Design Recipes: Top tips for affordable kitchen renovations
When it comes to investing renovation dollars, updating the kitchen remains at the top of the list. Kitchen renovations can be large or small and set you back a little or a lot. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money in order to have a large impact.
How to start
When starting a kitchen renovation the key is think function first, how you need and want the kitchen to function.
Ask yourself the following questions:
■What features do I need in my kitchen?
■What do I like/don’t like about my current kitchen?
■What is my budget?
■If I had a dream kitchen, what would it look like?
You may be eager to start buying items for your new kitchen, but before you make a single purchase, plan, plan and plan.
Planning out your kitchen either on your own or with the help of a designer will help to prevent a number of mistakes. Professional designers will likely charge by the hour and are typically a costlier option than using an in-house designer at a kitchen showroom.
During the planning phase, also take the opportunity to shop. Shopping is not only the fun part, it will also be a great opportunity for you to learn about as well as touch and feel the latest products on the market.
Finding a contractor
After you plan your kitchen, you will need to find a contractor to help you with the renovation. An affordable option may also be to use a contractor recommended by a kitchen showroom or a big box store.
When making your selection, obtain bids from at least three contractors and don’t necessarily take the lowest bid, as the lowest bid may not be necessarily the best choice. Pay close attention to the services the contractor is providing as well as how the project will be managed along the various phases of your renovation.
Ways to save big bucks
The great part about a kitchen renovation, especially if you are on a budget, is that in most cases you can perform the work in phases as opposed to having to perform the work all at once. Further, relating to some aspects of your renovation, you can play the “high/low” game: You can splurge while there are other areas where you can save — big.
Here are some of my top cost-saving kitchen renovation tips:
■Replace just a countertop. I prefer stone or quartz surfaces to laminate, not only for aesthetic reasons but also for durability purposes.
■Purchase good quality appliances. They don’t necessarily have to be the most expensive, but read consumer ratings and reviews.
■Comparison shop when it comes to cabinets. This can either be where you spend the bulk of your budget or where you can save big. These days there are so many companies that good quality, affordable choices.
■Be open-minded when it comes to your tile choices. Here is an opportunity where you can really mix and match high/low. For example, you can mix affordable subway tile with a more expensive tile as a border or accent.
■Lighting may be an opportunity for you to save money, as there are many options that can offer the radiance and light you are looking for at a reasonable price.
Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at cathyhobbs.com.