My Budget-Friendly Kitchen Remodel

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Learn how to design a timeless, budget-friendly kitchen remodel. Create a custom-look kitchen with shaker-style doors and IKEA cabinets.

Did you know you can take an IKEA kitchen reno to the next level with custom doors to create a custom-look kitchen that feels timeless yet fresh and modern? I’m sharing all of the secrets!

Updated May 2022 with updated information, photos, and links.

cream coloured shaker cabinets with quartz counters. Unlacquered brass cabinet hardware. French door glass china cabinet. Shiplap wall in breakfast nook. clay subway tile backsplash. Budget-Friendly Kitchen Remodel

Shop my Kitchen

Kitchen Reno on a Budget

Shaker Cabinets

Shaker cabinets are easily accessible and often less expensive than more detailed cabinetry. Stock shaker cabinets are often stocked at your local hardware store or ship quickly. 

We integrated IKEA cabinets. I used the IKEA kitchen planner to enter my room size and add in the base cabinets and upper cabinets. I sent the PDF and link to the plans to AllStyle Retrofit, who created custom cabinet doors for IKEA cabinetry. They review the design to ensure functionality and send back the doors, panels, drawer fronts, etc for you with a quote. You can select from a variety of door styles, solid wood, your cabinet colour and more! Learn more here.

cream coloured kitchen cabinets brass hardware. Ikea kitchen reno. Budget-friendly kitchen

IKEA Kitchen reno

IKEA is helpful when it comes to kitchen plans, and you can set up a meeting in person or online to plan your kitchen. If you are looking for a budget-friendly kitchen remodel, this is a great option to consider. If you are using custom fronts, remove the doors and decorative panels from your IKEA order. Curious about what I ordered? Click here for the IKEA ORDER (pdf document) that I placed via IKEA.

Custom Doors for IKEA Cabinets

Custom Doors from AllStyle Retrofit, which are specially made to fit with IKEA cabinets. Learn more here.
Cabinetry: IKEA Sektion
Door Style: Lancaster
Material: Maple Frame/MDF Center Panel
Color Code/Name OC-14 Natural Cream
Colour Notes: 20° Sheen

Want to learn more about how I made our IKEA kitchen look custom with Retrofit doors? Learn more here.

 Kitchen Colours

The cabinets are painted in Natural Cream by Benjamin Moore, which is a timeless cream colour that feels fresh. It has grey undertones in the mushroom colour palette; this colour palette is very on-trend. The walls and shiplap are painted in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. It works well for Eastern natural light. Picking custom door fronts allowed me to take this IKEA kitchen reno to the next level.

Love the colour of the cream kitchen cabinets? Find out why Natural Cream is the perfect creamy cabinet colour and the complementing wall colour here.

Breakfast nook with shiplap wall, natural cream cabinets and bench seating. H&M affordable pillow covers in sage green, beige, and linen.

Classic Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

To add interest, I mixed metals and integrated brass for warmth.  Brass cabinet hardware perfectly complements the polished chrome bridge faucet, Wolf range, and other kitchen appliances. Learn how to mix metals in this complete guide.

Another way to add character to a kitchen is by mixing cabinet hardware; our kitchen includes Pulls, Knobs, and Latches.  One key to a Budget-Friendly Kitchen Remodel is by picking what to spend money on and where you should save; hardware is somewhere to spend a little more. Mixing and matching cabinet hardware gives a custom look, and the brass cabinet latches are my favourite timeless element.

Natural cream cabinet wall with brass cabinet hardware, and cabinet latches. French door glass cabinets. Budget friendly ikea kitchen reno


If you love the timeless look of marble without maintenance, I recommend Hanstone Quartz. The colour Montauk for instance, looks like authentic marble but requires very little upkeep. If you are looking for more specific details, I got a 1-7/8″ overhang from the cabinet and a 3cm straight finished edge.

Natural cream cabinet wall with brass cabinet hardware, and cabinet latches. French door glass cabinets. Quartz apron front sink and bridge faucet in stainless.

Bridget Faucet

Another must-have in my kitchen was a bridge faucet. I think that bridge faucets are like a piece of art while also being a classic style to incorporate into your kitchen. You can also buy them with a separate side sprayer, which is what I did. I also think these small details matter when your sink is a focal point in your kitchen! I decided to go with the polished chrome finish. This is another item that I think took this IKEA kitchen reno and made it look high-end.

Why? When I was selecting the sink, I wanted to go with stainless, it fit my budget, and I was worried about staining and chipping a porcelain sink. Also, it tied in with the stainless appliances. If you are nervous about mixing metals, check out this post.

Apron Front Sink

There is a great debate over having one big open sink or having a split sink. I personally love having a split sink. I always have something in the drying rack, no matter what. During the first eight months of living here, we had one big open sink, and I couldn’t stand always having something on the counter drying.

