By Joe Provey
– Hardware: Clean cabinet knobs and pulls thoroughly and buff with a clear wax. If your hardware is dated, replacement pulls, knobs, and hinges can be purchased online or at many home centers. Swapping out tired old hardware can give your kitchen a facelift on the cheap.
BUDGET: $500 – $1000: NEW FLOORING Refresh your kitchen flooring for a brand new look.
Vinyl floor tiles are not only affordable, but have come a long way in terms of style and ease of installation. This type of flooring is comfortable to walk on, easy to clean, and durable. To install, you no longer have to deal with messy adhesives; the floors float atop the underlayment. At less than $2 per square foot, you can put a vinyl floor in just about any kitchen for $500.
Want a more natural flooring material? Choices include wood (solid or engineered), cork, and bamboo. You’ll have to shell out two or three times the price of vinyl, but the finish can not be beat. Avoid laminates, which are susceptible to moisture damage. Also, try to steer clear of ceramic tile, which is cold and hard to the touch, plus cracks easily.
BUDGET: $1000 – $2500: NEW SINK, FAUCET and COUNTERTOPS Sinks and countertops bear the brunt of work in the kitchen. As a consequence, they can look very worn after 10 or 15 years. A new sink, faucet and countertops are within this budget — providing you choose economical materials for the countertops, such as plastic laminate or wood. You can dress up the former with a beveled or rounded hardwood molding along the front edge. Or fake the high-style look of granite, marble, or soapstone with affordable laminate. Butcher block, long neglected as a countertop material, is again in vogue and quite functional. It will need periodic sealing with mineral oil, but can be easily renewed with a sander when needed.
A green kitchen in Windermere, FL. Photo: Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/MCT
BUDGET: $5000 – $7,500: A RECYCLED KITCHEN Now that we’re talking about serious money, you can consider buying a complete recycled kitchen, often with the appliances included. Check out Green Demolitionat and similar organizations that accept and resell used building materials. Green Demolitions’ New York metropolitan area showrooms offer entire kitchens that have been donated by homeowners who are about to remodel. The donors get a tax deduction, and the purchasers get kitchens at prices that are a fraction of the original list price. Everybody wins, including the environment.
BUDGET: $7,500 – $10,000: NEW CABINETS This budget range will allow you to purchase new kitchen cabinets. Stock cabinets for a 10 x 12 kitchen start at about $5,000. Custom cabinets, that are built to order, cost $8,000 and up. Solid wood, plywood, and stainless steel cabinets are best. Cabinets made of MDF (medium density fiberboard) are good. Avoid cabinets made with particleboard. Look for well-crafted rabbeted or dovetail joints, especially on drawers. They should be carefully glued and fastened. You may also be able to replace your old countertops in this budget range, but most likely not with granite or other synthetic stone materials. To keep this remodeling project under $10,000, you’ll have to do much of the work yourself and minimize changes to plumbing, venting and electrical systems.
– Consult with a pro: If your budget is in this range, do yourself a favor and spend some of it on a professional designer. If you have a pretty good idea of what you want, $500 spent on consultations and plans can go a long way. An experienced designer has seen it all and will likely be able to help you avoid costly mistakes. In addition to suggesting an efficient layout for cabinets, counters, and appliances, a designer will help you create free-flowing traffic patterns to dining rooms and to outdoor entertainment areas. They can help with a lighting plan, mudroom or kitchen-office solutions, color selection, material and appliance choices. A good designer will suggest ways to minimize changes to your kitchen’s footprint that can add significant cost to your project.