Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget

It's easy to fall in love with the incredible kitchen remodels on TV, but those makeovers can take a huge chunk of savings. An average minor kitchen remodel in the United States now exceeds $18,500, and the price tag of a major kitchen remodel is nearly $54,000, according to Remodeling Magazine.

Young homeowners and first-time homebuyers typically can't spend that kind of money. But there may be shortcuts to spiff up your kitchen on a much smaller budget.

"People remodel for a lot of different reasons," explains Tomas DeLuna, a designer with General Electric. "Maybe they've purchased a fixer-upper or want a kitchen that better reflects their taste. Maybe their kitchen is just outdated and needs to function in a more modern way. With some simple changes, you can make an incredible impact."

Under $1,700

Frank Ildirim, owner of Beltway Kitchen and Bath in Fairfax, VA, suggests you start by thoroughly cleaning and de-cluttering your kitchen. "When counters and floor space are clean, rooms look larger," he says. "Then you can consider if you should resurface or replace countertops and backsplashes."

Next focus on the walls. Strip old wallpaper and roll primer over dated paint colors. Put a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling, walls and trim. DeLuna advises homeowners to limit the palette to white, black, the popular grays, earthen colors, and bronze or other metallic colors. "Then, make the whole kitchen pop with bright accessories," he says. If existing cabinets are in good shape, sand, prime and paint them. Estimated total cost for primer, paint and supplies is $250.

To give your kitchen a new "personality," replace old drawer knobs and door handles at an estimated cost of $130. Updating overhead lighting fixtures, installing under-cabinet lighting and adding new pendant lights over the kitchen's island, breakfast bar, or pub table and chairs are easy ways to update a kitchen too.

$5,000 - $10,000

For about $5,000 in the typical kitchen, homeowners could do all of the projects already mentioned and buy a new laminate floor ($700), subway-tile backsplash ($750), and add the final finishes for a total of $4,866. "A white tile backsplash with gray grout will brighten and modernize your kitchen," notes DeLuna.

Have a little more to spend? To replace all appliances—range, over-the-range microwave, dishwasher and bottom-freezer refrigerator—could cost an additional $3,000 - $5,000 says Ildirim. "For about $10,000, you could create a totally new kitchen, one you’ll enjoy for years to come and one that adds lasting value to your home," he adds.

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