5 Must Read Tips Before Remodeling Your Kitchen + 3 Modern Kitchen Combos

Hi Everyone, this is Kristin from Postbox Designs and today I’m all about choices.

I love choices so much, today I designed for you Remodelaholic readers THREE different combinations for designing a Modern Kitchen. Pick any combo or mix and match for your own look!

But before we jump into the pretty details, let’s talk kitchen design blunders. Kitchen remodels can be expensive, so read on to get to most bang for your buck.

3 Kitchen Combo

I’ve been a kitchen designer for over a decade and had the privilege of designing high-end custom spaces.

But after designing six-figure kitchens, I have learned tricks that will make your dollar stretch, AND will keep you from learning some expensive lessons. While your budget (or mine!) might not be limitless, here are some take-ways I have learned over the years.

Must-Read Modern Kitchen Remodel Tips

TIP #1: Go classic with the “big items”.

Cabinets and counter tops are difficult and expensive to upgrade, so go more neutral with those.

I love trendy looks as much as the next person. But bold colors, or trends such as painting your lower and upper cabinets different colors will not last forever. These white tops and white cabinets will outlive the trendier gold accents:

Neutral Cabs

SF Girl By Bay

TIP #2: Lighting is a focal point, so make a statement here!

Use sparingly and with high impact. When you use “accent” lighting (think pendants, chandeliers, etc.) it is usually one of the first things that catch our eye since they tend to be at our line of sight.

Take advantage of this and go bold here. And this is an easy item to swap out down the line.

Focal Light

Beacon Lighting

TIP #3: Don’t overspend on cabinet hardware.

There are so many amazing sources for easy-on-the-wallet hardware, that you don’t have to spend a fortune here.

Start with places like Home Depot, Amazon, and Wayfair.

Unless you have a small kitchen, this is a place where costs can add up fast. If you fall in love with an uber expensive pull, try it on an island or a specialty cabinet, like a pantry.

Img 1065

Thompson Remodeling

TIP #4: Pick one place to go bold, and let the rest of the space support it.

This would be your “splurge” factor and you can be free to choose less expensive items other places.

If you have multiple over-the-top pieces, they can get lost in a crowd.

If you have a tight budget, choose one place to make a statement and THAT is what people will remember.

I recommend either doing it with lighting, or with an amazing, to-die for-backsplash.

Going into a tile store is like being a kid in a candy store for me. There are millions of options, so it seems a shame to play it safe here when you can choose something dreamy. The tile on this kitchen is what everyone is going to remember:


via Decoist

TIP #5: Molding makes everything look more high end!

Molding is an inexpensive material, but if can work miracles when you apply it to your kitchen.

Take builder basic cabinets, and add crown and valence molding (molding that goes under your wall cabinets) and they will look high-end in an instant.

Read how in our Beginner’s Guide to Installing Trim.

If you have a more traditional space, adding details such as bun feet, corbels, and furniture toe kicks can cost as little as $10 a piece but give a high-end custom look.


House & Home

Modern Kitchen Finishes

Feeling Inspired? So here is the Custom Mood Board I created for y’all! Here are 3 Modern Inspired Kitchen Combos I designed JUST FOR YOU….choose a combination or, mix and match. Go crazy!

3 Combos Modern Kitchen Vert Mood Board

Love It? Want It? Can’t Live Without It?

Simply click on the below links and it will take you right to the beauty you have your eye on!

Kitchen Combo One: Pendant  Faucet  Counter  Paint  Hardware  Backsplash Tile

Kitchen Combo Two: Pendant  Faucet  Counter  Paint  Hardware  Backsplash Tile

Kitchen Combo Three: Pendant  Faucet  Counter  Paint  Hardware  Backsplash Tile

 But…what if your budget is even smaller?

A Full Kitchen Remodel Isn’t in the Budget This Year.
What Can I Do With $1,000?

1000 Kitchen Makeover

Okay, I know a full tear-out kitchen remodel isn’t in everyone’s budget. Or maybe you like the shape of your cabinets and dig your layout: there is no reason to start from scratch.

A few small updates will take your kitchen to the next level with a fraction of the cost. I remodeled my own kitchen for $1000 myself, check out the details HERE (and all ten budget savings ideas-such as creating a faux hood for just $100).

Steps to a $1000 Modern Kitchen Remodel

UPGRADE #1: Take your existing cabinets and paint over them.

I love a classic white, but a warm gray or deep navy are other classic combinations. Need some help painting? Check out this fantastic step-by-step tutorial HERE!

Painted Gray Cabs

Mimosa Lane

UPGRADE #2: While you are at it, change out the hardware.

This could be the simplest step (no power tools needed!) for a huge impact. If you have exposed hinges, you can replace them or simply spray paint them to match your new hardware.

If you want to be on trend, try a warm metal like gold or brass (it is an inexpensive item to change out later down the road).

Cabinet Hardware

Coffee & Pine

UPGRADE #3: Replace (or add) a new light fixture.

Over the sink, an island, or eat-in area is the perfect spot. An electrician can add one in for usually under $200 and it can be a huge statement piece.

Backsplash Budget

Michelle Bask Interiors

UPGRADE #4: Pick your tile.

White subway tile is a classic yet modern choice, but I’m in love with this herringbone (Combo 1) or the faux wood geometric tile (Combo 2).

Tile is the place to take a chance and do something a little more bold. It’s like adding red lipstick to an outfit. Plus, it can be a completely DIY task that can save the big bucks. Here is a great tutorial to get you started HERE!

UPGRADE #5: Get a new faucet.

Finally, even if you can’t change out your counter tops, a new faucet can be an easy fix.

If you have a limited budget, I would suggest keeping your sink and swapping out for a newer faucet. Everyone tends to look past the sink, so spend your money where it shows. Just be sure to choose the same hole drilling style as your existing faucet.

Fall in love with something different? With most faucets you can order an “escutcheon plate” which covers all of the holes of your sink. It’s not as streamlined of a look, but it’s a good band-aid solution until you replace your counter tops/sink down the line.

Have a Little Extra in Your Budget?

If it is in the budget, replacing counter tops can make a kitchen look brand new. Combos 2 and 3 are from Home Depot, which means you can get a high end look for a fraction of the cost. Plus, they are still custom measured and installed, just like the pricier companies!

You can also try these DIY countertop options. Even painted countertops can hold up really well!

8.5x11 Pricing

I hope these ideas inspired you to make your kitchen a bit more beautiful today! But the fun doesn’t have to stop here! I love sharing free design tips, peeks into real projects, and giveaways over on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM. Plus find all of these kitchens and oodles more inspiration over on PINTEREST!



 More kitchen design inspiration:

Whitney’s Dated to Open and Amazing Kitchen Renovation

Whitney's Ikea Kitchen Remodel

Charming Vintage Kitchen Style

Mint and Copper Kitchen

Get This Look: Fixer Upper “Cargo Ship House” Kitchen

Fixer Upper Cargo Ship House Kitchen

Website | + posts

Kristin is an interior designer, wife, and mom to three cuties. She started Postbox Designs E-Design so she could be at home with her kids while still doing what she loves. She is obsessed with wingback chairs, gray walls, and anything herringbone. When she's not chasing around her kids or her Labradoodle pup Jasper she's sharing budget friendly designs at postboxdesigns.com (instagram.com/postboxdesigns, instagram.com/postboxdesigns).

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  1. Wonderful tips! I admit I will be so delighted when the bare light bulb fad is over. 🙂 I love a designer fixture but choose to not see the source of the luminescence 🙂