Three Ways to Save on Your Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen renovations are not inexpensive.

Remodeling reports that the average cost of updating a 200-square-foot kitchen includes semi-custom wooden cabinets and standard appliances. On average, adding luxuries such a stone countertop, a built-in fridge, a commercial-grade stovetop, designer faucets, top-of-the line custom cabinets, and a built-in dishwasher can increase the cost to around $123,000.

But there’s another way. You don’t have to spend a fortune on remodeling your old kitchen. Here are some tips from designers.

REFACE CABINETS Cabinet fronts made from material cannot be painted or stained can be refaced. Refacing is also called resurfacing. It involves keeping the existing cabinet frame and replacing all doors and drawer fronts with newer versions. Carolyn DiCarlo, an NYC-based designer, used this approach last year when she was renovating a loft in Brooklyn’s Dumbo area. “We noticed that the kitchen looked a little tired in comparison to the renovated area of the loft.” She explained. Instead of ripping out and installing new cabinets, Ms. DiCarlo replaced the cabinet fronts with recessed-panel doors lacquered in white.

She also added rollout shelving and a new rangehood. Ms. DiCarlo stated that the center open wall was painted charcoal gray. To add depth and contrast, she also installed Boffi linear pendants on the island. This transformed the kitchen’s tone. According to her estimates, all new cabinets would cost approximately $22,000. But, the cost to reface them was only $2,500. The abbreviated renovation of the kitchen included new interior components and Boffi pendants. It cost $10,800.

OPT TO OPEN SHELVES When your cabinets are too damaged to reface, open shelves will lower the cost for upper cabinetry. Liz Tiesi, owner of Threshold Interiors, stated that open shelving will help reduce the cost. She said that open shelving is cheaper than buying a whole cabinet box. This eliminates the need of hardware, which can add up.

Particleboard can be used to reduce cabinetry costs. Mina Fies is a Reston-based designer who created the Renovation Roadmap. This website helps homeowners stay on schedule and in budget by helping them work with contractors. Ms. Fies says plywood should not be used underneath the sink to prevent a leak, but she recommends using particleboard for the top and perimeter cabinets boxes. Ms. Fies stated that you can still use maple, cherry and hickory as the door frame. She also noted that this method helped her cut cabinet costs by $1420 in a 17-by-15 foot kitchen remodel.

DEMOLITION YOU CAN DO “It can easily be done over a weekend with friends or spouse,” Ms. Tiesi said. She converted a former office in TriBeCa into four-bedroom apartment and also recently demolished a Brooklyn kitchen with the assistance of her husband, brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Start by switching off your water, gas, and circuit breakers. Ms. Tiesi suggested that plumbing fixtures and appliances be removed first. Next, cabinets, backsplash, counters and countertops should be removed.

“It really doesn’t take any precision; it just takes you not to hurt yourself,” she stated. To dispose of any loose items, have black contractor bags on hand. I will take larger items outside and prepare for garbage collection, if necessary.” You can also contact your local Habitat or other non-profit home improvement stores to have used appliances removed in good condition. Ms. Tiesi explained that they can be written off and there is no need to worry about getting rid of them.

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