5 Budget-Saving Secrets from Apartment Therapy’s $6,000 Kitchen Remodel

updated Oct 3, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Our friends over at Apartment Therapy just revealed their most recent original makeover — this time a budget kitchen renovation in a small town in Illinois. If you missed the full kitchen reveal, head over to see all the before-and-after shots. They wound up spending less than $6,000 from head to toe, soup to nuts, which they felt pretty good about — especially given that the house sold less than a week (four days) after they shot the final kitchen.

Want to learn the budget breakdown, and hear all about the cost-cutting, penny-pinching decisions they had to make?

If you missed the original makeover post, head over there to see what they did, or scroll through the slideshow to see what the entire kitchen looks like today.

1 / 13

Budget Breakdown

  • Cabinetry and countertops: $1898.24
  • Lumber and building supplies: $1208.65
  • Lighting and electrical work: $1186.98
  • Paint, stain and sealants: $319.18
  • Plumbing labor and kitchen fixtures: $969.17
  • Misc. hardware and building supplies: $390.38

Grand total = $5972.60

*This amount only includes fixed items that will stay with the house when it sells, and doesn’t include items used during the photoshoot, like rugs, artwork, and accessories.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

1. They kept outside labor costs down.

One of the biggest ways to drive up the cost of remodeling is to start moving the plumbing and electrical around, which requires outside, expensive labor. In order to keep costs low, everything stayed essentially where it was before. The new sink lives where the old one did, and the stove shifted just slightly to the right — but otherwise, the major systems stayed as-is. A single electrical box was added for the track lighting in the middle of the room, and the new chandelier over the corner banquette was positioned with a swag chain, so it could be connected to an existing box set a little further away on the ceiling.

Products & Resources

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. They DIY-ed as much as possible.

The more you do yourself, the more you’ll save. The homeowner, Ashley, is lucky to have a dad who pitched in and did a good amount of the work requiring advanced skill and experience. As mentioned above, an electrician was hired to come in and run the wire to a new electrical box on the ceiling, and a plumber hooked up the new sink, but otherwise, it was a total family project. Ashley herself — in addition to making design decisions — did the backsplash tile and painted more shiplap than she probably cared to. If you do go this route, know that going DIY is not without its challenges, namely the extra time needed. Ashley and her family traveled from Chicago to work on the house during weekends, which definitely stretched the project (and most likely their sanity).

Related: 8 Tips for Destressing During a DIY Renovation at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. They retained old elements when possible.

Keeping certain features from the original kitchen, and making do with quirks, saves both money and character. New things are nice, but sometimes they just can’t rival the real deal. In this case, Ashley kept the corner pantry unit across from the new banquette, and shelving above the sink (she just removed the doors and hardware). Lastly, you might notice in the photos that the floor slopes down from right to left. Old houses have lots of funky stuff like that and you can spend beaucoup de bucks trying to make everything perfect and level, or you can shrug and move on.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. They chose open shelving.

There are a lot of pros and cons to open shelving, but in the budget department, it is a clear winner. They could have chosen closed cabinets, but basic shelves and brackets were an affordable route that still look amazing. It cost less than $100 to create all four of the shelves you see in the kitchen, but uppers would probably have added at least another $1,000.

Related: The Open Shelving of Your Kitchen Dreams Is Totally In Your Budget at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5. They used classic, affordable materials.

Things like white kitchen cabinets and butcher block countertops are not only readily available for reasonable prices, but they have pretty widespread appeal. Same with shiplap, which is still having a heyday (despite the need to dust). As we’ve written about before, track lighting is an economical and practical choice.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

6. They made do with existing appliances.

Rather than spend hundreds or thousands on new stainless appliances, Ashley kept the old white stove, and a vintage refrigerator she already owned, and both look just fine. Are they ideal? Perhaps not, but they look charming in the space and can always be replaced.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 5 Budget-Saving Secrets Of Our $6K Kitchen Remodel