Is your kitchen ready for a refresh? Or are you beyond a refresh and ready for a total makeover? From flooring to faucets, cabinets to counters, and bar stools to bake ware, here are ways to stretch your remodel dollars.
If you have the luxury of time, begin by shopping e-Bay, Craigslist, and building outlet stores for materials. You may score a luxury sink at a fraction of its retail price. Careful, though—300 square feet of the wrong color tile is expensive at any price.
Underneath it all—below the flooring and behind the walls—is your mechanical. Does your grand plan include moving a water, gas, or electrical line? Include the expense of a building permit, the services of a specialty contractor, and a post-install inspection in your budget. Avoid cost overruns by having detailed line drawings prepared before you ask for bids or apply for a permit.
Kitchen cabinets are typically the greatest expense in a remodel project. The range of price and quality is broad. At the low end, unassembled fiberboard cabinets give an illusion of value. Styles are limited and installation can be difficult. After a few years of use, doors may fall off the hinges, drawers fall apart, and finishes peel. At the high end of the spectrum are custom cabinets built from exotic hardwoods outfitted with elaborate storage solutions and sporting glazed doors and made-to-order hardware.
For a good value with modest degree of compromise, consider well-built semi-custom cabinets such as those offered by CliqStudios.com. The company’s US factory offers a good selection of styles and colors in solid wood and plywood construction. Finish with hardware and storage accessories purchased at a discount store for significant savings on your kitchen cabinet expense.
Appliances are the next big item. Watch for sales before and after the winter holidays and when model years change in September and October. Consumer Reports compares price, features, and repair records between models, and cites Best Buy-owned Pacific Sales and Abt Electronics as having high consumer satisfaction ratings. Since standard kitchen appliances are not part of a permanent installation, you can compromise with low-end purchases now, or wait to replace them at another time.
Save money on countertops by ordering online direct from the manufacturer. Granite tiles offer savings over a slab. Custom laminate is the most economical solution. Are you a do-it-yourselfer interested in a new experience? Remodelaholic.com offers instructions on how to work with your local sheet-metal shop to create a stainless-steel or copper countertop.
When shopping for flooring, buy material in stock rather than special ordering, and ask for a discount or bargain for overstock pricing or free shipping. Choose ceramic tile carefully, since installation is virtually permanent. You want a dense tile that won’t shatter, in a timeless style and color. Do you have a friend with tiling experience? Consider a labor trade. Or, rent a tile saw and watch some do-it-yourself videos. If you are considering wood laminate, read consumer reviews to evaluate durability. For something different, consider cork. It is gentle on the feet, environmentally sound, and has a warm, natural look.
Save on your sink and faucet by buying direct from the manufacturer or an overstock dealer. Check out warranty and consumer satisfaction information before deciding on a model. Follow the same advice with light fixtures and window coverings. Painting? Especially when done before the cabinets and flooring, this is a manageable DIY project and will save you significant dollars. Don’t skimp on quality of paint, though—the kitchen does take a beating.
-Mark works in home renovations and loves to write about it when he has the time.