Seven Budget-Friendly Kitchen Updates

kitchen remodelIf your kitchen needs to be updated but kitchen renovation cost just doesn’t fit in your budget, it’s possible to freshen things up a bit without breaking the bank.  These budget-friendly kitchen updates will reinvent your space for less.

Cozy it up

A bright or patterned rug will instantly give your kitchen a pop of color while also adding warmth.  Position your rug in an area where you spend a lot of time on your feet such as next to the stove, sink or refrigerator.

Freshen Your Color Scheme

A fresh coat of paint can liven things up, or improve the looks of cabinetry that’s seen better days. Try an accent wall for added color if things are a bit drab.  Just be sure to mask your baseboards off properly and put a drop cloth down to avoid stray drips of paint.

Add Some Wall Art

Wall art adds color and personality to your space.  If you’re on a budget, try picking up some art at an estate or garage sale in your neighborhood.  If you’re patient, you can find original works of art for a fraction of the cost.

Upgrade Lighting

Many kitchens look dingy because they’re insufficiently lit.  Upgrade your lighting either by installing additional fixtures or replacing old fixtures with something a little more current.

Replace Cabinet Hardware

Replacing outdated cabinet hardware can make a surprising difference in your kitchen’s overall appearance.  If you’re on a tight budget, try picking up some discount hardware on eBay.  Just be sure not to compromise quality.

Install a Tile Backsplash

A tiled backsplash adds color and personality to your kitchen, and can be installed over a weekend by handy homeowners.  Try using smaller tiles so that you don’t need to use a tile saw, which is one of the more difficult and time-consuming aspects of tiling.

Treat Your Windows

Window treatments liven things up inexpensively, and also conserve energy by preventing heat loss through bare windows.  Try curtains that fit your kitchen’s décor, or perhaps mini blinds.

Are you currently updating your kitchen on a budget?  Tell us all about your own budget-friendly kitchen updates by leaving a coment.

 

Best of Kitchen Renovation Trends 2013

Kitchen RenovationKitchen renovations are some of the most popular home improvements, and for good reason.  A full kitchen renovation creates a great space in both form and function.  The kitchen remodeling market is ever-evolving, with new kitchen renovation trends surfacing all the time.  Here are some of this year’s most popular kitchen remodeling ideas.

Stainless Steel

Up to 63% of new kitchen remodels now include stainless steel elements in the sink, stovetop, appliances and even countertops.  Stainless steel has long been a fixture in industrial kitchens, and is both attractive and functional.

Chef’s Stoves

High-end stoves are a must have for many of today’s homeowners.  Many chefs prefer gas ranges, as they provide quick, even heating.  If you’re looking to go ultra-modern, consider an induction range.  Induction ranges use a magnetic field to directly heat your pots and pans rather than simply heating the area underneath like conventional gas and electric stoves.  This allows not only for ultrafast heating, but also leaves the range cool to the touch once pans are removed, preventing burn hazards.

Let in the Light

Today’s kitchens typically have many more windows than in the past.  Efficiently designed storage space frees up more wall space for windows, allowing a more open, brighter kitchen.  If your kitchen opens directly to the outdoors, you can also opt to install glass doors to let in some light without making major renovations.

Think Green

Environmentally friendly materials have surfaced on the home renovation market, including in kitchen remodeling.  Greener options for flooring, paint, cabinetry and countertops are increasingly popular, as are more eco-friendly appliances.

Glass Backsplashes

In the past, tile backsplashes have been the norm, but glass backsplashes are now increasingly popular.  Art glass backsplashes are an excellent way to add some color and personality to your kitchen, making it a style all your own.  Glass is also easier to clean than tile, and doesn’t need to be re-grouted.

