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7 Budget Friendly Kitchen Designs

When it comes to kitchen design there is no such thing as “affordable”, “under budget”, “before schedule”, or “quick”. Which after renovating two kitchens for ourselves we have found out first hand. However a beautiful kitchen doesn’t always have to involve lots of custom finishes and $$$ – which is why we pulled together 7 different looks for those of you looking to give your kitchen a refresh without giving it a full “down to the studs” overhaul.

In full disclosure these kitchen designs are not the kind to hold on to if you are planning to buy your dream home one day which includes a fully customized and decked out kitchen. But, if you have a place that is in need of a refresh, a fixer upper that you are looking to give a new look to, or a rental kitchen that you have stared at in disgust for way too long then these designs are for you. So clear your weekend, get your DIY hat ready and let’s dive in.

A few notes: all these prices include 20 pieces of hardware, 20 square feet of backsplash tile, and an 8′ counter. Prices do not include paint, as that’s hard to calculate but most kitchens don’t need more than two gallons which is $50, so add that into the total as well as cabinets which depending on how custom you get can run the gamut in pricing, but we have linked up a few of our favorite ready-made retailers at the bottom of the post.

Emily Henderson Roundup Affordable Kitchen Budget Friendly Moodboard Costal Chic

Tile | Countertop | Hardware | Faucet | Sink | Wall Paint | Cabinet Paint | Pendant | Chair | Table

First up is coastal chic, and this setup is making me very happy. I love the combo of brass, white, wood with hits of blue (duh), as well as the modern accents like the brass knobs and simple dining table.

Emily Henderson Roundup Affordable Kitchen Budget Friendly Moodboard Contemporary Industrial 01

Tile | Countertop | Hardware | Faucet | Sink | Wall Paint | Cabinet Paint | Pendant | Chair | Table

This one has some downtown urban dweller vibes which for the right space would be so chic. We brought some color into this one with the slightly grey/green wall color although you could swap the colors as well if you were willing to go bold on the cabinets. The countertop is also a marble look-a-like if you aren’t ready to splurge on the real thing.

Emily Henderson Roundup Affordable Kitchen Budget Friendly Moodboard Monochromatic Modern

Tile | Countertop | Hardware | Faucet | Sink | Wall Paint | Cabinet Paint | Pendant | Chair | Table

It’s happy, bright, and modern – all things I would hope my best friends describe my personality as… But in all reality I love this simple and clean kitchen. Again, the countertop is a look-a-like version of marble but for the price it’s pretty great.

Emily Henderson Roundup Affordable Kitchen Budget Friendly Moodboard Graphic Modernist1

Tile | Countertop | Hardware | Faucet | Sink | Wall Paint | Cabinet Paint | Pendant | Chair | Table

I haven’t seen these tiles in person but man are they speaking to me on the moodboard. This one leans much more moody than a lot of the others, but I love the stark black and white combo that is warmed up with the wood and leather dining set. Another thing to note, the pendants over the dining table are all sold separately at $50/each. If you are doing some remodeling then you could easily wire up all three, but if you still want the look without having to call an electrician you could use the largest one over the table.

Emily Henderson Roundup Affordable Kitchen Budget Friendly Moodboard Minimal Glam

Tile | Countertop | Hardware | Faucet | Sink | Wall Paint | Cabinet Paint | Pendant | Chair | Table

As you can see, white might be trending in a lot of these kitchens however, it is a color that will never go out of style and something that works with just about every style. Chrome is also back (see here for more info on the trend) which I am loving in these Bertoia chairs, sink, pulls, and faucet.

Emily Henderson Roundup Affordable Kitchen Budget Friendly Moodboard Updated Traditional1

Tile | Countertop | Hardware | Faucet | Sink | Wall Paint | Cabinet Paint | Pendant | Chair | Table

This one might actually be my favorite of the bunch. I love the dark green of the cabinets mixed with the rich warm wood color, the graphic hits of black throughout and the windsor inspired chairs. Only thing missing is some rainy Portland skies, and a glass french press with your morning cup of jo.

Emily Henderson Roundup Affordable Kitchen Budget Friendly Moodboard French Farmhouse

Tile | Countertop | Hardware | Faucet | Sink | Wall Paint | Cabinet Paint | Pendant | Chair | Table

Last but not least is this adorable little french inspired kitchen for all those of you that are ready to give up on city dwelling and move out to the countryside (anyone else have those reoccurring feelings?). I love the wall mounted faucet and the antique inspired blue and white backsplash. We also modernized it slightly with the rounded back windsor inspired chairs to keep it from going too twee.

So which of these is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below and as promised here are a few of our favorite “ready-made” or “quick-ship” cabinet vendors: Ikea, Costco, Kraftmaid as well as Semihandmade which makes cabinet fronts for Ikea cabinets. If you have some more that we don’t know about let us know below.


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5 years ago

Hi! I like them all but I felt something inside when I saw the last one, the French Farmhouse. It’s cozy girl!!

