This post was a long time in coming since we actually did our mini kitchen reno over a year ago!  Regardless, we still learned some valuable tips to help us get the most bang for our buck that may come in handy when you set out to do some renovations.

Our main goal in our kitchen renovation on a budget was to replace the counter top.  Not only was it an awful colour (burnt orange) it was showing signs of major wear.  The other not as important aspects, were to replace the broken dishwasher and leaky tap.

Here’s what we did to stay within our $1,000 budget:

Used as much existing stuff as possible

We don’t intend on living in this condo forever so it wasn’t important to us to have that “dream” kitchen this time around.  So, since the cupboards were still in pretty great shape we opted to leave them in place.  This saved a huge chunk of money and time!  I believe new cupboards are the most expensive part of a kitchen renovation, so if you can work with what you have already, you’ll be well on your way to staying within budget!  The stove and fridge were also not an expense for us since they were both in working condition.

Price things out

It’s important to check out all your options and price things out before you get started on a project.  In our situation with the counter tops, we had a few different options:

  1. Special order the counters in the arborite of our choice in the exact measurements we required and have them professionally installed.
  2. Purchase premade counters from the shelf at Home Depot, then have the counters cut to our specifications and install them ourselves
  3. Purchase plywood, glue the arborite on top, then install ourselves.

In the end we opted for the second option because this was the most cost effective and time efficient option in our situation since my Dad and my husband can be pretty handy.  We chose the arborite pattern that appealed to us the most then purchased the lengths we needed according to our measurements.

Do it yourself

In almost every situation, opting to do it yourself is the way to go if you want to save some change.  Since my Dad and my husband are quite handy and are good at figuring things out, this was obvious to us.   A couple of times they had to do some Google searches to figure things out, but not only was the reno a success, I think they had fun too. 🙂

Hire professional services when necessary

Since we decided to buy premade counters, we were left with some angles needing to be cut into our long rectangular counter tops.  Rather than attempting to do this ourselves, we thought it wise to pay a small price to have the counters cut with the proper saw at a local business.  The possibility of ruining the counter tops (thus having to purchase them again) was enough to convince us to not do this step ourselves.

Shop around

On our list to purchase was a dishwasher, a tap, a sink and counter tops.  We shopped around at Rona, The Home Depot and some local hardware stores and decided that The Home Depot had the best options and prices for us.  Except the dishwasher.  We bought that from a local furniture store.  Even though we bought most of our stuff from one store, it was still worth it to see the other options available to us.

Search for clearance items

I decided I wanted a really basic (read: cheap) kitchen tap.  I wanted to pay less than $100 since I knew I didn’t want to sink money into a home we wouldn’t be staying in forever.  There were a few options but none of them were really jumping out at me.  They seemed very poorly made and I was afraid we’d end up replacing it again.  Low and behold, my husband spotted a really nice name brand tap on clearance for $90 ($100 off!).  Once he pointed it out I made up my mind and bought that one.  Long story short, watch for those bight coloured clearance stickers!

Ask for a discount

When it came time to purchase the dishwasher, we were on the hunt for a basic white dishwasher.  We found a great one on sale at a local furniture store.  Turns out, only the floor model was left.  So I asked for a discount to make up for any wear and tear it may have received from others looking at it.  The sales associate obliged!  I learned that day it never hurts to ask for a discount!

A year and a half later, I’m still commenting to my husband about the spectacular counters he installed for me and the amazing, unleaky tap he found on clearance. 🙂  With all the tips I listed above, we were able to update our little kitchen for about $1,000.  While the results aren’t spectacular, I’m happy to have a more updated counter top and functioning appliances!

Have you got any tips for saving money on a renovation?