How to Remodel on a Budget

Dina Doll
Dina Doll
Oct 7, 2019 · 5 min read
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Yes, remodeling is a pain. Yes, you will end up dealing with unexpected problems. Yes, you can do it!

No experience? Limited budget? No problem. When I set out on my first remodel project I had zero experience. I didn’t have a design background, nor am I a handy or crafty type. I learned a lot, but ended up spending much more than I budgeted. The second time I remodeled a property, I was smarter. I forged ahead with a few design hacks and kept it within budget. My favorite low-cost design tool? Paint. Once I opened up the possibilities of what I could paint beyond the obvious walls, my remodel costs drastically went down, and the results speak for themselves:

Paint the Cabinets and Paint the Tile

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The kitchen before the remodel

Before the remodel, the kitchen had a typical 70’s look, meaning it had brown cabinets, with brown tile and brown accents. It looked dingy, a bit depressing and definitely dated. But upon closer inspection, I could see the possibilities. I looked into taking out the cabinets and replacing them with something from Ikea or Home Depot, but the cabinets themselves were in decent condition. The cabinets, like most older cabinets, were made with good quality wood whereas the newer, cheaper options were made with particle board. I would’ve been sacrificing a bit of quality by replacing them.

Looking past the brown, I saw that the face of the cabinets had a nice shape to them. In fact, I thought their style was close enough to a cottage style design, which was quite popular, that I could remake not only the kitchen into a cottage style but the entire home. I painted the cabinets white and to accentuate the cottage style, I added black knobs from Ikea that cost only $20 for the entire kitchen.

Next up was the tile, I could demolish it and find some cheap tile to replace it, but the labor costs on the installation would’ve put me over my budget. Instead, I realized that again, the shape and size of the tile was just fine, and in fact, a bit modern, it was just the color that was wrong. Do you know how easy it is to paint over tile? Extremely easy. I painted over the tile and the grout all at once, and it looked gorgeous.

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The kitchen after the remodel

Paint the Fireplace Bricks

My paint job didn’t stop in the kitchen. Next up was the Fireplace. Many older homes have fireplaces, which is actually quite a nice addition to the home as many newer homes aren’t built with fireplaces. The problem is that they are often ugly.

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I painted the red bricks on the fireplace white, which immediately freshened up the fireplace and made it look modern. To finish the look, I painted the ugly beige siding above it a pretty blue that went with the beach-cottage style that I created in the kitchen.

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For the other fireplace, I did the opposite. I painted the bricks a blue-teal and the wall above it white. With paint alone, I created two modern-looking fireplaces well within my budget.

Paint is easy that way, you can play around with it. I was able to get a sample of the paints I liked and test it out on the brick. For a novice like me, that was huge. I didn’t have to wait to demo and install anything before I could see what it would actually look like. Also, even if I had painted everything and the look was disappointing, I could paint over it. In a construction project, you don’t get a simpler redo than that.

Also, painting works well in a tight budget. It’s relatively inexpensive and even if you are like me and not handy enough to paint it yourself, finding a painter who is both good and affordable is very easy. Your favorite handyman most likely knows how to paint as well.

Use a Bold Color Instead of a Trendy Wallpaper to Create a Statement

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Wallpaper is very trendy right now, but it is also very expensive. Sure, there is a range of prices for the wallpaper itself, but installing wallpaper is not easy and therefore more expensive. Another way to create impact? Choose a bold color for a small room, like I did in this bathroom. The cheerful and bold blue I chose for this bathroom created a background that made everything else I installed in the room look better, which is similar to what wallpaper does to a room. In addition to saving money, paint is easier to update down the road. When I get tired of this color, or it becomes dated, I can simply paint over it instead of having to deal with the more complicated process of removing wallpaper.

What other ways have you used paint to remodel your home? Leave any new ideas in the comment section below!

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Dina Doll

Written by

Dina Doll

The Startup
Dina Doll

Written by

Journalist, Lawyer, Certified Mediator. Legal Analyst at the Law & Crime Network.

The Startup

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