Budget kitchen ideas – 28 ways to refresh the hub of your home

It’s one of the most used rooms of the house, often heralded as the ‘hub of the home’, so your kitchen can quickly look tired and become in need of a quick refresh. But that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to do so, as these budget kitchen ideas prove.

There’s plenty you can do with a little imagination and a range of clever kitchen ideas to choose from, meaning you can transform your scheme with simple, practical and stylish hacks that will save you fitting a new kitchen.

Whether you want some simple ideas for a quick update or you just need some inspiration around what you can achieve in your space,  we’ve included it all in this jam-packed guide. All it takes is a little time, effort and creativity to pep up the heart of your home.

Budget kitchen ideas

1. Upcycle an old window frame

White window frame with cork tiles to make a noticeboard

Image credit: Future Plc/Tim Young

Need a spot in the kitchen to keep the whole family in check? Create a noticeboard by fixing cork tiles on to the back of an old frame using a glue gun or strong tape. Screw hooks into the bottom edge for mini buckets and fix to the wall with picture hooks. Stencil numbers in the corners with black paint, then use to pin postcards and family reminders up.

2. Label your containers

Storage jars with labels displayed on wire shelving

Image credit: Future Plc/Tim Young

Decanting your cooking supplies into jars yields a certain amount of satisfaction and makes it easy to spot if you are running low on ingredients too. Why not mix up a variety of styles for a relaxed feel?

Use waterproof chalkboard labels or make your own clay swing tags and display on open shelving.

3. Mount baskets on the wall

Wire baskets hung on wall for storing cook books

Image credit: Future Plc/Tim Young

Keep your kitchen surfaces clutter free by hanging a group of wire baskets on the wall from their bases. Use to display cookbooks, spice jars, and condiments or to keep utensils handy.  Create symmetry by hanging in pairs in groups of two, four or six. To make a style statement why not spray paint your baskets in a neon shade to add a pop of colour to your scheme.

4. Add a wooden splashback

White kitchen shelves with wooden splashback below and kitchen stools

Image credit: Future Plc/David Brittain

A great way to pimp up your kitchen on a budget, is by using stained wood as a splashback. It will interest and texture to your space and you might even be able to use wood left over from previous projects. Simple Ikea open shelving above, creates a rustic style display for all your essentials.

Opt for a neutral palette to create a soothing feel plus it will sit well with store cupboard ingredients.

5. Create bespoke herb holders

Herbs planted in glass jars and suspended from wooden floorboards on the wall

Image credit: Future Plc/Tim Young

If you’re a big foodie and often cook tasty meals from scratch, this idea is perfect for you. Wrap metal cables ties around the neck of a glass jar, leaving enough slack to slip over a cup hook screwed into a plank or wood, or repurposed floorboard. Fill two thirds of the jar with gravel for drainage, then pop with soil and your chosen herbs.

Write the name of each herb on the side of each jar with chalkboard pen and remember to water them often!

6. Upcycle bed slats into a storage solution

bed slats used as a utensil rack in a kitchen

Image credit: Future Plc/Jo Henderson

This wall rack is actually a set of webbing-mounted bed slats hung from a couple of wall hooks. It is a really cost effective way to add extra kitchen storage and it saves old bed slats from ending up in the bin.

If you don’t have any bed slats lying around, leftover pieces of plywood cut into small pieces will also work well. Just add S-hooks for hanging bits and bobs. This is a great small kitchen idea, where storage space is limited.

7. Paint kitchen cabinets

A grey shaker style kitchen with island, wood flooring and Belfast sink

Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

These days the best paint for kitchen cabinets delivers a premium look at a budget price point, as long as you don’t mind spending a bit of time wielding a paintbrush.

Cream kitchens act as a blank canvas, meaning you can easily give your space a fresh feel by updating your cupboards in the latest colours.

If you plan to paint cabinets, just be sure to prime them first. Our guide on how to paint kitchen cabinets offers top tips to achieve a professional finish.

8. Replace cupboard doors

A concrete effect kitchen with open shelving

Image credit: IKEA

If painting is not enough to change the look, you can replace doors and drawer fronts. Rather than buy a whole new fitted kitchen at a cost that could mean remortgaging the house, we’re talking about spending a far smaller amount to make a huge impact still.

Take the fronts of the cupboards off and replace them with new doors to give the whole kitchen a brand new look on a budget. This modern kitchen has simple yet stylish concrete-effect cupboards.

Pro tip: The finish can instantly change the feel of the whole space, from matte to high gloss or wood to acrylic – a new front is a sure fire way to make a new style statement.

9. Spruce up a fridge with wallpaper

a small fridge in a kitchen covered with stylish geometric wallpaper

Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

If you can’t afford a swanky Smeg fridge but are desperate to give your boring-looking appliance a splash of colour, why not get crafty with a can of spray paint – a fridge hack that has been used above. Alternatively, for a less permanent option cover the front of the household appliance with a leftover roll of wallpaper attached with double sided sticky tape.

