Constructing our kitchen should go down as "cheapest kitchen ever". It's THAT cheap. And I LOVE that it doesn't look like it.
Since building the structure of the house/apartment (whatever you want to call it), was WAY more expensive than we expected, we pinched everywhere to finish the kitchen. We would have pinched anyway (cuz that's just how we roll), but this was just extra motivation.
The cabinets came from a liquidation sale that we heard about through word of mouth almost 4 years ago (yes, we've been storing them that long...our whole marriage!). A local cabinet company was cleaning our their warehouse and had everything priced at around 90% off. The catch was they couldn't order anything. So, if you saw 3 cabinets you liked, those 3 cabinets was all you could get.
Our plan of attack was to find the largest matching set of cabinets. ANY cabinets. Make sure it has some upper cabinets as well. Not having a house or a layout at this point, we knew it would become a puzzle to piece them together. You can read more about how we made them work for our space here. We paid around $400 for the kitchen cabinets ($460 once you add in the bathroom vanity). No, that's not a typo. I did not leave off a zero.
We also hacked this one apart to make an over-the-microwave cabinet.
And of course, the plan was to paint the cabinets white because we didn't have all the matching trim pieces and it would have looked awful having different colors and different types of wood showing. Paint camouflages everything.
Since we were renting our old house, we didn't own the appliances. Now was my big chance to get all stainless steel! They call came from craigslist. We got the fridge for $440, the oven for around $500 (I think), dishwasher for $200, and microwave for $200.
Our original plan was to get laminate counters, but once we looked into it we realized it would be over $1000 for fake plastic countertops and I just really couldn't see paying that. After seeing online tutorials, DIY concrete countertops seemed like something we could do for a fraction of the cost. See the final product here.
Hardware can really add up and contribute to a lot of a kitchen's cost and it's often overlooked when budgeting. Even basic brushed nickel knobs at Lowes cost $4/each. I found basic oil-rubbed bronze knobs and pulls on ebay for $1/each. Since we needed over 22, that works out to a significant savings.
The last major element to our kitchen was the opened shelving. We saved money by using free wood from our land and getting the basic cheap brackets from Lowes and spray painting them oil-rubbed bronze. More on that here.
Then, there's the sink, faucet, and light fixtures. We went basic and cheap for all of them except the faucet. Faucets range from $50-$1000. Sticking with a good name brand was important. We wanted something that wouldn't give us problems. Basically, we got the most attractive thing in the cheap range for $200. And it's a Delta. The light fixtures came from Ikea.
That brings us to the breakdown.
Knobs and Pulls: $25
Shelves and Brackets: $47
Hanging Lights: $90
...call it $2,500
And by comparison...
A Typical Kitchen:
Ikea Cabinets: $2,000
New Stainless Steel Appliances: $3,700
Knobs and Pulls: $100
Laminate Counters: $1,200
Shelves and Brackets: $150
Hanging Lights: $90
Or more like $13,000-15,000 for higher end things like solid surface, granite, or nicer than Ikea cabinets. I didn't include flooring for either total, or any dining furniture (our bar stools were hand-me-downs, btw).
So, like I said. Cheapest-kitchen-ever!!!