Cost-Saving Tips from the Kitchen Pros

Four kitchen designers share their tips on getting a great kitchen makeover without breaking the bank.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Meet the Experts

      Alan Hilsabeck Jr. is a Certified Kitchen Designer and the owner of Hilsabeck Design Associates in Flower Mound, Texas.

      Ann M. Morris is a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer with Allied Kitchen and Bath in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

      Siri Evju is a Certified Kitchen Designer with Siri Designs in Portland, Oregon.

      Peter Salerno, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer, is owner and president of Peter Salerno, Inc. in Wyckoff, New Jersey.

    • Storage Savvy

      Tip from Siri Evju, CKD, Oregon

      Hire a carpenter, versus a custom closet company, to install shelving to save money. Or look for kitchen-friendly closet systems at home centers where you can pick and choose dollar-wise components that you install yourself.

    • Explore Your Options

      Tip from Siri Evju, CKD, Oregon

      Ask electricians or contractors what they charge to install recessed (can) lighting -- using a per individual fixture cost -- so you can compare apples to apples and get the best deal.

    • More for Less

      Tip from Siri Evju, CKD, Oregon

      Buy stained cabinets rather than painted ones.

    • Chopping Block

      Tip from Siri Evju, CKD, Oregon

      Need a budget-friendly alternative to expensive stone slabs? Laminate comes in a ton of cool colors and styles, at a low cost. Butcher block (shown) -- warm to the touch and durable -- is another great alternative that requires only periodic maintenance.

    • Stuck in the Middle

      Tip from Ann M. Morris, CMKBD, Florida

      Faucets can act as a focal point, or they can be really simple. Either way, don't choose the least expensive faucet and skimp on quality. Instead pick a middle ground, which is going to get you a good, durable faucet that is still economical.

    • No Frills

      Tip from Ann M. Morris, CMKBD, Florida

      In the long run, it will save money to purchase good cabinets from a reputable manufacturer with a guarantee. Cut costs by eliminating the bells and whistles. When you put components inside a basic cabinet, you raise the price. Many items -- cutlery dividers, extended drawers, a trash bin, and utensil dividers -- are now standard, so you can easily include these and skip the other add-ons.

    • Maximize Your Cabinets

      Solve the most annoying cabinetry storage problems with these easy -- and smart -- additions.

    • Custom Made

      Tip from Ann M. Morris, CMKBD, Florida

      To save on appliances, buy a 24-inch-deep refrigerator. The doors stick out 3 inches, but cover them with panels and the fridge looks like a built-in unit at half the price of a high-end version.

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      Great Legs

      Tip from Peter Salerno, CMKBD, New Jersey

      Add a bun leg on each corner of a cabinet or in front of the toe kick, so it looks like a freestanding piece of furniture. Bun legs are about $25 each, and you can paint or stain them to match your cabinets. That means for an extra $100, you can get cabinetry that looks much more expensive than it really is.

    • 11 of 18

      Make a Statement

      Tip from Peter Salerno, CMKBD, New Jersey

      If you don't have a walk-in pantry but have room for a tall cabinet, shop home stores for a piece of furniture that makes a statement without the custom-cabinet costs.

    • 12 of 18

      Clear Vision

      Tip from Peter Salerno, CMKBD, New Jersey

      Glass cabinet doors bring a lot to a kitchen without adding huge costs. You can also put in accents, such as fabric or wire, for a whole different feel that isn't that expensive.

    • 13 of 18

      Create a Focal Point

      Tip from Peter Salerno, CMKBD, New Jersey

      For a backsplash, choose simple 4-x-4-inch tiles with just a few accent tiles to add pop, or try mix different color subway tiles. It will give your kitchen a whole different feel by adding a focal point -- customization at a low cost.

    • 14 of 18

      Sliding By

      Tip from Alan Hilsabeck Jr., CKD, Texas

      Give your kitchen extra storage by replacing inexpensive drawer guides with better-quality versions. Add interior storage items such as cutlery dividers, pullout trash bins, towel rods, and storage for special linens.

    • 15 of 18

      Smart Substitutions

      Tip from Alan Hilsabeck Jr., CKD, Texas

      Don't be afraid of substitutions. For instance, if you want a granite backsplash or countertop, use granite tile with tight joints or grout lines versus a pricier granite slab.

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      Drawer Candy

      Tip from Alan Hilsabeck Jr., CKD, Texas

      Change the look of your kitchen without replacing cabinets. Instead, install new decorative hardware on doors and drawer fronts. It doesn't cost much, but it adds a lot of style.

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      Consult an Expert

      Tip from Alan Hilsabeck Jr., CKD, Texas

      Hire a Certified Kitchen Designer. The experience and knowledge, coupled with the cost of savings in all aspects of a remodel, are worth the fee. Your designer will pull the right products together the first time, eliminating mistakes and saving time and money without sacrificing style.

    • Next Slideshow Low-Cost Cabinet Makeovers

      Low-Cost Cabinet Makeovers

      Save thousands of dollars by using paint and new hardware to update your existing kitchen cabinets instead of buying new ones. These colorful, budget-friendly examples will help you get started.
      Begin Slideshow »

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