Chances are if you like to cook, you probably spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Your kitchen, after all, is your culinary playground — you can experiment with different combinations and churn out culinary masterpieces. However, if your kitchen is outdated or less than aesthetically pleasing, it can feel like a prison. After years in the same home, many chefs find their kitchens in need of a serious makeover. Although kitchen renovations can be very expensive, there are a number of ways to update your kitchen without breaking the bank. Here are a few easy ways to redo your kitchen on a budget.
1. Redesign Your Cabinets
After decades of the same kitchen cabinets, you may be tempted to just rip them out and install new ones. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult and costly process. It’s also rather wasteful — more often than not, people simply discard their old cabinetry, thus wasting valuable resources and releasing toxins into the environment. Many people don’t realize that treated wood is ridden with chemicals — in some instances wood is even treated with poisons like arsenic.
It’s much easier and more environmentally friendly to just revamp the cabinets you already have. A splash of paint or a new finish can do wonders for your cabinets. These days, vinyl wall stickers are also very popular. These stickers come in many designs and are often very cheap. They’re also easy to install and won’t damage the wood or paint.
2. Redo the Molding and Backsplash
If a countertop renovation isn’t in the budget, you can always revamp your backsplash. The right color and texture of backsplash can bring life to any kitchen. The backsplash is in a sizable, visually prominent area, so it’s a great space to either complement or add contrast to the rest of your kitchen. The cheapest way to revamp your backsplash is with a fresh coat of paint. After all, tile or metal can add hundreds of dollars to the price of your renovation.
However, if you must have a mosaic look, consider using recycled or repurposed materials. You can find these materials at a reduced price, or even for free. Habitat for Humanity often sells its extra materials at outlets called ReStores. There are also a number of online resources for recycled material — Craigslist, www.freecycle.org and www.sharingisgiving.org are a few good options.
4. Upgrade Certain Appliances
Appliance upgrades are often the most expensive part of a kitchen renovation. However, switching to energy efficient appliances could save you money in the long run. Look for products with an EnergyStar© seal, as these will save the most money over time. If you don’t have money to switch out all of your appliances, consider swapping out just one or two. After many years, some appliances simply won’t work the way they used to. For example, it’s probably time for a new refrigerator if your old one alternates between freezing and spoiling your food.
5. Add or Update an Island
Most serious cooks greatly benefit from an island — it’s the perfect place for preparing and displaying your culinary creations. Updating your island is usually a pretty painless process. Adding a few boards, tiles or panels in the right places can make your island look like an elegant piece of furniture.
Adding a new island also isn’t as difficult as it sounds. New islands start at around $150 and can be installed without knocking down walls, renting construction equipment, or doing other major renovations. Some islands are even portable, meaning you can move them if you want to rearrange your furniture in the future. Many chefs find islands to be the perfect combination of style and function in the kitchen.