our $1000 DIY kitchen remodel reveal
This is the story of how far $1000 can stretch for a DIY kitchen remodel. Granted, every kitchen is different. Every homeowner is different. Tastes are different, as is the level of comfort that people have as far as DIY projects go. That’s a lot of variabilities.
But one thing that remains the same? Kitchen renovations are the mother of all homeowner expenses. And when you don’t have a mother of all budgets to work with, like us, you may have to take baby steps, doing what you can do with the modest budget available. Even when what’s available is $1000.
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While you can certainly sit back and save, patiently awaiting the day that you have the budget to complete the kitchen renovation of your dreams, sometimes, doing something feels better than doing nothing. After 5 years of patiently waiting for our bigger budget to arrive, I decided I had waited long enough.
I wanted to share this modest budget DIY kitchen remodel with you because I hope it will be inspiring to see how far money can be stretched, given the willingness to DIY, and the drive to make a change in your space.
You’ll see exactly how far our DIY kitchen remodel story got on a budget of $1000. And here is where the story begins. Drum roll…bring on the BEFORE pictures! ☝️👇
This was how our kitchen looked when we moved into our home. Huge? Yes. Dated? Definitely. Nothing but oak and cherry as far as the eye could see.
Was it horrible? No. It just wasn’t us. And despite the small window over the kitchen sink, and the french doors in the eat-in-kitchen area, the darker finishes left it looking dark and kind of cave-chic. Even in the middle of the day.
Above is the view from the kitchen into the kitchenette area. The french doors you see toward the left lead to our deck. The doorway directly behind the table goes into our powder room and laundry room area.
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Back to the kitchen…the open doorway toward the right side of the picture above leads to our formal living room, or what we use as the playroom. AKA the hottest mess in the house at any given time.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty numbers. Here are the expenses we incurred, and items used to offset costs for this DIY kitchen remodel:
DIY Kitchen Remodel Sources & Expenses
- Primer – $70
- Porch & Patio Paint $62
- Cabinet and Baseboard Paint (Semi-Gloss) $62 (Behr, plain white straight outta the can)
- Wall Paint $31 (Ben Moore “Pale Smoke”)
- Spray Paint (counter stools, island lights, kitchenette chairs) $120
- Kitchenette Chairs (via Craigslist) $75
- Kitchen Table $625
- Kitchenette Rug $220
- Striped Rug in Kitchen $172
- Molding for Kids Art Display $100
- Fabric for Kids Art Display $8
- Accordion Arms for Sconces $20
- Utility lights for Sconces $20
- Lumber/Drywall/Supplies for new wall cutout $100
- Blade to cut granite $15
- (2) new counter stools $55
- Plexiglass + Hooks for Art Display $145
- Electrical Supplies $35
Old Kitchen/Dining furniture sold to offset project costs: $900 (old kitchen table, chairs, (2) rugs, upholstered bench, foyer settee) Note: selling items before a remodel is a great way to offset purchases! If you know you won’t be needing or using items in your renovated space, then sell them! We wrote a post all about how we do that if you want to check it out!
NET COST: $1035
This project boiled down to two main tasks: opening a wall and lots of painting. Here’s how things turned out…
If you look at the before pictures, you’ll see that originally, the refrigerator stood against a wall that separated our family room from the kitchen. We decided to remove that wall.
Above is a shot before the wall removal was complete. It was a bit of a challenge for two reasons. First, we found termite damage.
Trust me when I say that seeing something like that behind your drywall is enough to send you running for a bag in which to vomit.
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Thankfully, after more exploratory surgery, we were able to determine that the damage hadn’t affected the structural integrity of the house, but we still took the time (and money) to shore up the framing between the two spaces.
In the shot above, you can see that the original doorway and header between the two rooms is still intact. We needed to check with a structural engineer to make sure that this wasn’t load bearing before plowing ahead and removing it. Luckily, it was ok to remove,
which really opened things up. We salvaged an upper cabinet that we had removed, on the wall where the refrigerator originally sat, as seen below.
