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Archive for the ‘Budget’ Category

Sep-8-09

Kitchen Remodeling on a Shoestring Budget

posted by Kitchen & Bathroom Designer

Kitchen Remodeling on a Shoestring Budget

So you’re tired of your kitchen? According to an annual survey by the leading trade journal, Kitchen & Bath Business, so are 4.92 million other homeowners who plan to do a kitchen remodel in 2001 — a record number. But with the typical kitchen remodeling job costing from $7,000 to $14,999, remodeling on a limited budget can be a challenging task.

The effort, however, can pay big dividends. Consider that even minor kitchen remodeling provides an 81 percent return on investment, according to Remodeling magazine’s latest “Cost vs. Value Report.” This means that you can enjoy your kitchen for years to come, plus reap a hefty return on your investment if you decide to sell your home down the road.

“Though adding a second story also offers a good return on investment, it’s a much more invasive and costly remodel,” says Nina Patel, Remodeling senior editor. “A minor kitchen remodel and bath update are simpler and more fun.”

According to Patel, the popularity of home improvement stores, HGTV and the Web has educated and inspired many homeowners in their remodeling process. “In this age of large stores that carry all varieties of products, consumers want to see, touch and feel all the options so they can choose the right one for them,” she explains. “Homeowners overall are more willing to spend money on items that reflect their style.”

Here are simple remodeling ideas that can dramatically increase the appeal of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

1. Tile Backsplash

The days of automatically matching the backsplash to the counter are gone. Today’s latest kitchen trend is adding some color and personalization with unique backsplashes that complement but don’t necessarily match countertops. Try brightening the room with a backsplash featuring yellow or blue accents or even mix things up a little with a number of different colored tiles to make a checkerboard pattern. Manufactured tiles are affordable, starting at approximately $4 per square foot, and adding a few hand-painted tiles with such items as fruits, flowers or shapes can provide creative flair. Adding backsplash tiles is a simple project that even the beginning DIYer can take on without hesitation, and it can be completed in just one afternoon.

2. Pullout Faucets

Consider adding a new pullout faucet to your kitchen to provide the functionality needed for filling large pots, watering houseplants and doing assorted dishwashing and cleaning tasks. These faucets combine great looks as well as added convenience. Manufacturers such as Moen now provide pullouts with design options to make them stylish additions to the room. For example, its new Colonnade offers the charm of traditional, classic styling, while the Salora has a sleek and contemporary look complementing modern kitchen decor. Starting around $250 each, these faucets still install as regular fixtures, thanks to a simple, single-bolt tie-down installation method.

If the last time you purchased a faucet your finish options were “chrome” or “chrome,” you will be pleased to see that faucets are now available in more stylish finishes, including copper or brushed stainless steel. Copper finishes are becoming increasingly popular and can provide the perfect complement to range hoods, teakettles, cookware and other items. Brushed stainless steel continues to be a popular choice, in part because it matches the look of many of the latest commercial-style appliances.

3. New Countertops

Your countertop is one of the most important and visible parts of your kitchen. A new countertop can give your kitchen a whole new look, and your choices are virtually limitless. The most popular choice is laminates. Available in hundreds of colors and textures, these countertops cost approximately $25 per linear foot. They are easy-to-clean and long lasting, but they do show cuts and nicks.

Following a close second to laminates are solid surface countertops. Although they can cost quite a bit more — $90 to $200 per linear foot — solid surface countertops will allow nicks, scratches and burns to be buffed out. Quartz and granite surfaces are also increasing in popularity — but increasing in cost as well.

If you want some extras but don’t want to spend a lot, consider using a laminate on your main countertop and tile on a small area of the kitchen, such as an island. Tiles cost about $4 per square foot and work beautifully on secondary work surfaces.

4. Refacing/Refinishing Cabinets

In a kitchen-remodeling project, new cabinets are usually the largest expense — but they don’t have to be. If the general structure of your cabinets is good, consider refinishing or refacing them. This can cost less than half the price of new cabinets. Refinishing means stripping, staining or painting the surface; while refacing requires replacing cabinet and drawer fronts and putting a matching veneer on the cabinet frames. Refacing creates a totally different look and allows you to change from dark wood to light, which will brighten an outdated kitchen. Both refinishing and refacing will not only save in material costs, but will also save labor costs compared to new cabinets.