I opted for a 60/40 sink, and I still love it! A slightly bigger opening for washing dishes and a somewhat smaller area for drying dishes. When I was having the countertops templated, I also had a piece cut and added to the front of the sink as an apron. A more chic yet timeless take on a farmhouse sink.

Focal range hood wall with clay subway tile backsplash to the ceiling, brass picture light over vintage frame. Natural cream cabinets and range hood.  Wolf range. Bridge faucet in peninsula with quartz countertops. IKEA kitchen reno that is a custom look Budget-Friendly Kitchen Remodel

Timeless Backsplash Tiles

The backsplash tiles were purchased from Creekside Tile in Toronto. They are from “Nanda Tiles,” from the Laurel Clay collection in Candem White. The tiles are 7.75″ x 2.25″

Grout is Permacolor grout in Bright White


Brass Lighting

I love the lighting I selected for our kitchen. The first picture light I was able to buy at a design store at a discount. If there are any tiny imperfections, however, they can’t sell the lighting to their high-end clients, so they end up marking it down.

This is the link to the picture light we chose and this is the sconce that was used beside the range hood.

IKEA Under Cabinet Lighting

Cabinet lighting is from IKEA and controlled by Alexa, the perfect addition to an IKEA kitchen reno.

When I designed the kitchen in the IKEA planner, it automatically added $1000 of lighting to the cart; however, when it all showed up, I couldn’t believe how much there was. I think the intent was to have lighting inside all of the cabinets too. I only installed it under the cabinets, pointing to the countertops and in the glass cabinet. This is a feature that makes a budget-friendly kitchen remodel appear more high-end and custom.

It was very easy to install because it plugs in, so you could also add it to your existing kitchen!

Looking to add smart undercabinet lighting to your kitchen? Learn more about the IKEA smart under cabinet lighting here.

Natural Lighting

One of the big benefits of the kitchen is the natural light we have in the space. The wall beside the breakfast nook is filled with floor-length windows and double doors. It makes the space beautiful and bright any time of the year.

Breakfast nook with shiplap wall, natural cream cabinets and bench seating. H&M affordable pillow covers in sage green, beige, and linen. Featuring Siamese kitten. Ikea kitchen. Budget friendly kitchen.

Love the look of this cozy breakfast nook? Learn why we opted for a cozy breakfast nook over a traditional peninsula, plus get all of the details here.

Herringbone Floor

One of the leading causes of this renovation was the flooring. Our old kitchen flooring was slate, which was cold, and showed dirt, aging, and marks.

I wanted to continue a similar wood tone into the kitchen from the rest of the house, but I wanted to go with engineered hardwood instead of wood. Plus, I love the timeless look of herringbone floors.

I chose the TwelveOaks Wishbone White Oak in colour Lucid Dreams.


Sharing my experiences with buying appliances, and honestly, it wasn’t pretty! If you can believe it, it was actually the most challenging process of the entire IKEA kitchen reno. One of the things we didn’t want to replace in the kitchen was our 11-year-old Wolf range and range hood. I opted to create a custom cover for the range hood myself and integrate the IKEA lighting into it. I ended up picking a Dishwasher, Bosch 500 series and a Fridge, Bosch 500 series.


One regret I do have is not buying a panel-ready dishwasher. The cost is not much higher than a regular dishwasher, aside from having a cabinet panel made for it and buying hardware. Panel-ready fridges are more expensive, but I would love one if I could! Searching for classic-style small appliances, I found my favourite kettle and toaster (pr gift). Wondering where the microwave is? It’s hidden away in a cabinet!

Disclaimer, I had a horrible experience dealing with Canadian Appliance Source and would not recommend purchasing from them. I ended up buying through Costco, which was a fantastic experience!

Kitchen Reno Cost

What is the cost of my IKEA kitchen reno? The total cost was approximately $20K (including flooring labour, counters, cabinets, cabinet fronts, cabinet hardware, furniture etc.). The cabinets and custom doors were ~$8K. One of the most significant cost savings was that the labour & installation was done by myself, with occasional help from family/friends.

The New Kitchen Floor Plan

Here is the floor plan with a few basic dimensions of our budget-friendly kitchen remodel. We mostly kept a floor plan similar to what we had in the kitchen before, but we straightened out the peninsula and added the breakfast nook. Click here for the PDF: Kitchen Plans and Dimensions.

More home design ideas


Before & After



  1. Jen
    October 26, 2021 /

    Incredible job!!! It looks amazing!
    Did you do the mock up plans yourself? If so, what software did you use?

  2. Emma Courtney
    October 26, 2021 /

    I did, I used Google SketchUp!

  3. Marsha
    June 29, 2022 /

    Love, love your kitchen! How tall are your ceilings?

