So, you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen. It’s a smart move if your motivation is to improve the value of your home. (It’s a smart move if you just want a better kitchen for yourself too.) This is because kitchens are the most important room in the house for most prospective home buyers.
If you’re currently doing your cooking and food preparation in a room that’s dated, dingy, or dilapidated (or all three), it can seriously affect the amount of money people are willing to offer when it’s time to sell your home. Unfortunately, it’s easy to spend tons of money on a kitchen remodel. Stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, dedicated pot-filling faucets, double ovens, professional cook tops, etc. etc. etc. If you want to buy all that stuff, you can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars. Some people even spend six figure sums on their kitchens.
Fortunately, it’s possible to update your kitchen and make it look a lot better without spending an arm and a leg. Let’s take a peek at some of the ways you can increase the value of your kitchen without spending a lot of money:
Paint or refinish your cabinets instead of replacing them.
Before you decide you need to completely gut and replace your cabinets, take a good look at them. Are they sound? Are they made of good wood? (If you live in an older home, chances are the cabinets are made from solid wood and of a higher quality than you’ll get today–most of today’s low to mid-end cabinets are made from particleboard with maple/oak/beech “veneers”.)
If they’re basically in good shape, all your cabinets may need is a little low-cost TLC. A paint job is the cheapest way to give them a new look. New door and drawer hardware (knobs and hinges) can help bring your kitchen into the 21st century as well, and it won’t cost a lot. You might also consider just refinishing the fronts and getting new cabinet doors.
Install granite tiles instead of solid granite countertops.
If you want the classy, upscale look of granite, you can achieve it with granite tiles, which are less expensive than solid granite. They can also be installed by the average do-it-yourself homeowner, whereas solid granite countertops need to be cut to fit and installed by a professional.
If you want to save even more money, you can get laminate countertops that are made to look like granite, marble, or other stones. (These won’t likely fool prospective home buyers though.)
Choose laminate flooring instead of hardwood
Wood flooring is popular in kitchens right now, and it’ll cost you a pretty penny to get it installed. However, you can buy laminate flooring that looks a lot like the real deal for about half the price. Laminate is also more forgiving of spills (wood can be damaged over time if repeatedly exposed to moisture), and it’s very easy to keep clean.
Don’t spend a fortune on appliances.
If you want stainless steel, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on Aga or Viking. Many of the low to mid-end brands are putting out high-end look-alike appliances. GE, for examples, offers stainless steel ovens and refrigerators. True, they won’t fool kitchen snobs, but let’s face it: the people looking to buy your house are more likely to be average Joes, who just want stainless steel and granite because that’s what everybody says is in right now.
Buy new lighting.
Nothing makes a kitchen look dark and dingy like a single overhead ceiling fixture. Lighting is a relatively inexpensive improvement, but it goes a long ways in brightening up the kitchen and making it look good. Make sure to buy modern fixtures. Pendant lighting over eating counters is popular, and under-counter task lighting is smart for brightening up food preparation areas.
To save on lighting, visit stores like Ikea, or consider doing your shopping online. Sites like Nextag.com make it easy to compare prices on lamps and just about anything else.