Then in a year or two, you can update the doors and just paint them the same color as the cabinets? Or using a cheaper countertop on an island (like laminate) and replacing it with a stone later. Think about things that can be updated without affecting the rest of the kitchen and hold off on those items to save money.

And make sure to follow along as we share our process for updating this kitchen. We will talk about painting existing kitchen cabinets, installing vinyl flooring, building the kitchen island, and more. 

-Kati with picture of blog author Kati


Saturday 8th of January 2022

We are just at the planning stages for our kitchen remodel. The house is a Mid- Century ranch but the kitchen was redone in the 80's. The cabinets are all solid wood, including doors. Unfortunately, the drawer hardware does not work well and they all stick. Can we just replace the drawer hardware with something that glides easier?


Tuesday 18th of January 2022

Yes you can! Measure the opening the drawer slides into and the width of your drawer. If you have 1" extra in the opening (1/2" each side) you can replace them with modern ball nearing drawer slides. I share how to install here: How to Install Cabinet Drawers with Ball-Bearing Slides. If not, you can research a drawer slide that will work for the space you haver between the cabinet and the drawer box.

Edith Walter

Monday 8th of February 2021

Hello, Edith here, this post is really great with details and beautiful images, I have learned a lot of things from the topic and the blog. I’m going to my sketch out a plan for my kitchen remodeling Boston and consider getting a kitchen designer to get the job done. My wife has a bunch of designer friends in RI, maybe one of them can't refuse to work together with us.


Friday 3rd of May 2019

Can’t wait to see the process! I want to paint my builder grade cabinets but I’m so afraid! I like the idea of new doors and painting the frames. Will you be making the doors or ordering doors already painted from somewhere? If so where?


Tuesday 7th of May 2019

Hi Crystal, I am building the new doors, but it's also a great option to order them. You can order custom non-finished doors and still save a good deal of money. Then paint them yourself to match your painted cabinets.

Sarah in Georgia

Thursday 2nd of May 2019

I love it!

What program did you use to draft the new kitchen?


Tuesday 7th of May 2019

Hi Sarah, I use SketchUp. It is a great program for drafting in 3D but does have a bit of a learning curve. And they have a free version.


Thursday 2nd of May 2019

It's going to be fantastic! Where are you going to put the microwave that used to be above the oven?


Tuesday 7th of May 2019

Thanks Ruth! The microwave is being moved into the new kitchen island. It is facing the stove so you cannot see it in the pictures.

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