Revamp a Small Kitchen on a Budget

Homeowners in white and orange kitchen
Who says you can't remodel a kitchen for less than $800? When you recycle to redecorate, a small budget is no obstacle.

Make Space

For a small kitchen, it's important to maximize the area you have. This 9x9-foot kitchen takes full advantage of its small square footage by using open shelving on once-bare walls, creating a nook under the home's stairs to tuck the refrigerator into, and turning the refrigerator's former corner location into a much-needed pantry.

Drawers Done Right

A small kitchen demands smart storage. Reconfigure the cabinet doors to work as drawers. Now, instead of one large cabinet, this space packs in three hardworking drawers. Divided storage compartments make the drawers super functional.

Try Old-School Lighting

These pendant lights, made from vintage canning jars, add retro charm to the kitchen. The lights are on a dimmer, which saves energy and helps allow the homeowners to match the lighting to the activity. A local lighting store can re-create the look, or you can go to to buy your own glass jar pendants.

Palette Perfection

Too much color can close in a small space. The combination of a neutral base with citrus accents opens up this small kitchen. A bold orange stripe around the kitchen adds a pop of color without being overwhelming and also highlights items in the kitchen, such as the family calendar. Hints of green on the stools and the kitchen appliances add to the room's overall zest.

Editor's Tip: Have fun with color. Play around with the accent colors and swap in new tones when the mood strikes.

Make Changes

Give barstools a fresh look by covering the seats in new fabric. Coat the material with a nonaerosol stain repellent for durability. Simply unscrew the seat from the stool, ease fabric over the seat, staple, and screw the seat back in place.

Score Online

Get creative with material. These homeowners found bowling alley lanes on and repurposed the slabs as countertop material. The lanes were cut down to size, stripped of the old finish, and sanded with a flatbed sander. The countertops were resealed with tung oil, a natural, renewable, and food-safe sealant.

Clean Backdrop

Use small-scale subway tiles to create a clean and simple backsplash. Mounted on a mesh backing, the tiles can be installed and grouted in a weekend.

Consistent Colors

If you're working with a small space, it's best to opt for flooring and cabinetry that are similar in hue to create a seamless, expansive look to your kitchen.

Highlight Open Shelves

Keep collections tidy on open shelves accented with a color-block backdrop. Create the look by masking off a large rectangle with painter's tape and rolling on your accent color. Remove the tape and hang your shelves. To fasten the floating shelves, first install brackets, then build a pocket in the shelves to conceal the bracket.

The Creative Minds

This Atlanta couple saw great possibilities in humble salvaged materials. From digging at local resale stores to scavenging, this couple updated their kitchen for less than $800 using a little creativity and hard work.

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