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Clever DIY Kitchen Remodel Ideas For People With Small Budgets

Make your old kitchen cabinets look new + a few other DIY kitchen projects

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.

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The original before kitchen: Oak cabinets everywhere!

before kitchen makeover oak cabinets

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?

PAINT….of course. 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 of two of paint. 

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

Pin For Later!

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)?

small foam roller painting cabinet door

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 leftover. It is safe to say that to have our kitchen professional painted would not just be a few hundred dollars. Therefore, 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 (Highly Reflective White). I have about a half of a gallon left of each paint and I also used the 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 whatever color you choose that you test it out in different lighting situations and compare it to your current paint colors on moldings, etc.

Emerald Urethane Trim Paint and Pro Classic Paint From Sherwin Williams

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.  So for the Emerald Urethane Enamel Trim I paid around $67 a gallon.  

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 pay 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. This House Beautiful article shows some creative contact paper projects. 

Why did we choose to paint our backsplash tile?

glass mosaic backsplash before painting

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.

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

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

Follow us on Pinterest or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

My favorite before and after photos of our cheap kitchen makeover

oak kitchen cabinets with glass tile backsplash

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

Hopefully, my home decor tastes won’t change too much, but if they do…

I can always try another budget-friendly kitchen remodel to fit those current tastes. 

home diy projects: painted kitchen cabinets, bathroom makeover, file cabinet makeover, canvas art and spray painted flower pots
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