When it is time to remodel or renovate your kitchen, the extent of the project will depend on at least two elements—the amount of your budget and the desired result or goal. The budget will naturally be the prime consideration and everything else must fit into that framework. Decide if the purpose for renovating the kitchen is to improve function or for aesthetics or both. If working within a smaller budget and all your custom kitchen ideas cannot be implemented, consider the Eco-friendly way of kitchen refurbishing for some parts rather than replacement.
Planning to completely renew the entire kitchen can become quite costly. If money is not a consideration, then you will be limited only by your imagination. However, since most people fall between just a bit of paint and a completely new kitchen, many options are available for a new look and function without breaking the budget.
If you are happy with the layout of your present kitchen, for instance, and existing plumbing and wiring can be used, that is a budget friendly option. Renovations start getting very expensive when you have to move plumbing and electrical, trust me on this one. Plumbing and electrical relocation are best handled by the licensed professionals.
Generally the sections of the kitchen that need improvement or replacement fall into five categories which are:
- Kitchen cabinets
- Major appliances
Start by taking a complete assessment of the kitchen to determine which part will need the most updating The next step is to contact home improvement stores or contractors for itemized estimates for the separate categories. Once the desired changes and the budget amount is decided, it is time to make choices within each category.
Changing your cabinets makes a dramatic difference in the appearance of a kitchen and there are several choices available. Replacing the cabinets entirely is the most expensive choice but may not be necessary depending on the portion of the budget that is allotted to the cabinets. If the present cabinets are sturdy and of good quality, the more economical choice is refinishing. Unless you are very good at furniture refinishing, this is better left to professionals. When the cabinets are stripped, sanded, stained or painted and new hardware is in place, no one will know they are the same cabinets. Or you can just reface the cabinets, which means leaving the basic structure of the cabinets in place and only replacing the cabinet doors and hardware, sometimes just updating the hardware is enough to give the cabinets an updated look.
The choice to replace all major appliances will depend on how old they are and how well they function. If your dream custom kitchen ideas include a must-have smooth-top range with a convection oven and touch controls, then make it a priority to fit this appliance into the budget. Newer appliances are more cost effective to run because of the new energy saving standards and in the long run help pay for themselves and put less strain on the environment. If all large appliances cannot be replaced, there is a good chance of matching the finish of the stove or other item you want to your existing ones. Make sure your new appliances are energy star rated. You might be able to claim some sort of rebate for these types of appliances. But regardless, they will save you money. I purchased my new kitchen appliances as a package deal and was able to get an extra 5% off.
If countertops are worn and dated, nothing else you do in the kitchen will matter much in making the room attractive. However, replacing countertops is very expensive even with choosing the least costly material. Another option is refinishing, which has grown very popular recently thanks to new technology. It is an especially good option in older homes with large counters or odd angles. The process involves covering the existing counter with a hard, durable acrylic coating that is beautiful and easy to clean.
Another option is laying a very thin layer of granite or some other type of stone over the existing countertop. It is another Eco-friendly idea since the original countertop will not have to be disposed of and acts as a base for the new countertop. If you tend to make a mess in the kitchen like I do, I found that a free flowing pattern in my granite works best for me. I had a solid color laminate countertop previously and you could see every little stain or crumbs that didn’t quite get wiped off the counter.
New lighting can make a great difference in the ambiance and appearance of any room, including the kitchen. Good lighting is an important safety measure as well. Adding task lighting in the areas most used for food preparation and other jobs is inexpensive and well worth including. I had recessed lighting installed in my kitchen and put on a dimmer switch. Once I’m done in the kitchen for the evening, I dim the lights and my kitchen looks beautiful . I have pendant lighting over my sink and bar area. What is really nice is that I can change out the pendant lights without having to change the entire fixture. That way I can update my color scheme whenever I choose (budget permitting of course) .
Eco Friendly Ideas in Flooring
When premium hardwood flooring is not in the budget, consider materials such as luxury vinyl or laminate. These durable substances capture a realistic look of ceramic, natural stone or plank flooring and offer many choices in colors and patterns. The current luxury vinyl and laminate are not the same as even 5 years ago. Some of the new options are just beautiful and don’t even look like vinyl.
If you are concerned about the environment, Eco-friendly ideas in flooring include bamboo or cork. They are both renewable resources and their beauty and durability will make a lovely finish to your kitchen refurbishing project. They are both non-toxic and pest and mold resistant. You will proudly show off your beautiful new kitchen and your part in protecting the planet as well.