If even refinishing or refacing cabinets is not in your budget, you can simply change the cabinet hardware. New knobs and handles are available in all shapes, sizes and finishes — and some are even sculpted allowing you to create your own special kitchen look.

5. Stainless Steel Sinks

If your kitchen sink is stained, scratched or pitted, you will be happy to know that for about $300, you can get the latest in stainless steel sinks. A new trend is undermounting for fast, easy cleanup with no ridges to get in the way. In its Lancelot line, Moen offers new shapes, such as oval, round and trapezoid. If you need to fit a new sink to an existing countertop, the rectangular sink is still a popular option. Today’s stainless steel sinks are durable and, thanks to sound-deadening designs, quiet. Double-bowl models, though slightly more expensive, provide more work area while extra-deep bowls provide additional capacity for large jobs.

6. New Lighting

Illuminate dark work areas with under-counter lighting that can be purchased as separate halogen lights or as a strand of rope lights. Halogen lights cost about $3 each and should be spaced 18-24 inches apart. Rope lighting is one continuous strand of lights and usually costs $3 per foot.

In addition to under-counter lighting, you may consider changing ceiling fixtures. Some of today’s hottest styles are recessed lighting or pendant fixtures that hang down a few feet from the ceiling to provide better illumination for an island or eating area. Usually you can find fixtures at relatively moderate beginning prices at home centers or kitchen showrooms.

7. Stenciling, Painting and Wallpapering

Plain-colored walls are becoming a thing of the past as more homeowners opt for bold, colorful designs. Many new, faux finish designs use sponging techniques and stencils to personalize the look of the kitchen. Even the color palettes are changing from neutrals to dark blues, greens and maroons. Besides being inexpensive, painting is one of the easiest projects to complete in a fairly short amount of time and it makes a dramatic difference in the appearance of any room.

Borders and wallpaper are also as popular as ever in the kitchen. Since so many of them now come pre-pasted, the wallpapering process is pretty simple. If your kitchen is already painted, a decorative border can add just the right touch of style and color. Borders are popping up on all areas of the wall, not just near the ceiling. Try a waist-level, chair-rail border or even something at eye level to break up the room.

8. Appliances

One of the biggest expenses in a kitchen-remodeling project is replacing the appliances. To avoid buying new appliances all at once, selectively add appliances by choosing the one that is most out-of-date in either look or function, and then add others over time as your budget allows.

If your old appliances still fit the bill in terms of performance, but you’d like an updated look, you can actually repaint them or buy new panels to match the new decor or cabinetry in your kitchen. Visit your local home center to find out how this can be accomplished for your particular brand of appliances.

9. Workspace and Storage Options

The island is usually the hallmark of any kitchen remodel, but if you are on a budget, a new, built-in island may not be on the agenda. If you still want the convenience and storage space of an island, consider one on wheels. For approximately $300, you can have a kitchen island that has the extra advantage of allowing you to stow it away in the corner when not in use.

Another suggestion is to create elegant storage areas in the kitchen by taking the fronts off your cabinets and installing glass shelving. In this way, you can mimic the open look of today’s modern kitchen cabinetry while still having a place to display cookbooks, dishes or glassware.

To maximize storage space in the kitchen, go to your local home retailer and look for little extras that can be added to your current cabinetry such as a spice organizer, a place for recyclables, plate racks or wine racks.

10 Window Treatments

Nothing catches the eye like windows, so making them look good is critical. If you sew, you can bring a new look to your windows for the price of materials and an investment of your time. If not, pre-made window treatments can beautify your kitchen, often for less than $100 per window. The latest styles include tab top valences, swags mounted on metal-finished rods and a variety of blinds. You can add shelves or interior window boxes to your kitchen windows for plants or flowers. This little trick is perfect for blocking out a less-than-desirable view of a neighbor’s house or insulating the room from a busy street.