Over to You

Have you remodeled your kitchen in 2013?  If so, we’d love to hear what features you included in your kitchen remodel, and your own take on current kitchen renovation trends.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Kitchen Cabinets: Refinish, Reface or Replace?

kitchen remodelKitchen cabinets are one of the big-ticket items for kitchen renovation, but updated kitchen cabinets can go a long way towards freshening up your kitchen’s décor.  However, if your kitchen cabinets are in reasonably good shape, it’s possible to refurbish pre-existing work to freshen up your look without breaking the bank.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets and replacing hardware is relatively easy and inexpensive.  However, before you start picking out colors, be sure that your cabinets are paintable.  Solid wood, wood veneer and metal cabinets handle paint well, but laminate and melamine cabinets aren’t paintable, and refinishing these two types is best left to a professional.  Luckily for kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available for small and large jobs alike.

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re looking to do something a little more than skin deep, you can also reface kitchen cabinets.  Kitchen cabinet refacing involves either installation of a thin veneer over existing cabinet doors or alternatively replacing doors but leaving the cabinets intact.  This is a little pricier than refinishing, but may be ideal if your doors are dinged up or if you’re looking to update the woodwork itself.  Just make sure that the underlying cabinets are in good repair and that you’re satisfied with the layout before your invest in refacing kitchen cabinets.

Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

If your kitchen cabinets are in rough shape or if you’d like to change the layout of your kitchen, replacing your kitchen cabinets may be the way to go.  Stock or modular cabinets will be cheaper than custom cabinets, although some homeowners prefer custom cabinets that are tailored to their needs and to the home’s décor. Whatever your choice, be sure to purchase cabinets made of high-quality materials that will stand the test of time.

Updating your kitchen cabinets will be a huge improvement to your kitchen’s décor, and you’ll be glad you’ve done it.  The extent of the job is up to you as a homeowner; consider your budget, personal preferences and the condition of your existing kitchen cabinetry before moving forward.  Also don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional in both the planning and construction phases of your project.

 

Kitchen Space Savers

kitchen flooringOne of the major issues with kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners face is limited kitchen size.  Kitchens are required to support a multitude of tasks, and the available workspace in a compact kitchen is frequently insufficient.  Incorporate these kitchen space savers into your kitchen remodel to make the most of your space for a kitchen that is both attractive and functional.

Work Your Wall Space

If you’re working with a compact kitchen, it’s important to use your available wall space wisely.  Hooks and racks provide extra storage without compromising valuable floor or counter space.

Knife blocks suck up a lot of space on countertops, so consider installing a magnetic wall mounted knife rack above your workspace.  Just be sure to install the rack in a place that children will be unable to reach.  You can also store other goods, such as pots, pans and utensils on hooks or racks.

Rethink Your Faucet

If you have a smaller sink, and articulated faucet can be an excellent kitchen space saver.  Articulated faucets can be folded out of the way until they’re needed, so increase your available space.  If an articulated faucet isn’t for you, select a faucet that is taller than it is deep, and in which the knobs and sprayer incorporated into the main console.  Some faucets can be wall-mounted, which saves even more space.

Make the Most of Corners

Corner space is often underused, as corner drawers and cabinets can be difficult to access.  To get better use out of your corners, install a lazy susan.  You can also install specially designed corner stack drawers.

Downsize Appliances

If you generally have a light cooking load, downsizing your appliances can free up a lot of storage and countertop space.  If you don’t often cook for a crowd, a smaller stove, oven or dishwasher may meet your needs without sucking up space.  Also be sure to install a built-in microwave, as a freestanding microwave takes up a lot of counter space.

Reconsider Trendy Extras

Today’s kitchen renovation market offers a lot of extra features that are both practical and attractive, such as pot filling faucets, kitchen islands and appliance garages.  However, if your kitchen space is limited, install these sorts of luxury features sparingly and after careful consideration.  An experienced kitchen renovation contractor can help you identify which features will truly add value to your kitchen, and install them strategically such that they take up minimal space.

