How to Remodel a Kitchen

Remodeling a kitchen is a great way to increase the value of your home. The project can range in price from a few hundred dollars if you need to replace an appliance to thousands if you want to modernize outdated countertops, flooring and wall coverings. Following are some steps for remodeling your kitchen.

Planning Your Remodeling Project
Get cost estimates by visiting a home improvement store. Compare quality and cost of appliances, countertops, flooring and cabinetry. Jot down two sets of prices--what you can easily afford and items that are "nice to have." Factor in labor costs if a contractor will do the work for you; leave out labor costs if you plan to do the work yourself.

Calculate how much money you can realistically spend. Do you have a healthy bank account, or would you need to finance the project through a line of credit? Consider doing the job one piece at a time if you have limited funds. Or arrange a home equity loan through the bank.

Decide how to update your cabinetry--reface them, replace them with used cabinets or buy new cabinets. Refacing involves replacing the old doors with new doors. Or you can replace them with used ones; sometimes people replace cabinets that are still good, and a contractor might be able to sell them to you.

Consider flooring options including linoleum, hardwood, laminate, carpet, tile or polished concrete. Linoleum on the market today is much better looking than your grandmother's linoleum. There are many laminates that offer the look of hardwood but hold up better and are lower maintenance.

Update your lighting by installing a lighted ceiling fan or any number of attractive fixtures like chandeliers, sconces or recessed lighting. Lighting offers you one of the widest ranges in price and options.

Pick out new countertop materials. Your choices run the gamut from expensive granite to inexpensive sheets of countertop. Consider budget and durability when making your choice. How wise a choice is a covering that doesn't hold up well and has to be replaced again in a few years?

Installing Your New Kitchen
Gut the kitchen. If you are remodeling the entire kitchen, remove everything and store it until the remodel work is done. Or just move out kitchen goods that are in the areas being remodeled.

Paint or put up wallpaper if you are changing the color scheme of your kitchen or if you want to freshen things up. It is best to do this before everything else is brought in. You can go back and touch up little dings later.

Install cabinets and countertops. You may want to get an installer to do it for you since a mistake with materials like tile or granite can be expensive. If you are installing less-expensive material on the countertop, get an instruction sheet at the store and give it a try yourself.

Lay new flooring. Tile, hardwood or linoleum are good do-it-yourself projects if you have time to learn. This part of the job can also be farmed out to a subcontractor if you're too intimidated or don't have time.

Add new lighting to your remodeled kitchen. Lighting can be very easy to do if electrical wiring is in place. Have an electrician wire the kitchen and then save money by doing the installation yourself.

Move the appliances in. If you bought new ones, let the delivery crew install them for you. The dishwasher will come with directions, and you can do this one yourself. If you have chosen a refrigerator with a water dispenser or ice maker, ask for help since this can get tricky.

Finish off your remodeled kitchen with decorative canisters for sugar, flour and cereals, new window coverings and a nice new wall clock to match your new decor.


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