Creating the Perfect Kitchen on a Budget

My daughter reminded me of how much I love interior design.  I never thought of myself as an artist ( I draw stick figures) but art is more than that; its how we express ourselves, whether it’s through music, the clothes we wear, the food we cook, or the way we display our home.

My art is the way I display my home.  And the way I display it is through my desire for personal style and economical balance.   I love to challenge my self to create a living space that looks clean and tidy with my twist on fun colors and decor without busting my budget.

old china kitchen

To me the heart of the home is the kitchen.  Who doesn’t love to eat; especially in a warm and inviting area?  Smells of garlic and peppers and other spices in gramma’s homemade sauce simmering in a cast iron skillet over the gas stove; I’m getting hungry as I write.

But what makes a warm kitchen? And how do we create that space on a budget?

The basics:  my big thing is cleanliness and clutter.  I’ve lived in many different spaces with every imaginable kitchen from being too big to too small.  The key; try to use what you have and make it work.  Are the counters cluttered so you can’t even think straight let alone start a heart warming meal?   Small appliances, canisters, even dirty dishes can confuse the best Sous-Chef.  Clear off the counters.   Make a space for the dish washing routine that is organized and out of the way; maybe put the dish rack in the sink instead of next to it depending on the space you have.  That mail pile on the corner can stay organized with a cute napkin holder or even a cubby hung from the wall.


Make a home for appliances that aren’t used daily.  That small cupboard above the fridge or that below cupboard that is sitting empty is a good place. Canisters are perfectly OK in the pantry,(my canisters are made from recycled decorated coffee cans) I keep my flour and sugar in canisters in my baking cupboard.   Speaking of pantry; we need to keep our cupboards organized as much as possible.


This is a good place to throw in our work space triangle; sink, refrigerator, stove. We need a common work space, if it’s not already there, then we need to find alternative option.  Adding a table that is level with the counters to finish that triangle or adding a bar at the end of a counter.  My kitchen doesn’t have a triangle, it’s more like an L, and so I added a counter height desk to create my space.  This is where you can get creative and shop around at yard sales, thrift stores or discount stores.


Seating; the smell of freshly cooking food will always bring your company to your kitchen.  By adding some simple bar stools or chairs to the other side of the counter for social gatherings will let your hungry patrons feel invited to sit and watch your magic.  Another option is a corner table with benches.  The idea here is to have seating close to the kitchen action.  Again, shopping around town to find the perfect pieces that suit your kitchen; and you can always recover chairs with fabric to tie them in your color scheme.


Colors and Themes; your kitchen should be inviting and express your personal style. Whatever your theme is, remember not to overwhelm the reason for your kitchen.  Paint is always a great and inexpensive way to freshen up and create your new palette for your kitchen. You can even paint the cabinets, to give a nice finished look add new handles and knobs.  Or even add patterned cupboard liners for open cabinets.   If there isn’t enough cabinet space, you can add some shelving to an open wall space.   There are even options to recover counter tops to give them that granite look.   Another hack I found is using plastic place-mats for the back splash and you can easily tie it in to your color scheme.

back splash

Windows and lighting;  I want to see my new beautiful kitchen and there are so many options for window coverings, you can opt for the basic curtain and tie a knot at the bottom for a twist, or try your hand at fabric pull blinds or shades.

Lighting is usually overlooked, but by adding new light fixtures will give your kitchen that perfect sparkle. Again, go to flea markets, yard sales and discount stores to find the perfect fixtures for your new space.


There are so many nick knack pieces at your local goodwill (which, by the way, is my favorite place to start a project).  I’ve even looked around the house, or used the family china for elegant pieces of flair.

Add some nice area rugs and place settings and voila!  You have a warm inviting kitchen without busting out that credit card.

There are so many ways to create that warm kitchen that celebrates your style.  Have some fun with it and let your artistic light shine!