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Investing in a kitchen remodel adds value to your home, but this potentially expensive, time-consuming and invasive project can seem daunting. Your dream kitchen may cost more than you want to spend, but that’s no reason to live with an outdated, inefficient one. Stick to an affordable budget by using less expensive materials and planning your project wisely.
Keep Your Cabinets
High-end, custom cabinetry quickly sends a remodel budget into the red zone. Keep the ones you already have — or keep just their shells and reface them — and you’ll knock thousands of dollars off your renovation. Refinishing or refacing cabinets takes some time and effort, so be prepared to put in a weekend on the job. Even seriously unsightly cabinets can look current and expensive with a fresh coat of paint or stain and new knobs.
Use Synthetic Materials
Stone counters and flooring might be elegant and durable, but they’re also considerably more expensive than laminate or vinyl. Instead of splurging on soapstone or granite, choose synthetic substitutes that mimic the appearance of the high-end material you like. When it comes to flooring, you can save on installation costs by choosing floating laminate or vinyl instead of tile. In many cases, you can even install laminate or vinyl flooring yourself.
Wait for Bargains
The prices of materials and appliances fluctuate; almost any item you want for your kitchen will go on sale at some point. Particularly when it comes to big ticket items such as refrigerators or dishwashers, you can save hundreds of dollars by waiting to replace the old ones until you spot a bargain. The same goes for labor costs. Contractors charge more in the summer and fall than in the winter and spring, and scheduling your project for their off-season can win you lower rates.
Your ideal remodel may involve installing an island, moving the sink and dishwasher to new locations and adding new windows — but these and other major changes can drive up the price of your remodel. Anything that involves installing or moving plumbing adds to the total cost considerably, as does anything that involves structural changes to the room. To keep costs down, you might have to forgo these ambitious plans and settle for sprucing up what already exists.
Although there are many ways to cut costs on a remodel, paying full price sometimes makes a wise investment. Replace aging appliances with Energy Star-qualified models, even if they’re more expensive than other products on the market, to lower your bills and help preserve the environment. And don’t just choose the lowest bidder when you hire contractors. Check their references, read their reviews and go with contractors you feel you can trust.