If you’re currently involved in a compact kitchen remodel of your own, we’d love to hear your own kitchen space savers.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Kitchen Sink Selection

kitchen remodelGourmet kitchens are gaining increasing popularity, and today’s homeowners are seeking kitchen designs that are both stylish and functional.  There are a plethora of kitchen sinks available today, and the sheer number of options can be overwhelming.  Here’s a rundown of the most popular kitchen sink options with the pros and cons for each.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel sinks are both durable and affordable, so are a great way to cut your kitchen renovation cost.  Stainless steel sinks are also easy to maintain and clean, and come in a variety of finishes to best fit your kitchen’s design.  However, because stainless steel sinks are made of a thin sheet of steel, they can be somewhat noisy as dishes and other objects brush against the side.  Additionally, they may develop fine scratches with repeated use, and although there are a variety of finishes, the color will still be silver.

Enamel Sinks

Enamel kitchen sinks, which consist of either stainless steel or cast iron with an enameled finish, come in many colors, and are also affordable.  This could be a good way to customize your kitchen remodel without going over budget.  Enameled cast iron, while heavier, may also be more durable, so is the preferable choice so long as your countertop can support its weight.  However, both kinds of enamel sinks are prone to chipping and scratching, so should be used with care.

Composite Sinks

Composite sinks are made of either acrylic or fiberglass, and provide a sleek, shiny look.  They are moderately priced, and will cost a little more than stainless steel or enamel, but are cheaper than composite granite or integrated sinks.  However, composite sinks are prone to scratches from improper cleaning or knife usage on the sink’s border.  Because of their low tolerance for wear and tear, composite sinks may not be the best choice for diligent cooks.

Stone Composite Sinks

Stone composite sinks are comprised of either granite or quartz and acrylic.  Because they are part stone, they are more durable than standard composite sinks.  They will not chip or scratch with dropped pots and pans, although harsh abrasive cleaning can still leave scuff marks.

Integrated Sinks

Integrated sinks are manufactured along with the countertop, similar to most bathroom sinks.  Integrated sinks create a smooth, seamless look, and spills can be swept directly into the sinks.  However, integrated sinks aren’t available in all of the media described above, and are typically either composite or stainless steel.

Ultimately, your kitchen sink selection will depend upon your home’s décor, your projected wear and tear level of your kitchen and your budget.  A reputable home renovation professional can help guide your decision, and can also ensure that your new sink is properly installed.  For kitchen renovation Toronto-area homeowners have many well-qualified contractors available.

Are you currently remodeling your kitchen or looking to replace your kitchen sink?  If so we’d love to hear your own thoughts.  What kind of sink did you ultimately select, and what impacted your decision?  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Three Common Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

kitchen flooringIf you’re considering a kitchen remodel, you may be somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the task, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with home renovation in general.  Because there are so many aspects of kitchen renovation to consider, it’s easy to overlook these important things.  With proper planning, you can avoid these first-timer mistakes and keep things running smoothly with your kitchen renovation.

Losing Perspective of the Big Picture

As you’re planning your project, it’s easy to hone in on the aspects you’d most like to improve (i.e. outdated appliances or unattractive countertops) and lose perspective on the big picture.  This can result in a lopsided remodel that doesn’t maximize your kitchen’s usability and aesthetic appeal.  To keep things in perspective, consider your lifestyle objectives before selecting specific design elements.  This can help you choose kitchen features that meet your practical needs and are within budget.

Over-Emphasizing Fads

If you center your kitchen remodel design exclusively around current design trends, you can end up with a kitchen that is impractical, expensive and quickly becomes outdated.  While fresh ideas can create an innovative design, springing for every design trend can compromise your kitchen renovation.  Keep in mind that a kitchen renovation is supposed to last for 12-15 years, and that many design fads are impractical and will quickly become dated.

Contractor Selection

At the outset of your project, it’s tempting to cut costs by doing most aspects of the job yourself or hiring the cheapest available contractor.  In reality, not hiring competent professionals can increase the cost of your remodel, as you’ll be forced to redo improper or inadequate work.  A skilled professional can also help you to set a reasonable budget and stay on task in your remodel.  Further, an experienced kitchen designer can help you make well-informed cost saving decisions so that you can decrease expenses without compromising quality.

