Remodeling on a Budget: Our Craigslist Kitchen

using upcycled cabinets and countertops one couple was able to remodel the kitchen on a budget

All this talk about the new house (and the fact that I’m going to the Haven conference next week with a lot of DIY and home decor bloggers) has me reflecting on the last house and what I did and didn’t like about it.

By the time we left, one of my favorite parts of our last house was the kitchen, but it took a loooong time (over three years) to get it done.

That’s because at the time we were broke and we did a cash-only remodel a little bit at a time using materials we found on Craigslist or the re-source center. I know I’ve shown you before, but since some new friends are following the blog now, I thought I’d revisit one of my favorite projects of all time:

Our Craigslist Kitchen

It will always have a special place in my heart because it was SUCH a labor of love. Also because nobody thought I could do it (“it” being find enough good quality stuff stuff on Craigslist to fill such a huge space) but we pulled it off.

Tips for a Craigslist kitchen remodel

I had a strict budget of $8,000 because that was the amount of a tax return that we decided to dedicate to the kitchen. 

Even though that is a pretty large lump sum, it goes fast when you are talking about replacing an entire kitchen. Our old cabinets were literally disintegrating to the point that they left saw dust on the dishes, so paining or staining them was out of the question. We literally replaced every single thing in the room except the plaster walls and ceilings.

I stalked Craigslist multiple times a day and eventually I saw a picture of these cabinets. They looked a little out-dated in the listing, but they were solid wood and the layout seemed very similar to the one we already had, we would just need to move the refrigerator to a different wall and the dishwasher to the other side of the sink. These were the pictures from the original listing on Craigslist. They didn’t do the quality of the cabinets any justice at all. 

1 2 3 4

Cherry cabinets aren’t really my personal style, but I figured we could always paint them. They looked a little outdated, but it was mostly because of the hardware and scroll detail on the molding. However, they were very high quality and had a lot of great features like a pull-out spice rack, plate dividers, and a tall pantry cabinet. We decided to go for it. Once they were installed my husband put his foot down and would not hear of having them painted. I learned to love them too. They fit very well with the style of our older house. 

Craigslist Kitchen

We bought the whole kitchen set: cabinets, counters (which were Silestone!), sink, dishwasher, and stove for $2,500.

I couldn’t use the stove that came with the cabinets since it was electric and we had a gas hookup, so we put it right back on Craigslist and made $500 back. 

We also didn’t use the dishwasher because the one we had was still under warranty, so we gave it to my sister.

A whole year later (patience is a virtue and all of that) I found a stainless steel gas stove on Craigslist for $75. I sold our old stove-also via Craigslist- for $80. So I actually made $5 to upgrade to a new stove. 

We made our own kitchen island from an old dresser that I bought at our local re-source center.

After that we mostly needed to buy brand new materials for the flooring, paint, etc.

We also did the attached dining room because it was really all one big open space. Eddie and his dad replaced the floor, Eddie added the molding and we painted and added a Craigslist light fixture. My dad and step mom were buying a new dining room set and they gave us their old one. (Again, not my personal style, but it was free and much better quality than the one from Target we had been using.)



dining room



Cost break down:
Cabinets, Counters, Sink & Faucet: Craigslist, came as a set for $2,000
Uhaul rental-1day: $100
Hardware: $150
Labor to hang cabinets & install counters and sink, and relocate dishwasher: $1,600
New floor: Home Depot, Allure Vinyl $800
Paint: $50 (Valspar Green Tea Leaf and Brandied Pear)
Lightfixtures: $50 (Lowes & Craigslist)
Island: $315, made from an old dresser we found at our local reuse center
Beadboard, wainscoting, and floor boards: $500
New window treatments: JC Penny $150
Stove: Free!! Craigslist (I bought it for $75, then sold our old one for $80)
Accessories: $0 Tempt-Tations line from QVC, all gifted. My family knows I collect them.
Table and Chairs: $0 hand-me-downs from my dad
Dining Room Shelves: Ana White’s ledges- $40
Dining Room Bench (not pictured): JC Penny on sale w/promo code: $120
Refigerator: hhgregg: $1,300
Pantry door: $40
Total: $7,215

We did it!





  1. These are some great tips! I want to paint my kitchen cabinets white but have not done it yet!

  2. Wow, what a great overhaul! The pics are great. Enjoy your new space!

  3. Your perseverance paid off! You did an incredible job on your kitchen and I love the fact that you made an island from a dresser.

  4. What a beautiful transformation, and great job staying on budget!

  5. Wait just one minute. A DRESSER? I need a kitchen island so badly, and since I quit my job I have almost no budget. That’s brilliant! I can’t wait to read a little more and find out how to do it!

    I’ve also never used Craigslist, but I need to get rid of baby stuff so I’ve been thinking about listing some things. I was feeling a little blue about the whole money situation, really, but you’ve inspired me! Thank you!

    • Craigslist can truly do amazing things. Be careful and smart and always take someone with you if you go to another person’s house and have your husband or a friend home with you if you let someone into yours. But it can make you extra $ and help you find awesome stuff. Good luck!

  6. Awesome job! Everything goes together beautifully and wonderful job staying on budget! Kudos.

  7. That dresser is the nuts! Love it!


  1. […] DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Click here to see it in the kitchen and see how we used Craigslist to remodel the whole […]

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