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Remodeling Your Kitchen on a Budget

Whether you've got a big budget or a small one for your kitchen remodeling project, it's wise to try to make sure your spending doesn't spiral out of control as the process continues. There are a number of ways you can stay within your budget, beginning with staying on top of every dollar that goes out.

Financing Options

If your kitchen is seriously outdated or rundown, it may be necessary for you to finance your remodeling job. If that describes your situation, first weigh the pluses and minuses of the project before you sign up for a home equity loan or second mortgage.

On the plus side, an attractive, up-to-date kitchen can add thousands of dollars to the resale value of your home. The downside: if you're not planning to move in the foreseeable future, you won't see that money until you do sell.

A plus: if you plan to stay in your home for a long time to come, having a new, more efficient and beautiful kitchen will make life more enjoyable along the way. On the other hand, if you're staying put, you'll have to pay back the money you spend out of your hard-earned cash until you finally decide to move.

You could use credit cards to pay for the remodel, too. The plus side: they're easy and require no particularly difficult approval process. The minus: the interest rates can be very costly, adding thousands to the overall cost of your remodel.

Once you've got your budget established and you've decided to move forward, you'll save thousands by shopping hard for the various items you're going to need to complete the job. Shopping in discount home improvement centers, looking for close-out items, watching for sales, ordering from online or mail order catalogs, and buying slightly blemished items can save substantial amounts of money.


If you save money on items, such as finding a fabulous faucet at ReStore (Habitat for Humanity's thrift store), perhaps you can upgrade your kitchen sink with a farm sink.

There are also ways you can revamp your existing appliances to make them fit your new kitchen scheme. There are companies that can refinish your appliances and sinks in whatever color you want, which can save thousands over buying new ones. Many dishwashers, refrigerators, and stoves, come with changeable panels that allow you to instantly change their look completely. This can also add up to huge savings.

If you're already happy with the color of your appliances (if they're white, for instance, which will go with any other color scheme), you can make your kitchen look vastly different by simply adding a fantastic new sink and changing the color of the walls. New lighting fixtures are also a fairly inexpensive way to achieve a radically different look for your kitchen.

One way to make off-the-shelf kitchen cabinets look custom:


Add molding and paint or stain in a darker color. Remove wood panels and replace with glass inserts. Take a stained glass class and get help making your own custom design.

Kitchen walls painted red. Added molding painted black.

New flooring is also a terrific way to give the kitchen an instant face lift. You can use fairly inexpensive vinyl tile, which comes in easy-to-install squares that offer stylish patterns, durability, and easy-care maintenance.

You can also save lots of interest charges and years of payments by remodeling your kitchen a little at time and paying as you go. Whichever path you choose, stay on top of your spending and stay within your budget--however large it may be.

Copyright 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher

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