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Sep-8-09

Kitchen Remodeling Budget

posted by Kitchen & Bathroom Designer

Kitchen Remodeling Budget

 Kitchen Remodeling Budget

The true heart of a home is the kitchen. The most frequented room, probably even more than the bedroom. When attempting to renovate the home, it is very essential to budget each room and especially the kitchen. Modern day couples practically live half of ‘home life there; and dart straight for it as soon they get home. A teenager makes it his or her café. The kitchen remodeling budget should be such that you are able to optimize the use of the space at hand. The investment in the kitchen adds value to the home and with a little extra kept aside for the energy efficient kitchen appliances, you are assured of real value for the money spent.

You could consider replacing the kitchen windows and look into remodeling the smaller areas. Whether you indulge in an improvement or a complete kitchen remodeling, you have to consider the appliances, cabinets, counter tops, flooring, fixtures, windows and the very important aspect of lighting. The budget for kitchen remodeling should cover the change or repairs of the oven and stoves, table tops, the refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and even the exhaust fans. There are a number of kitchen cabinets you can choose from, made of oak, maple, hickory and pine wood and even metal and plastic. Depending on your budget, you should set aside the funds for the cabinets.

The kitchen counter tops now available can be designed in stone, marble, granite, wood and metal. The material used in for the counter tops are versatile not only in use, but also in pricing. Comparison shopping helps a lot and there are a number of online and offline resources you can tap, to stretch the funds in hand and yet not compromise on quality. For the kitchen flooring, your budget should accommodate any one of the options, including hardwood, bamboo, laminate or linoleum flooring. You would also have to set aside money for the installation and repair of the floor. It is very important to pay proper attention to the kitchen lighting and adjustments in the kitchen remodeling budget. You can choose from among chandeliers, lamps, fluorescent lights and spot lighting.

The budget for kitchen remodeling should also accommodate the price of change or repair of the faucets, sink and handles. The windows could be redesigned as single or double hung windows and you can even plan casement and garden windows for growing herbs and plants in you own little kitchen garden. The kitchen remodeling is not a small project. You have to also consider the fees of professionals like a kitchen design specialist. While planning the budget for kitchen remodeling, it is very important to communicate constantly with the contractor. The communication is very essential to ensure that he knows that you mean business with the budget.

Kitchen remodeling is an excellent way to add value to the home. Now, you can access the free kitchen remodeling quotes from a number of pre-screened contractors. Comparison shopping enables you to set the kitchen remodeling budget and adhere to it and even save a little! The designs and material options are many and it is important to investigate all the resources possible to benefit from optimization of kitchen space and the budget. Kitchen remodeling offers you the opportunity to enhance and further simplify your routine and make it stress-free. The versatility of the kitchen needs to be considered when planning the budget.

There are several options to create your own user-friendly kitchen and enhance organization and storage. The pull-out pantries that are restricted on space and localize the kitchen traffic are perfect kitchen enhancers. The budget will be optimized further with work baskets and shelving. An energy efficient kitchen remodel is complete value for a lifetime and the kitchen remodeling budget should be one that accommodates the essential and cuts down on the replaceables! The budget should be flexible and yet not one that goes haywire in the process of remodeling. A little research goes a long way!

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Sep-8-09

Kitchen Design Basics

posted by Kitchen & Bathroom Designer

Nothing can help freshen up an older home, or help in the sale of a property or inspire your kitchen workspace like a new or remodeled kitchen. Kitchen design is becoming increasingly more important as space is rapidly growing smaller. Designing or remodeling your kitchen can be an incredibly exciting adventure but with it can come a lot of stress, and complication! Although there will always be some element of stress felt through a kitchen renovation it is possible to eliminate much of it with a solid plan. If a kitchen make-over is in your near future you should consider the following and make the best of this otherwise stressful period.

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Build a Foundation

During the design process the most important question you can ask yourself is “Why do I want a new kitchen?” Is it because you are looking for more storage space? Is your space not being maximized? Does your cabinetry need to be replaced? Are your appliances in need of change as well? Is your kitchen too dark? Is your space too small or too big? Too Boring? Or simply, too much??!

By asking yourself these important questions you will have a much better idea of what you need to get out of your kitchen space.This information will become the foundation for your kitchen design plan.

