DIY Kitchen Makeover Ideas-On a Budget

chopping boards near oven under hood

Anyone with enough money can hire a designer and contractor to give their kitchen a makeover. Therein lies the problem my friends-enough money. Well that, and some of us really enjoy some unique DIY projects. This is how I’ve found myself surrounded in a semi-finished kitchen, trying to make the best makeover decisions, all on a budget.

Fun fact, I’m not a designer. Nor am I a contractor. But alas, I’m not useless. Armed with Pinterest, Google, and YouTube I’ve waded into the trenches of research to find the absolute BEST DIY kitchen makeover ideas, all on a reasonable budget.

Diy kitchen makeover ideas

Any good kitchen makeover begins with inspiration. Create a kitchen inspiration board (here is mine to help you get started!) and start tracking everything that you find that you love. Save everything from colors to accessories and lighting. You “may” want to look at changing the footprint. However, a word of caution, this get out of hand quickly!

Simple color updates

So let’s start by looking at some great kitchen makeovers that focus on just a little paint and elbow grease. After managing our Awkward Space and adding a bench seat in our kitchen, it was on to paint!

The Flooring Girl rocked some color with these beautiful cabinets. I absolutely love the beautiful blue-grey-green color she chose!

We are actually in the middle of updated our cabinets right now. I’ll let you know right away when those posts are up and ready!

But remember, you don’t necessarily have to paint your cabinets to give your diy kitchen makeover a whole new look. Sometimes, simply cleaning up the walls and slapping on a new or different wall color can change the whole feel of a room. Sherwin-Williams, my preferred paint brand has some great resources to help you visualize how different colors will look in your kitchen.

In fact, I have a whole board on Pinterest, just filled with ideas about colors that I want to paint my kitchen!

Here are some of my favorite ideas!

Rethink cabinet placement

One of the first things I decided that I wanted to do when we were looking at making some updates to our kitchen was to take advantage of the whole “open shelving” trend. I just wanted the opportunity to do some light displaying, without having to mess with too much in the way of keeping them clean and tidy. We are attempting to simplify our life, so we can appreciate a more minimalist look.

Raise up your upper cabinets

Here you can see where we raised our upper cabinets about 6 inches. Before that area was just a place to collect dust bunnies and hide candy from my kids. Now we have a small, narrow shelf that we can easily keep items we access daily. Here on this one you see our glasses and my Grandma’s recipe box (LOVE!). And the one on the other side of the range keeps salt, pepper, and some pretty bowls. All of which we use every single day.

The whole project honestly took less than a day, even with convincing my darling hubby to help me do it 🙂 You can check out the full details of this bonus project here.

Take them out all together

Back in the 80’s- 90’s, apparently people didn’t really have any interest in actually seeing each other while they were talking to each other. Many kitchens came with peninsulas in their design (not terrible) but also with banks of cabinets above the peninsula. Effectively cutting off communication to whoever happened to be unlucky enough to be the chef. Here are some great ideas on how people got creative to open up their space, without knocking out walls.

Oh Bunches of Joy, I can’t even tell you how much I’m loving your new kitchen design! Open that sucker up!!!

Or these folks over at House of Hempworths got a little crazy with it- they took out a bank of cabinets and a wall!

Something to keep in mind before you bust out the sledge hammer… Check the ceiling. You may need to plan a patched in area where you removed the upper cabinets. There are some ways around this, especially if you have a textured ceiling, but it isn’t too difficult for an average DIY-er.

Pick a feature wall

When I saw this peel and stick wall paper I absolutely fell in love! (As of the writing of this post, Amazon has it on sale for 54% off!) After spending hours and hours removing wall paper at my parent’s house, I swore that I would NEVER put it in mine. Well, then along came peel and stick. I was skeptical at first, but seriously folks, it really means peel and stick! It was so easy, now I want to do a little bit of it in every single room in my house. Here is how mine turned out and a few others that I love and plan to do in other rooms of my house.

