Time for a Kitchen Renovation

Kitchens and bathrooms still top the list of renovation projects with the highest potential to add or maintain value in a home, according to the latest survey conducted by the Appraisal Institute of Canada.

Renovating a kitchen can also be one of the more expensive projects a homeowner will undertake. How much you spend depends on your budget, of course, but also on the length of time you expect to stay in that house. If, for example, you are remodeling your kitchen as a face-lift prior to selling it, it is recommended that you spend no more than 10 -15% of the cost of your house. If you are going to remain in your house for more than five years, you can spend 25% or more -and in most cases you will recoup the cost of the renovation when you sell.

How much will it cost?

Inexpensive kitchen renovations can cost you $2,000 -$3,000 for a cosmetic facelift with no new cabinets, plumbing or electrical changes. Look to spend about $8,000 to $10,000 if you choose new low-end cabinetry, counters, appliances, flooring, paint and some minor structural changes. However, the sky is the limit when it comes to a new kitchen and you can expect to pay $20,000 and up for high quality cabinets, custom work and many upgrades.

Keeping costs down

There are ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality when updating your kitchen. Regardless of what you budget, do not skimp on design, appliances or labour. These are the basis for a functional kitchen and you should get the best you can afford. To keep costs to a minimum, use stock cabinets instead of custom work, laminates instead of solids and hang on to your current appliances if you can. Also try to keep your existing plumbing and electrical and don’t make structural changes to the room.

Planning ahead in detail will also save you money. Any changes or corrections halfway through the process will prove to be expensive.

If your budget is tight and small projects are what you are aiming for, here are a few ideas:

Resurface or repaint old cupboards

Paint is inexpensive and can transform wooden cupboards in a matter of hours. Try a new painting technique, or a textured look or a zesty combination of colours. You can also resurface old cupboards with wood laminates, or one of the new, non-traditional plastic-based materials that resist chipping, denting and staining. Formica counter tops, for example, provide the look and feel of expensive solid surfacing at about half the cost.

Use more glass

Replace a few cabinets with glass ones. Glass and mirrors in a room add the illusion of more space as well as glamour -especially if you add interior lights to your new cupboards.

Change your hardware

Simply adding new cabinet and drawer handles can change the look of a kitchen. With the many choices in colour, size and style of drawer knobs and handles, there is no limit to what you can achieve. Everything from ceramic to metal to stone is available in many choices of colour, size and style so you can give your kitchen a personal touch.

Floor and wall facelifts

Paint, wallpaper and flooring can easily spice up a bland kitchen. Stencil a border around a window, below a ceiling or between the cupboards and you can change the mood overnight.

Flooring options feature a wide variety of colours and styles in linoleum, ceramic and wood floor applications. But be careful; too much contrast in a small kitchen can make it appear even smaller and more cluttered.

Be innovative

A good kitchen should not only look great, but stand up to daily wear and tear. If should function well and enable people to move freely between it and related areas of the house.

If you plan to completely remodel the kitchen, be honest about your ability. You may want to leave this important job in the hands of an expert who can do the work quickly and professionally. A kitchen designer or contractor can suggest unique ideas and come up with creative solutions to particular problems.

Finally, be sure to get at least two quotations on the work you plan to do and compare them carefully before making your choice.