Although kitchen remodeling can be overwhelming, careful planning with competent professionals makes the task manageable.  If you’re currently involved in your own kitchen remodel, we’d love to hear about what stumbling blocks you may have encountered and how you would recommend other homeowners avoid them.  Leave us your insight in the comments section.

Kitchen Flooring

kitchen flooringKitchen flooring is an important component of any kitchen renovation.  The sheer variety can be daunting, as can the task of choosing a flooring that meets your practical needs, coordinates with your home’s décor and is within your budget.

This guide provides a quick description of several options. Our list includes some of the more classic tried-and-true options, but also some of the trendier, edgier media available on the modern market.

Tile Kitchen Flooring

Tiled kitchen floors are a classic, and are both elegant and durable.  There are a wide variety of colors, materials and textures to choose from on the modern market, and you’re sure to find the perfect match regardless of your décor.  However, tile is also pricier than some other options, and the grout requires regular maintenance to prevent staining.

Brick Kitchen Flooring

If you’re after the feel and durability of tile but prefer something a little off the beaten path, brick kitchen floors might be for you.  Brick pavers are thin tiles made of real clay that have the appearance of aged brick, but are still easy to install and maintain, much like traditional tile.  However, they’re comparable in price to regular tiles, and grout maintenance is also a must.

Rubber Kitchen Flooring

Commercial-grade features are a current kitchen design trend, as they lend a sleek modern look and are also very practical.  Rubber flooring is durable, easy to clean and also ergonomic.  Additionally, it comes in a huge variety of colors and designs, and can even be customized.

Linoleum Kitchen Flooring

Linoleum is a classic, and for good reason.  It’s virtually maintenance-free, comes in countless designs and is very durable.  It’s also one of the more cost-effective options available.

Stained Concrete

Most kitchens have a layer of concrete under existing kitchen flooring.  This subflooring can actually be sanded, stained and sealed to produce an attractive and durable flooring.  It’s arguably the most economical option, and can easily be installed by handy homeowners.

Are you currently involved in your own kitchen renovation?  If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on kitchen flooring.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Kitchen Countertop Options

kitchen remodelWhether you’re doing a full-fledged kitchen remodel or just a simple partial kitchen renovation, the countertops are an important part of your design.  There are many potential kitchen countertop options, and the number of choices can be daunting.  Here’s a rundown of several popular options with some of the pros and cons for each material.

Granite

Granite’s beautiful mottling and earthy tones are elegant and make each slab unique.  Granite countertops are also very durable, and resistant to everyday wear-and-tear.  However, granite is one of the more expensive kitchen countertop options, and will also need to be resealed periodically.

Solid Surfacing or Corian

Solid surfacing is principally made of acrylic and polyester.  It was originally marketed as Corian, so is sometimes generically referred to as such. Solid surfacing can be more susceptible to knife marks, scrapes and burns than some other options, but these blemishes can also be sanded out.  However, solid surfacing is synthetic so can have an artificial feel, but is still fairly pricey, so some homeowners steer clear of it for these reasons.

Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile offer many options for color and design, and are more modestly priced than some options.  It’s also very durable, and any chipped tiles can easily be replaced individually.  However, unsealed grout is susceptible to staining and bacterial growth, and the uneven surface can make it difficult to balance a cutting board or use a rolling pin.

Laminate

Laminate consists of a paper/resin blend fused to particleboard .  It is one of the most popular countertop options, and comes in many designs and colors.  Laminate is  inexpensive, so if kitchen renovation cost is a concern, this could be a good option.  It’s also extremely low maintenance.  However, laminate is also more prone to scratching than some other options, and can warp if it isn’t properly installed.

Ultimately, the right choice for your kitchen depends upon your practical needs, décor, budget and personal taste.  If you’re a little overwhelmed or need help with the installation, seek the help of an experienced kitchen renovation contractor.  For kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners have many well-qualified professionals available.

