When it comes to updating your kitchen, you should focus on improving the functionality and flow of your space. After all, what good is a pretty kitchen if it doesn’t serve its main purpose? Some homeowners don’t bother trying to update their cooking space out of fear of the cost. However, the best kitchen renovations are the ones that make the largest impact for the lowest price.
So, how do you begin planning for a low-cost kitchen makeover?
To begin, let’s take a look at the planning than needs to go into choosing the best kitchen renovations for you.
Planning for Your Kitchen Renovation
The planning step is vital for any home improvement project. With proper prep, you can determine the proper goals for your renovation as well as your budget and timeframe. We suggest that you begin by discovering your renovation goals.
Listing Renovation Goals
Whether you are upgrading your home kitchen or a commercial kitchen, you likely have a general idea of the things the kitchen lacks, or where it could be improved. To properly prepare for making the best kitchen renovations, you should build a list of all the areas you feel the kitchen could be improved.
Is the plumbing in good shape?
Do the windows need treatments?
Do you have the color of the cabinets?
Do you have all the appliances you need?
Don’t think about the project cost. Simply list all the changes you would make if you had the expenses to do so. Don’t worry, we will narrow this list down later. Do a little research on each project. Find out the general cost of these projects in your area. Having trouble deciding on the best kitchen renovations? We will share some great options with you a little later.
Once you have taken an inventory of all the areas that could use improvement in your kitchen, it is time to move on to one of the biggest factors in your final project list – budget.
Set a Budget
Home improvements can be expensive, and it seems like the average cost goes up every day. In fact, when comparing 2017 to 2016 the amount the average homeowner spent on renovations went up by 14%!
Still, you don’t need to risk your financial security to get the best kitchen renovations for your home. To start working on your budget there are three areas of consideration:
- Do you have cash savings to spend?
- Will you be financing improvements?
- Do you have outside investment funds?
If you have a set amount of cash savings you are willing to spend, your budgeting is pretty straightforward. However, financing your home improvement project can make the process a little more complicated. How much can you afford in a monthly payment? How much can you be approved? To get the answers to these questions you should discuss your situation with a trusted lender (like a banker where you’ve built a rapport). You may even want to speak to your mortgage company to consider a home equity line of credit.
If you have family, friends, or outside investors adding funds to your budget or paying for projects as they come, you need to sit down and get a better idea of their willingness to contribute. You don’t want to take on a pricey project only to find your investor has backed out before paying.
Once you have a general budget outlined, you can move on to narrowing your project list.
Narrowing the List
Take a look at your list of projects from step one. It is time to start narrowing it down. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to decide which projects should get cut and which should stay:
Are there any projects that don’t fit into your budget? Cut them.
- Are there any projects that are necessary to make your kitchen basely functional? (e.g. Your kitchen can be used with ugly cabinets, but it can’t be used with a gaping hole in the floor) Keep them.
- Are there any listed projects that required more time than you can commit to the project? Cut them.
- Are there projects necessary to make your kitchen safe? Keep them.
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to decide on the projects to keep and cut, but your goal should be to get your list narrowed down to projects that total within your total budget.
Finalize Your Budget and Project List
The finalization of your budget and project takes a little finesse. You might need to increase your budget a little afford necessary projects. You may need to cut out a few projects here and there. In the interest of stretching your budget as far as it can go, we have put together a breakdown of projects that make the biggest impact on your kitchen’s functionality and aesthetic with the lowest impact on your bank account.
The Best Kitchen Renovation Projects
When it comes to the best kitchen renovations, we have broken our list down into a few different categories:
- Small changes that make a big impact
- Low-cost alternatives to pricey upgrades
- Choosing the proper appliances
- Focusing on repairs and maintenance
- Best projects on which to spend a little extra money
Browse through and take a look at our suggestions for turning your kitchen into your favorite room in the house and maximizing your return on investment (ROI).
Small Changes That Make a Big Impact
If you hate the flow of your kitchen you already know this, but kitchen design is one of the most important aspects of a home. So, how can you improve a poorly designed kitchen without completely gutting the room and building a new layout?
One option is a rolling island. These low-cost kitchen add-ons give you extra counter space and storage with the added benefit of being portable. You can literally roll a cabinet of ingredients and partially prepped food items around the kitchen with you. Does it get any more convenient?
Another popular kitchen upgrade is hanging storage. From pan-holding pegs to lipped shelves for your coffee mugs, these forms of storage can clear up space in your kitchen quickly and add an interesting look to your home. Sit down with a pen and paper and plan where you want your hanging storage added to ensure you create the visual appeal you are looking for.
Small Changes for Visual Improvements
While we’re on the topic of improving visual appeal, there are some great cost-effective ways to improve the look of your kitchen.
Replacing the hardware on your drawers and cabinets can instantly make a kitchen look new and refreshed. Interested in tile work but not interested in spending thousands of dollars? Try stick-on tile squares that can be found at most hardware stores.
