To combine task lights with cost-friendliness, we suggest going the LED ceiling lights route. Besides being eco-friendly, these lights save a lot of dollars on electricity bills. You can bring out the wow factor with these lights too if you go for pendant lights above your kitchen island or dining area. For ambient use, chandeliers or even new-age track lighting can be used. Make sure to install dimmers if you plan to spend some time eating dinners with your loved one in the dining area. Basically, whatever your budget or use: If you are looking to take your kitchen to the next level, it’s time to hang some new lights!
If you’re getting new cabinets but want to keep your old refrigerator, leave enough space between cabinets so you can replace your fridge with a wider model later. (Most refrigerators are 32 to 36 in. wide.) Install filler strips or panels to fill up the extra space. You can install shelving between the panels over the top of the fridge or install top cabinets. Order the filler strips and panels with your cabinets so they match.
A temporary kitchen lets you cook, wash dishes and make your morning coffee while your main kitchen is out of commission. Save a few of your old cabinets and countertops to build the makeshift kitchen. You don’t need a fancy setup —functionality is the goal here. Install the cabinets and cut the countertop to fit, if necessary. Then add the items you need for preparing meals, like a toaster oven, hot plate, microwave, coffeemaker and refrigerator (even a half-size model would be great).

Before you start planning, consider the market and decide whether a low-, medium-, or high-end kitchen remodel makes the most sense. Costs can run the gamut from $2,000 for a simple paint-and-hardware upgrade to $50,000 if you’re installing expensive countertops and luxury appliances. Knowing your neighborhood will help keep from overspending – you may not get your investment back installing travertine in your tiny starter – or worse, underspending. Let’s face it, you’ll never see Formica in a high-end home, and in fact, it may become a barrier to your sale.


If you do have the budget to rearrange appliances, make sure to keep your floor plan in mind. Does it follow the natural triangular traffic pattern between the refrigerator, stove, and oven? Is the dishwasher next to the sink? It should be, because otherwise, you create a mess every time you walk across the room with a dripping dish in your hand. To save money, I once put a dishwasher in the counter opposite the sink – and as a result, I cleaned up drips on the floor for years.
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