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Budget Friendly Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Update

I’ve turned a boring builder grade kitchen into a modern farmhouse style kitchen with this modern farmhouse kitchen update.

Is there an area in your home that you HATE? An area that you’re really not fond of spending too much time in because it’s just flat out ugly? For me this was my kitchen. I needed to update at least a few of the surfaces to break up the brown, but I had a $3500 budget. This barely covered the cost of granite.  What was I going to do?  I was going to research the most BUDGET FRIENDLY MODERN FARMHOUSE KITCHEN UPDATE ideas and decide which ones we could use.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen update for under $4k before and after

My kitchen was a sea of brown;  brown countertops, brown tile, brown cabinets, you get the point. With 85 square feet of counter top (FYI this is a lot), I didn’t know if we could even afford to make any changes. Here are a few before pics so you can get a visual;

ugly kitchen before budget update
builder grade kitchen before modern farmhouse update

After calling a few contractors to get quotes, I thought if we purchased the cheapest granite, we might have a chance at an affordable KITCHEN REMODEL.

Key points for Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Update

  • white backsplash; could be tile, shiplap, or any type of wood
  • solid surface countertop; I really wanted marble, but I knew it wasn’t in the budget
  • change the color of the cabinets
  • update the fixtures, plumbing and hardware
  • remove the “step up bar” and make one solid surface bar area

Could I do all this for under five thousand dollars? YES! I did it for under four thousand actually.

I was thrilled when I  found a contractor that would install the lowest grade of granite for $3200. He also added the removal of the step up bar in the cost!  

This modern farmhouse kitchen is a possibility!

Replacing the laminate counters with granite

Because I painted the whole house in a light grayish blue or grey tone, I knew I needed to choose a granite to “tie” the kitchen in with the rest of the colors.

I chose a color called SANTA CECILIA LIGHT. This was the lowest grade granite (the only one that fit the budget), but quite frankly, I couldn’t tell the difference between the different grades.

Here is what the bar looked like after they removed the counter tops and cut the bar top down:

kitchen after step up countertop had been removed
kitchen after step up countertop had been removed

Next comes the granite…

kitchen with new granite countertop installed

I was thrilled with the NEW GRANITE, but I had a freak out moment because the rest of my kitchen was still ugly, boring, and BROWN.  I HAD to find a way to get rid of the brown WITHOUT spending a lot.

I really wanted a brick backsplash, but after pricing it, I was discouraged…still too expensive. Then I had an AHA moment.

Adding a bead board backsplash

Pinterest is crawling with inspiration where BEAD BOARD was used as a BACKSPLASH.

After looking into it, I could cover ALL the panels you see in the picture above with bead board AND use it as a backsplash too for about $100! YAYYYY it’s a winner.

Side note; I hired this job out. We thought about doing it ourselves but it didn’t cost too much in labor. See all the cost details below.

Here’s a sneak peak of how it looks.

modern farmhouse kitchen with bead board back splash

Last thing I did was paint the kitchen Island white and the rest of the cabinets gray.

Side note: I used two different methods to paint the gray and the white, and I’ve given my two cents on each method in my post ‘a year in review of how I painted my laminate kitchen cabinets.’

A year in review of my painted laminate cabinets

Cost breakdown of this budget modern farmhouse kitchen update:

  • $3200 granite install and removal of old countertop with bar cut down- this included new sink and new faucet
  • $100 bead board
  • $350 Install of bead board
  • $50 new hardware
  • $100 paint

$3800 TOTAL! I know my budget was $3500, but the BEAD BOARD install was a little more than expected. Either way, I’m thrilled to have a “new kitchen.”

Final reveal of my affordable modern farmhouse kitchen update

You can see more of the DIY Industrial Pendant Light makeover above the sink.

You might be interested in the DIY Board and Batten off the hallway next to the kitchen.

I was pleased to create an almost new kitchen for under four thousand dollars. Sometimes it takes a little research and creativity, but you really can update something old and outdated on a budget.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think of our new kitchen.


p.s. The new appliances were purchased courtesy of our insurance after our house was hit by a big bolt of lightening.  Sometimes good things do come out of bad circumstances!

p.p.s I get asked this a lot; the wall color in the kitchen (and all three of my bathrooms) is called Silver Mink by Benjamin Moore.

Alex Sutton

Wednesday 24th of August 2022

Your kitchen turned out amazing! And I love the fact that you were able to do it for under $4,000. I've been in a similar boat, where I would love to update my kitchen, but just don't have the budget for anything too extensive. If I could do something similar to this and have it turn out even half as good, I'll be happy! Thanks for sharing!


Saturday 10th of July 2021

Looks great! Question about your microwave over the range, does it vent to outdoors, or just out the top into your kitchen? We are in the process of updating our kitchen and replacing appliances, and we have the staggered cabinet with microwave over the range similar to the cabinet layout you have. Our current microwave vents out the front at the top, so I'm trying to figure out if getting a new microwave that vents out the top will mean that we have to bump out the front of the microwave even further than the staggered cabinet. I'm not sure how that would look. Hope this makes sense!

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Sunday 11th of July 2021

Hi Allie, no the microwave doesn't vent outdoors. I know most of those microwaves that vent from the front just "blow air around" they don't really vent so I would ask the appliance people if you are looking to get one that vents differently.


Monday 25th of January 2021

Wow, this kitchen transformation is stunning- it doesn't even look like the same room! I got my kitchen cabinets redone by a local cabinet refinisher last year and used a similar paint color as you- it goes with everything!

[email protected]

Monday 25th of January 2021

Thank you Sarah, the paint really changed everything!

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