Flipping Houses

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

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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.

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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:

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.

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 [With Before/After Pics!]

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

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.

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Questions? Comments? 

Let’s talk below!

Brittany Arnason bought her first house at 18 years old and jumped into real estate investing full time at 24. She and her partner Scott now focus on long-term buy and hold rental properties, and h...
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    Tom Phelan Real Estate Investor from Key West, FL
    Replied about 1 month ago
    You're hired! Excellent job and not just because of the cost. A kitchen remodel could cost $100 or $10,000 but if the final look sucks who cares. You look is great.
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks Tom Appreciate it 😄😄😄
    Roger Mohnani from Richmond Hill, New York
    Replied about 1 month ago
    superb love it
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks Roger!
    Steve Vaughan Rental Property Investor from East Wenatchee, WA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Well done and thank you for sharing your ideas and tips, Brittany! We just did our own kitchen 90% DIY and you're right about the work it takes. I will take your design and cost-saving ideas with me to my next one. Thanks again!
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Love it Steve! Can’t wait to see! If you post on Instagram you should tag me :)
    Jaehan Kim
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Wow! Awesome job! I was looking into concrete countertop for my next project and this is really helpful. Thanks for sharing this!
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Yes that’s great! I’m doing a full video on this with bigger pockets soon :)
    Karen O. from NYC, NY
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Beautiful!!
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks Karen!
    Eric Carr Real Estate Broker from Los Angeles, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    @Brittany Arnason Bad-A**. Well done from the kitchen work to the edit. How do the Ikea pieces stand up? Do they feel solid, quality, and like they will hold up for years? I think that's a great way to go for a short term property, I'm just curious
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hey Eric! Thank you! Yes I lovveeeee ikea the quality is great (that’s also coming from my cabinet maker friend) who thinks quality for price is awesome. We use in all of our rentals and they are perfect! Takes time to put them together but it’s also kinda fun lol
    Bruce May Lender from San Diego, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Nice job Brittany. You sure make it look easy.
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you Bruce! :)
    Demetrius Owens
    Replied about 1 month ago
    this is amazing work and the steps were laid out perfectly for me to follow
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Appreciate it! We will have some more specific how-to projects coming up as well. Thanks for watching!
    Samuel Alan Millette
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Epic
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks Samuel!
    Sandy Gabin Rental Property Investor from Lawrence, Ma
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Beautiful! I was wondering where did you do the counter top? Must be heavy, I do a lot of diy myself and I enjoy it every minute of it! Saving $$$$$.
    Andres Martinez-Muñoz from Iron Station, North Carolina
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Amazing remodel!!
    Anthony Therrien-Bernard Rental Property Investor from Calgary, Alberta
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Great job on your first article Brittany. I love following your Instagram to get some affordable ideas for renos on my own rentals. Keep the good work
    Deb S. Rental Property Investor from Punta Gorda, FL
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Very beautiful job. That looks quite time consuming. I like that spray gun used for painting the cabinets and stove hood. One question - does the $3200 cost include the appliances, sink and faucet? I would think that would add quite a bit? Looks very well done and I'm sure it will rent or sell in no time! Congratulations!
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied about 1 month ago
    BEAUTIFUL!! I'm jealous.
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks Erin!
    Jeff Bentley
    Replied about 1 month ago
    So many financial details left out with no mention of the costs associated. Yes, the space looks great but.... Material costs of the following: Sheetrock work including drywall, mud and possibly baseboard work. $50-200. Sink. $3-500 Backsplash. $100+ Shelves. $50+ Hanging garden. $50+ Chalkboard. Paint $50/gallon. Appliances. Very minimum $2000 And lastly, IKEA. Moderate to low quality at best. Not the kind of cabinetry I would want in a rental unless you plan on repairing and replacing often. Somewhat misleading advice to a novice.
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Totally understand! I wrote a comment addressing that below 😄❤️
    Sarah Shockley Rental Property Investor from Jacksonville, FL
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Ok so the biggest takeaway from this article should be how much money you can save if you have the time and skill to DIY. This would easily be a $15k+ project if all the labor was hired out! Also those appliances are at least $2k right there, so even with the DIY work the title is a bit inaccurate - this is a $5k kitchen at least. Sorry to be a negative nancy Britt, I love your work & follow your insta. Really appreciate the time you put into your posts, videos, and love that you're on BP doing articles as well. Also I need more info on the faux brick! It's sooo cool - where can I buy it?
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    NeverMind I see Florida! I would just look at hardware stores in your area And look for plaster bricks. I haven’t found a place to order online in the US as of yet!
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Totally agree Sarah. I wrote a comment below! Just some miscommunication I just wrote out costs for the DIY projects Shown in the video but will work on more accuracy moving forward! I got the bricks from a store called Rona in Canada! Not sure where you’re from?
    Ashley Wilson Rental Property Investor from Radnor, PA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    @Brittany girl you are crushing it!!!!! Love it!
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks Ash ❤️
    Liz Conboy from Collegeville, Pennsylvania
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hello, beautiful renovation! I’m thinking the $3,200 doesn’t include the cost of the appliances, flooring, electric or plumbing supplies, garbage disposal, etc.
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Nope not at all but I wrote a Comment below addressing the cost issue 😄
    Dino Flora
    Replied about 1 month ago
    This $3200 cost is so misleading as a couple people already pointed out, and really BS that they let you post this on BP. All the half truths going on around this site trying to make yourselves look like geniuses is a crime. Tell the whole story or don’t tell it, you’re doing more harm then good.
    MarcoSantiago Chiappetta Real Estate Broker from NYC
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Dino, with all do respect; let’s reconsider the way in which you are approaching your opinion- which should be noted; you opinion is just an opinion and NOT a matter of fact, although your tone suggests otherwise. Your hostile approach, and assumptions as to the attentions of this site as well as, Brittany is certainly what’s truly criminal in your accusation. Claiming someone is purposely misleading the general public is such a grotesque display of “The Entrepreneur Community” Many of us here are encouraging. I suspect you joined bigger pockets to learn; and the last time I checked ; this site is free, with that said; don’t expect investors , self made developers and creative designers to teach or provide you these lessons under the expectation you’ve paid. If you’re looking for professors that you can legal accuse because you’ve paid for their teaching and|or signed up for their classes- go ahead. To bully or try to discredit someone who’s offering free advise is such a shame to see|read.
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Totally agree! 100% I Addressed below. I promise I’m not a criminal haha!
    Mickey Rochen
    Replied about 1 month ago
    WOW, the kitchen looks like a $$$million. Congrats!!! It is super nice!
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you!!!
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks everyone so much for watching and the replies!! ❤️❤️❤️ Much appreciated! And I did want to address the cost! I just outlined the cost of the DIY projects shown in the video, not appliances ect. Should be more clear on my end. First article and video so will work on my cost clarity! 😄😄😄 appliances we did get on kijiji (craigslist) for $500! Let me know your questions/concerns and I will answer!
    Vereaux Reynolds
    Replied about 1 month ago
    What about those windows you closed up and the plumbing and drainage that had to be moved to relocate the sink????
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Yes! Removed the windows and whole house is new plumbing! Showed all The DIY projects I could in this 1 video :D
    MarcoSantiago Chiappetta Real Estate Broker from NYC
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hey Britney! Excellent job! So impressive and your style and touch is exactly the look I’m going for. My partners and I have recently discussed particular looks and most importantly, cost association to increase our margins; DIY is always the way to go, as you proved it. Do you do consulting? Would love to know.
    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Removing walls or opening them (like a breakfast nook) in the case of closed or small kitchens can really do amazing things for how a kitchen looks.
    Vaughn K. from Seattle, WA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    One thing I've never been able to understand for the life of me is why people replace cabinets instead of of just refinishing them... Especially when they replace old school quality actual wood ones with particle board stuff that will not last as long as the old stuff would if left in place!

