4 Smart Ways to Save Money on a Kitchen Remodel

by | May 12, 2023 | Signature Kitchen & Bath Blog | 0 comments

Kelly Dawson for Real Simple on ways to save money on a kitchen remodel. Let the professional remodelers at SRB Signature Kitchen & Bath take the stress out of your next kitchen or bath remodel.

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Here’s a fact that should surprise no one: Kitchens are expensive. They can cost anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of your home’s value when brand new, and they can be just as pricey when renovated. But the lesser-known tidbit about kitchens is that when there’s an opportunity to splurge, there’s also a chance to save.

If you’re crunching the numbers on a potential kitchen renovation, it can be tough to know when to pinch pennies and where to go all in. While the bottom line may be different for every kitchen, the overall cost can be significantly impacted by these items: countertops, backsplashes, cabinetry, and appliances.

To aid in the art of a reasonable budget, four experienced designers—Orlando Soria of Build Me Up on Discovery+, Natalie Myers of Veneer Designs, and Aly Morford and Leigh Lincoln of Pure Salt Interiors—share their advice for strategizing. Once you’re able to navigate potential savings on these four big-ticket items, you won’t be surprised when your kitchen looks more expensive than it is.

Opt for Engineered Stone or Butcher Block Counters

When selecting a countertop, weigh durability with cost to find the right fit for how often you cook. Sometimes, less durable materials are surprisingly more expensive. “For example, marble is less durable than granite or quartzite,” Lincoln says, yet it’s more pricey.

Engineered Stone

“From there, opt for natural or manufactured stone, depending on your budget,” Myers notes that engineered stone can look just as good as natural stone but tends to cost less and be more durable. “Think outside the box if needed. You might consider terrazzo slabs,” Myers adds.

Either way, it’s best to choose stone countertops in neutral shades to stand up to changing trends so that your kitchen remains timeless (and in less need of costly updates years down the road).

Butcher Block

Those who aren’t big chefs and don’t necessarily need the same resilient quality of stone can consider butcher block as another option. “Obviously, the material is a lot cheaper than quartz or stone, but it has the added benefit of having a much lower fabrication cost,” Soria says.

“Fabricating countertops is a big business because it has to be so precise, so using an easily installed product brings down your labor cost quite a bit. The downside is that you’ll likely have to replace butcher block more often.” If you like the look of a patina, a butcher block counter that develops signs of wear over the years could be the most affordable option.

Experiment With Inexpensive Backsplashes

Classic subway tile is the most cost-effective option, Soria says, but don’t overlook the impact it might have with fresh grout colors. You can also play around with the design—and just how much you decide to tile.

Tile Patterns

“One of my favorite things to do is to get creative with tile patterns,” Myers explains. “You can do so with fairly inexpensive options, like subway and concrete tiles.” For instance, choosing longer subway tiles in a vertical layout can feel more modern, especially in a bolder color, or you might pick a herringbone design for a slightly upscale finish.

No Backsplash

Another budget-friendly option? Not installing as much of a backsplash. “To keep costs low, keep the design simple,” Morford says. “Use a minimal footprint and only tile where you need.” Tiling behind the sink and range works fine, as long as you don’t mind cleaning a little more often.

Vinyl Decals

Finally, if you truly need to trim costs, don’t forget the impact of decals. “If you have existing backsplash tile, you can apply vinyl decals to update the look with a pattern and skip the demolition process altogether,” Myers adds.

Upcycle the Cabinetry

The most cost-effective solution for cabinetry still in good condition is straightforward: Give it a facelift. “Simply repaint or re-lacquer it,” Soria says. Myers agrees, noting that a local cabinet maker can build new doors for existing boxes if they’ve seen better days. If you need new cabinets, you have a couple of cost-saving options.

Maple Cabinets

“I recommend maple wood boxes if you can’t reuse what’s there,” Myers adds. “I know the MDF boxes with thermofoil faces are tempting, but they will not withstand daily wear and tear and will lead to regret in a few years when you find yourself needing to renovate again. Please trust me on this one.”

Open Shelving

You can also save money and create a new layout by replacing some sections of upper cabinetry with open shelving. “If you opt-in to open shelving and have blank space to fill, I recommend getting the hardware and lighting you really love because it won’t have an immense impact on the total budget,” Myers says. “Those details will elevate the overall look and get you the feeling you are ultimately after.”