Modern Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

Known for her eclectic and beautiful home decor style, Kyla Herbes is a celebrated interior designer and content creator based in Chicago, IL. She runs an award winning blog, House Of Hipsters, which has received praise from noteworthy publications including Apartment Therapy, The Huffington Post, Refinery29, Rue Magazine, Reclaim Magazine, and Style Me Pretty Living

Kyla Herbes standing in her newly remodeled kitchen.

Kyla is always keeping busy, whether it’s working on home projects, posting on TikTok as a Creative Learning Partner, or carrying out her duties as a member of the Design Influencers Board Of Directors.

It goes without saying, Kyla’s own home is absolutely jaw-dropping. Not only does she have a well-trained eye for design, but a gifted sense for creating interiors that balance iconic, stand out pieces with practical functionality. Join us as we take a tour of Kyla’s recent kitchen remodel. But be warned, you may be inspired to remodel your own!

A decorative cheetah statue sits next to two wall ovens and a mounted microwave in the corner of a kitchen.

Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget

Kyla’s kitchen looks like a million bucks. Which is why you may be surprised that the whole remodel was done on a budget. So just how did she pull it off?

When it comes to remodeling on a budget, the best strategy is to balance the old and the new. Keep the aspects of the space that are good, update what’s still usable, replace what’s needed, and splurge where it matters most.

Keep What’s Good and Update What’s Usable

Kyla kept the original perimeter cabinetry since they were functional and good looking. A fresh coat of paint and new brass pulls from Buster & Punch went a long way in making the old cabinets feel brand new—without the huge price tag! The original floor was kept as well. It’s nothing to write home about, but the simple and neutral tiles didn’t need to be redone ( that’s not to say they won’t ever be updated down the line). By excluding custom cabinetry and new flooring from the remodel, Kyla saved a lot of money that she could then spend (or splurge) elsewhere. 

A corner shot of the kitchen; white cupboards with gold hardware and  white quartz countertops and backsplash.

Many of the appliances, including the fridge, dishwasher, and double ovens, had been recently replaced when she moved in. We all want brand new, state of the art appliances, but Kyla had no reason to do away with hers, as they worked just fine and weren’t outdated yet. Once the appliances break, she plans to update them. In the meantime, they were left alone.

A microwave mounted above the white quartz countertop.

The biggest money saver of the whole project was the floor layout remained the same. Moving gas lines and water pipes costs quite a pretty penny. Some kitchen remodels aren’t so lucky, but Kyla’s layout was functional which made the remodeling process not only easier, but much cheaper.

Replace What’s Needed and Splurge Where it Matters Most

Most of the budget went into replacing areas that needed it the most and splurging on show stopper pieces that brought out the character of the kitchen.

A quartz countertop waterfall edge kitchen island.

Kyla chose to use Cambria quartz to replace the old, outdated black pitted granite countertops. The longevity of quartz is unmatched by any other countertop material—Cambria was a quality investment just as much as it was a style investment. She used the soft marble designs of Ironsbridge for the perimeter counters and backsplash of the kitchen. In juxtaposition, she chose a bold but warm wood-like pattern for the waterfall island with a brass inlay, which is clearly the centerpiece of the kitchen. The island elevates the whole ensemble to give the kitchen it’s modern feel. She also used Cambria’s Brittanicca Warm for the countertop and floating shelves of the wet bar.

A black quartz sink and a matching smart touch black matte faucet.

With the investment of the new countertops, it made sense to replace the sink, faucet, and cooktop. After all, countertops can only be cut and fitted once. Kyla installed a black quartz sink by Elkay and a matching smart touch black matte faucet by Brizo (owned by Delta) from the Litze Collection. She selected a cooktop with brass burners, which tied in beautifully with the brass hardware of the cupboards and countertop inlay.

A cooktop with brass burners sits on the quartz countertop.

Another splurge came in the form of  brass cantilever bar stools from Scout Design Studio. Similar to the countertops, not only were they a style splurge, but they were a quality decision too with their easy-to-clean performance leather upholstery.

Modern hightop chairs pushed in at kitchen island. A vintage door is seen in the background.

One of our favorite details in the kitchen is the vintage door, which ended up being another place where Kyla decided to splurge. Due to the unconventional size of the vintage door, the entire door had to be reframed. For Kyla, adding a one-of-a-kind style touch like this is well worth the price. It’s a piece that will stay with the house for years to come. The original etched glass adds a refinement to the space while the bold black of the door ties in with the black appliances, sink, and faucet.

A chrome 80s glam glass rod chandelier hanging above the quartz countertop island.

Kyla’s last dollars were spent on replacing the lighting. She selected a chrome 80s glam glass rod chandelier. Its dazzling light adds the final touch to this modern kitchen remodel.

Kitchen Remodel? Check! What’s next?

With the main elements of the kitchen completed, Kyla turned her attention to the breakfast area, which is off to the side of the kitchen beneath a sunny bay window. The space features an oriental rug with muted tones of blue and red, mid-century chairs circling a white tulip table, and an art decor inspired chandelier to evoke luxury.

The breakfast nook with a round table, chairs, and wall art.

Kyla keeps the area fresh by cycling out the artwork she hangs on the wall. She believes a good piece of art can drastically change the mood of a space. Her go-to site for affordable artwork is Minted, where you can choose from hundreds of prints from real artists. It was difficult for Kyla to pick her favorite, but eventually she landed on the soft and minimalist photograph “Ballroom II” by Haley Warner. It just goes to show you don’t need to remodel a whole room to make it feel new. Changing out decor and art is a budget friendly way to “remodel” a room to keep your home feeling new and improved.

A bar with marbled quartz countertop and backsplash, a matte black faucet and cupboards.

Check out all of Kyla’s home design past and current projects, plus interior design tips and inspiration on her blog House of Hipsters, or follow her on Instagram and TikTok.