How to Save Money On A Kitchen Remodel (+ Win $25,000 Towards your own Kitchen Makeover!)


We’ve been making progress on our Farmhouse kitchen remodel and today I wanted to share a few ways we’re saving money on this project. Major kitchen overhauls are expensive, there’s no way around that. But over the years, Garrett and I have developed a few tried-and-true strategies for keeping kitchen costs as low as possible. Today we’re parting with to bring you our 9 best tips for saving money on a kitchen remodel. 

pssst: there’s a chance to win $25,000 towards your own kitchen makeover at the bottom of this post! This is a fun and easy contest that you can enter up until 5pm PST on July 10. I’m crossing my fingers for you!

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel Saving Money 2.jpg

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In no particular order, here are our 9 best strategies for saving money on a kitchen remodel…

One // Keep Existing Materials when you Can

We’re big believers in keeping original materials when we can make it work. You know that old adage, “they don’t make them like they used to”? Well I’m a firm believer in that. Not only are old materials usually high quality, but they add character and can save you a ton of money and time by not replacing them. At the Farmhouse, we’re keeping the existing cabinets and painted them white for a fresh look. The walls, doors, windows, and probably the floors will all be saved too.

Example: our ongoing Farmhouse kitchen remodel.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Kitchen 7-4-19 Update 22.jpg
The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Kitchen 7-4-19 Update 19.jpg

Two // Use quality, Timeless Materials

The only thing more expensive than remodeling your kitchen once, is remodeling it twice. Buying quality means you’re less likely to have to swap out broken materials later. And timeless finishes keeps you safe against the changing tides of trends. There’s really no reason your kitchen shouldn’t last another 20...50…100 years, just like the original one did!

Example: at the Porch House, we used timeless marble, brass, and white oak finishes. And for the cabinets we picked solid wood boxes and painted them for a custom look.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelves 2.jpg

Three // use diy-friendly materials

Everyone’s comfort level with DIY is different, but picking materials that you’re comfortable working with can save you a lot of money in labor. For us, that means sticking to butcher block countertops, tile backsplashes, and wood or stone floors so we can DIY them ourselves (and we’ve branched out into DIY stone fabrication, too).

Example: we installed the maple butcher block countertops at the Bryant House ourselves.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant butcher block countertops.jpg

four // Pick Your Splurges wisely

I believe in a couple of key splurges for every space to really pump up your design. For our Dexter House, it was the sconce lighting and range. But in the past it’s been pendants, tile backsplashes, butcher block islands, cabinet hardware, and/or appliances. One or two key splurges can really elevate your entire space!

Example: at Dexter we splurged on the sconce lighting and range.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Black, White, and Wood Kitchen.jpg

five // paint!

Paint has to be the least-expensive way to transform a space quickly. Open up the can, slap the paint on, and suddenly that old and dingy space feels bright and fresh. We’ve painted almost every cabinet we’ve ever put into a kitchen (both new stock cabinets are existing cabinets) and none are more eye catching than the 6 Day Kitchen’s.

Example: we turned the 6 Day Kitchen’s new stock cabinets into custom looking beauties with a little bit of paint.

The Grit and Polish - 6 Day Kitchen Reveal 2.jpg

six // keep the original layout

Keeping as much of the original layout and appliance placement as possible will save you bundles in time, labor, and money. If you’re not rearranging appliances, you might be able to reuse the original electrical and plumbing (if they’re not so old that they need replaced anyway), avoid taking out permits, and keep the entire scope smaller. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it can translate into big savings.

Example: at Dexter we kept the sink and range in almost the exact spots they were originally and that kitchen came in under $12k.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Before and After.jpg

seven // Scratch-and-Dent appliances

We’re big fans of scratch-and-dent sales. We bought all our Farmhouse appliances at a sale in Seattle for close to half of what the same appliances would have cost new from the store. And we’ve done the same thing for most of our kitchen remodels.

Example: we’ve shopped scratch-and-dent for the majority of our kitchen renovations including Ravenna.

The Grit and Polish - Ravenna 2.0 Wood and Marble Kitchen.jpg

eight // focus on the range

And speaking of appliances, we always focus the majority of our appliance budget on the range, and look for budget-friendly options on the fridge and dishwasher. The range is usually the first thing people notice and it can really make a statement. We opt for slide-in, backless ranges that feel ‘pro-style’.

Example: the Tacoma Converted Garage with a slide-in, backless range.


nine // Limit the Scope

It’s easy to get caught up in thinking you need a Pinterest-perfect kitchen that takes up half of your home’s square footage. But you really don’t. We’re big fans of working within the existing space. Occasionally we open up a wall or widen a doorway, but that’s about it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t expand a tiny kitchen, but if your kitchen happens to already be reasonably sized for your home, avoiding a major space change will save you time, money, and effort.

Example: At Bryant, we worked within the existing footprint and then removed the wall to the dining nook for more daylight and connectivity. 

The Grit and Polish - Bryant Kitchen Before and After.jpg

Do you have any other budget tips to add? I’d love to hear them!

real-world budgets

Now that I’ve shared our favorite budget tips, I wanted to provide 3 of our kitchen remodel budgets. All of these remodels came in at under $12,000 (2 of them under $10k!) and you can see a breakdown of each by using the links below.


what it cost…

Dexter House kitchen


what it cost…

Bryant House kitchen


what it cost…

Tacoma Converted Garage Kitchen


Enter to Win $25,000 towards your own kitchen makeover!

And now, let’s talk about your kitchen… wants to turn your UGLY kitchen into a DREAM kitchen! They’re giving one lucky homeowner $25,000 to completely redo their kitchen with the Figure Ugly Kitchen Contest. The contest is open for submissions until 5pm PST on July 10. The contest is open to public voting until noon PST on July 11. The grand prize winner will be announced on or around July 14. Full rules are available at Eeeek! I hope you win!

And in case your’e curious who is…they’re a new kind of financial services company that uses online applications and speedy approvals for home equity lines of credit. Garrett and I used a home equity line to complete our Ravenna house renovation and put down payments on the Dexter House and our Farmhouse. Home equity lines have been a great tool for us to access the equity we’ve put into our homes, which we’ve turned around and used to grow our real estate portfolio using the BRRRR method (well, something similar anyway). Anyway, just our two cents on home equity lines.  

Now go enter that contest so I can see your new kitchen!