Budget kitchen ideas – spend less without compromising on style

Our budget kitchen ideas could save you hundreds if not thousands on your kitchen makeover
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  • Looking for budget kitchen ideas? Your kitchen might be looking a bit tired, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to give it a fresh new look. All it takes is a little time, effort and creativity to pep up the heart of your home.

    If your cupboards are a bit dated, in terms of style and or colour, why not consider just replacing the doors if the framework is still in good shape? There are a host of companies that specialise in providing replacement doors. Alternatively, simply give your cabinetry a quick refresh with a few coats of paint. Both of these ideas are a lot cheaper and less hassle than replacing the entire kitchen. Paint in general is easiest and least expensive way to transform a kitchen. Look for a rich, yet calming shade that allow you to relax in your space.

    Try to avoid anything that’s too extreme, as there’s already a lot of activity going on in the kitchen and you don’t want it to seem even busier. And always opt for a high-quality paint to ensure a durable finish. Finishing touches such as artwork, soft furnishings and shelving displays make open-plan schemes warm and inviting, and they are easy to replace and update seasonally or whenever you fancy a new look. Vintage cookware adds charm to classic and country kitchens – antiques shops, charity shops and eBay are great sources. Affordable pieces such as a vintage dresser with glass doors, or budget kitchen furniture can be used to store and show off your favourite china.

    More money to spend? Check out all of our kitchen ideas

    There’s so much you can do with a little imagination. Here are some more clever ideas to transform your scheme.

    Budget kitchen ideas

    1. Upcycle bed slats into a storage solution

    Budget kitchen ideas

    Image credit: Ti-Media

    This wall rack is actually a set of webbing-mounted bed slats hung from a couple of wall hooks. It is a really cost effective way to add extra storage into a kitchen, it also saves old bed slats from ending up in the bin. If you don’t have any bed slats lying around, leftover pieces of plywood cut into small pieces will also work sell. Just add S-hooks for hanging bits and bobs.

    2. Paint kitchen cabinets

    Kitchen flooring

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Painting your kitchen cabinets is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to create a fresh new look. With a cream background, it’s easy to give your kitchen a fresh feel by choosing from the latest colours available. If you plan to paint cabinets, be sure to prime them first. Wilko and B&Q sell furniture primer and a range of paints suitable for wood, melamine and MDF cupboards.

    3. Replace doors

    IKEA kitchen

    Image credit: IKEA

    If painting is not enough to change the look, you can look to replace doors and drawer fronts. Rather than buy a whole new fitted kitchen at a cost that could mean remortgaging the house, we’re talking about spending a far smaller amount to make a huge impact still. Take the fronts of the cupboards off and replace them with new doors to give the whole kitchen a brand new look on a budget.

    Pro tip: The finish can instantly change the feel of the whole space, from matt to high gloss or wood to acrylic – a new front is a sure fire way to make a new style statement.

    4. Spruce up a fridge with wallpaper

    budget kitchen ideas

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    If you can’t afford a swanky Smeg fridge but are desperate to give your fridge or freezer a splash of colour, why not get crafty with a can of spray paint as shown in this fridge hack. Alternatively for a less permanent option cover the front of the household appliance with a leftover roll of wallpaper attached with double sided sticky tape.

    5. Install new worktops

    Be inspired by this beautifully renovated barn in Buckinghamshire

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Dramatically change the look of your kitchen by replacing your existing worktops. Laminate is the most cost-effective to purchase. If you have spare cash, consider extras, such as heat rods that can be fitted into the surface for a permanent pan stand or a built-in draining board.

    6. Update your kitchen floor

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    If a tatty kitchen floor is letting the scheme down, you don’t need to go to the hassle of taking it all up as you can lay new flooring on top. Most kitchen designers will advise that you can simply run it underneath the plinths, instead of wall-to-wall, which cuts your costs further.

    Read all about it: Kitchen flooring – everything you need to know

    7. Improve your kitchen storage


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    It’s amazing how much we accumulate over the years. Try setting aside an afternoon to sort out your kitchen cupboards, then organise them so you have access to the things you use every day. Clearing your worktops can also instantly improve your kitchen and it won’t cost you anything at all. Alternatively, try rethinking storage solutions. Put up extra shelves and hanging rails to make use of every available space.

    Related: Kitchen storage ideas – to turn a chaotic kitchen into a neat and tidy space

    8. Make your own hanging rail

    Image credit: Jo Henderson

    By simply attaching two handles and a length of dowel to a wall you can create a storage solution for all manner of kitchen accessories. From foil to kitchen towel, the possibilities are endless. Above we see how two leather handles are making a stylish support for a kitchen memo board, on a roll of brown paper.

    See more details here: IKEA hacks – simple updates on best-selling basics that anyone can do

    9. Turn a door into a noticeboard with chalkboard paint

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Get creative and give your kitchen personality by creating a feature wall using chalkboard paint. A simple wall of black paint, specifically designed to be drawn on with chalk, is a great way to add a personal touch to your kitchen space. Not only does it give kids the perfect place to entertain themselves, still within view while you tend to jobs in the kitchen – it also creates an ideal family planner.

