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Design on a Dime: Kitchen Edition

By Chris Bibey

kitchen design on a dimeMost people spend a lot of time in their kitchen. Of course, if you do not like the design and overall appearance, you probably cringe every time you begin to prepare a meal. While a total kitchen remodel can cost tens of thousands of dollars, there are many changes you can make on the cheap, and you don’t always have to sacrifice quality for price. Here are several ways to update your kitchen without breaking the bank:

1. Refinish, don’t replace. One of the first things many people think about is getting new cabinets. While this is a great idea if you have thousands of dollars to spend, for those “designing on a dime,” this is out of the question. Instead of replacing your cabinets, look into the cost and process of refinishing and/or painting them. This can often look just as good if not better than new cabinets.

Helpful links:

How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

2. Upgrade your counter tops. Are you sick and tired of that tile countertop that is cracked? What about the old-school laminate that is stuck in the eighties? There are many ways to upgrade your countertop without overspending. Believe it or not, you may even be able to install granite for a few hundred dollars. If this interests you, search your area for a company that offers granite remnants for sale. While you may not get the exact color that you want, you will be able to save several hundred dollars or more. Granite tiles also look great, and they’re a fraction of the price of a full slab of granite. Another popular counter top that can really look great and not cost much is “eco-friendly” countertops made out of recycled materials.

Helpful links:

RealCheapGranite.com

Home Depot: Choosing a Countertop

3. New hardware. No matter if you are going to refinish your cabinets or leave them be, consider swapping out your existing hardware for something more appealing. Believe it or not, a simple change like this can go a long way in updating your kitchen. Visit a big box hardware store such as Home Depot to find just what you are looking for. Don’t be surprised if you find hardware for $1/each or less.

Helpful links:

KnobDepot.com

MyKnobs.com

4. Paint. Regardless of the design and layout of your kitchen, choosing the right color scheme is very important. If you do not currently enjoy the color of your space, now is the time to make a change. A gallon of paint and supplies can be had for $30 or less. From there, all you need is a little bit of time and effort.

Although some consider it outdated, do not overlook the appeal of wallpaper. If you still enjoy this style, you can hang wallpaper instead of painting. The choice is yours, but stay away from the floral prints!

Helpful links:

HGTV.com: Painting Tips

How to Hang Wallpaper

5. Flooring. When you think about designing your kitchen on a budget, your flooring may never come to mind. Most people believe that this is an expensive project that they cannot handle on their own. In some cases they are right, but not all of the time.

There are many flooring materials that are affordable and easy to install. For instance, peel and stick tiles look great and cost less than a dollar each. If you want something more sophisticated, you should search for a sale on ceramic tile. Rather than opting for expensive tiles, you can find those on sale for as little as $.50 to $.75 per 12 x 12 tile. A sturdy laminate flooring is easy to install and looks great in kitchens too. You can’t go cheap on laminate though, because if it gets wet it could buckle. However, there are a lot of really durable laminate floors now that can resist the occasional water spill in the kitchen.

Helpful links:

Armstrong Vinyl Tile

Floorstoyourhome.com

Do not let anybody tell you that you have to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade your kitchen. If you consider the five details above, you will learn soon enough that you can give your space a fresh look without going overboard. Plus, so many people upgrade way above the price of their home. You should never do an upgrade that looks out of place given the price range of your home and the neighborhood it’s in. Installing professional grade appliances in a $100,000 house doesn’t make sense. Be mindful of your return on investment when it comes time to sell the home.

To get started, consider what needs to be done first and how much money you have. For assistance along the way, check out the “helpful links” included in each section.

(photo credit: jribadeneyra)

Chris Bibey
Chris Bibey is a freelance writer who over the years has honed his personal finance experience by writing more than 100 feature articles on the subject. In his spare time, Chris enjoys sports - West Virginia football in particular!

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  • http://www.moneyfunk.net Money Funk

    Our house is definitely done painting! For a decent price it can give a room a fresh look. And I would LOVE to install granite counter tops. I might just need to look into remnants. Didn’t think of that. :)

  • http://www.rainydaysaver.net RainyDaySaver

    Love the idea of granite remnants — going to check it out, since our Formica laminate countertops are likely stuck in the 70s, rather than the 80s! I also plan to use the new hardware “trick” to update the cabinets, which are in great condition otherwise.

  • http://www.yourfinances101.com/blog David/yourfinances101

    Yes, you can save lots of money by doing the DIY thing, but you better bring your workboots.

    Some of those jobs involve some serious labor!

  • http://www.cabinethardwarepros.com denise

    Like putting on a silk tie or diamond earrings, you can easily transform your kitchen by dressing it up and adding some “bling”. The easiest way, without a lot of expense, is by simply changing your cabinet hardware.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you can save lots of money by doing the DIY thing, but you better bring your workboots.

    Some of those jobs involve some serious labor!

  • http://www.primacabinetknobs.com/ Primacabintknobs

    Yes, you can save lots of money by doing the DIY thing

  • Anonymous

    Love the idea of granite remnants

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