5 Designer-Approved Ideas for Remodeling a Kitchen on a Budget
Orlando Soria shares his favorite DIYs.
When Clare Collective ambassador Orlando Soria first set out to update his Spanish-style bungalow in Los Angeles, he had an array of budget-friendly kitchen remodel ideas on the brain. “The whole place was stark white and lacking character,” he says. “I knew the right paint color was an affordable way to infuse some flavor into the space.”
For Orlando, this meant enveloping the walls in Grayish, a soft shade of light gray with green undertones, and covering the ceilings and trims in a fresh coat of warm white Whipped. “Grayish almost reads as bluish-green Robin’s Egg, so it instantly filled the room with vintage charm,” he says.
Once the backdrop was set, he relied on an assortment of price-savvy DIY projects—ranging from paint tricks to low-cost lighting and hardware swaps—to revamp the kitchen without breaking the bank.
Curious how you can recreate a similar look in your own home? Orlando shares his advice ahead.
Create Visual Interest with Paint
After swathing the kitchen walls in Grayish, Orlando covered the ceiling and baseboards in a creamy white Whipped to create a subtle sense of contrast. In lieu of traditional crown molding, he also used Whipped to paint a thick band along where the walls and ceiling meet to forge a similar look for a fraction of the cost. “Painting a faux trim is so easy and makes such a big difference,” he says. “Just follow the line of the upper cabinets to create a stripe using the same hue as the ceiling.”
Take Advantage of Vertical Space
To score more storage space without calling a contractor, Orlando installed floating shelves along a kitchen wall instead of pricey upper cabinets. “I wanted a place to store necessities at arm’s reach, but also to display pretty things,” he says. “The shelves are just pieces of inexpensive wood from the hardware store that I stained with Danish oil.” To fashion a similar salon-style scheme, he recommends starting with larger items, like framed art, serving trays and lamps, and then filling in with smaller pieces such as plates, bowls and decor accents. “This way, the shelves look decorative but are still fully functional,” he says.
Make the Room Multifunctional
In order to integrate the awkwardly-placed washer and dryer into the overall design, Orlando carved out a proper laundry nook. “I added two rows of floating shelves that I reinforced with cables,” he says. “It gives the area a cool industrial look while providing enough support for heavy storage baskets and cleaning supplies.”
Soften Up the Space with Finishes
In addition to installing solid wood floating shelves throughout the kitchen, Orlando relied on a medley of natural finishes to warm up the neutral space. “The countertops and backsplash are quartzite, and the tile floor is faux marble,” he says. “An eclectic mix of materials creates a more elemental balance—just like in nature.”
Affordable Decor Swaps FTW
Orlando employed a handful of small, budget-savvy decor ideas to remodel the kitchen without overspending. For starters, he switched out the dated cabinet knobs with sleek brushed brass hardware he found on sale, and then swapped all the clear light bulbs in the space with frosted ones. “Clear bulbs can be harsh, but frosted bulbs cast a soft warm glow,” he says. “When placed in white light fixtures, the frosted bulbs also help the lights blend in with the ceiling to create a more cohesive look.”
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