Before clients gut their kitchen, however, advise them to consider more affordable options that can still make a big impact at resale. The New York Times spoke with designers to get some of their best budget-friendly tips for kitchen remodels.
- Try painting or resurfacing cabinets instead of replacing them
“A bold color and modern hardware can breathe new life into old, ordinary cabinetry,” interior designer CeCe Barfield Thompson says. She gave her own 1990s-era kitchen a makeover by painting the cherry wood cabinets a smokestack gray. She also covered pea-green tile floors with a parquet charcoal laminate surface. She says the renovations cost her $7,050, which included the labor, laminate flooring, paint and new cabinet handles and drawer pulls.
- Reface or resurface dated cabinets
This technique keeps the existing cabinet framework and replaces the doors, drawer fronts and side panels. New York-based designer Carolyn DiCarlo, who used this approach when working on a Manhattan loft, says new cabinets would have cost about $22,000 – but the price to reface was just $2,500.
- Consider alternative materials for countertops
Instead of choosing high-end items such as quartz or stone, go for less expensive options such as butcher block. This material can be purchased for as low as $99 in standard sizes. “It’s kind of like having a built-in cutting board throughout your kitchen,” says Kimberly Winthrop, an interior designer in Santa Monica, Calif. She says she paid $500 for a 20-foot butcher block to use in a recent kitchen makeover. But it requires some maintenance: Butcher block typically needs to be sanded and oiled twice a year.
- Keep the layout intact
“Moving walls, electrical and plumbing is where installation costs spike,” says Dana Hudson, divisional merchandising manager for kitchens at Home Depot. Mina Fies, a Reston, Va.-based designer and creator of RenovationRoadmap.com, recalls a client who wanted to reconfigure the kitchen walls to allow for more natural light. The layout changes would have required moving plumbing. Fies says she was able to show the client a design that met her needs but did not open up the walls, instead installing recessed lighting, pendant lights and under-cabinet lighting that saved the client $8,000.