Updated: Jan 12, 2021
Before you embark on your remodel, check out our list of strategies to get the kitchen you desire—within your budget.
A kitchen is the single-most expensive room to remodel. Knock down walls, rearrange the layout, buy new appliances, cabinets and countertops, and the price of your kitchen redo may skyrocket to $40,000 or $50,000 or more. So before you hire a pro or begin to tackle the job yourself, read our spend-smart tips—from easy upgrades to a total gut renovation—and get the kitchen you covet that fits within your budget.
Splurge on a Quality Faucet
The faucet is the hardest working part of the kitchen, so go for quality and convenience—meaning a premium brand and single-handle operation. Unneccessary problems can arise if a cheap quality faucet is purchased and installed. In the end it will cost more, don't put used tires on a brand new Lamborghini.
Keep Character and Functionality in Mind When Choosing a Backsplash
Think of the section of wall between the countertop and the cabinets as a canvas where you can express your personality. Subway tiles offer a traditional look, unless they are oversized, you lay them vertically, or arrange them in a herringbone pattern. Tiny mosaic patterns are pretty, but the grout lines are harder to clean. Of course, there are many other options, including glass, metal, stone, mosaic, embossed ceramic, and other tiles—and non-tile options such as beadboard paneling or metal ceiling tiles. Choose something that reflects your taste—but that’s also widely appealing and easy to maintain so it won’t turn off buyers when you put the house on the market someday.
Quartz—a manmade countertop material that looks like stone—has overtaken granite as the most popular countertop choice, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. And for good reason: Quartz is practically stain-proof, scratch-proof, and chip-proof; it never needs sealing. Quartz comes in a vast assortment of looks, many of which convincingly mimic the natural variegation of marble and limestone, the real versions of which are extremely high-maintenance choices for kitchen countertops.
Don't Hold Back on Lighting
There are three different types of light fixture to choose from for your kitchen. (Hint: You want all of them.)
Recessed Ceiling Fixtures: Install these over all open floorspace to provide ambient light where people will stand and work.
Under-Cabinet Lighting: Use this to provide task lighting over the countertops—and to highlight the countertop, backsplash, and cabinetry when it’s the only light that’s on.
Pendants/Ceiling Fixtures: Brighten work zones like islands, peninsulas, and sinks with decorative pendants that provide diffuse light without creating shadows.
Think About Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Alternatives
Easy-to-clean porcelain tile comes in a wide range of designs, including convincing stone and wood looks, but most things that drop on porcelain will break. It's also 2x more expensive for material and installation for its LVP comparable. Luxury vinyl and laminate flooring (shown here) is durable, comparatively soft and forgiving, and comes in a wide range of wood looks that most people will think is the real thing.