Kitchen Makeover on a Budget: The Cost & ROI of a Kitchen Refresh

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Kitchens have changed a lot over the last several decades. Kitchen designs have been updated, appliances have been upgraded, and layouts have been altered. If your kitchen still looks like it is from the 1960s, it may be time for a makeover. Especially if you are going to sell your home soon, you need to make some updates.  

While upgrading is a must, funding this home improvement project can be tricky. The cost of remodeling a kitchen can be substantial, but it may not be feasible if you do not have a lot of cash to spare. The best way to do a kitchen makeover on a budget is to do a quick refresh instead of a full remodel. A refresh involves smaller cosmetic updates that do not involve pulling permits. Generally, a refresh will keep project costs low so you can make necessary kitchen updates on a budget and still see a high return.   

The Average Kitchen Refresh Cost   

The cost of a kitchen refresh will depend on the scope of the work as well as other factors like your location, the size of the kitchen, and the general contractor. On average, the kitchen refresh cost can range anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.1 

The cost to refresh a kitchen is significantly cheaper than the cost to do a remodel. In the United States, a remodel averaged $80,809 for a mid-range kitchen and $158,015 for an upscale kitchen in 2022.2 Because of this big difference in price, a refresh is a great way to update an old kitchen on a budget.   

How to Update a Kitchen on a Budget   

Creating a dream kitchen can come with a high price tag, but there are plenty of ways to save money on kitchen updates without sacrificing the end result. If money is tight, follow these tips on how to makeover a kitchen on a budget to keep costs down.   

Paint the Cabinets  

One of the best ways to refresh a kitchen on a budget is to paint the cabinets. Instead of replacing cabinets, painting them is a cheaper alternative that can transform the look of the room.   

Update the Handles and Pulls   

While a small change, updating hardware can be an easy way to modernize a kitchen on a budget. Stylish handles and pulls can help the cabinets look more current without having to do any significant work.   

Paint the Walls and Ceiling   

Sometimes all you need is a fresh coat of paint to change the entire look of the room. Painting the walls and ceilings a neutral color is a cheap kitchen update that can appeal to many buyers and have a significant payout when you sell.   

Replace the Countertops  

Especially if your kitchen countertop is damaged or behind the times, replacing it with a new and modern design can change the look and feel of the room. Choose a budget-friendly material rather than a high-end one to ensure you keep the project within your budget.   

Upgrade the Lighting  

Another simple kitchen idea on a budget is to update the lighting. Many older kitchens have antiquated lighting that can make the entire room look dated. Instead, upgrade the lighting to a more modern design. This simple change can help you update your kitchen on a budget and appeal to more buyers.   

Update the Flooring   

Flooring updates can be expensive, but they do not have to be. One way to save money on a kitchen refresh is to use less expensive flooring options. For example, LVT flooring has the appearance of hardwood flooring or stone but is significantly cheaper to install.   

Replace Old Appliances  

Updating your appliances can go a long way. Especially if your appliances are dated or no longer in style, upgrading them can help the kitchen look more modern. While stainless steel is a top-of-the-line option, it may be more expensive. You can still do a kitchen makeover on a budget by choosing something less luxurious.   

Shop Around  

Although these home improvement ideas for a budget kitchen makeover may help, there are other options to help you save money. You can shop around for quotes to try to get the best deal. Just be careful that you do not sacrifice the quality of work for a lower price.   


Some people will also try to stay within their kitchen renovation budget by doing the work themselves. While appealing because of the price, this option can take a lot of time and be a hassle. Not to mention the fact that if you aren’t as handy as you think, it may not turn out as well as you hoped.   

Get a Loan  

If they cannot fund the project themselves, some people may even take out a loan. Of course, the downside to this approach is having to pay it back with interest. In some cases, this could take years to come.  

Kitchen Refresh ROI   

Not only is the cost of a kitchen refresh lower than a remodel but also the return on a kitchen refresh is higher. In our 2022 return on investment (ROI) survey, we found that the average kitchen refresh ROI was 377%. In comparison, a full remodel only saw a 220% return.2 Of course, the exact ROI for a kitchen refresh will vary from project to project, but the end profit can be substantial when you sell.  

The reason why the ROI on a kitchen refresh tends to be higher than a remodel is because project costs are often significantly lower, but the end result is similar. The cost of a kitchen refresh does not cut into the profit as much as a remodel does, and homeowners can walk away with more money in their pockets.   

If you are looking to sell and trying to do a kitchen makeover on a budget, there may be a better option. At Curbio, we work with homeowners to help them make kitchen updates before selling but without them having to pay anything upfront. Instead, we supply an all-inclusive quote at the beginning, complete and manage all the work from start to finish, and take payment at closing. On top of that, we can offer guidance on the projects that would result in the greatest ROI so you can walk away with more money.  

Interested? Talk with your real estate agent about working with us. You can also contact us to get connected with one of our partner agents.    


  1. How Much Does It Cost to Renovate a House? Average Home Renovation Costs for Bathrooms, Kitchens, and Beyond 
  2. refreshing by JLC (2022). 2022 Cost vs. Value Report  
  3. Curbio (2022). Preparing to Sell: 2022 Home Improvement Report 

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