10. Install new worktops

Wall panelling in a kitchen with frames with photos and marble worktops

Image credit: Future Plc/Polly Eltes

Dramatically change the look of your kitchen with stylish kitchen worktop ideas. Replacing your worktops is a simple yet effective way to give the space a fresh feel. Laminate is the most cost-effective to purchase. If you have spare cash, consider extras, such as heat rods, that can be fitted into the surface for a permanent pan stand or a built-in draining board.

11. Update your kitchen floor

Vintage inspired floor tiles in a kitchen

Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

If a tatty floor is letting the scheme down, there are a range of smart kitchen flooring ideas to choose from that will breathe new life into your space.

You don’t need to go to the hassle of taking it all up either, as you can lay new flooring on top. Most kitchen designers will advise that you can simply run it underneath the plinths, instead of wall-to-wall, which cuts your costs further.

12. Improve your kitchen storage

Kitchenware racks storing fruit, utensils and plants

Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

It’s amazing how much we accumulate over the years. Try setting aside an afternoon to sort out your kitchen cupboards, then organise them so you have access to the things you use every day.

Clearing your worktops can also instantly improve your kitchen and it won’t cost you anything at all. Alternatively, try rethinking storage solutions. Put up extra kitchen shelving and hanging rails to make use of every available space.

13. Make your own hanging rail

open shelving in a kitchen with a roll of parchment paper for notes

Image credit: Future Plc/Jo Henderson

By simply attaching two handles and a length of dowel to a wall you can create a storage solution for all manner of kitchen accessories. From foil to kitchen towel, the possibilities are endless. Above we see how two leather handles are making a stylish support for a kitchen memo board, on a roll of brown paper.

14. Turn a door into a noticeboard with chalkboard paint

A chalkboard door in a kitchen with kids' artwork

Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

Get creative and give your kitchen personality by creating a feature wall using chalkboard paint. A simple wall of black paint, specifically designed to be drawn on with chalk, is a great way to add a personal touch to your kitchen space.

Not only does it give kids the perfect place to entertain themselves, still within view while you tend to jobs in the kitchen – it also creates an ideal family planner.

15. Create a feature wall… or two!

A kitchen space with dark grey units and palm print wallpaper in a kitchen diner

Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

Wallpaper is a great way to add colour and vibrancy to an old kitchen. You can either cover the entire wall, or create a feature wall for a cheaper but equally stunning look. Make sure you choose wallpaper that is specially designed for the kitchen so it is heat and steam resistant.

Buy now: Ideal Home Pair of San Fran Dining Chairs – Black, £149, Very

16. Change your cabinet handles

A wood kitchen worktop with dark grey cabinetry and leather handles

Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

If the basic structure of your kitchen is in good condition, you can change the look of the room by simply replacing the handles. Right now, leather and brass are hot finishes.

17. Liven up your scheme with fun accessories

Open shelving with decorative blue and white jars

Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

Accessories will brighten your kitchen in an instant and you can choose a theme to bring the look together. Display selected items on open shelving and think about reorganising your worktop so you only have your favourites on show. If you have a dresser, this is the perfect place to show off neat stacks of crockery, cups and glassware.

18. Use fabrics to bring in colour

A tree print cushion on a yellow metal seat in a kitchen

Image credit: Future Plc/David Giles

From new seat cushions for tired old chairs to pretty blinds and tablecloths, fabrics can work wonders and don’t have to cost the earth. Even a change of tea towels can make an impact.

19. Install extra lighting

A U shaped kitchen with peninsula and bright yellow statement lighting

Image credit: Future Plc/David Giles

Smart kitchen lighting ideas can make a big impact to a kitchen’s look and feel. The row of pendant lights in this U-shaped kitchen provide a welcome pop of colour and light up the breakfast bar area.

Ideally, you should have task lights, such as spotlights, over the worktops; halogen bulbs on the extractor; and overhead lighting with ambient light in a dining area. Always use a qualified electrician for anything complicated – visit the Electrical Contractors’ Association to find one in your area.

20. Make a statement with a kitchen appliance

An orange Smeg fridge in a white kitchen with metro tiles

Image credit: Future Plc/Fiona Walker-Arnott

New appliances can refresh your kitchen without changing any of the furniture. You’ll need to ensure that they will fit into the existing space, though.

There are plenty of kitchen appliance layout ideas that offer smart ways to smoothly incorporate appliances into your space. Freestanding appliances can be replaced more easily – and can make a real impact if you go for something brightly coloured, like this Smeg fridge. A new kettle or toaster will make a splash, too, and won’t cost the earth.

21. Add some panelling

A blue panelled wall with an open shelving unit and coat rack

Image credit: Future Plc/David Brittain

There are a range of wall panelling ideas available to try out in your home. This on-trend design is a great way to give a kitchen a fresh, country look without breaking the bank – and, best of all, you can do it in a weekend.

