When it comes to home renovations, kitchens have one of the highest returns on investment of any project. Not only do most people spend more time in the kitchen than any other room, but homebuyers tend to prioritize modern, updated kitchens when looking at new homes.
That’s why investing in a kitchen upgrade to make it look professional is almost always a great idea, but as anyone who has flipped through the pages of a design magazine or caught an episode of a home renovation show knows, it’s easy for the cost of kitchen projects to quickly skyrocket – in some cases, well into the six figures.
So what’s a homeowner on a budget (i.e., most of us) to do? You don’t have to live with the outdated cabinets, ugly floors, and harvest gold appliances. When you know where to splurge and where to save on a kitchen reno; you can design your dream kitchen without breaking the bank.
Know Your Priorities
The first step to a budget-friendly kitchen renovation is to know your priorities and being realistic about your lifestyle. For example, if you hate to cook, there is no sense in investing in a high-end, brand name stove, warming drawers, and all the bells and whistles that gourmet cooks crave for. Instead, select affordable, high-quality and energy efficient kitchen appliances that look great but don’t have features you won’t use.
Spend on the appliances that make your life easier; a busy family that creates piles of dirty dishes will benefit from a top-quality dishwasher with plenty of capacity that will last for many years. If you love wine? A wine cooler is probably a necessity.
When visiting home improvement and appliance stores, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the prospect of a new kitchen, and fall in love with expensive countertops, custom cabinetry, and appliances that do everything, even shop for you. Let yourself be inspired, but when making purchases, take a more balanced approach. Keep in mind the lifespan of appliances, how you will use them, and your family’s lifestyle, which will help you establish priorities and save money.
Know Where to Spend and Save
Appliances are not the only part of the kitchen renovation that can drive up the costs. Countertops and cabinetry can also cost plenty; yet, you might have to consider spending more here, in certain cases.
Countertops, for example, are a focal point of a room, so you want to choose a material and color that is durable and attractive. That being said, top of the line (Grade 5) granite is expensive, and the piece of granite that you think is stunning might not be to a future buyer. And although you may think you have your heart set on granite countertops there are plenty of other materials that are just as attractive without the price tag. Regardless of the type of countertop you choose, you can save money with a few tricks.
Mix Surfaces – If you want a costlier surface for a specific purpose (such as marble for baking) install it in a smaller work area, and then use a less expensive material elsewhere. Consider mixing a more expensive stone surface on an island with cheaper laminates (which are far more attractive than ever before) to incorporate some of the looks you want.
Choose a less expensive material as a “placeholder” – Even if you are on a budget now, there’s still an option to upgrade later. If you aren’t planning to stay in your home forever, selecting a composite or laminate countertop can be attractive without the price tag, letting you upgrade later or leave it behind without regret.
Cabinetry is another area that can drive up the cost of your renovation. One of the least expensive ways to give your kitchen a facelift is to paint your cabinets and upgrade hardware, which is a fraction of the cost of replacing cabinets. If you want new cabinets, though, be wary of upgrades that can drive up the cost. Adding drawers inserts, lazy Susans, and other custom features can add thousands to your budget – and most of those features can be added later with less expensive accessories.
Opting for cabinets that are ready to install rather than custom cabinets can also slash as much as 75 percent off the cost of the cabinetry, and you can even compromise by adding custom doors or side panels to existing boxes to get a more personalized look. Just splurging on higher-quality hardware can make your cabinets look more expensive and add to the space.
Renovating your kitchen on a budget means making tradeoffs and knowing where to spend and where to save. When you base your reno on your priorities and invest in top quality items that make a difference, such as a durable and stylish faucet and spend less on other items that are merely functional, such as sinks. When you do, you’ll have your dream kitchen without spending a fortune.