DIY Kitchen Renovation On Only $1,550 (and yes, we're still married afterwards!)

When my husband and I first bought our condo two years ago, I asked for two things: the freedom to throw out his pre-marriage couch and coffee table, and a kitchen renovation. Being that we are both in school, we don’t have a lot of extra money- when it came to kitchen renovations we had to get creative, and that meant doing it ourselves. So with a little bit of creativity, the help of google (“how to tile”, “how to install cabinetry”), and a lot of IKEA, we were able to transform our kitchen from a falling apart mess to my favorite place in the house.

 

imageAbove: Our kitchen, when we first moved into the condo

The first challenge we tackled was the partition that separated the kitchen from the living room. To this day we are still baffled about why a half-wall hung down in that area, completely blocking my view from one room into the other. Even more confusing, there weren’t cabinets present on the partition wall or under the bar below it- 1/3 of our kitchen was devoid of cabinet space we desperately needed! So, we decided to tear it all out and install a set of cabinetry in its place on the bottom, and enjoy the open space on the top.

 

imageAbove: The wall, being torn down. Not pictured, my husband having the time of his life with a crowbar. 

After tearing down the wall, we started to consider our options for the cabinetry and countertops, along with the flooring. The cabinets were a dark particle-board and not of the best quality, so we decided to replace them. The countertops were stained and bent in some areas, so we decided to replace those too. And then we decided that it was time for the vinyl floor that was peeling up to be removed also. The result? A gutted kitchen. Cue panic and fears of impending failure. This was about the time when we started to think we might be in over our heads.

 

image Above: The kitchen, before the top cabinets and stove were removed. 

Before gutting the kitchen, I had painstakingly measured and designed our new kitchen through Ikea’s kitchen designer- it is a program that you can download onto your computer, enter in your kitchen dimensions (and appliance hook-ups) and design the kitchen within it. Really, I spent hours on this thing- it was so much fun! So before we took everything out, we made the drive to Atlanta to pick up the supplies. Once we removed the flooring, cabinetry, and appliances, it was time to install the tile.

 

image Above: Our first tile job!

 We were so blessed to be able to receive the tile for our kitchen (and later on, our bathroom as well) from my parents- they had some left over from their own kitchen renovation and passed it on to us. Tiling is actually impressively simple, and very inexpensive when you do it yourself. For all of the supplies, it was less than $100. We didn’t have to buy the tile for this project, but even if we had it would still be significantly cheaper than paying someone else to do it!

 

After the tile was in and the excess grout washed off and sanded down, we painted the kitchen. Then finally, it was time for the cabinet and countertop installation! 1 and 1/2 weeks later, here was our final before and after: 

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Voila! Our completed kitchen. Our kitchen renovation was such a fun experience- that’s not to say there were never times when we were frustrated, stressed out, and felt in over our heads (as well as, shall we say, a few minor "disagreements"). But in the end, we had a brand new kitchen for a minimal cost.

 Want to know how much we spent? For our tile supplies, lighting, new cabinetry and countertops, and under-the-cabinet lighting, we spent a grand total of $1,550.

Now is that a bargain, or what?

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