In the ten, nearly eleven years we've lived in this house, Brian and I have never actually redone the kitchen. Oh, we've tackled little bits of it here and there—we painted the room and refinished the cabinets before moving in, and we've replaced the cabinet handles, added rolling shelves to the pantry, replaced the fridge and, more recently, the microwave, and added various small storage items like a coat rack and knife insert—but we've never attempted a top-to-bottom makeover of the room. All the major features—cabinets, counters, flooring, lighting—are pretty much as they were when we moved in.
There are two reasons we've never tackled the kitchen. First, it functions pretty well as is, and we're very much of the if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it school of home design. But there are some things in the room—I'm looking at you, nasty old laminate countertops—that, though functional, leave a lot to be desired aesthetically. But we've never replaced those either, on account of the second reason: cost. Even though we've got a grand total of maybe eight linear feet of countertop in our kitchen, when I checked the price of replacing it—just with a nicer laminate, not stone or anything—it came to nearly a grand, including installation. And I thought, you know, maybe the old counters aren't that bad.
Well, I can't do anything about problem number one: if a job isn't worth the trouble, it isn't worth the trouble. But I've found a solution—actually, a whole bunch of solutions—to the cost problem. And I've laid them all out in my latest Money Crashers article: How to Remodel Your Kitchen on a Budget – Costs & Design Ideas. It starts out with some general advice like where to buy secondhand materials and which jobs are reasonable to DIY, and then it moves on to specific ideas for saving on cabinets, counters, appliances, flooring, backsplash, and lighting.
So, if you've been thinking about redoing your kitchen—or just a part of it—but you don't think you have the money, check this piece out. You might discover that the remodel of your dreams is within reach after all.