Kitchen Renovation Costs: How to Save  

A kitchen renovation is expensive.

Remodeling shows that the average cost to remodel a 200-square ft kitchen including semi-custom and custom wood cabinets, new flooring, and standard appliances is $62,000. The average cost of a remodel can be as high as $133,000 by adding luxury items such stone countertops, a refrigerator built-in, commercial-grade cooktops, designer faucets and top quality custom cabinets.

But there is another alternative. Consider these design tips before you start to gut your kitchen.

REFACE CUBINETS To replace cabinet fronts made out of material that cannot withstand paint or staining, consider refacing. This is where the cabinet framework is kept and all doors, drawerfronts and side panels are replaced with newer models. Carolyn DiCarlo from Manhattan, was a designer who took this approach while working on a Brooklyn loft last year. She stated that she saw the kitchen looking tired after renovating the living area. Instead of ripping the cabinets out and replacing them, Ms. DiCarlo switched the cabinet fronts which had “yellow and chipped over years” for recessed panels lacquered with white.

She also added rollout shelf and a range hood. Ms. DiCarlo described, “We painted the middle open wall charcoal gray to add depth and texture, and added Boffi linear pendants around the island. It changed the whole feel of our kitchen.” New cabinets would have run about $22,000 according to her estimate, but a complete reface took only $2,500. The total cost of “the abbreviated remodelled kitchen,” which included new interior elements and Boffi pendants (total $10,800).

OPT FOR OPEN SHELVES Whether your cabinets have been damaged beyond repair, open shelving can lower the cost of upper cabinetry. Liz Tiesi of Threshold Interiors said that open shelving is a good option. She explained, “That way you pay only for the wood used to make the shelf or the bracket that holds it up. Not the entire cabinet box which is much more expensive in material and labor.” She pointed out that this eliminates the requirement for hardware, which can add cost.

Use particleboard in cabinetry to reduce costs. Mina Fies from Reston, Va. is the designer behind the Renovation Roadmap. A website designed to help homeowners communicate with contractors, stay within budget, and stick to their schedules, will be online later this month. Ms. Fies recommends using plywood to build the outer and perimeter cabinets. Ms. Fies explained that maple, cherry, and hickory can still be used as door and frame materials. In a 17-by-15 feet kitchen remodel, she was able to cut cabinet cost by $1,420.

DO IT YOURSELF Turn off your circuit breakers. Ms. Tiesi advised to remove all plumbing fixtures and appliances first. Then, move on to cabinets, backsplash, countertops, and other items.

“It really does not take any precision; just don’t hurt yourself,” she explained. Black contractor bags are handy for storing any extra debris. The larger items will be taken outside. If possible, I’ll have garbage pickup ready. Ms. Tiesi mentioned that you can take them off and not have to worry how they are going to be disposed of.

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