Make a Wish List

Once you have your “foundation” in place it is important to ask yourself a few more questions. Now that I know what I need, what is it I want? What you would like to have in your kitchen? Give this a lot of thought because design today can incorporate special storage and space savers into your cabinetry design. Write a list of everything you couldn’t live without. This list will also become a very important guideline for you, your contractor or designer to follow. Here are a few questions to paint an example for you:

Do you want stainless steel appliances? Granite counter tops? Tiled flooring? Is it heated? Gas or electric? What will your color palette be? What kind of cabinetry will you use? What can I not live without?

Budget

How much can you afford to spend on your kitchen space? This is a big question that can affect the entire project. Kitchen design projects are rarely inexpensive so you must get out and do some pricing on items that are necessary for you to fulfill your foundation and wish list. Beware that if you plan on replacing your cabinetry it will account for more than half of your budget!!
When building your kitchen design budget you also want to include the cost of all labor (electricians, carpenters, gas technicians, plumbers, contractors etc.) and then consider the possibility of hiring a designer.
You must stay within your budget when planning a new kitchen. Account for as much as possible and add on another 20% or more just incase. Unexpected costs arise all the time in kitchen renovations and the best way to overcome it is to create a great budget. Dreaming big is one thing, but placing importance on price and affordability will ensure that you get what you are expecting and save some money for unexpected emergencies.

Time Frame

It is also very important to know when your project needs to be completed. Kitchen projects are notorious for being drawn out. Set realistic goals. The remodeling and new construction industry is booming and this can have a direct affect on your project. Many crews are working on several projects at a time so be sure to communicate your completion date with your contractor and demand a realistic response. Labor is not cheap so the shorter the time frame the higher the cost. It is also helpful to plan for you and your family to prepare meals at an alternate location or account for dining out into your budget. Remember that being inconvenienced at home can also cost you more money at the end of the day.

Designers

Hiring a designer can really help you get onto the right path sooner. These professional consultants can take care of every aspect of the design process like choosing the appropriate layout for you and your home. Coordinating color & lighting that is appropriate. Making sure all your trades and contractors are working in unison and of course ensuring that your dream kitchen becomes a reality. Designers will sit with you and go through a detailed interview process to get the best idea of what you are looking for. Their objective is to design a plan and develop a kitchen that works best for you. Your designer will combine your foundation and wish lists and weigh the pros and cons to balance them against your needs, space limitations and budget. Your designer will put together all the planning, logistical needs and contractors for your project. They can be expensive but many kitchen and bath showrooms will have in house designers working for them. You can set up an appointment or walk in and speak with someone almost immediately. This service helps the supplier get your business and they will do everything for you, from measuring your space to arranging packages for you that suit any budget.

Designers are usually well worth it, but do your research and find a design consultant with a portfolio that really connects with your own personal style.

You can also use your contractor to help you in planning out your workspace or even use a kitchen design software to personally plan out your kitchen space if you think you have what it takes!

Contractors

If you plan to do the design work yourself, make sure you use a professional contractor. There are lots of contractors out there who will undercut prices and offer you promises that are not realistic. Ask to see some portfolio work or for references. Make sure that your contractor is using accredited plumbers and electricians. Be wary of anyone willing to start immediately or who asks for cash upfront? Do not proceed with any payments unless you have an agreement with your contractor and make sure they detail all work on labor and materials. You do not want a poorly installed kitchen and any subsequent repairs will far outweigh the cost of using a professional.

A kitchen renovation can be a very stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Stress is no good for anyone, besides getting a new kitchen should be an exciting journey not a nightmare! Enjoy your new kitchen and let the cooking begin!!

Michael Kyle has been an Special event coordinator and hospitality expert for over 18 years. His passion for event planning and guest services helped lead to the successful launch of http://www.trade-exporter.com ; a web-site dedicated to kitchen design, renovation, party planning, hospitality essentials and more. Perhaps you have a passion or hobby you’d like to write about. Discover how to turn your passion into a successful website, visit http://www.kitchen-bathroom-cabinet.com  to learn how.

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