Guest post: Your guide to starting a kitchen remodel on a budget

This year, many American homeowners will finally start on a long-awaited kitchen remodeling project. Some may want to design their dream kitchen, while others just want to re-invest in their home and add value. In either case, you’ll need to start by establishing a budget and then prioritizing what you spend that budget on. In this article, we’ll review how to go about planning your kitchen remodel and the best ways you can get a great kitchen out of a tight budget.

Budgeting for your remodel

One of the most difficult parts of a kitchen remodeling project is knowing where to start. We recommend that you begin by setting a total budget for the project. On average, the American homeowner spends about $23,000 remodeling their kitchen. However, if this is far above the number you had in your head, don’t panic: by prioritizing the most important aspects of a kitchen remodel, you can complete your remodel for far less than that figure.

Completing a kitchen remodel on a tighter budget may require making some tough choices. For example, you may be dreaming of transforming the space into an “open kitchen” concept. But, doing so may involve extensive remodeling, plumbing, electrical, and flooring work. All of this adds up and may balloon your costs, lowering your return-on-investment (ROI).

It all comes down to what you want to get out of the project. If the open kitchen is key to your vision for the space, then you may need to wait to save more for the remodel. However, if you’re just looking to add value to your kitchen, keep in mind that an open kitchen concept is not always treated as a necessary upgrade by many prospective buyers.

Build your budget around new countertops and cabinets

The two most essential pieces of any kitchen remodel are the new countertops and cabinets. For many homeowners (and prospective buyers!), these two elements define the kitchen. They are also typically the most expensive components of the project: on average, American homeowners spend about 39-56% of their total kitchen remodeling budget on cabinets and countertops alone.

However, the end results often justify this upfront expense. Beautiful counters and high-quality cabinets can maximize your kitchen’s ROI and boost the overall curb appeal of your home. Our recommendation is that you factor in the cost for both into your initial budget and then work backwards from there, fitting the rest of the upgrades and changes that need to be made to the kitchen into your remaining budget. No single upgrade to the rest of the kitchen will be as consequential to your overall ROI as counters and cabinets.

Stretch your remodeling dollar further with small upgrades

Once you’ve dealt with the essentials of the remodeling project, your focus should shift to finding ways to maximize every dollar of your remaining project budget. Here are a few items that can add value to your kitchen without a major upfront cost:

  • New Lighting: You’d be amazed what light can do. The best kitchens feature natural light, but adding or updating light fixtures are the next best thing. Move away from harsh fluorescent lights to softer lighting that illuminates counters and highlights your new countertops. Pendant lighting is also highly effective and stylish. 
  • Painting: New paint is one of the least expensive things you can add to your kitchen. Depending on your design choices elsewhere in the kitchen, your walls may benefit from a splash of color, or may be best served with a neutral choice, such as a white, off-white, or light gray paint.
  • Backsplash: Typically, backsplash tile is not expensive, especially in the quantity needed for most kitchens. The right backsplash that complements your cabinet and countertop color choices—either by matching them or providing a splash of color or design to white or neutral cabinets—can add value and bring the entire kitchen together, from top to bottom.

For a full breakdown of average kitchen remodeling costs and even more tips for saving money on your project, be sure to look at this new infographic from the team at Superior Stone & Cabinet in Phoenix, AZ:

Keeping remodeling costs and headaches at a minimum

We’ve all seen the home improvement TV shows that follow a project from start to finish. 

Usually, there’s a hiccup, but either the owners secure a last-minute funding boost or the contractor finds a work-around to keep things under budget. That’s the magic of TV!

Life works differently. 

All parties, homeowners and contractors alike, have a role to play in keeping costs and frustrations to a minimum, as this Daily Herald article says. 

Like the article notes, homeowners can save themselves some headaches by remembering  that remodeling the kitchen is no small endeavor. Working within the existing plumbing structure will cut down on costs, while making big changes to the kitchen’s footprint will lead you to blow the budget. 

Also, enlisting the help of a designer and sticking to the plan once construction begins will keep you on your timeline and budget. 

If fixer-uppers are more your jam, here are some lessons one interior designer learned while fixing up her house. 

Monitoring progress, checking shipments, paying attention to details, hiring and firing folks, and working around holidays turned everything into a full-time job for the writer. 

And her partner is a carpenter!

Have a great week!

Guest Post: Tips to Make the Home Remodeling Process Less Stressful

Undoubtedly remodeling your home is a long and sometimes stressful process. Whether your remodeling project is big or small, it has a direct impact on you and your family members. Daily invasion of experts, dirt, dust, debris, chaos, and the noise of making repairs and renovation can take a huge toll on you and can leave you frustrated and annoyed.

