The following is a guest post by Karen Parsons.
While a home’s living room may be considered as the gathering place for family members, the real interaction frequently takes place in the kitchen. The living room has too many distractions, while conversation flows freely in the kitchen, and it’s a room that’s used every day as well as for entertaining. That usually puts it at the top of the list of rooms home owners wish to remodel, but unfortunately though, for those of us living on a tight budget, the expense can be prohibitive. However, although the cost of getting a new kitchen can be daunting, there are some ways to spend less money while still giving the heart of the home a well-deserved makeover.
Do it yourself
Big savings can result from cutting out as much contracted labor costs as possible. It may seem impossible, but there are steps nearly anyone can accomplish, as well as new ways to learn.
- Demolition – Tearing out the old flooring or taking down the previous tile does not require any sort of technical skill and it will cut down on the hourly cost of a professional. Offering to clean up afterward can reduce it even more.
- Get instruction – The Internet is full of how-to videos giving instructions on laying floor and tile, as well as dry walling and building frames. It may take longer, and there likely will be a learning curve, but it will save money. Some home improvement stores also offer free weekend classes. Once you’ve got some DIY skills, you will have the confidence to tackle future projects on your own and potentially save a fortune on labor costs over the long term.
- Design – Unless the project is going to include a complete overhaul and taking out a wall or two, avoid paying a designer for advice. Consult home decorating magazines or online websites for ideas. Take the time to shop around and see what is available that fits into the budget, and use your commonsense. Draw up a rough design yourself and then try to visualize your family in that space, taking into account the pracitalities.
- Cabinets – These can be the centerpiece of the kitchen and can be quite expensive to replace. Instead, consider painting them a different color or changing the hardware, such as the knobs and hinges. Purchasing ready to assemble cabinet can also be a less expensive way to modernize the area. The cabinet parts are assembled and installed by the homeowner, once again cutting out the cost of labor. A third option is purchasing unfinished cabinets from a home improvement store then staining and finishing them yourself.
Some simple ideas
There are small, simple steps that are often overlooked but can still provide a fresh look.
- Faucets – They can add charm and elegance and are relatively easy to install, providing you don’t plan on moving the existing plumbing and the location of the sink.
- Paint the walls – This can often be overlooked with all the other major considerations, but it can dramatically change the room and will not cost a bundle.
- Sell the old – List the old countertops, light fixtures, faucets and whatever else on Craigslist or in the classified section of the local newspaper. They might not fetch much money, but every little bit counts and can be applied to reducing the overall cost of your remodeling project.
The kitchen is where the busy lives of each individual family member intersect and where the real entertaining of guests frequently happens. It is important for it to be well laid out and to have just the right look. Fortunately, by following the tips above this can be achieved within an affordable budget.
Karen is enjoying the challenge of slowly transforming her home on a limited budget and loves to find new cost-cutting ideas. She recently used her DIY skills to build some RTA kitchen cabinets as part of her kitchen remodelling project and is very pleased with the results and the money she saved.