Skip to Content

Clever DIY Kitchen Remodel Ideas For People With Small Budgets

Do you love makeover rooms in your home but have a very limited budget? Bring your old kitchen into this era with some of our favorite cheap DIY kitchen projects.

oak kitchen cabinets with stainless appliance and new image of cheap kitchen remodel with painted cabinets and backsplash

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy.

Our Kitchen

Our dated oak kitchen has been DIYed over the years. From a glass tile backsplash to some new appliances and the first time we painted the kitchen cabinets white. It is funny how we view our decorating choices as we get older and how our home decor styles evolve. 

(and personal style has changed). No more low-rise jeans for me!

We definitely bought our house when oak was all the rage and even 8 years ago beige was still an okay color choice. We still love our favorite neutral wall color, but our style and tastes have evolved. The good news for us is that we were able to use budget-friendly DIY projects to update our kitchen once more.

Ideas For Oak Cabinets

before kitchen makeover oak cabinets with laminate countertops and stainless steel appliances.

How to bridge the gap between old and new home decor styles?

We now try to find more timeless options when picking our home decor. However, we didn’t want to add anything new to this kitchen if we didn’t have to. So what do we do when things are in good shape but ugly?

Consider Painting

Painting cabinets and our tile backsplash really transformed this kitchen to fit right in with our current aesthetic. A fresh coat of paint can go such a long way. I even tried to get away with only painting the bottom cabinets.

But once one thing got refreshed, everything needed a fresh coat or two of paint. 

Not interested in painting?

Here is a small kitchen makeover that was done without painting the oak cabinets! We love all the modern touches like the new matte black hardware and faucet.

oak kitchen cabinets in modern looking kitchen makeover.

Read more: 13 DIY Projects To Get Rid Of That Ugly Oak

cheap kitchen remodel ideas with oak dated kitchen before picture and after picture with two-toned painted cabinets

How expensive is it to have a pro paint your kitchen cabinets?

According to Home Advisor, a professional cabinet painter may charge up to “$100 per door and $25 per drawer or $75-$150 per cabinet”. Normally spraying and just brush/roller are similar costs. Yes, you will get a better finish with a sprayer (but at what cost)?

hand holding small foam roller painting cabinet door with white kitchen cabinet in the background.

For reference, our kitchen has 12 upper cabinets with doors, an island with 3 levels of drawers and two cabinets and 11 lower cabinets doors, and 12 drawers. The general layout of our kitchen is 12’ x 14’=168 sq ft.

The upper cabinets are approximately 40 sq. ft and the lower cabinets are approx. 43.5 sq. ft. of the actual cabinet.

Therefore, using the above painting statistic our guesstimate is that a professional paint job would cost around $2800 to professionally get our kitchen cabinets sprayed.

12 upper cabinets/doors x 100=$1200

13 lower cabinet/doors X 100=$1300

12 lower drawers x $25=$300

According to Homeserve, an average cabinet paint price for a 200-square-foot kitchen is between $2000-$5000. 

How much did these DIY kitchen cabinets and backsplash painting projects cost?

Around $150 for the paint and supplies. Please note we also have paint and supplies left over. It is safe to say that to have our kitchen professionally painted would not just be a few hundred dollars.

The 150ish dollars spent on paint and supplies (new foam roller, Frog tape, deglosser, paint tray) was definitely worth it to not only paint the cabinets, but also the backsplash tile. 

glass tile kitchen backsplash being painted in budget kitchen remodel idea.

You can read all about our cabinet door painting process and other DIY cabinet painting tips.

How much paint was needed to paint your kitchen cabinets?

Since our cabinets were already primed and painted white, I did not have to prime them. We talk all about how to repaint painted cabinets here. For this cheap kitchen remodel (8 years later), I purchased a gallon of SW Rookwood Sash Green and SW Emerald Urethane Trim in the base color (High Reflective White). I have about half of a gallon left of each paint and I also used white paint to paint the backsplash. 

What is the best white color paint for kitchen cabinets?

We compared different white paints and decided on the cleanest and purest color in the Emerald paint. We did not want to contrast with the current white on our moldings. Make sure you test out your paint colors in different lighting situations and compare them to your current paint colors on moldings, etc.

green paint can.

Sherwin Williams says that a gallon of paint should cover around 100 sq. ft. And with my calculations above, this makes complete sense why I would have a little more than a ½ a gallon left of the paint. I have a little less green left because I also had to paint the outside of the island and I didn’t include that in my sq footage estimates. 

How much is a gallon of Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Enamel Trim?

In our local store, the list price is so $95.99. Proclassic was our favorite paint (before we discovered Emerald) is 79.99. However, don’t let those prices fool you. I was able to get 30% off.  For the Emerald Urethane Enamel Trim I paid around $67 a gallon.  

