Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Simple Kitchen Upgrades

When remodeling a kitchen, there are options that are less expensive than a full kitchen remodel, while still making significant improvements.  Both the appearance and functionality of your kitchen can be improved with a number of small and cost effective remodeling projects.  In many cases these projects can be accomplished over a period of time, spreading the costs while upgrading your kitchen.  The following is a list of some projects to consider.

Cabinets:  There are a number of ways kitchen cabinets can be improved without replacing the cabinets themselves.  New hardware, new cabinet drawer inserts, installing pull-out shelves or additional shelves, or even just adjusting the doors and shelves can all improve the functional and visual performance of cabinets.  If the space is available, an island may be added without changing the exiting cabinets.

Counters:  Installing new countertops can provide a major kitchen facelift.  This is often combined with a new kitchen sink and faucet.  Replacing the countertop can be accomplished in one to two days, a major improvement with minimum disruption.  Numerous counter options include stone of various types, solid surface man-made counters, laminate, tile, and a variety of wood choices.  Often two different materials may be used, for example a wood island counter with granite counters on the surrounding cabinets.

Appliances:  Replacing appliances is a straightforward improvement to most kitchens.  Many appliances such as dishwashers, ranges, and hoods are standard sizes and the change is fairly simple.  Also, adding a beverage or wine refrigerator is an increasingly popular option.

Electric:  There are many electrical up-grades to improve a kitchen visually and functionally; new light fixtures, under cabinet lighting, etc.  These will be discussed in detail in a subsequent blog.

Plumbing:  Changes and upgrade options to kitchen sinks and faucets will be reviewed in a subsequent blog.  Besides changing the existing sink and faucet a large kitchen may benefit from adding a second prep sink and faucet..

Backsplash:  Likewise there are many options for the kitchen counter backsplash; tile, glass tile, paint, stone, solid surface materials, etc.  These will be reviewed in depth in the next blog.

Paint:  Painting is a task most homeowners can manage with a little time and effort.  New paint can brighten and refresh a kitchen at a small cost.  Painting of ceilings and wood trim are also good options but a little more challenging.  Painting existing cabinets is not nearly as simple or fast as painting walls. It involves stripping and sanding the cabinets, then applying primer and two finish coats.  This is a task probably best left to a professional painter. However, painting the cabinets, especially combined with new cabinet hardware, can  make a major improvement to your kitchen. 
Flooring:  Kitchen floors can be a variety of materials including wood, engineered wood, laminate, tile, cork, or vinyl.  Floors can typically be installed without removing cabinets and often without removing the existing floors. 

Other Small Projects:  Other projects to improve and remodel a kitchen without a total kitchen replacement may include installing new windows, removing walls between the kitchen and an adjacent room, creating a pantry, or installing new moulding.  All can significantly improve the enjoyment and everyday use of your kitchen.

Note:  The concept for this and the next few kitchen and bath blogs comes from Case Handyman and Remodeling.

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