Your hard-working kitchen can look better even on a tight budget. Here are TEN money-saving tips for our favorite room. Some of these things can be done in phases as budget and time allow:
- Keep appliances in the same places if your current kitchen layout is functional. But if your only sink is in a pantry (a quirk of some 1940’s homes) or your oven is in an island and you can’t stand to have them there, definitely move them. Locating the sink, stove/oven and refrigerator within a 3 or 4 step area is a time-tested, comfortable set up known as a “work triangle”. Years ago, we did exterior work at a home where the kitchen had already been remodeled by the homeowners and they forgot to save space for their refrigerator so… they put their only refrigerator down in the basement. That hampered enjoyment of their otherwise beautiful kitchen. True story.
- Re-use existing appliances that are in good shape. Check with the manufacturer to see if removable panels are available to update your look without replacing the appliances. Older refrigerators really should be replaced with new energy efficient models.
- Remove all the clutter from your kitchen and clean it thoroughly as though you were putting your house up for sale. Yes, the windows & floor too. Does it already look better? Did you find work space that used to be buried under “stuff”? Are the cabinets okay & just in need of some touch up wood stain or paint? Cabinet doors can sometimes be re-surfaced for a fraction of the cost of new cabinets.
- Apply new paint to the walls, trim and ceiling. Cooking darkens the ceiling. Fresh white ceiling paint can change your whole perspective.
- New light fixtures! Once we’re out of our 20’s, we need more light to see well and there are gorgeous lighting styles to complement any room.
- Installing hardwood or tile flooring can be reasonably priced. If your existing hardwood floors are beaten up, most can be re-finished.
- Counters: I really love solid surface counters like granite & quartz but on a tight budget, I would probably install new laminate. Then place a section of granite or quartz piece near the stove where you can place hot pans directly on them. 12x12” single granite floor tiles are available for under $5. And a big, new cutting board makes any kitchen more attractive & functional.
- If you do decide on a full remodel and you are reasonably comfortable with tools & dust, ask the contractor what the discount would be if you carefully removed the cabinets & floors and cleaned up prior to his/her “expert work.”
- Re-use an existing island in good condition, even if it doesn’t match. This is one place where you can paint part or all of it in a complimentary color to re-use it. This style trend continues.
10. New curtains or shades. They draw attention away from other details that may be less attractive.
Yes, you can make your kitchen look better even on a tight budget. Don’t watch too much HGTV though. All of those projects seem to involve 5 or more “experts” working for free with only material costs so they create unrealistic expectations.
And be sure to hire a registered contractor with full insurance for those jobs that are too big for you to handle yourself.
Elizabeth Saede - Mystic Restoration Co., LLC www.MysticRest.com