With the average kitchen remodel costing around $55,000, it’s easy to see why homeowners look for ways to save money on a renovation. And considering how many decisions are made with this highly functional room, the process of remodeling can be very overwhelming for a homeowner. Avoid a disastrous renovation by keeping these tips in mind. This post was provided by Porch.com editor-in-chief Anne Reagan.
Where Your Money Should Go
The biggest budgetary factor of your kitchen renovation is the actual scope of the project—how many upgrades you need to make and how many square feet you plan on remodeling. A kitchen remodel includes a lot of decision making, and it’s important to know where (and when) to spend money in the kitchen. Experts advise spending about 5% - 15% of your home’s valuation on a kitchen remodel. Regardless of your budget, expect to spend about 48% of your overall budget on cabinetry, 15% on countertops, 19% on appliances, and 5% on flooring. Other money might be spent on electrical, walls and trim, windows, or plumbing upgrades. When it comes time to sell your home, the money spent on your kitchen remodel should be comparable to homes in your neighborhood in order to stay competitive.
Understand Additional Costs
It’s important to remember that the materials, appliances and fixtures you choose may have additional costs like fabrication, shipping, installation or permitting. In other words, the decisions you make regarding what goes into your kitchen may cost more than what you see on the price tag. For example, having a beautiful marble countertop might be part of your dream kitchen, but the sticker price for the slab may not include overage costs, delivery, fabrication and a more experienced (read: more expensive) installation team. When choosing materials, ask about all related cost factors associated with that material. A good rule of thumb is that if you can barely afford the material, it’s likely you won’t be able to afford the other ancillary costs. You might think that by doing installation yourself, you’ll save money, and this might be the case if you have experience or have the time to learn new skills. But don’t use your own expensive materials as a learning curve—you may find yourself needing to hire a pro to fix your DIY mistakes.
Follow the Golden Rules of Kitchen Design
The fun part about remodeling a kitchen is choosing colors, selecting backsplash tile and picking out high tech appliances. But the most important part is the spatial design and planning. Good kitchen design focuses on maximizing efficiency and making the space functional. A few of these “golden rules” of kitchen design are obvious—don’t put the dishwasher too far from the sink, or the sink too far from the stove. To make your kitchen remodel less painful, do a bit of research about the best places to situate appliances, outlets, the sink, the island, or storage. If you are working with a kitchen expert, lean on them to get the best possible outcome for your space. If you aren’t using a pro, there are many published guidelines to learn from. Need help with your kitchen layout? Read this primer.
You Need More Light Than You Think You Do
First and foremost, a kitchen must be functional. Without enough light, you run the risk of chopping dangers, floor slips, or food mishaps. Your kitchen lighting design should be well thought out and if need be, you should consider getting a consultation from a professional lighting designer. Ideally you’ll have light from multiple sources: overhead lighting, ambient lighting, and under-counter lighting. If you live in a northern climate with longer hours of darkness, consider table lamps or sconces for a greater variety of lighting. Placing your lights on separate dimmer switches will allow you to change the lighting design quickly for the task at hand.
Invest in Energy Efficiencies
No matter your kitchen style, prioritize for energy efficiency. Buy appliances that are Energy Star rated and ask about low-flow faucets. If your remodel calls for new windows, make sure they are the right type of glass for your region and climate. Occasionally, a kitchen remodel calls for new plumbing, gas lines, or hot water heaters. Ask your contractor or remodeling professional about how to increase your energy savings for all of these areas—you may end up improving other areas of your home in the process. Sometimes the most energy-efficient appliances and fixtures are more expensive; however, you may be entitled to a tax rebate and should see additional savings in your monthly bills.
Focus on the 3 R’s
Reduce, reuse, and recycle can be a part of your kitchen remodel if you take the time to make thoughtful decisions. If your renovation calls for a total gut, save as much material as you can and donate it to a local salvage shop. Or see if any of your existing cabinetry or flooring can be refinished instead of replaced. Older homes may need to be tested for asbestos or lead paint, so make sure you’re working with a contractor who can advise on which pieces are worth saving and which ones should be recycled or disposed. Home improvement often leads to a lot of waste and energy usage, so think carefully before purchasing or throwing things away.