Budget kitchen ideas – spend less without compromising on style

Our budget kitchen ideas could save you hundreds if not thousands on your kitchen makeover

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.

1. 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 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.

2. 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.

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. Create a feature wall 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.

7. 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

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Buy a new 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

13. Update kitchen walls

Budget kitchen ideas

Image credit: David Brittain

Painting the walls is a great way to give a kitchen a fresh, new look without breaking the bank – and, best of all, you can do it in a day. If you have wooden units, opt for a splash of colour and paint a feature wall, or all the walls, in one of the season’s latest shades.

14. 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

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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

20. 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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