If you’re currently in the market for new kitchen countertops or are the proud owner of a newly remodeled kitchen, we’d love to hear your thoughts on kitchen countertops or other kitchen remodeling ideas in the comment section.

Luxury Kitchen Remodeling

kitchen remodelA stylish kitchen is a great way to increase your home’s value, and is perfect if you love to cook or entertain frequently.  These kitchen remodeling ideas for luxury features can help you to create the modern luxury kitchen of your dreams that’s pure perfection in both form and function.

Kitchen Island or Peninsula

If you have ample kitchen space, a kitchen island or peninsula creates an attractive upgrade that increases counter space and lends a more sophisticated, modern look.  The design of your kitchen island will depend upon your potential uses for it.  For a great look and added convenience, consider moving your cooktop to your island or potentially adding a sink.

Integrated Appliances

Integrated kitchen appliances create a trim and elegant look by concealing kitchen appliances to make them appear to be part of the cabinetry.  To accomplish this, appliances are fronted with doors that look like the rest of the cabinetry and are fitted with matching door pulls.  Integrated appliances are a big design, and are well worth the price if you’re after a contemporary luxury look.

In-Kitchen Wine Cooler

A wine cooler keeps your valuable wines at the perfect temperature for optimal aging.  An in-kitchen wine cooler keeps all of your wine right where you need it, and also creates a sumptuous, modern feel.

Premium Cabinetry

 Most full-scale kitchen remodels include replacing the current cabinetry.  However, there are many luxury cabinetry options to add something special to your luxury kitchen renovation.  A simple, elegant solid wood cabinet design is timeless, and is an excellent long-term investment.  Glass cabinetry is currently a design trend, so can lend a contemporary look.

Are your currently remodeling your kitchen, or planning a remodel in the near future?  If so, we’d love to hear about your own luxury dream kitchen.  Tell us all about it in the comment section.

Budget Kitchen Renovations

kitchen remodelRemodeling your kitchen can significantly improve your home’s overall ambiance and increase its resale value.  However, kitchen renovation cost is also fairly high, and is a substantial investment.

 You can stay within a realistic budget by prioritizing the aspects of your kitchen you’d most like to improve while leaving other features unchanged or simply repairing them when necessary.  You can also save a substantial amount of money on labor costs by doing at least some of your kitchen renovation by yourself.  These budget kitchen renovations suggestions can score you the kitchen of your dreams while staying within a realistic budget.

 Identify Your Priorities

 If you’re remodeling on a budget, take practical matters into account first.  Consider which features of your kitchen are in poor repair or otherwise difficult to use, and make replacing or repairing these features a priority.

Once you’ve taken care of the essentials, think of which aesthetic aspects you’d most like to improve, and select reasonably priced replacements or improvements.   Changing wall treatments and cabinet colors can dramatically freshen your kitchen’s look but is inexpensive.

 Select Inexpensive Materials

 When selecting new countertops, appliances and plumbing fixtures, opt for items that are pre-manufactured and in stock.  Unusual colors or other custom designs are substantially more expensive, so more generic options can help cut costs.  However, be sure not to compromise quality, as replacing easily broken cheap parts is typically more expensive than doing things right the first time.

 Contractor Selection

 If you’re planning a full kitchen renovation, you will likely need to hire a professional contractor for at least some aspects of your job.  It’s not advisable to simply select the lowest possible bidder, as this often compromises the quality of workmanship.  However, shopping around and finding a competitively priced but well-qualified contractor can save a lot of money.

Ask several local contractors for quotes, and mention in the consultation that you’re looking to stay on budget.  A competent kitchen renovation professional can help you determine your priorities and develop a kitchen remodeling plan that meets your needs but stays within a realistic budge.  Fortunately for kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners have many such contractors available.

If you’re currently planning or are engaged in a budget kitchen renovation, we’d love to hear all about your money-saving tips.  Tell us all about how you stayed on budget in the comments section.