  4. Emma Courtney
    July 5, 2022 /

    10′ tall!

  5. Stephanie
    July 5, 2022 /

    Hi, curious since you used Ikea cabinets, is the inside a different color then the doors and panels?
    I’m looking to do the same but stuck on how it will visually look with the inside of the cabinets varying in color from the outside.

  6. Emma Courtney
    July 7, 2022 /

    Hi Stephanie, Yes the insides are white, but from my experience, this is the case with most kitchen – the inside and outside don’t match. High end kitchens would have wood interiors, but less expensive would have white or something else, but not match! You also can’t see the interior colour unless you open the doors. Hope this helps!

  7. NY
    August 11, 2022 /

    Can you give details on the range hood?

  8. Emma Courtney
    August 15, 2022 /

    I wanted to save money so I used my existing range hood and framed it out, and then created a cover for it!

  9. Michelle
    September 20, 2022 /

    Looks gorgeous! 🙂 Cream gives it a lovely warmth.

    How did you do the crown molding? Did Allsyle Retrofit make it for you? Is there a small gap between the upper cabinets and the ceiling?

  10. Sogol
    September 21, 2022 /

    Hello! What a stunning kitchen! Would you be able to share how you covered your range hood? I am interested in doing the same. Thank you!

  11. Amy Day
    September 22, 2022 /

    Love, love, love what you did!
    Thanks so much for sharing all the details!

  12. Emma Courtney
    October 4, 2022 /

    Hi Michelle, I installed the crown molding. I planned it to ensure there was enough space for 6″ crown moulding. It was not through AllStyle Retrofit, though you could ask them. I just got some from the store and painted it the same colour as the cabinets!

  13. Emma Courtney
    October 4, 2022 /

    Hi Sogol, I don’t have any plans to share the range hood cover since it includes electrical. My advice would be to search how others have done it. I found the images showing how others framed in their range hood was very helpful, and from there what material you want to use to cover it.

  14. Emma Courtney
    October 4, 2022 /

    Awh thanks Amy, I appreciate it!

  15. October 11, 2022 /

    Hey there! Absolutely love your kitchen! Did you have to paint any part of the Ikea cabinets the same cream color? And did you do it yourself?

  16. Emma Courtney
    October 13, 2022 /

    No, I didn’t have to paint anything except the crown that I decided to add at the top. All of the exterior parts/visible parts: The drawer fronts, doors, decorative panels, kick panels, all of that stuff came from AllStyle Retrofit!

  17. Tara
    October 15, 2022 /

    Beautiful kitchen! What countertop did you use?

  18. Emma Courtney
    October 18, 2022 /

    Montauk from Hanstone Quartz

  19. Bri
    October 22, 2022 /

    Hi! Did you use a satin or semi gloss finish on your cabinets?

  20. Emma Courtney
    October 24, 2022 /

    The closest match is pearl finish!

  21. Pia
    December 30, 2022 /

    Hi Emma, What a gorgeous kitchen! I do have a question, in terms of painting the cabinets, did the doors already came painted? How did you paint the ikea cabinets (outside panels) if they are MDF?

  22. Kristina
    December 31, 2022 /

    Hi! Your kitchen is gorgeous! In the breakfast book is that beadboard paneling? Thank you!!

  23. Emma Courtney
    January 3, 2023 /

    Hi! The cabinet fronts from AllStyle Retrofit came painted already with a professional finish. None of the ikea cabinets are visible. AllStyle provides the doors, draws, decorative panels, kick boards, light valences etc. Everyhting that is visible is provided by AllStyle. I did not have to paint anything from IKEA.

  24. Emma Courtney
    January 3, 2023 /

    No, it is Shiplap!

  25. maya
    January 5, 2023 /

    Hi Emma, I love love your kitchen and have been staring at it every day for the last week (in case your post views skyrocketed haha). I’m curious if you would’ve still chosen this cabinet + wall color combo if your kitchen faced north instead of east (with a big window)? Dealing with a north-facing kitchen — for a new house that we haven’t moved in to yet — and want to make sure it doesn’t yellow the cream, especailly in contrast with the Chantilly Lace walls. Thoughts?

    Thanks again for sharing! <3

  26. Emma Courtney
    January 24, 2023 /

    Hi Maya, That’s so exciting! It’s hard to say because paint colours look different in everyone’s homes. If you have a big window, I think it should look okay! I definitely don’t think it would look yellow since I find it has more grey undertones. I do love the contrast between natural cream and chantilly lace though, so that is a combination I would pick again. I really think it would be best if you could get a sample pot of natural cream, paint it on a board or something a little bigger and take it over to the house when you are there for a visit.

  27. Dede Browne
    January 30, 2023 /

    Hi Emma, I have western exposure lighting in my kitchen, do you think your colors on your cabinets, walls and shiplap will work in that lighting?

