6 Ways to Save Money on Your Kitchen Remodel

Written by Kelly K. Tomkies
Updated July 27, 2015
Newly remodeled kitchen
With some careful planning, you can achieve a stunning kitchen remodel that's within your budget. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Aimee T. of Arlington, Va.)

With the average cost of a kitchen remodel totaling $50,000, it’s important to find ways to save money and get the most value for your dollar.

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If you're hoping to save money on your kitchen remodel, you're not alone. Any remodeling project can be expensive, but kitchens are often one of the costliest projects a homeowner can start. Whatever your budget, there are always ways you can save.

1. Remodel within the existing kitchen footprint

Many homeowners think they need to tear down walls or add on to get more space or functionality in their kitchen. This may not always be the case. Look at this room as if it were empty — just walls and windows — and ask yourself how you would reconfigure it so that it would work best for how you actually use the work areas. You may be surprised to find that you have the space you need but the current layout isn't the right design or the best use of space.

2. Do the kitchen demolition yourself

Doing your own demolition is a good way to save money on any remodeling project. You just need the right tools, time and strength. There's one important caveat to this tip, however: No homeowner should tear down a wall before first consulting with an architect to ensure it isn't a load-bearing wall. You should also check to make sure no electrical wires are running in the wall.

These concerns aren't an issue when it comes to removing existing cabinets and pulling up floors. Those demolition projects are easy to do and can save you hundreds of dollars.

3. Choose kitchen appliances wisely

Some appliances are worth investing in and others aren't. For example, a cooktop typically has a longer life than refrigerators, so it makes more sense to invest in a better quality cooktop. Don't forget to consider the cabinets when choosing appliances, especially if they're already in place. Allow plenty of space for opening doors. And consider stainless steel: it's the finish most people want in appliances.

4. Don't move the kitchen sink

Moving plumbing is one of the most expensive items in when it comes to remodeling the kitchen. It's also often the cause of unexpected problems, especially if your home is older, because you may encounter leaks or pipes that aren't up to today's building codes. If possible, work around the existing kitchen sink location and move other fixtures instead.

5. Reface existing cabinets

If your cabinets are in good shape and functional, there are a few things you can do to reinvent them. Removing the doors and replacing them with new ones is one idea. Painting the cabinets and adding new hardware is another. You can also add special inserts and hardware to make them slide open more easily. Not having to order all new cabinets can save you thousands of dollars.

DIY: How to Reclain Your Cabinets

6. Planning the kitchen remodel is important

Take the time before starting any work to do some research. List all the work that needs to be done. Also list all the materials that need to be purchased and their costs: any tools that need to purchased or rented, paint and painting tools, fabric, accessories, appliances, cabinetry and estimates from professional contractors, such as electricians and plumbers.

Once you have a total, add at least 10 to 20 percent to provide a cushion for unexpected expenses. It's rare for any project to come in at or under budget. Building in a cushion gives you peace of mind that you can handle those hidden expenses.

This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on April 9, 2013.

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