5 years ago

I have the controversial Barkaboda countertops above (in “Updated Traditional”). They are absolutely divine to behold, but they knick if you just look at them. We live in a household without children, so we’ve managed to get by for almost a year without any major problems, but I’m not sure if I’d recommend them otherwise. If you can deal with obsessively putting everything on a cutting board or trivet instead of directly on the counter like I do, they’re amazing.

5 years ago
Reply to  Jacqui

I should also mention that you cannot install an undermount sink with the Barkaboda countertop, so you may need to find a different sink if you’re going for the Updated Traditional look above. 🙂

5 years ago

Some have more than one light-is that just for looks or based on the table sizes?

5 years ago

I’m a blend of Coastal Chic & Graphic Modernist!! Great round up.

5 years ago

I don’t see a bad design in the bunch, but my favorite is the Monochromatic Modern one. It’s the one I’d most want to wake up to for breakfast. The Contemporary Industrial one is my second favorite, mostly because I like the counters, paint colors, and tiles.

Also, the chairs in the Graphic Modernist one are out of stock in all colors using the link provided.

5 years ago

I love all of the above. So much good stuff all in one post!

5 years ago

Love this short simple post that my brain will escape to all day!

5 years ago

Laminate countertops still make me cringe, but I like be the designs ?.

Have you heard of Barker Cabinets? I think they’re located in Oregon. It’s kind of lie IKEA – design and assemble yourself, but solid wood. I’ve been wanting to try them out for a few years but haven’t found the right project (

5 years ago

GAH!!!!! This list is giving me life right now!! This is bookmarked for future reference and you guys rocked it on these prices for the average person. I can definitely purchase a few of these items. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Emily R.
5 years ago

I love the Updated traditional! We actually put up that exact same tile in our kitchen update earlier this year (with gray cabinets) and I love it!!

5 years ago

What a great post. Everything is so well thought out and gorgeous. I am using this for laundry room inspo. Thank you!

5 years ago

The updated traditional is so close to my tiny, just-renovated kitchen! OK, so my tiles are green, sink white and cabinets black, but it’s essentially the same colourway with brass, and the warm wood counter. I added a blackboard wall opposite the galley kitchen and it works perfectly

I also kind of love Minimal Glam and French Farmhouse (though I’ve never seen a French farm house that looks anything like that!)

5 years ago

no mid-century modern!?!?!

Angie RS
5 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Would’ve loved this! MCM is a style I’m not super into when it comes to my own home, but I love looking at it. (Although maybe that’d be a difficult style to incorporate in a modern kitchen unless you were really into formica). Somehow, none of the options (while beautiful) were quite my style. But I also don’t exactly know what my style is, so… I know I like patterns, colors (red, mint, etc), and really bright, well-lit spaces, but beyond that, *shrug* It’s easier to know what you don’t like, I suppose.

5 years ago

This is fantastic! Thank you!

5 years ago

This post is crazy helpful! Thanks for the roundup. The kitchen always feels so overwhelming and out of budget, it’s really nice to see it doesn’t have to be.

Love the coastal chic!

5 years ago

I love these- what an inspirational post.
Now- how about completing the design with some kitchen flooring?
Is there such a thing as acceptable vinyl or laminate?

5 years ago
Reply to  Faith

I agree! I’m staring at my 90s country print vinyl sheet flooring wondering how to make it work with the Graphic Modernist (LOVE). I’d love to replace with hardwoods some day but it will be a while. The easiest thing would be to slap another layer of “acceptable” vinyl (if there is such a thing) or paint it? Or ????

5 years ago
Reply to  Abbi

I lived in an apartment that had brand new vinyl sheet flooring in a surprisingly good faux hardwood pattern. Not something I would use as a long term flooring option, but if $200 of vinyl flooring (or less? Not sure how much that stuff costs) takes it from “ugh it’s SO UGLY” to “not bad” until you can afford your hardwoods somewhere down the line, maybe it would be worth it?

5 years ago
Reply to  Jessie

YHL convinced me that what they call a “Stage1” is worth spending some $$ on, especially if what you REALLY want is out of your budget for a few years. If it were me (and it has been), I would much rather have an innocuous vinyl in the meantime, rather than live everyday with an ugly & difficult to clean floor while I fantasized about tile.

5 years ago


I have been following you since I found you several months ago, and really enjoy your style, roundups, and your personality makes it all more fun. I know this is a total hyjack, but I would like to make a mood board similar to what you make/made here. Can you give me a quick practical tip how to make one? Should I open up photoshop for it? Take pictures of my existing cabinets/colors, etc? I think my look will be somewhat of a combination of many of these looks since I’m working with an existing renovation (from a flipper!).

Thank you!

5 years ago

This is AWESOME! Love the pendant, table and chair ideas. Exactly what my kitchen needs right now to be ‘complete’. A few items have made my Christmas list.

