Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

5 tips for cheap kitchen remodels

by Shannon Lee
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Kitchen remodels often come with a big price tag. According to Remodeling Magazine's "Cost vs. Value Report" for 2010-2011, a major kitchen remodel cost an average of $58,367. Too rich for your pocketbook? A minor kitchen remodel during the same year cost an average of $21,695. Better, but that's still a pretty penny for a homeowner on a budget.

The biggest difference between the average price of a major and minor kitchen remodel was the cabinets. In the major remodel, the cabinets were completely replaced. In a minor kitchen remodel, only the cabinet doors and hardware were replaced. Replacing cabinet doors can add a new look to your kitchen without all the cost and hassle of a serious overhaul.

Tips for cheap kitchen remodels

There are other ways to make your kitchen look new without breaking the bank. These simple tips cost much less than a major overhaul.

  1. Paint the walls. Since a new paint job can be done every year, why not choose trending colors? Grey has emerged as a popular color over the last several years. Reds and blues are also popular, as is the somewhat surprising lilac. Choose paint specially formulated for the kitchen, such as stain-resistant and scrubber-friendly Olympic Premium Interior Paint.
  2. Upgrade the floor. Though laminates and vinyl might be tougher than wood, those cheaper solutions can't be refinished when they become worn. If you must have cheaper materials, Consumer Reports recommends laminate Montado, vinyl Allure and Congoleum, and Mohawk Antiquity engineered wood.
  3. Upgrade the countertop. Replacing that laminate countertop with stone might seem expensive, but it can pay off in resale value. When choosing stone, opt for the 3/4 inch top instead of the more expensive 1 and 1/4 inch. Also consider stone tiles, which cost between $4 and $20 per square foot--the more expensive slabs can run between $50 and $150 per square foot.
  4. Replace hardware. New hardware for your kitchen cabinets and drawers can add visual interest to your kitchen. The cheapest hardware is available for a few dollars per piece at your local home improvement store. A very nice glass, resin, ceramic or stone option can be found for $50 or less.
  5. Opt for a new appliance. New appliances can make your kitchen look up-to-date. Choose a moderately-priced model that has all the options you need but none of the more extravagant bells and whistles that could drive up the price. Opt for Energy Star appliances in order to save more money in the long run.

Don't let the high prices of kitchen remodeling fool you. Cheap kitchen remodels can be had with a little research, some savvy shopping and a do-it-yourself attitude.

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