And created another base cabinet from it. You can see below how Tib added wood in the rear and base of the upper cabinet so the size matched the other base cabinets. This preserved some storage space, and added counter space back to the kitchen.
Being able to get rid of the whole wall separating the kitchen and family room made a WORLD of difference.
Plus, it wasn’t an expensive change to make. Labor-intensive? Definitely. But since this is a DIY kitchen remodel, we just chipped away at that part of the project at our own pace, and only had to pay for the lumber and drywall we needed to finish off the opening.
As far as bang for the buck goes, beyond opening that wall, PAINT was really what transformed this space.
Specifically, painting the cabinets and the floors.
I had painted the cabinets white the first year we moved in. I just couldn’t take the oak anymore. One Saturday morning, while Tib was making pancakes for the kids, I whipped out the chalk paint and just started slapping it on the cabinets. No prep, nothing. Just slapped it on. And that lasted until I repainted them during this project.
Below, you can see how the cabinets looked with the chalk paint and new hardware I put on a couple years back. It was a big improvement at that point in my eyes!
This time around, instead of chalk paint, I used semi-gloss latex paint in the brightest white I could buy (which is just straight outta the can…no mixing, nothing).
See that command center/deck area above? We removed the countertop and repurposed it over on the other side of the kitchen. The refrigerator now sits where the chair is above.
The floors? A tutorial on that is coming soon.
The story on those is that I painted them without sanding. That’s a no-no. But these cherry floors were factory-finished rather than sand and stain in place. And that means that the factory coating is almost IMPOSSIBLE to remove, no matter what type of sanding tool or grit of sandpaper you throw at it.
So I came up with my own floor painting technique. I figured my floors could be the guinea pig. If this method worked, perhaps it would help some of you! And so far, the floor hasn’t scratched, peeled or anything. Will keep you in the loop and report back on how it’s holding up a few years down the road.
A couple more DIY painting projects in this kitchen included spray-painting our bar stools, and buying some IKEA dining chairs from Craigslist…
That’s the ad above ☝️. I got 6 chairs for $75, and spray painted them each a different color
using the colors in our new striped rugs (seen in the laundry room, hallway and by the kitchen sink) from Annie Selke as the inspiration.
Above is the view from the laundry room, into the hallway where our powder room is, and into the kitchen. See the floors in here? That’s plywood subfloor that I painted! We peeled up the old linoleum and slapped on some paint!
Before, we had so many types of flooring in a really small area. There were 4 different kinds on the lower level of the house. Removing the linoleum, and painting the laundry/mudroom and kitchen floors to all match brought some more consistency into the house.
Plus, it really lightened up these dark areas that don’t get a ton of natural light during the day.
I also spray painted the two chandeliers above our kitchen island. I’m still not sure I’m a superfan of how that turned out, but I’m going to live with them for a while longer and see how I feel as time goes by.
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The last project I’ll mention in this DIY kitchen remodel is the kids’ art gallery wall.
Don’t mind Cedric Piggory (our hairless guinea pig) there on the table. He hangs around the kitchen looking for snacks.
In the pic above, he’s still sitting on the table while I’m holding Humphrey Bogart, who is snacking on some organic romaine lettuce. We have very fancy guinea pigs here.
I’ll write a tutorial for the kids’ gallery wall, but it is basically a framed out area of the wall, done with molding. The back of the wall is an inexpensive fabric that I hung using starch.
And the artwork is covered by two large pieces of plexiglass (seen above) that we can easily remove from the hooks we installed when the kids want to change out their artwork.
The kids’ love seeing their artwork hung in such a prominent place in the house. And we do, too!
After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home, right? So it is the perfect spot to display those things that are closest to our hearts.
I hope that you like how the space transformed. There are changes in here that are not right for a lot of people.
That said, this DIY kitchen remodel can be a great reminder that your home is YOUR home. If you own it and you want to make a change, then DO IT!
Don’t skip it because it’s not something for the masses. It only has to be right for you and your family. Forget everyone else. Love where you live. Even if you only have a small budget to see your visions come to life.
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