You bought your home, and after years of apartment hopping, it is time to settle down and flex your culinary talents in your own kitchen. But if your kitchen does little to inspire gastronomic feats, a remodel may be in order. Remodeling kitchens is challenging. They are also expensive rooms to remodel, as reworking an awkward floor plan requires electrical and plumbing changes. Saving money and coming in on budget is possible, as long as you think before you lift a hammer, and stick to your budget so impulse buys do not hurt your bottom line.
Gather all your financial documents in one location, and calculate how much money you have to spend on your remodel. Determine whether you have enough cash on hand to spend on improvements, or if you need a home equity loan or lines of credit. Review your current home payments and its market value before you choose to borrow against it.
Create a list of essential improvements you need in your kitchen. Include items that improve the function and aesthetics of the room. Make a second list of improvements, which includes making changes to the floor plan if you feel they are important. Ask friends for recommendations and then call a kitchen or general contractor and schedule a meeting in your home. Discuss the two remodel options with the contractor and ask for an informal estimate, or if free, a written estimate for your less extensive and more elaborate plans.
Review the estimate. Draw up a formal contract, if the numbers are within your budget. Edit your wish list to reduce the budget, or plan to save by doing your own contracting work.
Visit appliance and flooring discount stores and look for overstocked or discontinued items. Visit salvage yards for good deals on vintage restored sinks and architectural accents. Put on the protective eye goggles and paint overalls to save some money; doing prep and painting yourself saves a lot.
Reface existing cabinets rather than replacing them or repaint and install new hardware to freshen up the look. Put your signature on your space with one important piece, such as a chandelier or wall art.
- Decide on an overall theme for your kitchen. Picking out color schemes, counter surfaces and flooring is less overwhelming when you have a decorative guideline in place.
- Be cautious in taking out loans on top of your mortgage if you put little or no down payment on your home. Falling housing prices could put you underwater on your loans, meaning that you owe more on the house than it is currently worth.
Barrett Barlowe is an award-winning writer and artist specializing in fitness, health, real estate, fine arts, and home and gardening. She is a former professional cook as well as a digital and traditional artist with many major film credits. Barlowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and French and a Master of Fine Arts in film animation.