The Perfect Recipe for an Affordable Kitchen Remodel – Article 2

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by Tom Kraeutler – Host of the nationally syndicated The Money Pit Home Improvement Show

Remodeling your kitchen can add value to your home, but also add stress to your life. Here are some more tips to make this project more manageable and help you to get the best return on your investment.

Keep the Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinet replacement is one of the most expensive parts of a kitchen renovation project. But in many cases, you can create an entirely new look to the kitchen by giving those cabinets the love they deserve.

If your cabinets are in good shape but you’re just not thrilled with their finish, you have many options to change their appearance. You can strip off the original finish and stain them any way you like. Stain colors are not limited only to the brown family; they can be tinted just about any color of the rainbow. Be sure that when you put a topcoat on them you select one that does not yellow; this is especially a problem in the kitchen.

Painting your kitchen cabinets is another great option.  In fact, solid color cabinets are more popular than ever, even when all the cabinets are being replaced.  Crackling is a beautiful effect for cabinets, especially if you use a bright color which will pop under a more neutral tone like off white.  Another way to update without major expense is to purchase new cabinet doors.  These provide an instant facelift for your kitchen and you can even sub in some with glass panels to highlight your favorite kitchen pieces.

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Finally, don’t forget about the simplest of kitchen remodeling projects – replacing the kitchen cabinet hardware! Small changes like new door handles and drawer pulls can make a huge difference in the overall look of the kitchen. Most home centers stock a huge variety of handle designs and styles, as well as a number of others which are available by special order.

Recharge with Energy Efficient Kitchen Appliances

The “dated” look of kitchens can often be traced to the appliances. Just like cars, appliances reflect the style of the day and changing or repainting can make a kitchen appear 20 years younger, especially if you repaint the walls to match the new colors.

Although your kitchen appliances may look the same from the outside, there are many differences ‘under the hood’. When replacing, choose an “Energy Star” rated appliance. This designation means the appliance exceeds the Department of Energy guidelines for efficiency by at least 10%. Not only will you save money on your energy bills, you may be eligible for rebates from your local energy supplier as well.

Add Faucets That Step Up Style

New faucets can be a highlight in an otherwise dreary looking space.  Kitchen faucet replacements are also fairly simple plumbing projects for a DIY’er to handle.  Today there’s an amazing array of styles to choose from including high-arch faucets with built in sprayers to hands free models that are easier to use and much more sanitary for your family’s health and safety. 

Plus, today’s new faucets are virtually all WaterSense certified, meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s mandate for performance and water conservation.

Update the Kitchen Lighting

Lighting is just as important in the kitchen as any other room of the house. You have more kitchen lighting options than just recessed cans. Track lighting is a great choice for the kitchen and it doesn’t have to look bulky and awkward anymore. The tracks can be anything from a thin cable with beautiful beaded shades hanging above your island or a bendable metal track with lamps that spotlight artwork or bathe the room with light.

Dimmers are another easy-to-install option that work well to deliver just the right amount of light depending on your mood. With a dimmer, you can keep the lights at full brightness while preparing your meal and put them down low when entertaining. LED strip lights can be added underneath your upper cabinets to put the light where you need it most in your prep area.

Style Kitchen Windows with Swag

Windows are always a focal point in the kitchen. Since privacy is not as much an issue, you don’t have to cover them up. Swag curtains are a great option for kitchen windows and don’t always require sewing. These versatile top treatments can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Swag occurs where fabric balloons down over the upper middle portion of the window. They can have one or more swags and fabric that drapes down the sides of the window frame. The fabric does not even need to have a pocket; you can just drape it decoratively over the rod if you like.

No matter what your budget, kitchen remodeling can be affordable and fun!  From floor to ceiling, with a little creativity, you can add sizzle and spice; and cook up the kitchen of your dreams!

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