The most popular option for quickly upgrading your kitchen’s look is through painting the walls and cabinets. The best part about repainting your kitchen is that you can do all the labor yourself with little to no experience to save some cash! However, if you are repainting all the cabinets you might find the process of removing all the doors and hardware time-consuming and tedious. To save time and frustration, you might want to seek the help of a residential painting service.
Low-Cost Alternatives for Pricey Upgrades
To some homeowners, the best kitchen renovations are expensive, high-end upgrades to the appliances and materials in their homes. However, we don’t all have the deep pockets necessary for brand new granite counters, marble tiles, refaced cabinets, or fancy lighting. However, there are some great alternatives that get you the same high-end look for a fraction of the price.
One example is engineered granite countertops. These countertops look exactly like the naturally occurring granite we all love but are so much more durable. Additionally, its lab creation allows it to be a fraction of the price of natural granite.
Another low-cost improvement that looks like a high-end upgrade is stick on led lights that attach under your cabinet. These string lights are inexpensive and can be purchased in a multitude of colors. By choosing a warm color you get the appearance of expensive under cabinet lighting and improved visibility to your counter space.
Our last suggestion to make your kitchen look expensive on a budget is tile painting. If you have outdated tile work, you don’t need to spend thousands removing and replacing the tile. Instead, check out tile painting kits which include special enamel paints that harden to the same durable, shiny appearance as the original tile.
Choosing the Proper Appliances
If you have allotted part of your budget for replacing appliances, you want to be sure to pick items that will work for you for as long as possible. Trust us, we know you don’t want to be out shopping for new appliances again in a year.
Before making your decision, take a look at some of our top picks for functional yet beautiful appliances
- Free-Standing Range: This all-in-one stovetop and oven can minimize the amount of space needed for your cooking appliances and makes switching dishes from the range to the oven fast and easy.
- Bottom Mount Refrigerator: A bottom mount refrigerator (or bottom freezer unit) takes up less space than a side-by-side unit and maximizes freezer space with the pull-out bottom compartment.
- Integrated Dish Washer: If you don’t like the look of a stand-alone dishwasher, consider having the unit integrated into your bottom cabinetry. This process is a little more costly, but ultimately improves the value of the home.
- Convection and Microwave Oven Combo: Many modern kitchens have a set space cut into the cabinetry for a microwave oven. To make the most of this space, consider a duo microwave and convection oven.
Focusing on Repairs and Maintenance
When homeowners think of the best kitchen renovations, they often overlook the base maintenance and repairs their kitchen may need. Though plumbing maintenance may not make the most exciting visual changes to your kitchen, it can improve upon the functionality and even prevent major damages and financial hardships down the line.
Basic maintenance is important throughout your home, but your kitchen and bathroom are areas that are particularly susceptible to issues that can quickly get out of hand. Pests, for instance, are quick to accumulate in kitchens as there are regular sources of food and water available to them. Additionally, the moisture that is often in the air can increase the likelihood of damage to drywall, flooring, and the ceiling.
Something as simple as a clogged drain can put your kitchen out of services for days and can even lead to pipe damage and leaks.
Before you begin with any other projects, it is important to give your kitchen a once over for signs of water damage, structural damage, pest infestations, or any other problems that will be harder to fix after other renovations have been made.
One area homeowners often overlook is their hot water heater. Whether electric or gas, the hot water heater is a piece of equipment that needs regular maintenance to ensure it is working safely and properly. Some signs of a damaged water heater are:
- Not enough hot water
- Water temp varying wildly
- Standing water or visible leaks around the water heater
- Water pressure is weak
- Knocking sounds around the water heater
- Foul-smelling or looking water
If any of these problems occur you should contact a professional to perform hot water heater maintenance or repair.
Best projects On Which to Spend a Little Extra Money
There are low-cost alternatives to a lot of the best kitchen renovations and projects, but sometimes you just want the real deal.
Even if it is a bit more expensive.
Some projects can greatly improve the value of your home. This ROI can help offset the higher cost of the project. Here are some top picks for projects that practically pay for themselves by improving your property value:
Hardwood flooring can be a little pricey, but the value it adds to your home makes it one of the best kitchen renovations you can do. From light birch floors to dark red cherry or mahogany, there are so many options of real wood floors that create an elegant and expensive-looking in your kitchen.
Is there anything more frustrating than spending time and money to make your kitchen beautiful just to realize your basic sink set up is outdated and difficult to use? Old, small sink basins make doing dishes and prepping food a nightmare. Opting to upgrade your sink to a larger basin can improve the overall usability of your kitchen and improve on the value of the renovation.
Don’t just stop at the sink, though! Try installing other upgrades like a touch faucet, garbage disposal, trash compactor, or soap dispenser to create a stunning and efficient kitchen experience.
Smart lights, appliances, heating and cooling, and even security are some great upgrade options for the best kitchen renovations. Picture the convenience of preheating your oven from the grocery store or turning on the lights before entering your home at night. Smart technology can add a high-end feel to any kitchen.
Opening the Floor Plan
Removing walls between your kitchen and adjoining rooms can create the appearance of a much bigger space and improve the overall look of the home. Just remember to have professional aid in removing walls so you don’t bite off more than you can chew!