You see it all the time on TV. People spend outrageous amounts of money to get new kitchens. You can get a new kitchen for a lot less money than your TV would lead you to believe.
I once owned a lovely Cape Cod house with an 80’s style melamine and oak strip kitchen. When we decided to sell to start a new business, potential buyers all hated that kitchen. We didn’t get a single offer. We had no choice but to take the house off the market and fix the kitchen. If you think you might need to resell an attractive kitchen is important. But more importantly it’s nice for any homeowner to have a kitchen they love.
We asked the pros what it would cost to reface our kitchen. They estimated it would cost $20,000 to $30,000. And hiring “pros is not without risk. They may or may not do an adequate job. We did our first DIY attempts because of bad experiences with “experts” who didn’t deliver.
So we decided to do it ourselves…again.
We did it for $1,200.
Yes we saved at least $18,800 bucks, maybe more.
You can do it, too. Here’s how.
Do it one step at a time.
1. Your first step involves making decisions about the layout of your kitchen. If it is reasonably functional keep the sinks and appliances in their current positions. We did not move anything in our kitchen and saved lots of money.
2. Next keep your cabinet boxes if possible. This is a “green” issue as well as a price issue. Cabinets cost a lot of money and should never end up in a landfill. If you do not plan to reuse your cabinets at least donate them to a local charity like Habitat for Humanity or Good Will.
3. Check out home stores for good buys in cabinetry or rejects from manufacturers and cabinetmakers.
4. You can keep the boxes and just get new doors for a new look without some of the cost. I had a cabinetmaker make me paneled doors out of MDF and spray painted them cream. They did wonders for my kitchen and made my house sellable at the same time.
5. Make sure the style of your kitchen matches the exterior style of your house. This is important. My house did not sell because the house was very traditional and the kitchen was 80’s modern. People who liked the house hated that kitchen. The house did not sell because of it.
6. Check out appliances that have a few dents or are lightly used. You can find good serviceable things if you can’t afford new and perfect. Also look for in stock appliances that are on sale. Stores that keep inventory sometimes have sales. Paying cash might give you an edge for bargaining for better prices, too. Sometimes the only barrier between you and a better price is just asking. Have the gall to ask.
7. Consider using lower cost options for counter tops and floors. Butcher block or bamboo is way cheaper than granite and beautiful and functional. Ceramic tile is both functional and attractive and a good value, too. I’m going for solid surface with recycled glass for my next trick.
8. Look for used furniture that can be incorporated into your kitchen. An old buffet might make a great island. An old armoire could be a pantry. Get creative. You might get a really unique, furniture style kitchen for a lot less money.
9. Don’t demolish the old until you have the new on site. Your job will go a lot faster. Keep your old kitchen until you have everything you need to make the new one. We installed our whole new kitchen in one weekend (2 days).
10. Meet code. Building codes exist to make buildings safe. You can download this data from your local government.
All our work was worth it. When we put our house up for sale again we advertised it in the local paper one weekend. It sold to the first lookers for the asking price and without a realtor.
We are making plans to put a “new” kitchen into our current home reusing the existing cabinets, replacing worn out appliances and moving the kitchen to another location in the house. It will not cost a lot of money. I’m too cheap to pay the pros and I’m not changing.