Anshu Arora LLM, MSc, PMP

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Modest Fixes for the Problem Kitchen

Costs for even relatively moderate kitchen redos can run well into the tens of thousands of dollars. Here are a few ways to enhance this focal point of a home on a budget.


  1. Go with affordable cabinets, possibly a line with simple maple, cherry, or oak rather than exotic imported wood or lacquered fronts. Also, opt for pressed rather than solid wood interiors and shelves to pare costs. Because cabinets often represent 50 percent to 60 percent of a remodeled kitchen’s cost, saving here brings down the price.
  2. Appliances are another huge cost factor in redoing a kitchen, and stainless-steel name brands are among the biggest offenders. Besides opting for less expensive black-and-white fronts and going with cheaper brands, Web sites like Craigslist and Overstock are good resources for new or little-used items others are trying to get rid of.
  3. Changing a countertop or several can add an instant fresh look, but instead of replacing them with high-end granite, marble, or manmade quartzes, Manfredini suggests covering tired laminate tops with RustOleum’s highly durable Countertop Transformation product, a three-part system that transforms them into look-alike granites in five different colors.
  4. Though replacing an entire floor can be costly, time-consuming, and expensive, there are handsome options that will last and won’t break the bank. Durable and affordable options include Marmoleum, a sustainable linoleum, which no longer resembles what your parents or grandparents had but comes in hot colors and textures; old-growth bamboo that’s denser than new variations; and cork, another natural material that’s easily repairable if dings (or worse) occur.
  5. A new backsplash can make a huge difference, and there are many self-adhesive tiles that are easy to install for DIY consumers, including those with the hot metal look in vintage or modern patterns and a host of sizes, shapes, and colors, Manfredini says. Savvy home owners also should consider contacting manufacturers, many of which offer overstocked goods for far less.
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