DIY Kitchen Makeover Ideas- Accent wall
Who knew peel-and-stick really meant, peel and stick?!?!
Mirei Peel and Stick Wallpaper
Close UP look! Find it here…

Rework your range hood

Gone are the days of the over the stove microwaves. If there is one project you should tackle for your DIY kitchen makeover, this one should certainly be on the list. After all, as a short person, I have to wonder who ever thought it would be a good idea to put a microwave over a potentially hot surface while trying to get something hot out of it? Seriously people. Come on. Here are some excellent ideas to give your range hood a new look, minus the microwave, without spending a fortune on a new custom hood.

This idea by Simply Beautiful By Angela combines easy to do with practical. It takes a little time, but overall the project isn’t too difficult to tackle for a moderate level Diy-er. I do have to admit though, my hubby did the bulk of the work for our project.

Here is our take on the range hood/ over the range diy kitchen project. We were so fortunate to have access to old barn wood on our farm so we were able to give it so much character. I designed this and the hubby built it for me. It basically involves creating a frame around the vent (I ordered this one from Amazon– It was reasonably priced and has worked great for over two years now). Then he basically cut and added the boards across the top and front to cover the frame. I have a complete tutorial that you can find here. Along with my plans.

I was concerned about protecting the wood with polyurethane and such, so I just spent a few days wiping on the same Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner that we use for our counter tops and it really did a great job bringing out the character in the wood while protecting it without all of the harsh chemicals that I’m ridiculously sensitive to.

Light it up

Adding or changing out lighting is a great DIY kitchen makeover idea. Some ideas might be a little more involved, such as adding recessed lighting where there was none. But other ideas aren’t very difficult at all! For example, we added this LED light kit super-easily to add some under cabinet task lighting.

Literally, the options are endless!

This lighting is so cool! You can literally change the colors to anything. You can even program it to blink to the beat of music. But honestly, I just can’t handle this, so we just keep it on a functional, bright level. You don’t need an electrician to install this- all you need is a plug and away you go. Not to mention it is super easy to attach if you do like I did and use the tiny command hooks to keep the lights neatly tucked up in the cabinet so you can’t even see them.

Here is the complete post on how we changed out pretty much every single bulb, fixture, and layout you could think of in our kitchen.

There are literally lighting ideas for every single budget and style.

Here are some of the ideas I have going for our kitchen

Pick out a few details projects

There are many that would argue that the difference between a good kitchen design and a great kitchen design is found in the details. It is all about how you use the trim, moldings, and even outlet covers that really make a big difference when you are talking about DIY kitchen makeover ideas, especially on a budget!

DIY kitchen makeover ideas on a budget

Big bang for your buck comes from a million small, easy DIY ideas that can really make a big impact in your kitchen. We have a half wall that I don’t love, but can’t get rid of because it is structural and really, just not worth it. So what’s the best way to handle it? Dress it up and make it intentional. Here we added a bit of edge molding. All you need is a few cuts, finishing nails, a little caulk, and paint.

Small amounts of molding

Simply dress up the end panels of your cabinets to give them a custom look. You could do a shaker style, use beadboard panel, or replicate the style of your cabinet doors. Or even hang up a towel bar and make it usable space by adding S-hooks to display cutting boards or utensils.

Here is a step-by-step example from Thrifty Decor Chick

Add architectural interest

Just because your house didn’t come complete with exposed beams or custom arched openings, doesn’t meant that you have to sacrifice architectural style. Adding custom corbels or exposed beams are great DIY kitchen makeover ideas on a budget.

Bower Power Blog made this amazing looking (non-structural) beam out of only 3 pieces of wood. Check out their blog for step by step instructions. Not only that, but if you followed one of my previous tips in this post, this would also be a great way to turn a negative into a positive.

If you had a peninsula project in which you took out the upper cabinets, this would be a great way to turn a negative into a positive. Instead of hiding the ceiling patch, highlight it by adding a faux structural beam. If you are feeling especially feisty, you could run island lighting pendants over it to light it up.

BowerPowerBLog- Bean me Up Scotty

Corbels were all the rage a few years ago when Chip and Jo hit the farmhouse scene. However, If you can’t seem to find any at your local salvage or thrift shop, you can head to your local big box store and start fitting together different bits and pieces from the wood moldings aisle.

Fantastic, easy ideas to add character and charm on the cheap!


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