Pro Tip: When shopping for paint at Sherwin Williams I always make sure to buy the paint on sale. In the past, they have had even a 40% off sale in the summer. However, my store associate told me that this year this was probably not happening due to the supply shortages they have been experiencing.

Read More: 55+ DIY Home Projects You Can Do This Weekend

What to do if you can’t get actual paint samples?

This paint shortage actually caused me not to be able to test out the lower kitchen cabinet color. But I found Sampilze and this was a saving grace. Most likely I will always use these large peel-and-stick samples when trying out new colors. 

You can always try to make your own boards and deal with that mess. Or just order these. We wrote all about our Samplize experience here. 

Besides painting kitchen cabinets, what are other ways to cheaply remodel your kitchen?

  1. Change hardware (or simply clean it)
  2. Spray paint hardware including the hinges
  3. Replace or redo countertops (we have seen countertop painting using this kit, using contact paper or paying someone to come and replace your counters). Yes, I know it’s not DIY, but at least everything else is.
  4. Add new seating like our easy barstools
  5. Change out light fixtures (we love our splurge of a West Elm chandelier over our island)
  6. Paint your backsplash or replace your backsplash
  7. Replace, paint appliances or add contact paper if you are daring.

Why did we choose to paint our backsplash tile?

multi-colored glass mosaic backsplash before painting in kitchen above granite countertops with green painter's tape protecting them.

The glass mosaic tile we had in our kitchen was truly dating it. Either we had to take it off and redo the whole thing or try to paint it. We figured if it looked horrible we were going to take it out anyway.

However, this DIY kitchen project turned out so much better than we anticipated. We just love the clean and simple look. The only thing that is a little off is the bright white with our current countertops, but white was definitely the safest bet for the color.

Kitchen Before Any Painting

ugly kitchen cabinets before makeover.

Our Kitchen 8 Years Ago

painted white kitchen cabinets with glass mosaic backsplash and capiz shell chandelier.

Our cheap DIY kitchen remodel now

DIY kitchen remodel ideas with green painted lower cabinets and white upper cabinets and painted glass tilel backsplash

We love our two-toned cabinets. I never would have thought to do this a few years ago. But with younger kids, the idea of darker lower cabinets was really appealing. Anyone who has come over always comments on how they love this color.

kitchen with white and green painted cabinets, industrial stools and stainless appliances.

I am so happy I chose to be daring with these on-trend bold kitchen cabinet color.

From Oak To Light & Airy

oak kitchen cabinets with glass tile backsplash being installed.

SW rookwood sash green painted lower cabinets and white upper cabinets in kitchen makeover.

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

Hopefully, my home decor tastes won’t change too much. If they do, I can always try another budget-friendly kitchen remodel to fit those current tastes. 

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Monday 27th of February 2023

Wow, this is a terrific post! My family and I are planning to remodel our old kitchen in the next few months. We are debating a few things, such as the total cost, whether we should do it ourselves or hire someone, whether we need a dumpster rental and what style and color scheme we would like. Your post is helpful and we will definitely be using your tips!


Sunday 8th of January 2023

Looks great and thanks for all the tips. So did you use a countertop kit on your countertop?


Monday 9th of January 2023

Hi Rozie. The one expensive thing we did in our kitchen was getting granite countertops put in. We have seen some awesome DIY ideas using countertop kits and wish we would have given that a try a first to see how it worked.


Thursday 13th of October 2022

Amazing. My wife and I have been slowly, very slowly, updating our own kitchen. most recently we did cabinet refinishing in coral springs and it went great. We are considering updating our pantry or doing new hardwood floors next.


Monday 28th of March 2022

Hello Erin, Thank you for sharing your experience. It is much appreciated. Can I ask if you could see the wood grain after painting? How much did you sand and how is it holding up? I have pretty much the identical hand rail and cupboards and google brought me to your story. Thank you.


Tuesday 29th of March 2022

Hi Selina. Painting the lower kitchen cabinets with Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel was a game-changer. Our painted oak in our home with SW proclassic was great but after 8 years needed some touching up. This led me to add color and repaint the white. I did not mind seeing the grain a little and the Emerald line got rid of any tannin bleed through we had. You can always use a product called Aqua coat first if you are worried about the grain. I will put a link in the post above. Good luck with your DIY kitchen remodel project.

Alex Sutton

Wednesday 9th of February 2022

I love this! The two-tone looks and amazing and makes your kitchen feel fresh and open and I bet they look a lot cleaner with kids running around than the white ones would. Painting my cabinets has been on my to-do list for the longest time, but have never wanted to commit to starting it and need to stop halfway through or messing something up. I love the idea of painting over the backsplash to give it an update. Did you have any issues painting over the mosaic tiles? Thanks for sharing!


Thursday 10th of February 2022

Hi Alex. Thanks for your comment on our two-toned kitchen cabinets. We love the green and white cabinets and the backsplash tile project was honestly one of the easiest DIY painting projects we have done.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.