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5 amazing ways to replace kitchen cabinets on a tight budget

If you need to replace kitchen cabinets on a tight budget, we understand your pain. Kitchen remodels are expensive, and there are so many hidden costs involved. Whether you’re hiring a pro or doing the project on your own, one of the biggest expenses of any kitchen update is the cabinets. In fact, cabinets typically account for a significant portion of your renovating budget.

If you’re looking for an affordable kitchen design, one option is to simply repaint your existing kitchen cabinets. But if they’re well past their prime and you’re due for an upgrade, the good news is that it is actually possible to find and customize kitchen cabinets on a tight budget. By doing some of the work yourself and choosing lower-cost materials, you can greatly reduce your kitchen renovation costs. Still not convinced? Read on for our tips.

person painting cabinet

Shop secondhand

If you’re DIYing a kitchen renovation or you simply want the experience of crafting your own shelving units, a good place to start is with used cabinets. While buying anything used is a bit of a gamble, it’s more likely than not you’re going to wind up with a great set of cabinets that you can customize without worrying about accidentally damaging thousands of dollars’ worth of hardware.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores Shops

With over 800 locations across the U.S., ReStores is a great place to find used kitchen cabinets at drastically reduced prices. As a bonus, your purchase will help support local Habitat for Humanity programs.

Facebook Marketplace

You can geo-target an area when searching for used kitchen cabinets or other items you might need for your renovation project. Although Facebook Marketplace items usually are being sold, rather than given away for free, the prices are often very reduced, and you always have the option to negotiate pricing. 

Architectural salvage yards

While not the cheapest option for finding used kitchen cabinets, architectural salvage yards often have quality castoffs from high-end renovation projects. In addition to kitchen cabinets, you may also find sinks, flooring tiles, and other items you might be able to use in your affordable kitchen redesign. 

Scandinavian Domestic Kitchen

Buy new for less

If you’re set on new cabinets for your kitchen renovation project, there are still ways to find affordable options. While solid wood cabinets may not be in your budget, you can still find aesthetically pleasing styles that will give your kitchen the updated look you’re hoping to achieve.

Order online

There are literally thousands of ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets that can be shipped to you flat-packed. Assembly is relatively easy, but be mindful that although you might save money on the cabinets themselves, shipping costs tend to be high. If you don’t like the cabinets once they arrive, shipping them back will add even more cost, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in for before you click “add to cart.”

RTA cabinet stores

Like the idea of finding affordable RTA cabinets, but not the hefty shipping costs or buying without seeing the cabinets in person? There are retail stores around the nation selling RTA cabinets onsite. Check online for stores and locations near you.

IKEA kitchen cabinets are all RTA, but they offer more sophistication and quality than most RTA cabinets sold online. IKEA cabinets may give you the upscale kitchen redo you are searching for at a surprisingly low price.

Showroom display cabinets

Eventually, kitchen displays in home renovation stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s will be taken down to make room for new displays. Speak with floor managers and ask about the possibility of buying the kitchen displays directly from the floor. There may be a little wear and tear on the cabinets, and your contractor may need to do a little retrofitting to accommodate your kitchen’s dimensions, but you’ll end up with top-of-the-line cabinets at greatly reduced pricing.

Finding inexpensive kitchen cabinets, either used or new, will have a huge impact on the total cost of your kitchen renovation. Whether you use those cost savings to spend more of your budget on upgrading appliances or hiring a professional to handle cabinet installation, spending less on cabinets will definitely expand your options. It may require a bit more legwork to find great deals, but if you’re searching for kitchen cabinets on a tight budget, you have more options available today than ever before. 

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Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
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