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 they’re quality wood and still in good working order, you’re in luck. This is one of the first things I check when sizing up a pre-remodel kitchen, since cabinet frames are the most expensive component of the entire space. It’s quite simple to give salvageable cabinets a face lift. Three common ways to repurpose and save thousands include: adding new doors and drawer fronts, re-laminating fronts and sides, or repainting – which leads us to......Don’t Just Paint – Spray Paint. Have all the cabinets cleaned and lightly sanded, then have a painter come in to spray them. Don’t try to DIY this one; a couple of cans of spray paint from the hardware store just won’t do the trick. A professional spray job can make ugly cabinets look factory-new. And you can’t get the same look by painting or rolling the cabinets yourself.
"The kitchen is another example of applying real design ingenuity to small dimensions," Refinery29 founder Christine Barberich says of her Brooklyn Heights space. "My husband found the best appliances he could that were all smaller in scale, so nothing felt out of proportion. I love the XO relief tiles that create the white backsplash. They’re just fun because you might not notice the pattern until you’re up close. We had the concrete countertop made in Bay Ridge by this three-generation family of concrete designers. We loved the idea of having this major industrial moment right in the middle of the apartment and it really does serve as an entertaining area, workspace for cooking, or flower arranging. It’s unexpected in its brutalist vibe against the white backdrop and softer, colored details."
You can begin planning for your kitchen remodel by knowing a rough estimate of where your money will be spent. For a full kitchen renovation, 1/3 of your budget will go to cabinetry, 1/3 will be spent on installation, and the remaining 1/3 is allocated to finishing touches. Finishing touches could be appliances, lighting, faucets, sinks, plumbing, backsplash, countertops, or flooring. Keeping these in mind, you’ll be able to balance your budget and more easily plan your project. For additional details on the cost of remodeling a kitchen, please visit our cost guide.
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.