Renovating your Kitchen on a Budget

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most common targets of the remodeling homeowner’s gaze. They are the most expensive rooms to do because of appliances and fixtures.

A good rule of thumb for a total kitchen renovation is stay within 10 to 12 percent of the home’s market value. Remodeling magazine said the best kitchens were those with lots of light to make the space appear larger.

With good quality materials and appliances, a kitchen should last for 20 years but your taste will probably change halfway through. Since fashion colors may change before an appliance wears out, some decorators suggest neutral colors such as white or washed aluminum.

“You can update a kitchen with new countertops or by changing cabinet doors,” said Burgin Barousse of J. Burgin Barousse Interior Design in Metairie. A coat of industrial paint on the existing cabinets can give a facelift too.

New countertops – granite and tile are popular choices – or floor covering can update a kitchen too, explore more. Barousse prefers ceramic sinks although stainless steel is easier to clean because you don’t have to worry about scratches.

Among countertops and cabinets there are major variations in price. Cabinet prices vary according to the type of material they’re made of from including high-pressure laminates to woods – oak, hickory and cherry, said Jerry Keller, manager of Singer Kitchens and Baths in the Lake Forest Plaza.

Priced at $11 a linear foot plastic laminate countertops are the most popular, Keller said. Compare Corian at about $100 per foot or granite at $150 to $175 a foot. Appliances come in a wide range of prices, but generally homeowners have been out of the appliance-buying market for so long they go through sticker shock when they start to shop around.

Installation is available but many customers hang their own cabinets with diagrams supplied by Singer, Keller said.

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