If you're looking to update your existing kitchen or designing and installing a brand-new one, your greatest expense will be the cabinets. You'll definitely want to check out these hints and tips about cheap kitchen cabinets—tips that work equally well, regardless of whether you need typical cabinet space or are building a kitchen island with breakfast bar.
If your goal is to update the look of your existing cabinets, the cheapest route is to simply reface them. This process involves either stripping the stain or paint from the existing cabinets and adding new stain, varnish or paint; in some cases, you might even want to refinish the cabinets with a stick-on veneer. Whichever method you choose, this will be by far the most money-saving option, with only refinishing supplies and your own labor to account for. Be aware that this option does require considerable "sweat equity," however.
Next, you could consider the true DIY route and build your own cabinets. This may seem daunting, but cabinets are in the range of "medium difficulty" when it comes to carpentry and construction. There are many online resources and books available for reference should you choose this route.
Finally, if you choose to replace your cabinets entirely or if you're installing brand-new ones, consider buying them completely unfinished, in a "bare wood" state, and then finishing them with stain or paint yourself. You'll save money up front this way, as opposed to paying for finished or semi-finished cabinets.
Get all the info you'll need on kitchen cabinet design ideas, plus check out helpful pictures for inspiration.
Kitchens by Professionals(at Pro Galleries)
Kitchens by People Like You (at Rate My Remodel)