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As house values are down across the board and loans / mortgages are harder to get, homeowners are finding few easy-money options for grand remodels. But hey, you probably should not do that anyway! Instead, why not go after projects that cost less, or even garner practical savings and keep their value much better when it comes time to sell.
This is very true for kitchens: usually oneof the (if not THE) most expensive room in your home, a remodel can even cost anything upwards of $50.000 – which can be as much as 10% of the value of your home. Instead of spending a ton of money, let’s see a few options on modest, practical, recessionproof improvements that build a home’s long-term value while conserving energy or just allow you to rest and enjoy your kitchen.
- look for a local source: granite is heavy and expensive, so the farther it travels, the more you pay. Local dealers, or even better, local mines and processors can help you with good prices.
- the composites: companies like DuPont have been doing research for years to make materials like granite more affordable. They are called engineered stone: it is made from quartz, comes in a large variety of colors and it is a nonporous surface that resists stains and scratches and is easy to maintain. To cut costs even further, look for thinner widths without beveled edges.
- If you want something fancy, you can even make a countertop from concrete.
Keep your cabinets.
Replacing all the cabinets is surely the most expensive part of any kitchen remodel. However, most of the time your kitchen cabinets have more mileage in them than you would think.
For example if you just don’t like their finish, you have many options to change the appearance: Just strip off the original finish and stain them anyway you like. Colors are not limited brown&co, just choose one you like. (Word of advice: don’t fall for the year’s fav color: it might not look good and surely not good for keeping value.)
When keeping the doors is not an option, a great upgrade can be to change just those: stained glass doors for upper cabinets will surely make your kitchen look brighter. For lower cabinets, look for horizontal patterns – they make the kitchen look bigger than it is.
For a smaller upgrade, what about replacing the kitchen cabinet hardware? Small things like new door handles and drawer pulls will make a huge difference in the overall look of your kitchen.
Be sure that when you put a topcoat on them you select one that does not yellow; this is especially a problem in the kitchen.
Replace the faucet
Hate that dripping sound from your old faucet? Go and get a new one! Faucets are relatively inexpensive yet contribute not just to the looks but also to the comfor of your kitchen. Be aware of your existing (or target) kitchen looks and style and have the faucet relate to it. (similar finish to the cabinet hardware will give you a lovely consistent look.)
I would have started with this, actually: lighting is proven to be the most cost-effective way to totally change the way your kitchen feels. Do you have a single light hanging from the middle? Use a combination of accent- task- and general lighting to get an optimal result.
Tip: accent lighting is usually considered ‘decoration’, but this can improve your kitchen greatly.
Look out for the second part for even more ideas!