What Steps Should I Take to Plan an Affordable Kitchen Remodel?

Starting a home renovation project is no small undertaking. And if you’re looking to remodel your kitchen, you’re tackling one of the biggest, most important rooms within your home. Whether you’re new to remodeling or have some experience, trying to plan and manage the costs, scope, and duration of a kitchen remodel can be challenging. That’s why it’s a good idea to search online for ideas and inspiration before you begin.

Kitchen renovations tend to be very expensive. According to HomeAdvisor, the average kitchen renovation costs between $12,567 and $34,962. However, more extensive remodeling projects can cost as much as $50,000. If you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen on a budget, you need to search online to find ways to cut costs and save money.

If you’re hoping to avoid the headaches, problems, and extra expenses that come with a kitchen remodel, follow these steps.

Do Thorough Research First

In order to ensure your kitchen remodel stays on track, both in its cost and timeline, it’s critical that you do very thorough research before picking up a single tool or hiring a contractor. A lot can go wrong when a remodeling project begins, so careful planning and preparation with a lot of research can really pay off in the long run.

Here are just a few of the areas you should do research on before starting your kitchen remodel.

Your Budget

You need to be realistic about the cost of your new kitchen. While you might hope to spend only $10,000, that might not be feasible based on the upgrades and changes you plan to make. Large renovation projects often come with large costs, so make sure to research the approximate costs of the things you plan to do.

You should also research potential overages and unplanned expenses. Budgeting too conservatively can wind up costing you more when the project unexpectedly goes over budget. It’s a good idea to add 10 to 20 percent more to your budget to cover unforeseen expenses.

Comparing Different Options

Take the time to compare multiple options for all of the aspects of your kitchen remodel. Visit showrooms and check out different products and choices online. Comparison shopping will help you get the best possible items at the best possible price.

For example, you can research how much new appliances, granite countertops, and new cabinets cost. With these rough estimates, you can look at cheaper alternatives or other materials that may save you money. If granite is too expensive, you can look at Formica or quartz. If wood flooring is too costly, consider basic tile.

Taking the time to compare multiple options can help you control your budget better.

Hidden Costs

Although you can plan for unexpected expenses when budgeting, you should do your research on potential hidden costs. Hidden costs typically include items like labor, materials, taxes, and shipping and delivery costs. All of these costs can add up quickly, blowing your budget as quickly as other expenses.

Research what common hidden costs other homeowners have come across during kitchen renovations. Search online to learn about costs that might not be clear upfront during the planning stage, such as the cost of permits, unexpected fees, or even overtime charges if labor goes on longer than expected.

Make Sure to Plan and Map Out Your Available Space

Do all of the updates, upgrades, and changes you want to make actually work for your kitchen? While many homeowners are eager to start adding new items or tearing down walls, it’s important to plan out your new kitchen’s configuration before ripping into the drywall.

Take the time to think carefully about your new kitchen design. You should make it your goal to design a kitchen that’s both practical and functional. While your preferences and priorities are important, you also need to think about how you’ll be using your kitchen and its available space.

For example, do you actually have room to add a kitchen island? Or will that addition take up space, eliminating a pathway and making movement difficult? Do you want your sink near the stove or near your dishwasher? Consider where your plumbing is located. Do you need a lot of countertop space or do you prefer a lot of drawers and cabinets?

It’s a good idea to think about these factors while you’re mapping out how your new kitchen will be arranged:

  • Counter Space: It’s a good idea to have at least 36 inches of space on your counter to prepare food. A good breakdown is 24 inches on one side of the sink and 18 inches on the other.
  • Appliance Doors: Almost all kitchen appliances have doors, which takes up space when used. Remember to leave room so you can seamlessly and easily open your fridge, oven, and microwave in the necessary direction.
  • Walkways: Don’t eliminate important walkways through your kitchen. You’ll want enough room for multiple people to move around with ease, without bumping into each other.

These tips will help you make the most out of your kitchen’s space without running into surprise problems once the work is finished.

Save Money By Updating Instead of Replacing

Another way you can manage the overall cost of your kitchen remodel is by updating items instead of replacing them. While it’s nice to envision brand new cabinets, appliances, and fixtures in your sparkling new kitchen, the costs of buying new can outweigh the benefits.

So, it’s a good idea to consider cutting out some of the new in favor of working with what you already have. Look at the items already present in your kitchen, and assess whether you can continue using them if you update or change them in some way.

For example, you can refresh your current cabinets for a cost much lower than buying all-new cabinets. You can paint your old cabinets, reface them by adding a new veneer, or even add new hardware to give them a fresh upgrade. If you really need brand new cabinets, you can consider ready-to-assemble cabinets that allow you to do the actual labor of installing them instead of paying a contractor.

Another option is to keep your current kitchen layout and work within the space you have. This option saves from paying to tear down walls, build new structures, or run new pipes and electrical wiring. Tearing out what you already have for items that fit in the same spaces can offer a total upgrade without major construction costs.

One more way to save is to do some of the remodeling work yourself. While hiring professionals saves you a lot of time and effort, it certainly doesn’t save you money. However, if you have time and a bit of DIY knowledge, you can save money by doing some tasks on your own. For instance, painting the walls, installing baseboards, and changing outlets or lights can bring great cost savings.

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