One of the toughest parts of a kitchen remodeling project is knowing where to start. Most homeowners start with a budget, but little idea about where to spend it. Unless your budget is extremely high, you likely will need to make some choices about what to prioritize. Our recommendation is that you focus on the aspects of the remodel that have the highest return-on-investment (ROI) first so that you ensure what you are spending has a tangible impact on your home’s value and curb appeal.
In this article, we will make the case for prioritizing new cabinets and countertops, discuss the necessity of an “open kitchen,” and identify a few ways that homeowners can cut costs while still adding value to the project.
Plan around new cabinets and countertops
In most kitchen remodels, new cabinets and countertops take up a large percentage of the budget. Including professional installation—which is recommended—these two aspects of your kitchen project alone could take up half of your entire budget.
However, cabinets and countertops are important. For many homeowners and prospective buyers, they are an essential part of a kitchen remodel, which is why they generally have a high ROI—so long as high-quality materials are used.
If you are looking to add value to your home and to build a kitchen that attracts buyers now and in the future, make sure that you account for new countertop and cabinet installation. The effect that both have on your kitchen justifies the upfront kitchen remodeling cost.
Major renovation, or small upgrades?
Many homeowners find their initial inspiration from home remodeling TV shows. One popular motif in many of those shows is the “Open Kitchen” concept, where remodelers knock down interior walls separating the kitchen from the rest of the home. The ideas here are solid: making the kitchen less cramped and infusing natural light and sound can really bring the space to life. However, there are some downsides worth discussing.
First, not every home is capable of converting to an open kitchen layout. Load-bearing walls, for example, cannot be removed. Even in homes where it is technically possible, it’s not always the best course of action. For example, opening up a kitchen but losing 60% of available cabinet space in the process may not be a great trade-off. That’s not to mention the cost: demolition and related work—such as moving plumbing and electrical—requires the help of professionals to be done safely and correctly.
If your home remodeling budget is tight, talk to design experts in your area about your options. Remember: tearing down walls is not a prerequisite to having an amazing kitchen. You can still get great value out of your remodel without a major renovation.
Install your own flooring, backsplash, and lights
We recommend hiring a professional to help install your countertops and cabinets, and an electrician or plumber if you are planning on removing walls. However, there are other aspects of your remodel where you can cut costs and get more value by tackling things yourself:
- Flooring: At its most complex, this means laying down tile—a challenge for many homeowners, but certainly doable. However, more and more kitchen remodels are opting instead for laminate or vinyl flooring, which is much easier to install and may even feature interlocking pieces.
- Backsplash: Once your new countertops are in place, you’ll want to add a decorative backsplash to complement them. While you will want to go slow and constantly measure, this is something you can take on yourself.
- Lights: Unless you are looking at a major rewiring project, you can switch out lighting in your kitchen relatively easily.
Discover even more ways to get more out of your kitchen
For more money-saving and value-boosting tips for your kitchen remodel, be sure to check out this infographic from Superior Stone & Cabinet in Phoenix, AZ: