By Jennifer Riner of Zillow
Homeowners spend years saving money to fund their kitchen remodels. New appliances, cabinetry, countertops, floors and associated installation costs can total more than the asking price of a brand new car. Some don’t realize they can use inexpensive alternatives in the kitchen and still achieve renewed, fashion-forward looks.
Consider the following budget-friendly upgrades to create temporary or permanent solutions for dated kitchens.
1. Dress Up Basic Cabinets
Create pseudo-custom cabinetry by pairing plain cabinets with more ornate knobs and pulls. Although small, elaborate hardware can transform basic cabinets into high-end cupboards. Investing in over-priced fundamentals can be wasteful, especially when the structural quality of economical alternatives is virtually the same. Focus on visible aspects of cabinetry only – consider keeping current frames and replacing fronts with designer doors.
2. Consider Carts
Large kitchen islands are pricey. Rolling carts and storage units are practical replacements for traditional, built-in islands and equally as functional. Carts are especially fitting in tight spaces, where they can be wheeled aside for easier traffic flow. Incorporating extra storage also helps individuals searching for new homes visualize their belongings in various spaces. Additional cupboards may help potential buyers overlook homes with limited square footage.
3. Build a Backsplash
Backsplashes are common features of well-designed kitchens. These tiled focal points create synchronicity between countertops and upper cabinets. Small, singular tiles are difficult to mount, but homeowners can get creative to simplify the process. For instance, adhere wallpaper to backsplashes in designs that mirror the looks of tiled surfaces. Or, consider other materials like stainless steel, which can be purchased in large slabs and enhance natural light due to reflectiveness.
4. Go Laminate
Genuine stone countertops are traditional, but costly. Laminate, on the other hand, comes in a variety of colors and styles to mimic real stones at significantly lower prices. Laminate is not only budget-friendly, but is also non-porous and comes with stress-free maintenance. Always use cutting boards when working with sharp knives as laminate tends to knick easily and cannot be repaired properly without full replacement. Make sure seams are fully concealed so surfaces appear well-crafted and unified.
5. Be Creative with Flooring
Given the kitchen’s role as one of the most frequently-visited rooms in the home, it sees numerous spills and scrapes. Therefore, flooring needs to withstand rigorous wear-and-tear. Wood planks and stone tiles are the go-to materials for kitchen floors, but there are substitutions to fit tighter budgets. Brick, for instance, is a warm yet rugged material, durable enough for heavy traffic. Brick must be regularly sealed to prevent staining, leading to time-consuming upkeep. Similarly, concrete, cork and vinyl are all inexpensive alternatives to traditional kitchen floors. As with brick, these materials must be properly maintained to preserve their finishes.
Remember to factor in installation costs when budgeting for home improvement projects. Or, go the do-it-yourself (DIY) route and save even more money. Invest in safety gear prior to any major DIY project and use extreme caution during demolition and installation of large appliances and fixtures.