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Wow-Worthy Before & After: A Budget-Friendly DIY Kitchen Remodel

Brittany Arnason
4 min read
Wow-Worthy Before & After: A Budget-Friendly DIY Kitchen Remodel

Welcome to my kitchen! This reno was all done DIY—from the concrete counters to the range hood, the brick backsplash, and the chalkboard wall.

In the video below, I walk you through the entire process.

First off, I know how it feels. I remember how I felt walking into this property. When you’re confronted with an old kitchen, you don’t know exactly what layout is going to work the best.

In this particular kitchen, there used to be a giant wall and everything was really small, really closed off. So it took me a while to kind of figure out what I wanted to do DIY, be very budget-conscious, but also make a really beautiful space. And that’s what I did here.

Let’s walk through start to finish how we got to this end result.

Affordable DIY Kitchen Renovation With Investor Girl Britt

Here’s a view of the kitchen before:

britt diy kitchen before

As you can see, there’s not a ton of counter space and the stove is blocking a lot of the cabinetry. I knew I could make this so much better. But it required a pretty major renovation.

1. Planning It Out

Something to note: before you start taking down any wall, it is crucial to know that it is not load-bearing before you start. It is also important to know that if you have an older home and you have plaster walls, there might be asbestos in the plaster. Make sure you get that tested before you start completely reconfiguring a kitchen.

I tried to draw something out beforehand on paper to get a little bit of an idea of the layout. But I do find it easiest when I’m actually in the space and it’s a completely blank slate. I can really confirm what I had on my drawing and in my head.

Related: Rental Property Deal Analysis & Property Tour (Before & After Rehab!)

2. Removing Walls

Here comes the first tricky part. After you take a wall down, you have to patch it and fix it up so that it looks like there was never a wall there in the first place. You need to make the two rooms look completely seamless.

Drywalling is not an easy job, and it’s probably going to take you longer and be a little bit more difficult than you anticipated. But it is very rewarding if you are able to get it done. Just make sure you’re ready for a major arm workout.

3. Updating Cabinetry

We decided to use IKEA cabinets in this property. We use them in most of our rental properties. We feel like the quality is really great for the price point.

I decided to sand down and paint this kitchen cabinetry. I really love the green I chose; it gives it a little bit of contrast.

All of the IKEA cabinets, including the hinges and all the hardware needed, cost us under $2,000 for this kitchen.

4. Creating New Countertops

Next, we did our very own concrete countertops. This was a huge project, and it was a lot of work. But in the end, it only cost us $500. So, it saved us a ton of money rather than putting quartz or granite in.

britt diy kitchen after

4. Building a Range Hood

This range hood was a focal point of this wall. I really love this. It’s from Archways & Ceilings, so it’s actually custom-made to fit your space, shipped to you, and then you finish it however you want. This cost us about $400.

Related: 7 Ways to Create BRs, BAs & Value-Add Amenities for Your Rental

5. Installing a Backsplash

A perfect fit for this kitchen, we went with a brick backsplash. Normally, I’ve done tile—subway tile is a great option that is quite affordable. But I decided to do brick because it went with the industrial look that I was going for.

These specific bricks are plaster, so they’re very light and very easy to install.

6. Hanging Floating Shelves

I love the look of floating shelves. They’re particularly great for an Airbnb property because your guests are easily able to find glasses and plates and dishes. It just makes it a lot easier for them to navigate the kitchen.

Since this is a big L-shaped kitchen, I thought it would be really nice to have a movable island. The one I chose is also from IKEA, and I custom painted it.

It’s perfect for when you need some extra counter space, and it’s not very expensive, but it is definitely a nice detail that people appreciate.

7. Adding Final Touches

Sometimes you are left with an awkward space like I was beside the pantry in this kitchen. So, I decided to build it in so it looked like it was meant to be there.

And then I was able to have a spot for my chalkboard wall and hanging garden. These are a really nice touch, especially when it’s an Airbnb property, because you can write the wifi password or a message for your guests on the chalkboard.

Before & After DIY Kitchen Remodel

britt diy kitchen before after

Wrapping Up

I like to stage my properties, especially the kitchen, when the renovation is complete. Then, we can take really great photos. And even if it’s a long-term rental, you’re going to have those photos for future ads for years to come. So, I try to make it look the best I can.

Take nice photos. It’s worth the time it takes to stage.

One other thing I’ll say is it is very important to get quotes and weigh whether or not it is worth it to do it yourself or not. A lot of the stuff we do by ourselves save us a ton of money, but it is not necessarily worth your time to take on some of these projects. You really have to weigh out whether it’s worth it to do it DIY or hire it out.

I know it can be very overwhelming when you’re looking at doing a big project like this—especially if you’re new. So start small, and take things step by step. You don’t have to look at it as one full project. Maybe just take on a few small things to get used to it.

Good luck with your kitchen renovations! I can’t wait to see them. I know it can be a lot of hard work, but it is so extremely rewarding once it’s finished.


Questions? Comments? 

Let’s talk below!

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.