Ever noticed how the best parties always end up in the kitchen? It’s traditionally been the gathering point in many homes, a place where family and friends connect over coffee or chat as a meal is being put together. Contemporary housing plans make the kitchen a focal point, opening walls and integrating the room with the main living and dining areas. So, it’s not surprising that along with the bathroom, kitchens are always at the top of the list when it comes to remodeling.
Budget usually drives remodeling plans, but how do you decide where to put your money? We’ve put together a few things you’ll want to consider if you’re planning to give your kitchen a fresh new face lift.
How do you use your kitchen? It might sound like a simple question, but it’s the starting point for deciding what you need to include – and what you can do without. If you’ve got a large family, you’re going to need plenty of cupboards. If there’s just the two of you and you like to entertain, you might sacrifice some of that storage for a wine cooler or modular cook top. Make an honest appraisal of who is going to use the space, what they’ll be doing there, and how often you’ll use those specialty features like warming drawers and steam convection ovens.
It can be difficult to strike a balance between creating your dream gourmet kitchen and recouping your expenses when it comes time to sell. As a general rule, you should aim to get about a 70% return on your investment if you include features that the majority of home buyers will appreciate. That also means spending no more than six to ten percent of the home’s entire value on your kitchen remodel as anything over that amount is unlikely to come back.
If your budget won’t stretch to cover all components of your dream kitchen, think about switching out pieces in the future. Hardware, like knobs and handles, are easily replaced and you can settle for function while you save for flair. The same goes for things like accent lighting and drawer inserts. Spend your money on structural changes and upgrades to counter tops and flooring that will be difficult or expensive to replace down the road.
How many of your present kitchen cabinets are too high, too awkward or just too crammed to be useful? Building cabinets in areas you can’t reach doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you want permanent storage for stuff you never use. Instead of building cabinets to the ceiling, focus on maximizing the space that’s easily accessible to the cook. Drawers kill clutter and put everything they hold within reach. Overhead cupboards should be constructed from plywood rather than particle board to maintain alignment and keep them sturdy for years to come.
Laminate counter tops have come a long way, but they still can’t match the look and versatility of granite. It doesn’t take long for laminates to wear and it only takes one hot pan to destroy the surface. If you’re going to splurge on any single component of your remodel, go for granite. It’s what buyers want to see, and cooks love to use. Granite comes in five different grades, so you don’t need to buy the top of the line to get the beauty of stone and a great return on your investment.
All kitchens need tile, but not all tiles are created equal. Porcelain is much more resistant to chipping and cracking than ceramic which is why porcelain tiles are great for floors. You can also save money by using porcelain for back splashes, and many tiles mimic the look and feel of smooth stone or granite. The more pieces you use, the higher the price, so installing bigger tiles tends to lower the overall cost.
Once you decide on a remodeling plan and the materials are on their way, don’t second guess yourself. Changing your mind is going to be expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating for both you and your contractor. Take your time choosing the right materials, features and appliances before you fire the starting gun to minimize the chances of cost overruns and delays.
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