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Kitchen Remodel Made Affordable: Kitchen Makeover Under $20k

A kitchen is one of the most essential rooms in any home. The importance stems from both an emotional and fiscal perspective. In fact, according to data collected by experts, one of the main factors that determines the resale value of your home is the current condition of your kitchen. Although a kitchen remodel isn’t always affordable,  an updated kitchen fetches a higher price tag than an outdated one. It also fetches a higher ROI than other updated rooms in the house.

But let’s leave market value aside for a minute. Don’t you want to have a comfortable kitchen in your house? Something you feel pleasure working in?  I mean, given that you are reading this article — it’s a fair assumption to make that your kitchen hasn’t been updated in years. And I definitely relate to the anxiety that accompanies looking at prices of all the things online. Despite your willingness to get a remodel, money might be what’s stopping you. And believe you me, I understand.

Kitchen remodeling projects aren’t exactly budget-friendly for many. The average cost of a kitchen remodel in the United States is roughly $50,000, for instance. Not all projects have to cost that much, though.  If you focus on cost-cutting while preserving durability, you can get it done within $20k and even lower in some cases. You have to understand exactly what to spend on and what not to spend on, for starters. 


Where Will Your Money Go?

Before you embark on your remodeling journey, there are some things you need to consider. Firstly, you need to understand how and where your money is utilized. For instance, what do you think is the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel?  You have 3 seconds to answer.


Did anyone say cabinets? If not, then you are not alone. Most people assume that appliances make up a considerable chunk of the remodeling budget. Whereas it’s actually the cabinetry that costs the most. A total cabinet upheaval can cost you around $20,000 alone. Tiling and plumbing are not too far off in this race either. 

The idea is: As long as you just resurface these, you should be able to reduce your costs by a huge margin. We illustrate the strategies below.


 How To Make Kitchen updates affordable


1. Shop Appliances Online

If your kitchen has outdated appliances and you want to replace them, there are several ways to approach this situation.

While a brand new, double-door steel refrigerator is tempting, you may want to reconsider. Brand new appliances only drive up your remodeling costs. You can shop for slightly used appliances instead.

What if you need to buy new appliances, though? In that case, you can consider buying those online. Online platforms like Amazon sell appliances that come with a warranty, and you will get a good deal as well.


2. Buy Scrap Countertops

Countertops. You’ve seen the hype on national television, and you’ve fallen for it as well.

Why not? Granite countertops are stunning (and expensive). Most countertop materials like soapstone, marble, quartz, etc. fall in the same price range. How? The labor and installation tend to round up the cost with a minor difference.

But there’s a way. If you want to cut costs while choosing a granite countertop, you can do so. Scrap or slightly imperfect granite slabs sell for much lower than ‘perfect’ slabs. In most cases, you can hardly tell the difference. You cannot cut costs with labor as you will need a professional to install the countertop, though. Your only option here is to look for a more budget-friendly alternative.


3. Buy Stock Cabinets/Resurface Cabinetry

As mentioned earlier, cabinets are the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel. However, they don’t have to be. While high-end cabinetry can cost a ton, you do not have to opt for that. Basic stock cabinetry can do the job as well.

What’s the price difference, you ask? High-end cabinets can end up costing you around $10,000 to $20,000 while stock cabinetry is in the low thousands.

Another alternative is to simply paint the cabinet doors yourself and replace the hardware if needed. We don’t recommend doing this, however, if your cabinetry is chipping.


4. Refurbish Your Fixtures

One of the main factors that drives remodeling costs up is installing brand new fixtures. If you want to remodel your kitchen under $20K, you need to consider refurbishing instead of replacing it.

Unless thoroughly damaged, every fixture is renewable with ease. Fixtures like your kitchen sink can be expensive to replace, but an old sink, when renewed, will give the same output at a fraction of the cost. Simply repaint those and you are done.


5. Do The Labor Of Love

Labor costs account for quite a bit when it comes to remodeling a kitchen. Your kitchen has a lot of complex areas like plumbing, cabinet and countertop installation, etc. that need a professional touch to get the work done. These are the areas where even master DIYers dare not venture. 

But there’s a lot you can DIY too. You can work on some projects on your own and add in the sweat equity. Painting projects like cabinet repainting or painting your kitchen walls are easy to execute on your own without the help of professional painters, for instance.  

You can also fix hardware like doorknobs, cabinet handles, etc. by yourself. By taking on some small projects, you can save some precious dollars and stick to your $20K goal.


How To Approach A Remodeling Project

Sticking to your budget is crucial. To get things going, you will receive bids from various contractors. These bids outline multiple tasks and the costs associated with them. You need to look at the jobs and figure out the ones that you can do on your own, e.g.painting the walls/cabinets, and take them off the list to get a final number. After approaching various contractors and deciding on the one, you’re going to be cooking in your new kitchen in no time. 

There are many areas where you can cut costs, but there is one where you shouldn’t compromise at all. Your budget should have room to tender the services of an experienced contractor. A contractor that offers a lower than market bid can end up being costly in the long run. If a contractor is providing a quote that’s significantly lower than others, then it is too good to be true. They probably lack the required licenses and permits for the job. Stick to someone that seems both reasonable and reliable.

Read: Choosing a Reliable Remodeling Contractor


The Bottom Line

Kitchen remodeling is an investment that yields significant returns. The cost of remodeling your kitchen will depend on your location, the contractor, retailer, and various factors. However, if you follow the tips mentioned above, you will get your kitchen remodeled in or around $20K without any hassles.