    Sometimes if you REALLY need to change the whole layout I guess there's no option, but people seem to change a lot of stuff just to change it. If you have old solid wood cabinets and doors that are frumpy because they've been repainted 10 times, and are lumpy with paint drips etc, you just need to sand them bad boys down to smooth again and repaint! Then you'd actually have real wood underneath, and they'll look brand new! If you want a modern look you change the hardware. You can change doors only too if wanted/needed. Open (doorless) cabinets actually often look nice too IMO, although I wouldn't want them personally. Done!

    Likewise with some other stuff, like changing the location of the plumbing. Maybe the sink was in the worst place ever and you can't get the feel for it in the video... But to me it looked like it was in a nice place looking out the window, so why move it? I think a lot of people make unneeded changes just because they get some idea stuck in their head of the layout, just because that was how it popped into their head. I've seen incredible kitchen remodels where people thought through the planning stage really well, utilized as much of what was there as possible, while still adding the glitz of the important new stuff. Seems like that's the ultimate budget way to do it.

    Maybe to get something to 100% awesome/perfect one often does need to make massive changes... But 80/20 rule, if you can get 80% of the results with 20% of the effort/cost, seems like that's a pretty good way to do it in many situations, especially if it's not a high end flip where you REALLY need to get it to 100% perfect. The kitchen looks great of course Brittany, but that type of stuff always pops into my head when I see these things.
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    That’s so funny I actually just posted a video today about refinishing cabinets 😂🙌 99% of the time we do keep them if they are in good enough shape to salvage . This is the only property we made major changes because of the area and ARV we were able to get after refinance, plus the kitchen layout really was terrible before maybe it’s not displayed so well in the video. But I agree with you and majority of my work Aligns with that 🙌🤗
    Vaughn K. from Seattle, WA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Nice! It definitely is one of the ultimate ways to save on sprucing up a kitchen. Glad to hear you save the old stuff when you can :) The same often applies throughout old houses on a lot of the other woodwork, but with some stuff like trim it can unfortunately be cheaper to tear out and replace vs refinish because of the time vs cost factor. It's sad to see good old stuff replaced with lower quality new stuff still though IMO. Glad to hear you usually do things sensibly though, as a lot of people just tear out as the default.
    Luc Boiron Specialist from Toronto, Ontario
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Beautiful transformation Brittany! It was great meeting you at the REITE club and I love following your instagram. Keep crushing it!
    Brittany Arnason Rental Property Investor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks Luc! awesome meeting you too!
    Katie Rogers from Santa Barbara, California
    Replied about 1 month ago
    I am not understanding how this kitchen only cost $3200. According to your numbers, the cabinets, counter, and hood seem to add up to nearly $3200, and that is before all the other construction materials, fixtures, and appliances I see.
    Lindsay Baker
    Replied 30 days ago
    I love following your projects on Instagram. This kitchen turned out fantastic. I can't wait to see what else you have been working on!