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How do I save money on a kitchen renovation

How Do I Save Money On A Kitchen Renovation?

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01/20 - Renovation

How do I Save Money on a Kitchen Renovation?

12 Ways to Save Money on Your Kitchen Renovation |

Doing a Kitchen Renovation
on a Budget

For anyone who owns a property that needs some work, you’ll understand when I say, the struggle is real. You want to make it perfect NOW, but renovations are really expensive! In fact, a bathroom or kitchen renovation can cost a fortune. These are two of the most expensive spaces to update because of all the services that run in and out of these areas – water, electricity, and HVAC, to name a few. In addition, these renovations require fixtures, tiles, appliances and cabinetry that a bedroom or living room won’t need.

In my days as a contractor, I have re-thought, redesigned, or newly installed dozens of kitchens. Now that I help clients buy and sell real estate, I see two common considerations for a kitchen renovation:

  1. Buying real estate. Some buyers purchase property that need work, but they do not have a big budget for renovations after their purchase.
  2. Selling real estate. Some sellers who prepare to list a property, want to make improvements to the kitchen so it shows better. However, they don’t want to spend a fortune trying to guess what their potential buyers might want and need.

So, how do you save money a kitchen renovation?

12 Ways to Save Money
on Your Kitchen Renovation

Whether you’re buying or selling real estate, if you’re considering a kitchen renovation, here’s how you can remodel on a budget. Take a look at my personal list of the top 12 ways you can save money…

1. Paint existing cabinets.

If your cabinets are in good shape, you can paint them to extend their life. Look at the doors and boxes (essentially what the kitchen cabinets are), and if they’re in good shape, it could be as simple as a quick paint job. You’d be surprised what a colour change can do! Sometimes a paint job in a cool contemporary colour will get you a few more years of life out of the same kitchen. And, it might even save you from feeling like you’re visiting your grandparents’ home, every time you walk into it? Some painters will do this on site with brushes, others can remove the doors and spray them in a shop off site.

2. Replace cabinet doors.

Now, if the interior portions of your cabinets are in good shape, you can simply replace just the doors. There are cabinet makers out there who can remove any dated doors in your existing kitchen. They’ll likely take your cabinet doors to their shops, recreate them in a new stylish way, and reinstall them on the old boxes, if the interior components are reusable.

3. Update hinges and hardware.

Replacing the hinges and hardware alone can make a huge improvement. Sometimes all a kitchen needs is a little vision. If you have stained greasy brass handles and hinges, a great hardware supplier will have stylishly finished new handles, knobs, and replacement hinges. Often, this small change can make a big difference.

4. Don’t move the plumbing.

Once you start moving the layout of the kitchen around and open walls to move the plumbing, appliances, and electrical, things can take an expensive turn. If the layout of the kitchen is fine and you just dislike how it looks, then don’t reinvent the wheel. Just update the cosmetic side of it.

5. Don’t move the appliances.

Even if you’re looking to update your appliances, don’t relocate them. As mentioned, making these kinds of movements to a kitchen layout becomes a lot more costly.

6. Don’t move the electrical.

Again, even if you’re updating electrical, don’t move anything! Unless you’re prepared to spend more than you anticipated, you’ll want to keep the electrical where it is.

7. Only put finished floors where they will be seen.

If you are using expensive flooring, like a nice hardwood or stone/tile in the kitchen, don’t bother using it where you will put cabinets and appliances over top. Think of it this way, if it will never be seen again after the kitchen is finished, why pay for it? Just use an inexpensive substitute of the same thickness to fill in for the pricy finished flooring in the exposed areas. Make sure you plan the layout well if the floor goes down before the cabinets go in!

8. Use an alternate to stone or stone product countertops.

Marble, quartz, corian and granite counters are pricey and add up fast! There are some impressive laminates on the market these days. A lot of big box stores carry butcher block slabs that will do the job for a fraction of the price. Not to mention, it’ll look great and last for many years if properly maintained.

9. Reuse your existing appliances.

Stainless steel is the ‘must-have’ standard of today’s kitchens. However, do a Google search: many owners use or re-use appliances in white, black or even some retro colours and styles. In the right space, they can look unique and outstanding. Hint: give them a really good cleaning so they look like new, too!

10. Update the backsplash and floor.

Like #3 on updating hinges and hardware, take a step back and analyze before you gut the whole room. Ask yourself, can some small changes to a few elements bring out the best in the overall space and buy 5-10 more years of comfortable use? A floor and/or backsplash upgrade can work wonders.

11. Try enhancing the lighting.

Can you add some pot lights? Under cabinet LED lighting? Update all of those ancient yellowing fixtures and see if it brings a new sparkle to the old space.

12. Admit when you shouldn’t do anything.

Sometimes a few cosmetic changes can’t hide the truth of the matter: it needs to be redone. Don’t waste your time and hard earned dollars trying to save the unsaveable. If any of the previous suggestions to save are not going to satisfy you, buy you more time, or fool anyone into thinking it looks better, wait until you have the budget to do it right.

Questions About Your Kitchen Renovation?

If you want to buy a home that you can put your own personal touch on, or you’re thinking of selling a home and don’t know if you should renovate it before you list, get in touch with us. At Fox Marin, we help people with both of those challenges all the time and we’d love to meet you and help you out.


This article is written by Fox Marin Sales Representative, Ian Busher. With an extensive background in carpentry and contracting, Ian is our resident “Renovations Expert”! He takes pride in his ability to assess the quality and condition of a house. This, in tandem with his talent for speaking to the feasibility and cost of potential renovations, and his eye for the aesthetic details of a property, makes him a powerful partner for anyone looking to buy a home in the Toronto real estate market.