Home remodeling is a challenging task which requires proper planning and a strong relationship with your contractor to make it smooth, glitch-free and bearable for you.

Read on below to find about some power packed tips in order to make your home remodeling process less stressful.

Tip#1: Contractor

Before embarking on your home remodeling project, do thorough and deep research for selecting a perfect contractor. Search online about professional contractors and read customer reviews and feedback on their site.

Take a detailed look at their previous projects and see for yourself how they performed. Also, if your college, family or neighbor recommend you a contractor, before hiring them, be sure to visit their home and look at the quality and type of look that contractor offers.

Once you’ve found a professional contractor, ask him from referrals and don’t hesitate to call their previous clients and ask about the type of services they provided.  You want to be 100% sure that the contractor you hired for your home remodeling project is competent and efficient enough to deliver the best job, keeping in mind your time and budget.

Tip#2: Strategy

Ask your contractor to provide you with the programmer of works so that you know what to expect and what will be their next move or strategy. For instance, ask them to tell you before hand what areas or parts of your house will be off limits and for how much time. Ask them to tell you on which days of the week you will be without power or water and for how long.

Ask them some essential questions like:


  • How many hours will they work daily?


  • What does it cost to remodel a home?
  • When will they start working on the exterior of the house?
  • How much advance payment do they require?



In this way, you will know their whole strategy and will plan your finances and schedule accordingly.

Tip#3: Schedule

It is advisable to plan your kitchen remodeling or other renovations that suit your family schedule. For instance, don’t go for remodeling during your children’s exams. As you don’t want to disrupt their study pattern due to continuous noise and chaos. It is ideal to plan your renovations during summers when your children are done with their exams and annual matches or when you are not expecting any guests in your home. Go for remodeling project when you are free from kid’s annual examination, test and any other important event.

Tip#4: Vacate the Property

It is ideal to vacate your property before the extensive renovation starts. Move to temporary accommodations or rent out space. If both options are expensive, consider taking a vacation during your house renovations.

Talk to your contractor beforehand so that you can easily schedule when to move out of the house so that they can carry their necessary renovations.

If you need to inspect from time to time to monitor the progress of your work, then shift to your best friend’s house and drop in to see how your bathroom remodeling and home renovation project is progressing.

Tip#5: Upfront about Your strategy

Some professional contractors want a completely vacant property before they start with their remodeling. If this is the case, then inform them beforehand whether you are retired or work from home.

Moreover, if you have no place to go then ask your contractor to section off an area from your home where you can reside in order to stay away from all the dust, chaos and commotion.

Also, ask your contractor to make you a makeshift kitchen, where you can cook while contractors work on your remodeling project. No matter how diligent, considerate and careful your experts are, there is bound to be some dirt, dust, debris, and disruption. So, try to clean your area daily to wipe off dust that accumulates due to extensive remodeling.

Tip#6: Make Important Decisions

Before the professionals start working on your remodeling project, make necessary and important decisions swiftly like light fixtures, crown molding, extra storage shelves, kitchen and bathroom tile design an color, living room paint, essential fittings, window frame color and type, living room floorings and so on.  Choose your windows, shower doors, vanity sink, sanitary ware, countertop marble design, kitchen island style, and tiles well in advance so that the project moves on without any glitches and you don’t feel pressured to make any hasty decisions.

Tip#7: Neighbors

Talk to your neighbors in advance before starting on your home remodeling project. Tell them they will have to be patient and might have to put up with disruption and noise while experts work on your property. Tell them the start date and finish date of your project so that they have a clear idea of how long they have to bear with all the chaos and disruption.

Tip#8: Keep Track Of Your Budget

Keep track of your budget and note where you can splurge on remodeling. It is extremely vital to set aside a contingency for any unforeseen things that may arise during renovations.

Tip#9: Clear Your Premises

Before the contractors arrive on your premises to start with the remodeling project, ensure that all working areas are completely vacated. Clear your kitchen cabinets, wardrobe and move out all your furniture. Pack your rugs and remove your artwork, curtains, blinds, and drapes. Either rent temporary storage and put all the stuff there or move it to a room that will be worked on at the end.  Moreover, cover everything with plastic sheets or bubble wrap and seal the rooms not in use with tape.

Wrap Up

Home remodeling is no doubt a daunting process, but with a little bit of planning, you can save yourself all the stress. If you want to avoid all the strain, hassle and anxiety, then follow the above-mentioned tips to make the process less stressful. Also, you can always go on vacation during heavy renovations.


About the author: Sarah is an experienced house remodeling contractor, and has been in this business for more than a 5 years. She is very enthusiastic about her work and keeps herself updated by the latest home improvement trends.