22. Change the tap

A black tap and accessories by a sink in a kitchen with metro tiles

Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

Taps add distinctive character to a kitchen and you can change the feel of yours in a jiffy by adding a copper tap or one with white ceramic handles for a country look. A stainless steel design will create a contemporary feel or a distinctive black one will make a real statement.

23. Cover up with a curtain

A country style white kitchen with Belfast sink and a curtain to hide appliances

Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

Integrating appliances can be a costly business but leaving them exposed sometimes means they can spoil the look of your kitchen.

If you’re a whizz with the sewing machine, a great DIY kitchen idea is to make a pretty curtain to conceal your appliances or cover any shelves. This softens the scheme by making sure unattractive machines or spaces without unit doors are disguised.

Choose a fabric that emphasises the theme of your kitchen and links with the colours of the walls and accessories – whether it’s something muted like this, or a bolder pattern.

24. Introduce vintage furniture

Industrial bar stools in a wood kitchen with bench and kitchen island and large copper globe lighting

Image credit: Future Plc/Holly Joliffe

It’s easy to give an industrial slant to your kitchen and introduce a completely different feel with vintage furniture. Scour charity shops, car boot sales, reclamation yards and even skips (ask the homeowner first before you take anything). After all, what’s one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure!

Old stools teamed with a row of stylish pendant lights can be used to create an edgy breakfast bar. And if the finish isn’t to your liking then a quick coat of paint can easily sort that out. Choose the best paint for furniture and find the right shade for the job.

Vintage cookware adds charm to classic and country kitchens – antique shops, charity shops and eBay are great sources of a whole host of shabby chic decorating ideas. Affordable pieces, such as a vintage dresser with glass doors or repurposed furniture, can be used to store and show off your favourite china, achieving a simple yet effective kitchen makeover.

25. Display colourful wall art

Framed pictures on a picture ledge

Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Pole

Add playful personality to a scheme and introduce a retro vibe with eye-catching kitchen wall decor. For maximum effect, display against a cool white backdrop and bring in blasts of bold colour with pop art and signage in a palette of primary shades that can be picked out in your accessories.

Vary the way artwork is displayed by hanging some on the wall and propping other pieces casually against it for an informal feel.

26. Hang a pan rack

A range cooker in an exposed brick chimney stack with metro tiles and copper cookware

Image credit: Future Plc/David Giles

If you’re short on storage or simply want to have kitchen essentials close to hand, invest in a spacious ceiling rack for your big, bulky pans and utensils.

It’s a great way of making a feature of a kitchen island idea and lending a period feel to a scheme. Soften the look by decorating with dried flowers and rustic baskets.

27. Make a statement with lights

A grey kitchen with wood trim, a large island and white metro tiles

Image credit: Future Plc/Darren Chung

Shed new light on a budget kitchen scheme by incorporating dramatic ceiling lights. Oversized metal pendants are the perfect way to make a statement and introduce an industrial feel.

Hang them over a table or island to create a focal point and provide both task and mood lighting. If you choose a smaller design, follow the stylist’s tip and hang them in threes for maximum impact.

28. Alter the splashback

Green kitchen units with a large range cooker and decorative printed tiled splashback

Image credit: Future Plc/David Giles

There are a whole host of kitchen splashback ideas available that are perfect for protecting your walls in style. Glass and stainless steel can be expensive options, but sometimes less is more and you can use a small amount to make a statement.

Tiles, on the other hand, are a good budget buy and a great opportunity to add colour and pattern, although grouting needs to be regularly cleaned to prevent mould and mildew. Take your pick from standard size, mosaic or brick, and a selection of materials including ceramic, glass and stone.

So there you have it – proof that you don’t need oodles of cash to create a stylish kitchen on a small budget.

What is the cheapest way to do a kitchen?

The cheapest way to update your kitchen is to make use of things you already have at home, such as left over paint or wood. Painting cupboard doors can give your kitchen a whole new look in an afternoon and costs nothing if you still have paint lying around from a previous update. Adding wood panelling to walls is another great way to update a kitchen and again, if you already have the wood, you’re all set to complete the work without spending a penny

If you’re looking to completely gut the kitchen you have and start again, it’s worth looking for second-hand offerings on sites such as Gumtree or Freecyle 

Often people are keen to get rid of their old kitchens in a hurry, so you have a good chance at grabbing a bargain, even if you do have to travel a little further to secure it.

How can I make a cheap kitchen look good?

A great tip to make a cheap kitchen look good, is to replace flimsy hardware with smarter styles. Handles, locks and latches can all be easily replaced and if you opt for on-trend brass or matt black choices, they can elevate your kitchen instantly.

Another way is with great styling. Displaying accessories and plants in a stylish way, will make those items become the hero and the eye will be lead away from the dull design of your kitchen cabinets. Plants, whether fresh or faux, will always bring life and energy to a space and are a cheap way to update the decor.

Finally, look at painting over cheap tiles in a statement shade, cover tired worktops with Fablon vinyl and replace bog-standard taps with smarter counterparts.


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