These homeowners wanted copper accents without paying top dollar for the real thing. So they installed a metallic laminate around the island that mimics the look of real copper. They added what looks like copper tiles to the backsplash -- it's actually copper-colored foil hand-wrapped over cheap white porcelain tiles.
Custom Isn't the Only Way
Instead of paying top dollar for custom cabinetry, these homeowners built their own. They are made from purple-heart wood flooring and stainless-steel sheets. The handles are plumbing pipes from a hardware store. The countertops are stainless steel found at an old pizza parlor for $50. A sander was used on them to create funky swirls to camouflage the old scratches. Total cost of cabinets and countertops: $3,000.
Inexpensive Alternative to Granite Countertops
These homeowners got high style at an extremely low price. They went to a hardware store, bought five bags of concrete and poured it into forms they had built themselves.
These homeowners combined multiple pieces to create one kitchen island. They found two premade Ikea cabinet units for $500, sandwiched them together then topped it with butcher-block. They found old soda-fountain stools online and had a builder anchor them into the floor joists.
Incorporate Personal Touches
Look around your garage and attic. That's what this homeowner did. He created cabinet hardware using a bunch of antique wrenches his grandfather gave him. He welded the wrenches to threaded rods and soaked them in saltwater so they'd rust. The result is the look of expensive rust-patina hardware that cost him practically nothing.
Use Stud Space for Shelves
Here is a cost-saving and space-saving idea for the kitchen storage. This homeowner and architect used the recessed space inside the walls to add shelving. It's an idea borrowed from Victorian architecture. It does take some preplanning so that a builder doesn't put electrical wiring or plumbing pipes in that space. To cover it up, she uses recycled doors hung from a track. Hardware cost: approximately $250.
Shop Salvage and Get Creative
This homeowner had just $5,000 to build her kitchen. She scored big by going to a restaurant supply and salvage store, where she purchased a commercial oven, refrigerator, rolling carts and shelves, and even the kitchen sink for a fraction of retail price. She also stacked and hung old electrical-outlet boxes to create an inexpensive, one-of-a-kind spice rack.
These homeowners saved about $10,000 on their countertops by going with a less expensive alternative to granite -- an Italian-manufactured product called Okite. Made from ground quartz, it's a sustainable material that comes in 90 colors. The pantry doors are made of inexpensive plywood covered in chalkboard paint.
Use Flooring for the Countertop
This countertop is a natural linoleum made out of cork, linseed oil and wood pulp at a cost of about $30 per sq. ft. It's very durable but also very smooth. The linoleum is framed with inexpensive aluminum trim. Instead of using plywood underneath the linoleum, these earth-friendly homeowners used a wheat sheet, which is a byproduct of the wheat industry that contains no formaldehyde.
These homeowners spent about $24,000 on standard cabinets. They turned a few of them sideways and added shelving to get a custom look. Instead of expensive tile or granite, they bought wire safety glass at a hardware store for $11 a sq. ft., had a glass shop cut it to size and then installed it as a backsplash.