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How to Revamp an Old Kitchen on a New Homeowner's Budget

calander Mar 1 , 2021 user-icon Nash Painting

If you’re a brand new homeowner, odds are you’re on a limited budget, which means you might end up looking primarily at homes that could use an update. Indeed, purchasing a home with outdated spaces can yield you a significant discount, but you’ll have to foot the bill for most, if not all, of the renovations. This is quite the conundrum and a common one at that. It’s not easy to strike the balance between upfront costs and long-term investments in what could be your home for the foreseeable future. The best way to navigate this challenge is to consider which renovations will yield the highest return on investment (ROI). Generally speaking, kitchen updates provide the largest ROI, which makes sense as kitchens are regarded as the most important and valuable rooms of any home.

Despite the potential gains from a complete kitchen renovation, though, the initial costs can be extremely high, ranging anywhere from $20,000-$50,000 on average -- enough to turn most people away from such an undertaking. So, what is a new homeowner like yourself to do? The good news is that you don’t need to break the bank to make significant and lasting improvements to your kitchen. Let’s outline the various ways to revamp an old kitchen on a new homeowner’s budget.

How to Improve Your Kitchen on a Budget

A Little Lighting Goes a Long Way

Lighting is one of those interior elements that often gets taken for granted. And yet, the way a space is lit has major implications on its overall aesthetic. If your kitchen is lit by outdated incandescent bulbs in basic, boring fixtures, you have a prime opportunity to update your kitchen with a fairly minimal adjustment. For one thing, replace those incandescent bulbs with fresh LED lights -- LEDs are brighter, more energy-efficient, and offer a wider variety of color options. Don’t forget about those fixtures, either. You might consider puck lighting underneath your cabinets for additional light that’s both beautiful and practical; or, hang pendant light fixtures over your kitchen’s island to create a focal point. The possibilities are endless when it comes to kitchen lighting. And while some bulbs and fixtures can be somewhat costly, a simple lighting update is far less expensive than other kitchen renovation projects.

Lose the Wallpaper

Wallpaper might have been all the rage 50 years ago, but interior design trends have long since moved on. Not only is wallpaper a potential eyesore -- it’s also not a practical choice for kitchens, as moisture and temperature fluctuations can damage wallpaper and cause it to peel away from the surface. Whatever your reasons for wanting to remove your kitchen’s wallpaper, doing so is a relatively inexpensive yet highly effective way to modernize an otherwise outdated space. It’s worth noting, though, that if you plan on removing your wallpaper, you want to get it done right the first time. As such, it’s best to hire a professional to tackle this project. While there are various home remedies to remove wallpaper out there, making a mistake can be messy and end up costing you more than you bargained for.

After your wallpaper has been properly removed from your kitchen walls, it’s time to perform some residential interior painting. You might also need to make some repairs if any surfaces are damaged after wallpaper removal. When you consider these additional tasks (i.e. repairs, surface prep, and painting), this kitchen renovation can become costly. Fortunately, you can save time and money by hiring one contractor to oversee and handle all of it.

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

You don’t always need to paint or repaint your entire kitchen to give it the facelift it needs. Indeed, deciding to paint or stain kitchen cabinets can be enough to overhaul your kitchen’s entire appearance. Of course, the amount of time and money you spend on this project will depend on the current condition of your cabinets and what you wish to accomplish. The cost to strip and paint kitchen cabinets, for instance, will likely be higher than the cost to simply coat or seal them. Either way, the best way to approach a cabinet painting/staining project is to remove hardware and doors, coat those in a remote location, and carefully coat the frames and boxes, making sure to not get paint or stain on the floors, walls, etc. All in all, a cabinet painting or refinishing project can take 3-5 days (or more), but the results are often worth the effort, providing a significant ROI and brightening up your interior.

Remove Excess Cabinetry

Speaking of kitchen cabinets, you might find that some of them are simply unneeded and just taking up space that could be used another way. Cabinets that are higher up are usually the first to go in this scenario, as they’re often difficult to reach in the first place. Extracting these extraneous cabinets is usually a job for professionals, and you’ll want to paint the sections that were once behind said cabinets to make the wall seamless. Once you’ve accomplished this task, you can use this freed up space for shelving, decor, additional lighting -- the list goes on.

Update Your Hardware

If an entire cabinet refinishing project is beyond your budget for the time being, you might instead simply replace your cabinet’s hardware. The material and labor costs for this project are both relatively minor compared to other kitchen renovations, and you might be surprised at how big a difference fresh, modern hardware can make.

Make a Splash (Backsplash)

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen is another way to add a strong visual dynamic that’s relatively low-effort and cost-effective. These additions typically go on the wall and may or may not stretch the length of the wall. When comparing backsplash options, consider how the texture and color will play off of your current interior house paint. Some homeowners will go for a larger backsplash that takes up most of one of their walls while others will opt for a smaller feature that provides just enough of an accent to get the point across.

Don’t Be Afraid to Decorate

Even if you don’t change much about your old kitchen, you can make it feel newer and far more personalized by installing decorative elements that suit your style. These choices can be both functional and fashionable, too -- consider an elegant spice rack that matches your cabinets and organizes your spices, a stylish frame that serves as a drying rack and/or holder for kitchen utensils, or perhaps a repurposed glass jars for plant life and herbs -- whatever you do, make your kitchen your own.

Everything Old Is New Again in Your Kitchen

A kitchen renovation is one of the most exciting, exhausting, and potentially expensive projects you can take on. As we’ve shown, though, even a few minor touches can make all the difference, transforming an outdated kitchen into a modern marvel that’s all your own. Whether you need advice on design/color choices, help getting rid of your wallpaper, and/or experts who can efficiently refinish your cabinets, Nash Painting can do all of the above and more. We serve homes of all types and sizes in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!