4 Smart Lessons to Steal from This Budget-Friendly Kitchen with French-Inspired Details

published May 24, 2022
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When April and her husband, Joe, were looking for a home, they were lucky enough to snag the 1970s house that belonged to April’s grandparents. “I spent Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and so many other holidays in this house,” April says of her visits with her family. “We were so lucky to be able to purchase it, with it being such a diamond in the (very) rough.” Since moving into the Arlington, Texas, ranch house, April and Joe have been renovating and making adjustments to accommodate their own style. (Just take a look at their kitchen’s stunning transformation!)

Having spent time living in Europe, April was inspired by French interiors. “I love the kind of opulence of the trim work, lush fabrics balanced with a bit of surprise or fun,” she says, explaining that she’s especially drawn to grandmillennial, mid-century modern, and cottagecore aesthetics. “We made a few modifications but didn’t dramatically change the footprint of our house.”

We took the tour, and let’s just say, we were instantly smitten with the beauty of April’s kitchen. While we were in awe, we found four takeaway lessons worth stealing. Here’s what we learned.

1. Take your time, and do your research.

With a limited budget, the couple decided to take on most of the renovation work themselves. In fact, April spent hours researching plenty of DIY projects. “Sometimes that means choosing something I’m OK with for now, instead of my dream hardware, light fixture, etc.,” she says. “But I always say home takes time, and it does!”

One clever way April saved money was by shopping through Google. By typing in the specific name of a product, she clicked on the “Shopping” tag to scan through various prices offered across competing websites. This allowed her to carefully compare prices before clicking the buy button, ensuring she was getting the best deal and making the most of her budget.

2. Search for expensive-looking items in surprising places.

April was able to keep within her budget by selecting affordable pieces that happened to look expensive. Take for instance her kitchen’s Egyptian runner, which pairs perfectly with the eye-catching built-in cabinetry painted in Behr’s Russian Olive. With its old-world charm, you wouldn’t even know the rug came from Walmart — and cost just $50! “I try to make an impact in budget-friendly ways,” says April, who loves to shop at estate sales and thrift stores. “I’ve got tons of shopping, thrifting, and decor hacks to get high-end looks on a budget.”

April even picked up a few pieces from IKEA, where the couple selected the kitchen’s butcher block island. The black base and oak top add richness and warmth to the kitchen’s cool green palette.

3. Create an accent wall with a few paint tricks.

Knowing a few paint tricks can be a huge way to save on costs when adding style to your home. April and her husband painted their own arch to create a stylish accent wall in the kitchen’s adjoining dining room. With Magnolia’s Soft Linen, the couple turned a plain wall into a fun focal point, adding a window-like feature that works nicely with the couple’s framed artwork and vibrant greenery.

4. Rearrange the items on your display shelves often.

Just as fashion accessories have a big effect on the look of an outfit, curated items displayed on shelves can instantly impact any room’s style. April’s regular edit of her kitchen collection helps minimize clutter and allows her to put different items in the spotlight so she can showcase fresh pairings of things she already owns. Here, she shows off her gorgeous wood cutting boards, her favorite cookbooks, and her collection of fun statue bunnies!

Do you have other budget-friendly renovation tips to offer? Tell us in the comments below.