This is one of the very few before pictures of the kitchen I own.
I didn’t write a blog or have a Facebook or a Twitter or a Pinterest account back then, so I never took before pictures.
I was too busy with the during.
And that during?
It was so super budget friendly that it squeaked when it walked.
It had to be.
I had already spent all of our money tearing down walls and adding plumbing and putting built-ins in the butler’s pantry that there wasn’t much left over by the time we got to the kitchen. Some might call that poor planning. Me? I call it time to get creative.
Here are my favorite quick and easy budget upgrades to our kitchen.
1. Transom made from old windows
Here’s the after of the kitchen with the original floors (super budget friendly to use the original flooring underneath layers of carpet and linoleum).
And you can see one of my favorite projects at the top of the picture.
It’s a transom we added to the opening between the living room and kitchen.
It started out life like this.
It was a large window and we used one of the rows of the panes to make the transom.
You can see the after here.
And from the other side here.
And here’s the how to on how we installed it.
2. Painted brick
This was a super budget friendly upgrade to the kitchen.
See the fireplace (or back of the fireplace from the other room)?
It was red.
Not a pretty red. The kind of red that has stuck around the kitchen and eaten too many snacks kind of red.
We primed it and painted it the same color as the walls.
I was a little hesitant at first, but then I never looked back.
The painted surface makes the brick blend in instead of looking snack-bloated.
3. Free-standing kitchen island
We debated on the island when we remodeled the kitchen.
I went back and forth on a built-in island because I love the look of them so much that I get island envy if I spend too much time on Pinterest.
But it wasn’t in the budget.
Not even close.
So we got this free-standing island from IKEA.
It was 1/5 of the cost of a built-in island and I’m so happy with it.
It’s held up all these years and it keeps everything right where I need it.
The stools for the island came from IKEA, too.
4. Faux transom windows
See the faux transom windows over the windows on either side of the door?
They weren’t always there.
You can kind of see the space above the windows in the very first before pictures.
File it under awkward.
Here’s another picture so you can see it better close-up.
All it took was a little molding and a little imagination.
You can see the entire DIY here.
5. Peel and stick tile
Easiest, best, most economical solution that I’m still in love with seven years later.
Peel and stick tile in the butler’s pantry.
This room is right off the kitchen.
You can see it peeking out here.
Here’s the 411 (total aside: does anyone even say that anymore) on how we installed the tile.
6. Door molding
See the molding over the door that leads into the front room?
See how finish carpenter high end it looks?
It started out life as a 1″ x 6″ board.
And then we added door molding.
It was an easy budget upgrade.
See the DIY here.
7. Plate rack turned recipe wall
School House Rock always said that necessity was the mother of invention.
This recipe wall started out as a blank wall that was kind of an awkward hallway between two rooms.
I couldn’t add a big piece of furniture and it looks so empty.
Enter the recipe wall.
It started out as a plate rack.
That turned into a recipe wall.
Thanks, School House Rock.
8. Glass front cabinet doors
See the doors at the very top of the cabinets?
I saw them somewhere and dreamed about them forever.
Until I saw how much they cost.
So instead? I just ordered every day builder’s grade cabinets and had the doors made separately and painted.
It was about 1/2 the cost of custom cabinets.
I love the kitchen and it’s budget self.
But my favorite post I’ve ever written about the kitchen has nothing to do with remodeling and everything to do with overlooking the obvious.
Here’s a little story to go with our budget remodeling.
I hope it makes you smile on a Monday. 🙂
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