  28. Emma Courtney
    January 30, 2023 /

    Hi Dede, I think it should be fine but ultimately I would paint some test swatches in the space and look at them at different times of the day to see how they look!

  29. Keren Jackson
    February 14, 2023 /

    Lovely. Somewhere I think you addressed the cabinet that sits on the counter because IKEA cabinet options didn’t have the right size options to stack. I think you said you used a tall cabinet and had the shelf be the “break” and you had a different sized doors on the one cabinet….where do I find this detail that you discussed?

  30. Emma Courtney
    February 16, 2023 /

    Keren, I am not sure if you have watched my YouTube channel, but I may have covered more of that there. I used 2-40″ cabinets on top of each other for the countertop cabinet. If you take a look at a photo of the cabinets I have 40″ cabinets with 20″ cabinets above on the left section of the kitchen, the doors for those match the size of the cabinet inside. BUT when it comes to the countertop cabinet, I matched the doors to the section beside. I have a 20″ door on the top, and a 60″ door below it. I hope that makes a bit of sense,

  31. Samantha
    March 9, 2023 /

    Do you have another blog post on how they attached the countertop material to the front of the sink cabinet? I would like this for my kitchen but I am having a difficult time explaining to the contractors exactly what I want/ how to do it. It seems no one has done this before. Appreciate your guidance and LOVE your kitchen.

  32. Emma Courtney
    March 13, 2023 /

    I don’t but that’s a great idea! So, I added a piece of wood that was flush with the front of the cabinet box (not with doors on, the actual cabinet box),the wood was the same size as the quartz piece I was adding. Then the countertop installers just glued it on. It seemed like no big deal to them!

  33. Jackie
    March 25, 2023 /

    What did you do for toe kicks on the cabinets? Did you purchase them from Ikea or AllStyle?

  34. Emma Courtney
    March 27, 2023 /

    They are from Allstyle. Nothing visible is from IKEA, just the insides of the cabinets and hidden parts.

  35. Beth
    April 10, 2023 /

    Hi! Your kitchen looks stunning! What was the total cost of just the cabinetry ( both IKEA and ALLSTYLE)

  36. Juliana Conte
    April 11, 2023 /

    So gorgeous! Do you live in Canada? I’m trying desperately to find the tiles you used in the US, no luck so far!

  37. Emma Courtney
    April 12, 2023 /

    Yes, however, I’ve had people successfully go into local tile shops in the US and manage to get them! The tiles are made in Europe. The box says Nanda tiles, laurel clay, candem white. Hope this helps!

  38. Emma Courtney
    April 12, 2023 /

    I believe it was around $8,000 (I had a few discounts, and this was 2 years ago so I’m not sure how pricing has changed)

  39. Sara
    April 13, 2023 /

    Hi! Can you give a cost breakdown of just the cabinetry? I’m looking at remodeling my kitchen and would like to have an idea of cost.

  40. Peter
    April 18, 2023 /

    Hi Emma, unfortunately, I’m not able to view the PDF link to your Kitchen Plans and Dimensions – where may I get this information?

  41. Emma Courtney
    April 19, 2023 /

    Sara, The total for the custom fronts from AllStyle was around $6000 (after a small discount), and the IKEA cabinets were around $2000. In this blog post, there is a pdf of my IKEA order that shows more detail on pricing. This was in 2021, so I am not sure if costs have gone up since then. In contrast, I got a quote from one of the big hardware stores for their kitchens and cabinets were $30K alone (nothing else!!). Hope this helps!

  42. Alex
    April 20, 2023 /

    Hi – I absolutely love your style and the fact that you share it with the world, sincere thank you.
    May I ask, where is your extractor from?
    Many thanks,

  43. Emma Courtney
    April 24, 2023 /

    Thank you so much, Alex. I appreciate it! I used the stainless range hood that was in our old kitchen, and to save money, I framed it out with wood and brackets and then covered it and painted it. While I don’t have the DIY to share, many ideas on Pinterest helped me figure out how to do this. Specifically the framing process! I hope this helps a bit.

  44. Ellen
    June 10, 2023 /

    Where is your faucet from? Love your kitchen so much!

  45. Christina Miller
    September 22, 2023 /

    Your kitchen has been one of my inspirations while building by new house! I am using Natural Cream on the cabinets and Chantilly Lace on all the walls in the house. I’m wondering if you used the full strength non-diluted color for Natural Cream or if you cut it to 75% or 50%? just curious

  46. Emma Courtney
    September 25, 2023 /

    Hey Christina, I used the full strength of natural cream, I have a light of natural light in that room as a wall is all windows – however I recommend painting a sample of it on a larger surface as it tends to look dark when it’s just a little paint chip square!

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