Your kitchen is a direct reflection of how you live.
There are no set rules on where to spend your money during a kitchen remodel. If you have a busy family life, then you probably need a lot of storage. A gourmet cook, however, would see professional grade appliances as the most important amenity. An entertainer might look for a warming cabinet and a wine cooler… So you see, there is almost endless variety to where you can focus your funds. Another important point to consider: Resale value. Are you sprucing up your kitchen for a nice return-on-investment? Or, are you designing a kitchen for the home you plan to live in forever?
With appliances, you always want to be on the lookout for energy-efficient appliances with warranties. Be realistic when budgeting for appliances so you can afford other important aspects of your kitchen, like cabinets and countertops. Products have different shelf lives, therefore, it is best to invest in appliances that last 15 years or more. If you have a large family or entertain frequently, it makes sense that you would invest more on a top-of-the-line dishwasher that can stand up to frequent use.
Appliances are one area where you can employ “placeholders.” It’s pretty easy to replace a stove or a refrigerator. As long as you have a standard size, go ahead and keep your current appliances and spend money where it matters, like quality kitchen cabinets.
Someone on HGTV once said, “A stone countertop costs many times more than a laminate one, but will add beauty and value to your renovation.”
There are varying grades of quality in granite and marble, should you choose that option. With Grade 5 being the highest, it may be a better return on your investment to get a lesser grade. Furthermore, if you select a laminate, you can save twice as much money and still get the visual effect. However, if you want to splurge, choose a statement piece, such as an exotic cut of marble with an unusual pattern.
Countertops are another area where you can employ a “placeholder.” They are fairly easy to change out, so if you pair a temporary counter with custom kitchen cabinets, you can always upgrade later.
Don’t feel that stone or laminate are your only options, either. Butcher block is an affordable option (and very trendy right now) and concrete countertops can be poured and molded in just about any color and shape you can imagine. A showcase countertop could end up being the focal point of your kitchen, but keep in mind that a potential buyer may not have the same design esthetic as you.
“Choosing which cabinet you want extends further than just selecting the wood grain,” says Dov Grushka, master carpenter of DnG Millwork & Cabinetry. Make sure you choose cabinets with soft close drawers and doors, which has migrated from a luxury to a necessity. “Functionality is the best place to splurge,” says Dov. Saving on cabinet wood has become trendy, however, a quality pressed wood can easily last 20 years. Custom cabinets are still a good choice for personalized design and durability. Spend money solid construction and useful additions, like pull-out drawers and deep base cabinet drawers.
Or cabinet “jewelry”, as I’ve heard it called. These finishing touches can tie together and elevate all the different elements in a kitchen. As for any remodel, hardware spans in variety and price. For the more budget-minded, you can simply transfer your existing hardware to your new cabinet, or opt for cabinets with pulls carved in – no hardware needed!
In South Florida, tile is the way to go. Porcelain is a great choice for those looking to mimic natural stone without the price. Porcelain also resists chipping and cracking and is often selected for its longevity. Keep in mind the size of the tiles, especially when constructing the floor. Larger tiles give the kitchen an updated look while minimizing grout lines and cuts during installation. Also, fewer tiles = less cost.
Before you start your remodel, it is helpful to follow guidelines as to not get lost in the renovations. Here are some tips provided by the National Kitchen & Bath Association:
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