When to Save and When to Spend on a Kitchen Remodel

April 28, 2017

A kitchen remodel is a huge investment, so you want to make sure you put that hard-earned money into the right features. If you are on a budget, you’ll have to spend very wisely, but getting the rock-bottom cheapest option for every feature of your kitchen might not be money well-spent.
Even if you’re on a budget, if you get the cheapest version of everything, it might end up costing you more money in the long run as cheap counters, cabinets, or appliances break and need fixing or replacing.
The best use of your kitchen remodel budget is to know where to save, and where to splurge. This will look different for everyone, as each individual or family has different needs and desires for their kitchen. Are you investing in your kitchen to increase the price of your home for a future sale, or a kitchen that you plan to use for many years to come? Are you a passionate gourmand and spend lots of time cooking and baking, or do you mostly rely on your microwave for your home cooking needs?
First and foremost, you’ll want to take into account your own individual needs and desires, and be realistic about the items that will get lots of use, wear, and tear, and the items that do not need to be so reliable.
For the most part, decorative features and anything that won’t actually be “used” or can easily be replaced, such as backsplash, lighting, window dressing, etc., are ideal to be thrifty with, while the features that will do the most “heavy lifting”, such as cabinets, countertops, ranges, and flooring, are best to make wise investments in.
Here are some ideas for smart spending, and smart saving, when it comes to your kitchen remodel:


Spend: natural light
Save: lighting features
The lighting in your kitchen is essential, and it can change the whole mood of an otherwise impeccably designed kitchen to have bad lighting. However, you don’t need to throw all your money into a fancy lighting set-up, especially if you have the option for natural light and beautiful windows. While window dressing, as we mentioned, can easily be bought at a budget price and replaced over time, great windows are a good investment for a kitchen, especially if they can contribute to lowered energy costs by keeping heat in, venting hot air out, and allowing natural light to be a main feature of your kitchen.


Spend: range and oven
Save: small appliances
It should be noted that if you are not a very active cook, an oven is a great area to save in, while a mid-range quality range is still a worthy investment. Ovens are relatively simple and, especially if infrequently used, can last for a long time without much maintenance. A good stove, however, even if it is not top-of-the-line, is a must. If you are a passionate, active cook, you should budget for a good-quality, long-lasting range with a good warranty and that promises to last for many years, and is easy to maintain and replace parts for.
When it comes to small appliances, like coffee makers, toaster ovens, and microwaves, you might be tempted to get high-quality, gourmet items, but these are great features to save on. They’re all available incredibly cheaply these days, and far easier to replace than a range.


Spend: counters
Save: backsplash
The counters are going to be one of the most used areas of your kitchen, so while you don’t need to get the highest-quality materials, you still want to make sure you’re investing in quality. Cheap counters can be easily scuffed up, har
d to clean, and look unsightly and cheap in a few years, while quality counters will look great for a long time. There are a huge range of materials available these days that look like more expensive materials such as marble and granite, and can be maintained easily and look great for years.
Your backsplash and tile, on the other hand, won’t actually be a work surface like your countertops, so this is a great area to save on. Find something that looks great, but doesn’t break the bank.


Spend: cabinets
Save: hardware
Cabinets are also a very crucial aspect of your kitchen, and can be very difficult to replace. This is definitely an area in which you’ll want to invest. You can still find quality cabinets on a budget, of course, but you’ll want to make sure you get quality cabinets that are built to endure the heavy load of your kitchen storage needs.
Your hardware, on the other hand, such as handles, knobs, and drawer pulls, are items you can save on, and probably still make your kitchen look very luxe. It can be easily changed and updated yourself as time goes on, and is much simpler to do than replacing all your cabinets.

Food Storage

Spend: shelving
Save: refrigerator
Surprisingly, a refrigerator is something you can also shop budget for. If you have a big family and do lots of cooking, you will probably want to invest in a larger refrigerator with lots of storage space, but there are still many ways to save in this area. You don’t need all the fancy shelves and inserts in a refrigerator, for example, and can easily find very affordable plastic storage totes and shelving at discount stores that are just as handy as those that come with the refrigerator. Refrigerators are also relatively easy to replace, as compared to a range, countertops, or cabinets, so if you’re on a budget, the refrigerator is a big cost that you can greatly reduce by shopping thrift.
Shelving, on the other hand, such as in your cabinets or pantry, is a must. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but definitely sturdy and long-lasting. This still might not be a huge investment, but dry food storage that’s accessible, durable, and stylish, is a great small investment to make for the overall function of your kitchen. If you are an individual or have a very small family, this might not be much of a necessity for you, but if you buy and use lots of food, functional, useful storage is a must.

Quality investments aren’t necessarily a big splurge, but choosing to spend more for a longer-lasting, more reliable, and high-quality product will, in many cases, be a much smarter use of your precious kitchen remodel funds.

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