Easy Kitchen Updates

The kitchen may be the hardest-working room in the house, so it runs the risk of looking overworked. Give your kitchen fresh appeal with these quick and easy updates, including solutions for your windows, floor, pantry, and more!

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Freestanding Pantry Ideas

Short on storage and space? No worries. These stylish go-anywhere pantry designs house everything from baking pans and cooking staples to party supplies -- exactly where you need them most. As a bonus, many of these units are transportable so they can travel with you when you move.

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One-of-a-Kind Backsplashes

In a hardworking kitchen, a backsplash is an ideal opportunity to add a little personality. See how pretty materials and unique installations can bring a fresh face to your kitchen.

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Drab to Fab Makeover

See how a basic kitchen received a fresh face on an affordable remodeling budget.

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Guide to Cabinetry

From Better Homes and Gardens, ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden plus recipes and entertaining ideas.

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Countertop Ideas

Countertops are big part of your kitchen. Consider these up-and-coming materials to make a statement in your space.

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Subway Tile Backsplashes

When it comes to a classic backsplash, nothing beats the traditional subway tile. Subway tiles make cleaning up kitchen messes a quick and easy task, plus the variety to choose from seems almost infinite. One thing is for sure, subway tile will never go out of style.

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Cost of Kitchen Remodeling

The price tag for making over a kitchen can vary greatly, but here's a basic breakdown of remodeling expenses, plus some ideas on where to save and when to splurge.

Breathing new life into an outdated or inefficient kitchen can be the smartest money a homeowner spends. Kitchen remodels deliver more bang for the buck than any other home project, offering 80-85 percent return on investment. When planning your kitchen redo, the first step is setting a budget.

Every remodeling project is unique, and costs vary depending on the homeowner's budget, tastes, and priorities (a minor redo can be $5,000, while an upscale overhaul can easily top $75,000). In general, however, materials account for 80 percent of the budget, while labor costs represent 20 percent. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the largest expense in a kitchen remodel is cabinetry, which can account for about 30 percent. After labor, appliances are the next biggest expense, eating up about 15 percent of the budget. Countertops are about 10 percent, and flooring makes up 7 percent. The smallest expenses, at about 5 percent each, are lighting, plumbing fixtures, doors and windows, and walls and ceilings.

With products representing such a large percentage of the budget, a kitchen remodel allows homeowners to exert greater cost control than with perhaps any other remodeling project. When deciding where to scrimp and splurge, consider how you will use the kitchen. Is that built-in espresso machine or wine cooler really worth the price tag? Also, consider how long you will own the home. If you won't live with this kitchen forever, save your splurges for items popular among home buyers, such as stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops.

When budget is a top priority, it is wise to evaluate spending cuts based on where they will have the greatest impact on the bottom line. Choosing stock cabinetry rather than custom designs will likely make the biggest difference in your budget. For the greatest durability, choose cabinets with solid-wood doors, and then customize the basic boxes with paint or stain and trim and molding pieces. Even with these upgrades, stock cabinets can reduce an average budget by tens of thousands of dollars. Scrimping on countertops, on the other hand, may not be worth the trade-off. Stone countertops cost several times more than laminate yet, as a total percentage of the budget, the splurge is a relatively small increase in your total spending.

When getting estimates from kitchen remodeling contractors, require line-item descriptions of exactly how your money is being spent. This will help you determine the biggest expenses and where you can cut costs for the greatest impact.

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One kitchen makeover on a budget

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