Homeowners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project. And with good reason: kitchens are the hub of home life and a source of pride. A significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home. A complete kitchen renovation with a national median cost of $60,000 recovers about 67 percent of the initial project cost at the home’s resale, according to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of REALTORS®.
The project gets a big thumbs-up from homeowners, too. Those polled in the “report”gave their new kitchen a Joy Score of 9.8 – a rating based on those who said they were happy or satisfied with their remodeling, with 10 being the highest rating and 1 the lowest. To maximize your return on investment, follow these seven strategies to keep you on budget and help you make smart choices.
Plan, plan, plan
Planning your kitchen remodel should take more time than the actual construction. If you plan well, the amount of time you’re inconvenienced by construction mayhem will be minimized. Plus, you’re more likely to stay on budget.
How much time should you spend planning? The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends at least six months. That way, you won’t be tempted to change your mind during construction and create change orders, which will inflate construction costs and hurt your return on investment.
The following are common tips that can keep delays from occurring during your remodel. Be sure to measure your doorway where your appliances will need to come through. Many people make the mistake of purchasing the biggest refrigerator and having it not fit through their doorway. Next, think about traffic patterns. Work aisles should be a minimum of 42 inches wide and at least 48 inches for households with multiple cooks.
Another important factor to consider is designing with ergonomics in mind. Do you want pullout shelves or drawers, counters that adjust up or down, or even a wall oven instead of a range. Choosing your fixtures and materials before starting and getting a professional designer to help can make things move more swiftly. Plan for the unforeseeable that can cause you to push back your move-in dates.
Keep the same footprint
Nothing will drive up the cost of a remodel faster than changing the location of plumbing pipes and electrical outlets, and knocking down walls. This is usually where unforeseen problems occur. So if possible, keep appliances, water fixtures, and walls in the same location. Not only will you save on demolition and reconstruction costs, you’ll cut the amount of dust and debris your project generates.
Get real about appliances
It’s easy to get carried away when planning your new kitchen. A six-burner commercial-grade range and luxury brand refrigerator may make eye-catching centerpieces, but they may not fit your cooking needs or lifestyle. Appliances are essentially tools used to cook and store food. Your kitchen remodel shouldn’t be about the tools, but the design and functionality of the entire kitchen.
So unless you’re an exceptional cook who cooks a lot, concentrate your dollars on long-term features that add value, such as cabinets and flooring. Then choose appliances made by trusted brands that have high marks in online reviews and Consumer Reports.
Don’t underestimate the power of lighting
Lighting can make a world of difference in a kitchen. It can make it look larger and brighter, all while helping you work safely and efficiently. You should have two different types of lighting in your kitchen, task lighting and ambient lighting. Under-cabinet lighting should be a must since cabinets create such a dark work area. Flush-mounted ceiling fixtures, wall sconces and track lights create overall lighting in your kitchen. An extra option could be to include dimmer switches for intensity and control.
Functionality and durability should be top priorities during kitchen remodeling. Resist low-quality bargains, and choose products that combine low maintenance with long warranty periods. Solid-surface countertops, for instance, may cost a little more, but with the proper care they’ll look great for a long time. And if you’re planning on moving soon, products with substantial warranties are a selling advantage.
Add storage, not space
Storage will never go out of style, but if you’re sticking with the same footprint, install cabinets that reach the ceiling. They may cost more, but you’ll gain valuable storage for Christmas platters and other once-a-year items. If cabinets aren’t an option, create small shelving units on unused wall areas and add hooks to the backs of closet doors for aprons, brooms and mops.
Communicate clearly with your remodelers
Establishing a good rapport with your project manager or construction team is essential for staying on budget. Drop by during work hours to broadcast your commitment to quality. Other ideas to keep you on the same page with your remodelers are to set house rules, create a communication board and most importantly, be kind. Offering refreshments and giving praise when warranted can go a long way.