January 17, 2021


A down-to-the-studs kitchen renovation can run well into five figures, so it is important to keep costs down and get your money’s worth. Here is my advice for getting the most bang for your buck by avoiding these common mistakes . . .

MISTAKE 1: Shopping before budgeting. People who start exploring kitchen renovation ideas without first ailing down how much they can spend often wind up with a dream kitchen – at a price they cannot afford.
Better: Decide on your budget before going into a showroom. Then, for each kitchen component – countertop . . . appliances . . . lighting fixtures . . . flooring . . . cabinets . . . select a ‘top choice’ and a corresponding “I could live with that” alternative. Ask yourself which one truly justifies the cost.

MISTAKE 2: Making everything built-in. We forfeit a portion of the money we invest in renovation each time we move. Buyers will pay extra for a home with a renovated kitchen, but usually not enough extra to fully compensate for the money we put in.
Better: spend as much of your renovation budget as possible on components that you could later take with you to a new home. Rather than install a kitchen island, purchase an attractive table that can serve the same purpose. Rather than invest thousands in high-end cabinetry to hold your dishes and cookware, invest in top-quality cookware and beautiful dishes that you will have for years.

MISTAKE 3: Attempting a full renovation on a limited budget. If a tight budget means that you cannot have the new kitchen you want, you may not be satisfied with the ‘cheaper’ result and want to renovate again in a few years.
Better: If your budget is limited invest your money in one, two or three new kitchen components that you truly love. Install new lighting . . . update the appliances . . . or refinish existing cabinets and add new knobs and drawer pulls. Make sure the new components have a place in your dream kitchen so that investment fits a more complex renovation later on.

MISTAKE 4: Installing an island sink. It has become common to install a small sink in a new kitchen island as a supplement to the room’s main sink.
Better: Don’t bother. Plumbing in an extra sink is likely to add $1,000 or more to your renovation bill and detract from the counter space of the island.

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