Kitchen Face-Lifts for All Budgets

Kitchen - green cabinets

Painting or resurfacing cabinets is an affordable way to update the look of any kitchen.

Your cupboards are tired, your countertops are chipped and your appliances were purchased during the Carter administration. There’s no doubt your kitchen could use a makeover, but that won’t come cheap.

According to the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, the average upscale kitchen remodel now rings up at $107,406. Even a “mid-range” major kitchen update averages $53,931.

For those who don’t have a cool 100 grand to spend on a kitchen redo, there’s hope. Here’s how kitchen designers from across the country would breathe new life into a tired kitchen with considerably less cash.

If you have $20,000

Mark Brady, owner of Mark Brady Kitchens in Simsbury, CT, says you can stretch your budget if you plan wisely. He’d begin by painting and refacing cabinets. New lighting, including under cabinet lights, will make a big impact. A new sink, backsplash and an appliance or two can help revive a dated kitchen. Adding a kitchen island or opening a wall to another room for light and connection might also be on Brady’s to-do list.

“I’d do any of the above, but money probably wouldn’t allow it all to be done,” he said.

If you have $10,000

Jennifer Visosky, principal designer for Grace Home Design in Jackson, WY, is enthusiastic about the big design changes you can make for $10,000.

She advises focusing on a new backsplash, countertops and lighting. Cabinet faces can be painted, and interesting cabinet pulls can be purchased. Want to really shake up the look of the room? Visosky suggests hanging some wallpaper.

If you have $5,000

Amy Hart Key, business manager for Reico Kitchen and Bath in Charlottesville, VA, says $5,000 could go a long way toward updating your countertops and sink. If you’re happy with those aspects of your kitchen, she suggests updating some or all of your appliances.

If you have $1,000

A small budget, well spent, can still have a big impact.

“I recommend that you make the cabinets functional by adding rollouts to your existing cabinets,” said Robin Rigby Fisher, a certified master of kitchen and bath designer in Portland, OR. “The Container Store sells these at a very good price. You want to make the kitchen functional first.”

Fisher also suggests adding new cabinet hardware. Just be sure to measure the distance between the existing drilled holes and buy the same size replacement pulls.

Absolutely no cash to spend on a kitchen redo? Don’t despair. Brady reminds homeowners: “De-junking is free, and a good cleaning goes a long way, too.”

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Mary Boone is a freelance writer for Zillow Blog. Read more from her here.