Before you start planning, consider the market and decide whether a low-, medium-, or high-end kitchen remodel makes the most sense. Costs can run the gamut from $2,000 for a simple paint-and-hardware upgrade to $50,000 if you’re installing expensive countertops and luxury appliances. Knowing your neighborhood will help keep from overspending – you may not get your investment back installing travertine in your tiny starter – or worse, underspending. Let’s face it, you’ll never see Formica in a high-end home, and in fact, it may become a barrier to your sale.
2. Avoid An Identity Crisis
Don’t try to remodel a 50’s ranch-style kitchen into a contemporary cook space. All homes, however humble, are built in a certain architectural style. Work with it, not against it. You’ll be spending too much money and time on complete overhaul, and you’ll end up with a kitchen that looks like it belongs in someone else’s home.
3. Don’t Lose Track Of Trends
There’s always something new in the world of kitchen improvement. By staying on top of the latest technological trends and improvements, you may be able to find less expensive, more eco-friendly versions of the hottest looks.
4. Keep The Plumbing Where It Is
Moving water and gas lines to accommodate the reconfiguration of sinks, ovens, stoves, or dishwashers is extremely costly, especially in older homes. Keep any pipe-connected elements where they are, and keep some extra cash in your pocket.
5. Watch For The Wrong Floor Plan
If you do have the budget to rearrange appliances, make sure to keep your floor plan in mind. Does it follow the natural triangular traffic pattern between the refrigerator, stove, and oven? Is the dishwasher next to the sink? It should be, because otherwise, you create a mess every time you walk across the room with a dripping dish in your hand. To save money, I once put a dishwasher in the counter opposite the sink – and as a result, I cleaned up drips on the floor for years.
6. Don’t Trash Existing Cabinets
If they’re quality wood and still in good working order, you’re in luck. This is one of the first things I check when sizing up a pre-remodel kitchen, since cabinet frames are the most expensive component of the entire space. It’s quite simple to give salvageable cabinets a face lift. Three common ways to repurpose and save thousands include: adding new doors and drawer fronts, re-laminating fronts and sides, or repainting – which leads us to……Don’t Just Paint – Spray Paint. Have all the cabinets cleaned and lightly sanded, then have a painter come in to spray them. Don’t try to DIY this one; a couple of cans of spray paint from the hardware store just won’t do the trick. A professional spray job can make ugly cabinets look factory-new. And you can’t get the same look by painting or rolling the cabinets yourself.
7. Don’t Scrimp On New Hardware
Home remodeling superstores carry a great selection of door hardware. Choose knobs and pulls that complement your architectural style, and don’t cut corners. This is what I call a brooch – an added touch that makes the whole room work! Also, remove and replace any old painted-over hinges with shiny new ones. It is time consuming, but very inexpensive. And it makes a huge difference.
8. Take Advantage Of Free Advice
Check out the larger home improvement centers for free, computer-based design services for help laying out your kitchen. Their professionals are at the leading edge of today’s decorating trends, and their services include one-on-one client assistance as well as in-home consultations, complete project management, and installation services.
9. Don’t Mismatch Appliances
When buying new fridges, ranges, and dishwashers, stick with the same brand. Fortunately appliance manufactures have begun to create good-looking, low-priced lines that include matching sets. With a little research and some smart shopping, you can find affordable appliances that look very high-end – and when they all match, you get a designer look for much less.
10. Don’t Forget To Budget For Sinks And Fixtures
Get the best possible faucet, one with a pull out spray attachment or a gooseneck with detachable head. It’s a necessity AND a brooch – and the difference between good and great is only $50 -$75. Stick to one consistent fixture finish since mixed finishes can look like patch work.
ALL: What’s the one thing you’ve done in a kitchen (past or present) that really gave it that ‘wow’ factor?