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Hold the Granite: Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget


By Kathy Wilson
                       
So you want to remodel your kitchen, but the economy has you a little nervous. Never fear, there are ways to take the sting out of the cost of a kitchen remodel.

Always a Contractor, Never a Designer:
Hopefully your chosen contractor is experienced enough to offer you a lot of choices in your kitchen remodel. However, they are also in business to make money. 

Designing your kitchen yourself will save you contractor fees, and it also puts you in the driver's seat. Nobody knows better than you exactly what you need in your kitchen and what you don't. Use today's design software available at retail home improvement outlets to create your own design, and then go over it with your contractor to iron out a final plan.

Remember though, not to fall for the "while we're at it" pitch. Design for what you need, and cut out the rest.

If your contractor resents your money saving efforts, than it's time to move on to one you can trust to keep your best interests in mind. After all, it's your money, and your kitchen. Make sure the project stays within your budget.

Reface, Don't Replace:
Kitchen cabinets are usually designed to last a lot longer than the doors. When faced with a kitchen remodel, replacing the cabinets is one of the most expensive options.

To save some bucks, opt instead to reface the doors, and use paint or refinishing techniques to bring the cabinets up-to-date. Do-it-yourselfers can even do the finishing themselves to save money. While you're at it, repaint the walls as well to save even more.

Use Tile for Countertops:
When choosing new countertops, stone or solid Corian-style counters are very popular. However, granite tiles significantly decreases the remodeling cost without decreasing beauty.

Forget Hardwood Floors:
Hardwood floors are beautiful, but they're expensive and impractical for a kitchen. Quality laminates today are very convincing in design, last for decades, and are much more forgiving of spills and everyday use.

Go Green:
There are many reasons to be energy-conscious while making choices for your kitchen remodel. Most immediate would be the savings on your utility bills.
However, there are many tax savings and rebate programs that reward homeowners who buy energy-efficient appliances. You can find a state by state database of savings available to you at http://www.dsireusa.org/ Also check with your local utility companies for any rebates.

Do Some Research:
It may be cheaper for you to spend some time researching the prices of appliances and big ticket items yourself. Your contractor may be able to order professional quality products for you, but if you don't need the higher quality, you may be able to get a better price on your own. Check out the home improvement stores, and look for products that carry rebates when considering total savings.

Be the Garbage Man:
It could be a lot more economical for you to dispose of construction waste yourself. Discuss ahead of time with your contractor what they charge for these services, then compare it to what it might cost you to do it yourself with a Saturday and a rented truck.

Kathy Wilson is a home and garden author and is a home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com. Visit her for more home and garden ideas at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com or http://www.DecoratingYourSmallSpace.com .

 

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