Remodeling a kitchen can be a huge, expensive job and is always likely to cost more money than budgeted and take more time than estimated. And yet, a kitchen remodel can significantly add to the quality of life and the resale value of your home. So what’s the best way to remodel a kitchen on a budget?
Planning Your Budget Kitchen Remodel
The key to doing anything on a budget is to plan intelligently from the beginning. There are two things to consider before anything else:
- What is the value of your home? You won’t get a good return on the investment by putting a $50,000 kitchen into a $200,000 house. The budget for a kitchen remodel shouldn’t exceed 6-10% of the value of your home.
- Whom are you remodeling for? If you are remodeling for resale then perhaps all that’s necessary is updating the appliances and replacing cabinet doors. If you are remodeling for your own use and preferences, then you can prioritize what matters the most to you, or even stagger the project over several years to conserve costs while creating the kitchen of your dreams.
Once you have established a reasonable starting budget and know what your ultimate goals are, it is time to begin evaluating the smart places to spend and the smart places to save while remodeling your kitchen.
If you are undertaking a minor kitchen remodel or building your dream kitchen it is important to budget wisely.
Unless absolutely necessary, retain the current structure, electrical, and plumbing. Doing a kitchen remodel on a budget means leaving the walls and sink where they currently are and working within those constraints.
Appliances. Whether remodeling for yourself or remodeling for resale, the best investment you can make in a kitchen is in the appliances. If your budget doesn’t allow replacing all of the appliances, invest in the longest-lasting ones first, so update appliances in this order:
• Oven and stove, which last for 10-18 years
• Range/oven hoods, which last for 14 years
• Refrigerators, which last for 9-13 years
• Dishwashers, which last for 9 years
• Microwaves, which last for 9 years
Updating the longest-lasting appliances means that the investment will pay off for years to come. If you are remodeling for resale, note that in some markets, buyers are very brand-conscious in regard to kitchen appliances. If you are remodeling for yourself, choose the appliances that work best for you and your family.
Ideas For Saving
Unless it’s absolutely necessary, keep existing cabinets as they are and simply replace door and drawer fronts instead. New cabinets are a significant investment, but new doors can update the look and feel of a kitchen for a small percentage of the price.
What To Spend Your Budget On
Countertops. Particularly if you are remodeling for resale and if you have a ktichen island. Updated countertops are a great investment and completely transform the look of your kitchen. Note that buyers love granite countertops right now, but there is sure to be a new trend in a few years.
Good investments in certain situations
Spending a little extra money on the strucutre of your kitchen can greatly increase the look and value of your home.
If your kitchen lacks a window or a good source of natural light, a window would be a high priority. It’s a good idea to get an estimate for what it would cost to install a window from a general contractor and factor it into your budget if possible.
Floors are often overlooked when it comes to remodeling discussions, but kitchen floors take a beating and can quickly look old, dirty, and outdated. There are lower-cost options for redoing flooring, and it’s a good idea to address it during a kitchen remodel.
What to DIY
A great way to save money on a kitchen remodel cost is to perform some of the labor yourself. There are many kitchen remodeling projects that can be safely and easily done by homeowners to improve the design, look, feel, and function of a kitchen. Here are some kitchen remodel jobs that many homeowners successfully DIY:
Cabinet doors and drawer fronts
Updating cabinet doors have a huge visual impact on a kitchen, and they can be refinished or repainted with only some basic skills and tools. Consider replacing knobs and door pulls while you’re at it, or paint the existing ones for a revamped kitchen look.
Tile and backsplashes.
Replacing and updating tile is a slightly bigger job, but not out of reach of most amateurs. Updating kitchen tile and backsplashes make a huge difference in the look of a kitchen. Consider adding crown molding for a classic finish. There are a variety of low-cost and easy-to-do options that the homeowner can take on themselves.
Update the sink.
Replacing the faucet on a sink is a job most people can DIY and it can improve the function of the sink. If the sink itself is old, stained, or damaged, homeowners can easily buy and install a replacement drop-in stainless steel sink or buy kits to refinish the surface without paying for a replacement.
Replacing cupboards with pull-out drawers or cabinets, adding under-counter plug-in lighting, hanging spice racks inside cupboard doors, adding pot racks and vertical storage for lids are all relatively simple jobs that maximize the space and convenience of a kitchen.
Many home improvement centers have kits for installing pull-out bin storage or installing a lazy-Susan in a blind cabinet. Whether the upgrade is for you and your family, or for reselling your home, little touches add charm and appeal to your kitchen, in a budget-friendly way.
Following these tips will help you prioritize where and how to spend a limited budget on a kitchen remodel project, to get the best returns for yourself, or when it comes time to sell your home. Smart kitchen remodels, using classic colors and natural materials, are yielding triple-digit returns on home valuation in some markets, and are a great way to improve the value of your home, and your quality of life.