As a homeowner you want to get the most benefit out of living in your home. So you have probably been thinking about improvements to make it more functional and more comfortable – improvements like updating wall colors, adding a deck, or perhaps a more extensive renovation like adding bedrooms or modernizing the kitchen. Home improvements nearly always add value to your home because they make it more attractive to potential buyers down the road.
One of the most rewarding of home improvement projects is renovating your kitchen because, for many families, it is the room that is most central to family living. Unless you built your house and designed your kitchen yourself, it probably doesn’t meet your needs. Perhaps it has a dated look, poor lighting, or aging cabinets and countertops. Maybe it’s simply too small.
While some renovations can be expensive, running to $75,000 or more, there is a kitchen renovation project for every budget. Even fresh paint and new cabinet pulls can make a dramatic difference in a kitchen’s look for well under $500.
Don’t delay a renovation until you are ready to sell
Some people wait until they are ready to sell their house to update a dated kitchen. Maybe their real estate agent or home stager has mentioned that they can make their home more attractive to a potenial buyer by upgrading cabinets, countertops and backsplash. Doesn’t it make more sense to update your kitchen for your own benefit and enjoyment rather than waiting till you want to sell your house?
There can be a substantial amount of work in remodeling a kitchen. Depending on how extensive your plan is, you may be able to do much of the work yourself, or with the help of a handyman. Larger renovations will require hiring contractors who specialize in cabinetry, countertops, and electrical work.
Renovating a kitchen is a matter of personal taste as well as budget. There are many websites with online design tools that can help you select styles and colors. Here are some kitchen renovation ideas that may help you with your design choices.
Low-cost kitchen update
It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to achieve an updated look in your kitchen. If your cabinets are in good condition, you can repaint them. If you have a typical suburban kitchen that was built in the 1960’s or 70’s, you might have dark-stained wood cabinets that scream “DATED!”
First, paint your dark-stained cabinets and doors bright white for a clean, fresh updated look (remove the doors first). Be sure to degrease, sand and prime so the paint will adhere and cover well. Replace the archaic-looking cabinet hardware with a contemporary design. You can buy new silver, black or glass pulls and paint the old hinges with silver or black spray enamel at significant savings over buying new hinges.
Repaint your ceiling to cover the dinginess that comes from years of cooking. Freshen your walls by removing wallpaper and painting them a conservative taupe or a trendy burnt orange. Upgrade your lighting with a 4- or 6-lamp overhead track.
You will be amazed at the transformation you have achieved with this low-cost upgrade. If you do the work yourself, you will have spent less than $200 or 250 — including halogen bulbs for your new track.
If you have a really tight budget or are planning to sell your house, this will give you the most bang for your buck.
The next step up would be to update your flooring. If your floor is vinyl-tiled from that era, overlay it with a sheet of fresh vinyl or with laminate in a neutral color. Finally, you can replace your aging countertop and backsplash with new laminate. Hire a handyman to help you, and you could have a totally new kitchen for as little as $2500 or 3000.
If you need more space or want to change the style of your kitchen, then start with a design plan.
Designing your new kitchen
If you want to make extensive changes, there are advantages to hiring either an architect or a kitchen designer. While there is a cost to doing that, of course, it may save you money as well as time and frustration and will lead to a more favorable result. An architect who specializes in interior remodeling will be familiar with materials, space requirements, appliances, lighting, sound systems, alarms, and code requirements. If you are considering taking down walls to enlarge your kitchen, then talk to an architect.
Particular design issues that you will have to deal with in remodeling your kitchen include the layout, providing adequate storage and counter space, style, materials and color combinations. Do you want to replace or reface your cabinets or just refinish them. Do you want to include a kitchen table, an island, large or double sink, built-in appliances, induction cooktop, double oven, microwave, task and ambient lighting? Is your electrical service adequate for your new equipment? Perhaps you have special needs like extra-low counters and accomodation for a wheelchair. These issues have to be resolved before you start work.
Next, check out specific design choices that will help you decide how your dream kitchen will look, so you will get the most benefit from your kitchen renovation: flooring, cabinets, countertops and backsplashes, walls and window treatments, lighting, and appliances.