Before you begin your remodel, consider your budget. What do you have to spend, and what do you hope to accomplish? A cosmetic facelift will be the least expensive, and it can quickly improve the looks of your kitchen. If you need more substantial changes or have structural problems to solve, you'll need a more expensive, larger-scale remodel. Here's what you can expect for the money.
Setting Your Budget
It's important to get a good handle on your budget before you begin any remodeling project. Kitchen projects are expensive, and it's easy for the costs to get out of hand quickly.
A lot of factors affect the cost of any remodel: materials, size, weather, work delays, contractor expenses, and unforeseen issues. What you choose for materials will have the greatest impact on cost. Obviously, more expensive materials impact the bottom line, but they can also require more extensive installations, which impact your budget, too. On the flip side, if you can DIY your way through some of your remodeling, you'll realize significant cost savings.
If your kitchen has solid cabinets in a decent configuration, there are several ways to rework them without starting over. Consider embellishing the doors, adding glass inserts, or removing doors entirely to give the kitchen a new look. A coat of paint can be transformative. Remove the doors and spray them, allowing plenty of time to dry. Or send them to a paint shop and have them professionally sprayed for a durable finish. Changing the hardware on your doors and drawers is a quick and affordable update, too. You can also remove upper cabinets and replace them with open shelves. Budget countertop materials are limited to laminate, but there are many great colors available -- some even resemble natural stone. A new sink and faucet will do wonders to freshen up the kitchen. But if they aren't necessary, perhaps a new backsplash would revive your tired kitchen. Laminate flooring or sheet vinyl is an affordable option for flooring.
At this price, you're still not likely able to reconfigure your kitchen, but you can tear out tired pieces and replace them in the same footprint. Small floor-plan changes are possible, but avoid moving plumbing or electrical. For $15,000, you can afford some new stock cabinets or flat-pack -- also called ready-to-assemble -- cabinetry, which you buy in pieces and put together yourself. Assembly takes some work, but the savings makes this a great option. New appliances, many with professional-style features, are possible in this budget with some savvy shopping. (Don't mistake them for true professional appliances, which can cost several thousands of dollars per appliance.) A backsplash isn't generally a large area, but it's an effective way to make a design statement in a kitchen. For what it costs to purchase a few special tiles, you can make a big change -- and stay on budget.
At this price, you can afford to take down a wall or add a pass-through in a wall to open the kitchen to another room. Be sure to check for load or beam requirements before you start. Alterations can be necessary and -- if you haven't budgeted for them -- an unwelcome surprise. Cabinets are still a budget buy at this price, but there are more options available. Countertop options include solid-surfacing, butcher block, or a special piece of stone used on an island. Undermount sinks are also an option at this price point and can deliver a clean look to your kitchen. New tile, laminate, or wood flooring is possible, too.
While planning your kitchen project, you'll always have some give and take on the materials that work in your budget. For $50,000, you can choose more expensive materials that will impact the way you use and view your kitchen. Cabinetry is the most costly part of any kitchen project. Tricked-out, semicustom cabinetry with organizational features like pullout shelves, lazy Susans, and drawer organizers are a great way to add function to your cupboards. Some custom cabinetry, depending on the size of your space and cost of your craftsperson, is also possible. From there, choose the most important elements that will help you get the look on your budget, knowing that it's certainly possible to spend a lot more on any remodeling project.