Making a remodeling budget work is all about making careful choices. In any kitchen renovation, there are some key areas where you can either spend big or take a more modest approach. Though it does require some compromising and trade-offs, many less expensive options still offer plenty of functionality and style.
It’s really all about lifestyle and how you use your kitchen, says Tracey Burrell-Combs, a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer with Shenandoah Cabinetry. Maybe you need the best in one area — such as highly durable flooring to stand up to heavy foot traffic — but can compromise in the grade of cabinet you choose.
Here are five areas you might consider when trying to streamline your kitchen remodel budget.
Budget-Saving Opportunity #1: Countertops
“With countertops, it’s so much about the look and style,” Burrell-Combs says. There are some functional considerations, too, with higher end countertop products being more heat- and scratch-resistant. It’s about deciding how important certain attributes are (this countertop buying guide reviews the pros and cons of several types of countertops).
There is a big difference in what different surfaces cost, and a substantial chance to save. For example, at Lowe’s, laminate starts at $28/square foot, whereas Ultra Compact (like a quartz material, but lighter weight) is as much as $104/square foot.
Budget-Saving Opportunity #2: Cabinet construction grade
You can save money on your kitchen cabinets by choosing a less expensive construction option, Burrell-Combs says. Shenandoah cabinets come in three construction grades: Standard particle board, plywood end, and all plywood. All plywood is the most expensive, with plywood end about XX% less, and standard XX% less. “The standard cabinet box is just as durable and the life span is just as good. You really can’t tell the difference between them,” Burrell-Combs says, unless you have water damage
Budget-Saving Opportunity #3: Flooring
Your kitchen flooring should be durable, easy to clean, and blend with the look of your kitchen. There is more than one way to accomplish that, and some options are considerably cheaper.
Solid hardwood, which runs upwards of $22 per square foot, is considered the best of the best for its durability, versatility, beauty, and value it adds to a home. Laminate, which runs anywhere from $3 – $10/square foot is also durable and offers the look of hardwood. Plus, you can install it yourself.
Budget-Saving Opportunity #4: Refrigerators
While many homeowners dream of professional grade appliances, the truth is, the mass market brand appliances are far less expensive and often more efficient — which saves you money in the long run. For example, a Sub-Zero refrigerator can cost upwards of $20,000. The higher end built-in refrigerators can run $10,000 or more. At Lowe’s, for $2,000 or under, you can get an amazingly efficient refrigerator, with the style and functionality that complement nearly any type of kitchen. Your food will stay every bit as cold, and your energy bill may be less.
Budget-Saving Opportunity #5: Cabinet hardware
Another way to stick to a remodel budget is to save now and spend later. “Save money on those items that you can change out later on,” Burrell-Combs suggests. Cabinet hardware is easily changeable, and though it may seem a small thing, the cost can quickly add up, especially when you consider that pieces range from $3/pull to $16/pull.