If you want to upgrade your kitchen but are worried about the cost, a new report from Consumer Reports shows how you can get a great new kitchen for less than $15,000 — and even cheaper depending on what exactly you want.
A great way to save on the cost of renovations is doing some, or a lot, of the work yourself. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can save big bucks and still get the kitchen you want.
How to get started
CR recommends looking into free or affordable design assistance at one of the major home retailers, like Home Depot, Lowe’s or Ikea, and if possible, work with someone on staff who is certified by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) or the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
Home retailers also have installers on staff, or you can use one of these websites to find and verify a contractor of your own.
New budget-friendly looks to consider
If you’re looking for some fresh new ideas for your budget-friendly kitchen remodel, Consumer Reports found some great new products that are reliable and look much more expensive than they actually are.
‘For example, porcelain-tile planks that look remarkably like wood, right down to their textured grain’ CR explains in the report. ‘They’re waterproof and have color that goes all the way through, so chipping isn’t a big concern. Lumber Liquidators’ Avella Brazilian Cherry 10039367 topped our latest tests, and at $3.60 per square foot, it’s about half the cost of many solid hardwood products.’
Choosing kitchen upgrade essentials
According to the CR report, you can get a top-rated refrigerator, range and dishwasher for about $2,500 total — even in all stainless steel. You can also get a reliable, tough faucet for only about $60 and a stainless steel sink — that’s as durable at some that cost twice as much — for less than $200.
CR recommends cabinets with ‘solid wood frames surrounding a solid wood or plywood panel’ for a stylish look, budget-friendly cost and reliability. Basic stock cabinets start around $70 per linear foot — with laminate being the least expensive, followed by stained and painted.
Another cost-effective way to add extra storage space is to use open shelving mounted on the wall.
Besides saving on cabinet costs, open shelving can also make a small kitchen look larger and roomier,” Patricia Davis Brown, a certified kitchen designer in Vero Beach, Florida, told Consumer Reports.
Counters and flooring
When looking for budget-friendly counter and flooring options, here are a few suggestions from the experts!
- Laminate countertops: Affordable and resistant to heat and stains. CR says laminate countertops from brands like Formica and Wilsonart are a great option and also have a very natural look — similar to wood and stone.
- Vinyl flooring: There are a lot of new options now available that resemble wood and natural stone — plus, CR’s tests found that vinyl flooring is also resistant to wear, scratches, sunlight damage and staining.
The experts also recommend going with a neutral color scheme when you’re doing a budget-friendly renovation.
“Consider going for the clean, livable look, with white cabinets and subway tile, and a countertop in gray or beige tones,” Suzy Opalinski, a project specialist for Lowe’s in Orlando, Florida, told Consumer Reports.
Here’s an example of the cost breakdown for a budget-friendly kitchen renovation — which you can tweak, depending on your budget.
- Labor: $1,000
- Cabinets: $3,000
- Appliances: $2,500
- Countertops: $1,000
- Floors: $1,000
- Fixtures: (faucet, sink, lighting) $1,000
- Other: (paint, accessories, etc.) $500
More ways to save on home improvements
- 10 kitchen renovations that could do more harm than good
- 13 handy smartphone apps for home improvement
- 5 lessons learned from a $5,000 kitchen renovation
- 5 low-cost kitchen upgrades that are totally worth it