How can I save on kitchen renovation?

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Answered by: Alan, An Expert in the Kitchens and More Category
If you really want to save on kitchen renovation, think through the process. Many people believe the kitchen is the heart and soul of the entire house, and experts estimate you'll easily recoup the money you put into a quality upgrade. The downside is that It can be an expensive proposition. Your kitchen is the centerpiece of daily living, full of expensive appliances and cabinetry. Creating a "whole new kitchen" is tough to do on a budget, but it can be accomplished.

First, understand the reality:

• It's cheaper to be your own contractor. A good contractor makes things easy, because he or she has the tools and skill to make your vision become reality. Your contractor will source appliances and materials, and takes the responsibility for "getting it right." No ideas? A contractor can provide recommendations that will create something nice. All this comes with a price, however. For the luxury of keeping your hands clean and simply waking to a beautiful new kitchen, you'll pay. A typical project executed by a hired contractor represents around 50% materials cost and 50% labor, which is why many kitchen renovations cost thousands. If you really want to save on kitchen renovation, consider doing some or all of the labor yourself.

Next, get a plan:

• Have a look at the "bones" of your space. Is the size and shape practical? Is there enough room for the kind of cabinetry and work surface area that will offer a truly functional space? If there's a problem here, like a badly placed doorway or window, you'll want to address it.

• Decide how deeply you want to dive. Sometimes, renovating means tearing out everything except the framing (even that isn't exempt) and starting fresh. This is probably the right path for an old house, because you'll want to upgrade wiring, plumbing and almost everything else. But if your home is of recent vintage, your kitchen may simply need a face lift and some quality upgrades.

• Designate priorities. For instance, are you willing to keep your old refrigerator for a while longer in order to afford those granite counter tops? A refrigerator usually just slides into a space, so replacing it can always be delayed for a few months.

• Make smart choices. Do you really need to replace the cabinetry, or would re-facing offer the same effect? Unless you're willing to upgrade to custom-built cabinetry, new cabinets are going to be made of the same laminate over MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) you probably have now, and you might even find they're by the same company that made your old cabinets. Re-facing offers significant cost savings and a brand new look. There are all kinds of similar choices to be made in the course of your project, and being shrewd can really help you save on kitchen renovation.

Now go and make it happen! The pride and satisfaction you'll feel is immeasurable, and finding ways to save on kitchen renovation will put you ahead of the game.

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