Unfortunately, kitchens are expensive. Everything is either high end finish, appliances, or fixtures. Regardless of the scale of your project, whether you are just looking to make some minor changes or rip everything out, there are strategies for saving money.
Have a Plan
Having a plan is a good idea both in terms of an approach and a physical set of plans. If you are doing more than the most minor project, it is important to have a clear set of plans that communicates at the smallest details what your expectations are. Pointing and saying, “I want a sink over there,” is a recipe for disaster. A quality project is dependent on quality detailed instructions, which is what a set of plans provides. A haphazard approach, or the idea that you will ‘figure it out along the way,’ can lead to costly mistakes.
Do not start construction before every selection has been decided. This is a great way to lose track of how much you are spending and end up in trouble. It is also important to have scheduled every phase of the work so that you stay on time and do not end up waiting three weeks for the plumber and then a month for the electrician. In construction time is literally money.
Use A Design/Build Firm
Well, as a design/build firm, of course we are going to say this. But it also happens to be true. Making sure that you have a single point of accountability saves money by not getting stuck between a designer and a contractor blaming each other for whatever goes wrong. In that situation the homeowner always gets stuck with the bill. When the company that does design also builds the project, there is more sharing of information to create a complete project that starts and stays on budget.
Keep the Cabinets
Cabinets are one of the most expensive parts of a kitchen. Saving all or part of the cabinets can really help the budget. If the cabinets are in decent shape but dated, consider painting them. These days the trend is white. If they are too dated, consider changing the doors and drawer fronts for a more dramatic change. Because we have a custom cabinet shop, we can build and modify cabinets inhouse.
Focus on Lighting
This is true for all design. Lighting is a crucial and often overlooked element. Often a kitchen can be made to feel new simply by improving the lighting. A small amount of accent lighting can provide a good return. Kitchens are task areas that need a lot of light, up to 80 foot-candles. Make sure your kitchen designer understands lighting. This is also a function of aging in place as we need considerably lighter to see well as we age.
Stay with The Basic Layout
Moving the basic infrastructure such as plumbing, electrical, and ducting can add a lot of cost to a project. If you can avoid moving these elements you will save a good deal of money. Though it is easy to reimagine the whole space in a completely different way, avoid this if the budget is tight.
The best way to save money on countertops is to use remnants. These are smaller pieces of stone from a slab that has already had some removed from it. In a kitchen with a lot of counter space, this can be hard to do. One way to make this more of a possibility is to consider using two different materials. For example, you can make an island stand out by using a more dramatic granite on it and something simpler on the rest of the kitchen. Another good approach for some is to include butcher block in cutting and chopping areas.
Appliance are another expensive item in a kitchen. Find a scratch and dent sale. Often the blemish is an area that will not even show. Appliances are not unlike cars in that newer models are a frequent occurrence. Often the difference is small from a previous model. Slightly outdated models will be discounted.
Let Little Features Add a Lot of Pizzazz
If your budget is especially tight, consider a small impactful change such as painting the cabinets, changing the backsplash, or adding some accent lighting. These small and relatively inexpensive changes can have a significant impact.