    10. Create a feature wall… or two!


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Wallpaper is a great way to add colour and vibrancy to an old kitchen. You can either cover the entire wall, or create a feature wall for a cheaper but equally stunning look. Make sure you choose wallpaper that is specially designed for the kitchen so it is heat and steam resistant.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Ideal Home Pair of San Fran Dining Chairs – Black, £149, Very

    11. Change your cabinet handles


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    If the basic structure of your kitchen is in good condition, you can change the look of the room by simply replacing the handles. Right now, leather and brass are hot finishes.

    12. Liven up your scheme with fun accessories

    Accessories will brighten your kitchen in an instant and you can choose a theme to bring the look together. Display selected items on open shelving and think about reorganising your worktop so you only have your favourites on show. If you have a dresser, this is the perfect place to show off neat stacks of crockery, cups and glassware.

    13. Use new fabrics

    Image credit: David Giles

    From new seat cushions for tired old chairs to pretty blinds and tablecloths, fabrics can work wonders and don’t have to cost the earth. Even a change of tea towels can make an impact.

    14. Install extra lighting

    Budget kitchen ideas

    Image credit: David Giles

    Ideally, you should have task lights, such as spotlights, over the worktops, halogen bulbs on the extractor and overhead lighting with ambient light in a dining area. Always use a qualified electrician for anything complicated – visit the Electrical Contractors’ Association at www.eca.co.uk to find one in your area.

    15. Buy a new statement appliance

    Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott

    New appliances can refresh your kitchen without changing any of the furniture. You’ll need to ensure that they will fit into the existing space, though. Freestanding appliances can be replaced more easily – and can make a real impact if you go for something brightly coloured, like this Smeg fridge. A new kettle or toaster will make a splash, too, and won’t cost the earth.

    Buy now: Smeg FAB30RF Fridge Freezer, A++ Energy Rating, 60cm Wide, Right-Hand Hinge, Orange, £1,225, John Lewis

    16. Add some panelling

    Budget kitchen ideas

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Panelling the walls is a great way to give a kitchen a fresh, country look without breaking the bank – and, best of all, you can do it in a weekend.

    17. Change the tap


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Taps add distinctive character to a kitchen and you can change the feel of yours in a jiffy by adding a copper tap or one with white ceramic handles for a country look, a stainless steel design for a contemporary feel or a distinctive black one to make a real statement.

    Here’s how: How to change a tap and give your kitchen a fresh new look

    17. Cover up with a curtain

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Integrating appliances can be a costly business but leaving them exposed sometimes means they can spoil the look of your kitchen. Soften the scheme by making a pretty curtain to conceal them and cover up any shelves or crannies that don’t have unit doors. Choose a fabric that emphasises the theme of your kitchen and links with the colours of the walls and accessories – whether it’s something muted like this, or a bolder pattern.

    18. Introduce vintage furniture


    Image credit: Holly Joliffe

    It’s easy to give an industrial slant to your kitchen and introduce a completely different feel with vintage furniture. Scour charity shops, car boot sales, reclamation yards and even skips (ask the homeowner first before you take anything). After all, what’s one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure! Old stools teamed with a row of stylish pendant lights can be used to create an edgy breakfast bar.

    19. Display colourful wall art

    Framed pictures Vannozzi kitchen makeover IH April p124

    Image credit: Colin Pole

    Add playful personality to a scheme and introduce a retro vibe with eye-catching wall art. For maximum effect, display against a cool white backdrop and bring in blasts of bold colour with pop art and signage in a palette of primary shades that can be picked out in your accessories. Vary the way artwork is displayed by hanging some on the wall and propping other pieces casually against it for an informal feel.

    20. Hang a pan rack

    Budget kitchen ideas

    Image credit: David Giles

    If you’re short on storage or simply want to have kitchen essentials close to hand, invest in a spacious ceiling rack for your big and bulky pans and utensils. It’s a great way of making a feature of a kitchen island and lending a period feel to a scheme. Soften the look by decorating with dried flowers and rustic baskets.

    21. Make a statement with lights

    Grey kitchen ideas

    Image credit: Darren Chung

    Shed new light on a budget kitchen scheme by incorporating dramatic ceiling lights. Oversized metal pendants are the perfect way to make a statement and introduce an industrial feel. Hang them over a table or island to create a focal point and provide both task and mood lighting. If you choose a smaller design, follow the stylist’s tip and hang them in threes for maximum impact.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Ideal Home Armina Dome Mirror Pendant Lights, £59.99, Very

    Related: Kitchen lighting – everything you need to know

    22. Alter the splashback

    Image credit: David Giles

    Splashbacks are perfect for protecting kitchen walls. Glass and stainless steel can be expensive options, but sometimes less is more and you can use a small amount to make a statement. Tiles, on the other hand, are a good budget buy and a great opportunity to add colour and pattern, although grouting needs to be regularly cleaned to prevent mould and mildew. Take your pick from standard size, mosaic or brick, and a selection of materials including ceramic, glass and stone.

    For more kitchen ideas read: 17 grey kitchen ideas that are stylish and sophisticated

    So there you have it – proof that you don’t need oodles of cash to create a stylish kitchen on a small budget.

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