Kitchen renovation is the most expensive common home improvement project, with the average clocking in at over 20 grand. Yet some people manage it for well under $10,000, some even down into the mid-four-figure range. How do they do it? Here’s your guide to renovating a kitchen cheaply, to save big money while making your home a more comfortable place to live, and a more attractive place to buy.
1: Avoid Opening Up Walls
Any time you have to open up walls, the cost skyrockets by thousands and thousands of dollars. Fortunately, most homes are built with a reasonably good setup of the work triangle (fridge – sink – stove), so relocating appliances—a project that almost always involves tearing walls apart completely, as well as plumbing and electrical modifications—is rarely a necessity. Sure, a new layout might be nice, but if money is an issue, leave the appliances where they are.
Other common reasons to demolish walls include moving them to create a bigger space, and changing the size and/or layout of windows. If you can live with the size and natural light of your kitchen at all, we recommend against either of these. You’d be surprised how much of a difference you can make in the look and feel of a kitchen without any of these major modifications.
2: DIY What You Can—But Be Honest With Yourself
Obviously the more of your kitchen renovation you can do yourself on nights and weekends, the more money you save. This is another area where the savings can add up into the five-figure range! However, you need to be honest with yourself.
Many homeowners, especially those with DIY experience or work experience in similar fields, are completely capable of doing the whole kitchen makeover themselves, but not all are. If you’re unsure of your ability to hang wall cabinets, or carry in a heavy stone countertop and position it without breaking it, consult with a qualified contractor right from the start, to be sure they’ll be willing to step in when and where you find yourself in over your head.
3: Use RTA Cabinetry
Of course, we do have motivation to say that. But RTA kitchen cabinets (short for ready-to-assemble) really are another great way to save money on your kitchen remodel. We build our cabinets in all the latest styles, and to the same specifications as the top fully-assembled retail brands. That includes furniture-grade, warp-resistant plywood for structural elements, real hardwood doors and drawer fronts, dovetail drawer boxes on many models, and all the latest accessories, bells, and whistles.
So why can we come in at a price tag that’s often 50% – 70% less expensive than retail? Well, two reasons, mainly. For one thing, fully-assembled cabinets mean paying workers to assemble them, which means charging you for that labor, plus markups. Our cabinets use advanced cam-lock assembly techniques, and require nothing more than a screwdriver and optional wood glue to get the same durable and stylish results, so why pay factory workers to do what you can do in an hour or two by yourself?
And, since they ship disassembled, in compact, sturdy boxes, you aren’t paying someone to ship a bunch of air! Not only that, the chance of breakage, or of more subtle damage that lessens cabinet durability, during shipping, when it comes to fully-assembled cabinets … well, let’s just say it’s not what we’d call a great idea. Use RTA. Save money!