A kitchen is normally one of the most expensive rooms of your home to remodel. Appliances, tile, and granite all add up to an eye-raising cost - beyond most first-time homeowners' budget. But a kitchen needn't cost a fortune or be beyond the reach of your modest budget. If the basics of your kitchen are sound - the cabinets essentially usable though ugly, the appliances in working order, the layout in no immediate need of structural changes - you can make some simple changes and bring your kitchen into the modern era. Here's how:
1. Paint. You have heard it before, but the cheapest way to change a space for the better is a gallon or two of paint. If you stick to neutral colors, you can add accessories, art, or curtains in a striking color as an accent. Neutral colors also sell if you decide to move.
2. Cabinets. There are four ways to change your cabinets on a budget.
Change the look - If your cabinet bases are in reasonably good shape, paint the cabinets and add new premade cabinet doors.
The dark side - If you would rather not paint, consider staining the cabinets if the wood is in good shape. A dark stain in cherry or dark teak will update the look. But remember to strip and sand them before you stain. The time spent stripping and sanding will pay off in the professional look of the stained result.
Open them up - After you paint the cabinets, take the doors off the top cabinets entirely to give them an open look.
Add new hardware - Adding updated hardware can do wonders for the look of the kitchen. Brushed nickel or pewter knobs is a modern style can take decades off the style of your kitchen.
3. Appliances. If your appliances are in good working order, you can update their look by painting them. If you are afraid to do it yourself, take them to an automobile paint shop and have them done. It is well worth the expense, which will be much less than new appliances.
4. Countertops. New countertops are available at most home improvement stores in standard sizes. They are precut and ready to install. And they are very cost effective, especially if you chose a color or style that is on sale or clearance.
5. Floor. The new styles of press and stick vinyl tiles look surprisingly high end. And they can be quickly installed. Try the new styles that look like slate - beautiful!
All of these ideas will cost you must less and will be faster than a standard remodel. And most can be done yourself - reducing the cost of labor. The resulting kitchen will enhance your home - and your bottom line!