Remodeling Your Kitchen on the Cheap: Fresh, Affordable Ideas

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While it used to be a simple place where mom cooked the family meals, today’s kitchen is turning into a multipurpose room for the whole family. Remodeling trends include opening up the kitchen to other living areas, upgrading to more efficient appliances, and adding storage and multiple workstations where guests and family members can socialize and interact. No longer just a place for cooking, the kitchen is becoming the center of the American home.
While it used to be a simple place where mom cooked the family meals, today’s kitchen is turning into a multipurpose room for the whole family. Remodeling trends include opening up the kitchen to other living areas, upgrading to more efficient appliances, and adding storage and multiple workstations where guests and family members can socialize and interact. No longer just a place for cooking, the kitchen is becoming the center of the American home.

“The kitchen is really the heart of the home now. It’s a gathering place. The things that people used to do in the family room gets done in other places now but everyone has to eat,” said Sean Ruck, a spokesperson for the National Kitchen and Bath Association (http://www.nkba.org).

Remodeling a kitchen is one of the most popular ways of upgrading a home. Projects can vary from an inexpensive do-it-yourself weekend to a total gut-and-rebuild that can run well into the tens of thousands of dollars. Ruck says that many do-it-yourselfers with a minimal budget can start by simply painting the walls and cabinets and replacing hardware like exposed hinges and drawer pulls. Floors, moldings and baseboards can also be replace and updated for a new look.

Bigger remodels involve the cabinetry which is the most important element of a kitchen. Because the cabinets must be built around the appliances, experts recommend starting by carefully considering what size and kind of appliances you’ll really need. Many people spend tens of thousands of dollars remodeling their kitchens with spectacular appliances then never use them. After all, there’s little need for someone to get a $2,500 industrial strength stove when the majority of their diet is comprised of take-out and frozen food.

Simon Coltman (http://www.kitchensatlanta.com), a designer from Atlanta, Ga., says that as people grow more health conscious, the typical American kitchen will likely change. Those who opt for fresher foods and from-scratch cooking will utilize less freezer and refrigerator space. Contrary to some designers, Coltman sees a trend of kitchens becoming more compact and efficient.

“I really think about food, health and lifestyle when I design a kitchen and I know a lot of designers just want to do lavish backsplashes and fancy moldings. I believe the future of American kitchens will be about health living,” said Coltman.

Joanne Cannell (http://kitchendesignbyjoanne.com), a San Francisco-based kitchen designer, also noted that people are looking for more “green” energy efficient appliances and materials. New and unique countertops such as those made of wood, granite or black tile are also becoming popular. Some larger homeowners are also adding small televisions and workstations in the immediate vicinity of the kitchen.

In any kitchen remodel that involves cabinetry or the relocation of appliances, efficiency and safety should always be taken into consideration. Appliances should be placed in a kitchen in a fashion that allows for ease of use in the order of routines. Dishwashers should be fairly close to sinks while stoves and ovens should be within a distance or across from the refrigerator. If gutting the walls and doing a total remodel, the placement of electrical outlets is critical. Cabinetry is the most expensive part of a kitchen and can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Roger Mattice, president and owner of Urban Designer Kitchens (http://www.urbandesignerkitchens.com) in Houston, Texas, says that it is also the most important element of the room because it’s the first thing that someone sees.

“Homeowners should always start off with the appliances they want because everything in the room needs to be built around that, particularly the cabinetry,” said Mattice. “The primary motivation is that the kitchen has just gone out of style. It’s now a primary gathering point and people just want it to look as nice and up-to-date as possible.”

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