Angie’s List: Updating your kitchen

Do you want to remodel your kitchen, but can't spend tens of thousands of dollars?

There are ways to update your kitchen without breaking the bank.
While these steps aren't necessarily inexpensive, they're a whole lot cheaper than a complete renovation.

Bathroom and kitchen renovations are usually the most expensive, but there are five steps you can take that should give your kitchen a great makeover.

And chances are you'll have money left over to actually do some cooking in there.

An outdated kitchen can be a sore thumb in an otherwise beautiful home, but unfortunately, large-scale kitchen remodeling projects are also some of the most expensive.

But it is possible to economize and do yourself a favor in the long run.

"Your kitchen is the heart of your home,” said Angie Hicks of Angie’s List. “The great news is you can get a good return on your investment when you remodel your kitchen. You can see up to an 85 percent return on your investment on a good remodel job."

Among the five relatively inexpensive things you can do …

"Remodeling your kitchen can seem overwhelming, but you can do little things on a budget that can update the kitchen without breaking your wallet,” Hicks said. “Doing things like replacing the sink and the faucet, depending on the type/materials you use, you can do that for $150, or alternatively, replacing your countertops for around $500. If you reface your cabinets you can have a whole new look."

That third option, resurfacing your cabinets can still be expensive, unless you consider the alternative.

"The average kitchen cabinets out there, if you are looking at replacing them, just cabinets alone, no countertops or anything of that nature, usually around $10,000,” said Kevin Jones, a contractor. “A re-facing job could be typically $6,000-$7,000. And for us to do a color change, our average jobs run us around $3,000. You can see the drastic price difference."

Another inexpensive way to update your kitchen?

"A trick at making your kitchen appear larger is lighting,” added Hicks. “Swapping out fixture lighting for recessed or track lighting can help you highlight particular features in the kitchen. Adding lighting underneath your cabinets can make dark areas lighter and appear larger."

Finally, how about some modern conveniences?

"If you are looking to modernize your kitchen adding some simple appliances can make it seem more modern,” Hicks said. “For example, adding a trash compactor or garbage disposal are relatively inexpensive additions that can update your kitchen."

Some other common updates include adding slide-out shelves, lazy susans, drawers and new hardware.

Re-facing cabinets may still sound a little pricey for some folks, so another option is to paint or re-stain the outside of the cabinets. It is also an aesthetically pleasing idea and it won't cost as much as new cabinet doors.

Read below for more tips and visit:

Angie's List Tips: 5 Simple kitchen updates

1. Remodel kitchen cabinets and shelves: Obtaining a completely new set of cabinets can be very expensive, but homeowners can hire a kitchen remodeling contractor ( to update, not replace, shelves inexpensively. Some common updates include adding slide-out shelves, lazy susans, drawers and new hardware. Painting or refacing the outside of the cabinets is also an aesthetically pleasing idea.

2. Install a new counter top: Some home builders will charge much more than $500 for a new counter installation. However, because the installation can take place in a single day, homeowners may be able to find a contractor who will charge a reasonable rate for this upgrade. But, to keep this upgrade under $500, homeowners must choose inexpensive materials.

3. Update the faucets: A new kitchen faucet is a small addition, but it can change the look of a kitchen, making it appear more modern or refined. However, homeowners should be aware that new faucets may call for a unified look. Depending on the quality and the material, you can also purchase a new kitchen sink for less than $60.

4. Install new lighting: Lights that are too bright can give the kitchen a glaring, unfriendly look. Light that is too soft can make it hard to work. However, homeowners may want to consider installing several types of lights, including a light over the sink for dish washing, a light over the stove for cooking, and perhaps a chandelier or wall sconce for a brighter, but still soft, main light source.

5. Add a garbage disposal or trash compactor: These appliances are relatively inexpensive and can be installed by most home builders. However, they can go a long way in making a kitchen more modern and practical.

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