The Best Kitchens For Best Budget – 5 Tips

If your weekend warrior renovation dance card includes kitchens, and your budget feels like a cup of water to throw on a forest fire, here are some thoughts that may come in handy.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the prospect of a kitchen remodel – but before you sign your life away on the dotted line, take a deep zen breath, and mull your fondest memory of the kitchen that made you feel the best to be in. It’s an emotional question, nearly as much as a question of function.

Another Jjorn Wallander Kitchen Design – Country Living Magazine website

Magnetic Spice container set from GneissSpice – one of many selections on

A low budget can still offer personalization like a black board paint communication or art hub.  I love the Bjorn Wallander kitchens (above) but combining vivid creativity with common sense,  bridges that gap between kitchen and dream kitchen. I admit that I am unsure how blackboard paint tolerates repeated exposure to grease (I have never tried it) but I know white advertise grease.

1) If I had my 2 cents to add to this design, or $60 to be more precise, I would combine that chalk board paint with a magnetic paint undercoat and add a vignette of magnetic spice containers. There are loads of these available on, but I chose this lot for its handy honey comb shapes, that serves double duty to create insulation from cooking grease and adds interest and function to the work are – just windex the bottoms of those containers after cooking. Disassemble every couple of months to clean in the dishwasher, refill and stick back on the wall!

A lighting fixture from Rejuvenation – image from their website

2) Whether Country or Contemporary, lighting sets the tone. It can be a focal point or a the unifying of your design. The branch lighting (below) is the bomb, as is this rustic contemporary design below. Far from being minimal, it keeps to the clean look of contemporary style, making every element count while displaying the rustic materials and surfaces with contemporary lines – but don’t get carried away and forget the function of lighting! Task lighting is key to kitchen function, and if your are going with new energy efficient bulbs, pick your color AFTER the lighting is installed!

Design by Bjorn Wilder; image from Bjorn Wilder’s website

3) The need to reduce the cost of kitchen renovation given rise to a new trend that has been catching on  – eliminating upper cabinetry. The chief argument against this, is limitations to storage storage. I have no problem with challenging minimal storage to perform double or triple duty and personally, I love the look  – but think about who will live in your kitchen and for how long. No one gets younger, and it is not good ergonomically to bend and stoop performing daily tasks – but if this is a long range concern,  upper cabinets are an easy add on later (withstanding the kitchen below!).

Kictchen Design from Coastal Living Magazine’s website

Kitchen Color vignette via bonjourj blog

4) Color is the second best friend that a small budget can have – but the small budget’s BFF is creativity. If you are in your comfort zone with color, you are probably creative as well.

Lively vintage Fiesta-inspired colors set the tone (left) and peg board is inexpensive, covers all manner of sins, and performs utility as well. Many of the elements from this design moment may have come from the flea market, garage sales or your local thrift store.

Any opportunity to give any design element a second life, as opposed to a trip to the land fill enables your design, your budget, and the planet you call home.

5) Recycling continues to be a hot trend, and a budget-friendly kudo to any design plan. The island below was constructed for Sarah Richardson from  recycled lumber she chose on an episode of HGTV’s Sarah’s Cottage. The planet isn’t the only beneficiary of Sarah’s design! The interest and movement of the patina of the recycled lumber looks amazing with the carrera marble and is framed beautifully by the aqua grey-blue.

Designer Sarah Richardson, image via Sarah Richardson’s website

sarahs cottage kitchen detail –

But I would fall short of characterizing Sarah’s island as budget-friendly. Custom and inexpensive are two words that don’t tend to mingle in the same sentence. But this is a look can be duplicated by customizing a big-box store island, by someone with a modicum of skill. In Sarah’s defense she is known for re-making a plethora of flea market finds, and spinning straw into design gold for her designs.

My own home, which is begging for a kitchen re-haul will be getting and giving the benefit of some recycled elements, as the former owner left some great chemistry class room cabinetry in the basement – but more later!


Bright eating nook from House Beautiful Magazine

An eating nook in the kitchen will draw more people to the table than the most elegant dining room every time! Dress it up with great pillows!

Some New Design Legacy Pillows

Lighting sets the tone, and broadcasts your style:

Lighting Styles available at L-R: Vintage Cake, Seascapes Lamps, and Ro Sham Beaux

For that nook gathering place, the table story tells the mood for your style choices. Rosanna offers affordable and durable elegance for entertaining or for your indulgence!