Homeowners remodel a kitchen for many reasons: Among them, because they are tired of a dated look; because they have inadequate storage and work space; to make room for new appliances; to make it easier for an older or disabled member of the family to prepare meals; to repair damage from a disaster or mishap; because they plan to sell their house and want to get a better price.
Each homeowner’s remodeling situation is unique, with different goals and budget. Here is a range of updating, upgrading, replacing ideas for cabinets and storage.
Low-cost kitchen update: Repaint
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.
Renovate the cabinet doors
As an option, you can take your existing doors, refinished or not, to a woodworking shop and have the shop install glass panels in them. You will need to paint or finish the wood edges routed out in the process.
Reface your cabinets
Refacing means replacing all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with a new finish of wood in a new style. The existing cabinet frame is covered with a matching veneer, and the pulls and hinges are replaced as well. Installation takes a few days. Results are similar to installation of new cabinets – except that there is no change in the number or size of your cabinets, though you can add an island in the same style if you have space.
Refacing costs about 30% less and is much less disruptive than replacing the cabinets.
Replace your cabinets with stock cabinets
Home remodeling stores like Home Depot and Lowes and specialty stores sell assembled and unassembled kitchen cabinets in specific sizes, and in various woods and styles. You can add cabinets where you have a specific need, but don’t expect that you will be able to match existing cabinets in style or color.
Replace your cabinets with custom cabinets
Call a specialist cabinetmaker for custom cabinets or a kitchen remodeling contractor for a complete kitchen renovation. Kitchen remodelers offer design services as well as construction. They can provide new layouts, lighting, windows and skylights, flooring and countertops as well as custom-made cabinets.
Add a kitchen island
If you have the floor space you can install a kitchen island to get more storage and counter space. Islands can be purchased in many sizes, styles and wood finishes and are available with granite, composite or wood countertops. If you add them to an existing kitchen, you will want to look for a style that complements your kitchen, but consider a contrasting finish.
Add a rolling kitchen cart
A popular alternative to an island is a rolling cart that functions as additional storage space and countertop space. Ideal to hold a portable induction cooktop, microwave or other appliance (depending on its height and storage), it can be rolled out whenever it’s needed.
So now you have possible solutions for that dated look in your kitchen and for inadequate storage space that can fit any budget. If you choose a contractor for any part of your kitchen renovation, be sure to check references and get competing bids. Be sure that you understand exactly what the contractor will do, exactly what your cost will be, and what the contractor will do if you are unhappy with any part of the result.
Next, check out more 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, countertops and backsplashes, walls & window treatments, lighting, and appliances.