Home improvement experts agree that upgrading an outdated kitchen brings more bang for your buck than a complete gut-and-remodel. Some features of your kitchen could last many more years before needing an upgrade, while others could do wonders for this focal space. When going with a more affordable upgrade instead of a total remodel, it helps to know where to splurge and where to save. We have a handy guide right here for you!
Splurge: Mold Remediation, Ventilation and Plumbing
While not exactly a splurge from a design stand-point, if fixes are needed in your kitchen for any of these three core issues, allocate the budget here first before you go any further. Mold can put your family at risk for serious illness and can compromise the integrity of the structures it is growing on long-term. Ventilation is essential to safety and indoor air quality. Airborne cooking oils and debris can be a contributor to indoor air pollution. Plumbing does need replacing throughout your home after a number of years. The lifespan of your plumbing depends on several factors, such as pipe material, quality of the local water supply, hard water or soft water, changes to residential building codes and any damage to the plumbing.
Save: Flooring and Backsplashes
A great place to save is on flooring and backsplashes. Affordable porcelain and ceramic tile comes in a large array of colors, sizes and shapes. Stick with larger retailers and look for discounts to save the most on this part of your kitchen upgrade. Tile can also be used to create a durable and attractive backsplash.
Spending a little extra on cabinets can provide options that allow you to make the best use of every bit of available space and maximize storage. It also gives you the chance to incorporate some special features, such as pull-outs and shallow end-cap cabinets to eliminate any wasted space. As long as you don’t go overboard on the special features, cabinets typically recoup the investment when it’s time to sell.
The selection of affordable but interesting quality lighting fixtures has grown significantly over the last several years. Larger retailers generally have the best selection of high-end lighting looks for low-end prices.
If your countertops are straight out of the 1980s, this is an upgrade worth the splurge. Choose natural stone such as granite, quartz and quartzite for durable counters that recoup their investment value. However, it’s wise to avoid marble. Marble is beautiful but it’s also a softer stone that is easily stained or damaged. A quick tip: even as a splurge, you can keep the price tag more reasonable by choosing a grade 2 or 3 stone rather than a super expensive grade 5 stone.
Splurge AND Save: Appliances
Appliances can fall into either category for your kitchen upgrade. The key factors are the age and condition of the current appliances, the value of the home and the anticipated use of the appliances. In most cases with appliances, it’s best to avoid the cheapest option and focus instead on quality. However, quality does not necessarily mean choosing the most high-end options available. A commercial-size gas range is overkill for a small condo – unless you will actually put it to good use, otherwise you won’t recoup that cost when you sell the home. Stick with the best quality at mid-range reasonable prices for any appliances that need replacing.
One final place where a splurge makes sense is the kitchen faucet (or faucets if there is more than one sink). Skip the fancy gimmicks and opt for a faucet that is top-quality with metal cartridges and durable construction. Faucets get a lot of use and cheaply-made faucets just can’t take the abuse without major wear and tear and a short lifespan.
When planning your kitchen upgrade, knowing where you can save and where it makes sense to splurge helps you keep your budget on point. Making the right choices with your budget also gives you the best chance of recouping your investment whenever you decide to sell.