5 years ago

Can you share a cost of labor for having that amount of backsplash or countertop installed (including cutting sink hole, etc)? Thank you!

5 years ago

Love this round up! It’s perfect timing since my just ten year old kitchen is starting to fall apart. =-)
Any advice on a faucet finish to pair with a stainless steel sink? I love the warmth of brass, but I’m afraid of clashing.

Susie Q.
5 years ago

My faves are
1. Updated traditional. I *might* use brass hardware, but I don’t think I could do a brass faucet. But I love the green, black, wood, and white.
2. Graphic modernist. Fave thing is the back splash tile. I have a thing about multiple light fixtures, though–I don’t like it and would only choose one.
3. Monochromatic modern. It looks cute and simple.

I don’t want to change much in my rental kitchen bc I hope to buy my own place next year. The only thing that currently gets my goat is the wall behind the stove (the exhaust fan is mounted on the ceiling). There’s a vent high up on the wall that blows air in from the furnace in the basement. Around this vent the wall looks dirty, like it’s streaked with soot! I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed but to no avail. I fantasize about wallpapering this one wall….*le sigh*

5 years ago

See? Yet another reason why I just love the EH team. I’ll be embarking on a kitchen renovation in the next year and need to start planning. Thank you for the incredible jumpstart! The Updated Traditional is doing it for me.

5 years ago

I LOVE the blue tile in the coastal chic board – just what I have been looking for! But what color of grout???

5 years ago
Reply to  Courtney

We have the exact same tile in our bathroom and absolutely love it. The grout is also blue (since we installed it on the floor) but I imagine something off white would look great on the walls.

5 years ago

So many good stuff here. But i miss some details, like cabinets. And also i think that modern wall mural can also go together with all those stuffs. For example , I didn’t paint my kitchen walls. I put some really cool wall murals because I accidentally found one page where you can create your own. SO i did that ant now it looks really modern. Byt anyway, everything looks and macthes just great,

Oh, the mural web if you interested –

5 years ago

Updated traditional is my favorite, I love the idea of those dark green cabinets and the hits of black.

Also, is another great source – definitely check them out!

5 years ago

I’m probably too late
Reading this for a reply, but what finish of appliances wild you use.
I like white still, but since you did stainless steel
Most recently, im wondering it that’s better.
Plan to sell
In another 2 years so also want to keep in mind what “the
Masses” of possibly buyers prefer.
I’ve also been seeing black stainless steel
That intrigues me.
Thank you.

5 years ago
Reply to  S

Masses are into stainless steal. I wouldn’t go to wild or different since you plan to sell in a few years.

5 years ago

This roundup is fantastic. We bought a house last year that was a flip. While the kitchen is new it’s not aesthetically pleasing. The paint colors, and tile and hardware suggestions are a huge help. Would love to see a similar post on bathrooms next!

5 years ago

Can you share a cost of labor for having that amount of backsplash or countertop installed (including cutting sink hole, etc)? Thank you!
ankarada gezilecek yerler

5 years ago

Nice write-up! I really like the many articles or blog posts; I actually beloved, together with I need guidance relating to this, for the reason that it’s beneficial.

5 years ago

When I feel board. Then I come on your blog and read some post which u have post recently..

5 years ago

I love a cross between monochromatic modern and updated traditional and these prices make me really hopeful that we can update our very 90s grape and beige inspired kitchen.

However, the process is still so overwhelming to me. We are not DIYers. What would you recommend as far as finding contractors and presenting them with these ideas/mood boards?

5 years ago

I appreciate the design suggestions here but feel a little pang at the message that these designs are a “ less than” and temporary fix. For many people, like some of us who read design blogs because we DIY most things in our home for budget reasons and aren’t in a position to hire a designer, this price point may well represent our dream kitchen. And lots of people don’t do home improvement as their job so DIY-ing things while working a job and raising a family is a major undertaking, not a quick temporary fix. I understand though what you were trying to say— that these are not top of the line materials. But I think we can tell that just by looking at the cost that you’re not going to get that to-die-for tile and custom vanity that you showcased in that fabulous bathroom the other day.

5 years ago
Reply to  Jody

Agreed! I thought the same thing. That shower head alone in that bathroom was about half what I want to spend on our entire bathroom renovation. Haha. So yes. A lot of these options would be much more permanent options for me as well. But I don’t usually read Emily Henderson for budget friendly design. Haha. She’s much more the inspiration.

Also a couple of the links you posted weren’t the correct price or the color wasn’t available or it was out of stock entirely. FYI.

5 years ago

I love these posts so much! They’re so inspirational. I wish I had ten kitchens to renovate!

5 years ago

Has anyone used CliqStudios for cabinets? I’m currently finishing up the process and while the cabinets have yet to be delivered, so far it has been an amazing experience. Would love to hear others’ experiences before I pull the final trigger.

5 years ago

I LOVE the tile in the “Coastal Chic” choice! It looks so much more expensive.

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