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sage green kitchen cabinets with tan leather pull handles

7 Budget Kitchen Makeover Ideas: Easy Updates for under $1000

Today I want to talk about budget kitchen makeover ideas that I’ve actually executed in the real world.

I reckon you’ll appreciate the fact that I’m not just suggesting ideas for the sake of it. Most if not all of the below suggestions I’ve completed in real client kitchens. So I can tell you with all certainty that they’re not only affordable, but they look good too. Because there’s nothing worse than websites throwing out hacks they’ve never actually tried. You know the ones.

So strap yourself in for some money-saving ideas to take your kitchen next level. They’re all under $1000 too. Most are only a couple of hundred bucks, actually, so I hope they give you some food for thought.

Drop me a comment at the end of this post if you have any questions. Or let me know if you’ve executed any of these clever budget kitchen ideas at your place!

1. Paint Tired Splashback Tiles: from $57

I was always a bit skeptical of tile paint. I’d read in the past that it was easy to apply and was super low-cost. But I just wasn’t sure the result would be slick. Then, I used it on a budget kitchen makeover when I was filming Changing Rooms and the result was fabulous (if I do say so myself).

It’s actually really easy to apply. And it’s an affordable way to take what might be beige or yellow-ish kitchen tiles in a fresh white direction. It just removes the dated feel of older tiles, which are often what age a kitchen terribly. It’s also good at concealing the old-school decorative tiles that are often featured in more mature kitchens.

The video above from Bunnings is exactly how I did it on Changing Rooms. Have a watch.

Make it Happen: click here to shop White Knight tile paint.

black kitchen cabinet handles on white shaker cabinetry in modern farmhouse kitchen

2. Replace old Kitchen Cabinet Handles: from $3.98

This is another of my budget kitchen makeover ideas I’ve performed in the real world. You’d be amazed how much replacing older-style kitchen handles can lift the look of tired cabinets.

Many older style kitchens have silver handles with what we’d now consider to be older profiles or shapes. They’re too curved, too elaborate. Modern kitchens favour a more sleek and contemporary handle, so it’s time to upgrade.

The easiest way to do it is to measure the distance from the existing handle holes in the cabinetry and get a handle with the same hole width. That way you don’t have to fill in any holes, or drill new ones.

If you have old handles with just one drill hole, why not try something like a matte black round knob? Depending on the style of your kitchen this would make for a super chic and contemporary look.

Image above via Anita Yokota.

Meir black kitchen tap and sink on white marble countertop and splashback

3. New Sink and Tapware: circa $900

I’ve never met a black sink and tap I haven’t liked. And to be honest, I don’t see them dating anytime soon. They bring a very modern vibe to a kitchen and I reckon you’ll love them for years to come.

Now, this is likely to be the biggest investment of all my budget kitchen makeover ideas. But I truly think it’s worth it simply because the sink and tap could become the new focal point of your space. And if you have what would be considered a fairly minimal white kitchen, a pop of black in your sink and tap could be just what the decor doctor ordered.

If you installed new black cabinet handles it could tie the entire look together. Now that’s some serious new-kitchen vibes right there.

If you want to shop for black taps and sinks, I’m a fan of this supplier, which is pictured above.

hamptons style kitchen from metricon bayville display home

4. New Over-Bench Pendants: from $52

In a client home recently I replaced four of her copper pendants for some smoked black glass pendants and the result was massive. So trust me when I say that fresh lighting can dramatically change the look and feel of your space. And when it comes to budget kitchen makeover ideas, this one can be super affordable.

Pendant height can often be tricky for people to figure out, so I put together this easy guide for you on the correct height to hang pendant lights. Give it a read after this post if you need. It’ll save you a lot of time and money.

And if you want some ideas for affordable kitchen pendant lights, check out this supplier. I use them on some of my projects and they’re fabulous. Image above via Metricon Home – so chic!

Delonghi distinta kitchen appliances in copper colour

5. New Coloured Appliances: from $39

Coloured kitchen appliances have become another obsession of mine. They just bring a bit of interest and personality to a kitchen. And don’t worry if you’re not a huge colour lover. I’m not suggesting you should suddenly adopt a purple kettle and toaster. There are more subdued colours available with little moments of copper or gold and they can elevate the whole room a little. Of course, if you want to go whole hog like in the picture above, I’m all for it.

Morphy Richards and DeLonghi (above) are a fave of mine for coloured appliances, but you can even find divine ones like this in budget chains like Kmart. In fact, I have a roundup of the best coloured appliances right here for you if you’re keen.

When it comes to budget kitchen makeover ideas, I love this one a lot because they’re things you’ll use on-the-daily. Who doesn’t love form-meets-function!?

the block 2018 kitchens norm and jess tan leather stools

6. New Bar Stools: from $24

I don’t want to advocate just throwing things away and buying new stuff all the time. So if there’s an opportunity to upcycle your existing stools, why not give it a go? For example, I revamped these Kmart stools in the image above when I did one of my recent budget kitchen makeovers. I simply took the timber part off the top, covered it in foam and a decorative fabric, and staple gunned it down. So I got a cushy new stool without throwing the old ones away.

That said, if you’re wanting to shop for some new stools, it’s best you read my stool guide first. Because there are definitely some blunders you can make here. The post also has my top 10 cheap as chips stool options, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Image above via the block shop.

kitchen bench vignette with tall vase and round timber tray

7. New Decor Moments: from $0!

We’ve reached the most budget of the budget kitchen makeover ideas: new decor! And again, you don’t have to buy all-new. You could simply wander around your house (as I often do) and move things around. Swapping out plants on your benchtop, moving candles around; just a general re-stage of the space.

If you’re wanting to bring in a new decorative element, I love the idea of a tray by the sink that houses a glorious hand soap, candle and floral moment. So chic, so simple, so affordable!

Image above via white grey all day.

What are some of your favourite budget kitchen makeover ideas that you’ve executed at home? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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5 Responses

  1. Love these ideas! We replaced the handles and wow, what a difference! Looking to incorporate some more of these cheap updates in our kitchen, but stuck with what to do with a windowless large blank wall above our sink! Tile to the ceiling or half way and paint the rest. Such an annoying space!

  2. Hi Chris, can you please do a blog on kitchen styling, particularly the bench space either side of the cooktop. Thank you, Helen

  3. What a clever idea to relocate the kitchen.
    Plus, just because they live at Williamstown by the beach, there isn’t a sea shell anywhere.
    Also, I thought another Hampton inspired look, instead an Industrial style.
    Definitely a TLC success.
    I love the ideas to do around the house during this time.
    Stay safe Chris.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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