From Dean Dowd on June 25, 2009 in Kitchen Remodel
As a mother, I can tell you, most of my time is spent in the kitchen—especially on weekends and holidays. When we built our home I had one rule for the kitchen—I get the final say on EVERYTHING. Our kitchen was not cheap, but there are ways to remodel a kitchen with a tight budget, especially if youre handy enough to be able to do some of the work yourself. Photo Credit: iLoveButter So, lets break this down, one step at a time, and Ill show you how you can transform a 10x 10 kitchen with $5,000 and come out with something beautiful, functional, and easy to spend time in.
Step 1: Make a To-Scale Drawing
Whenever I plan to remodel any room, I get out a sheet of graph paper and a pencil and make a to-scale drawing. In this drawing I will outline a square 10 blocks long by 10 blocks wide. Immediately I know that the flooring we look for will need to be 10x10, or 100 square feet.
Photo Credit: BetterthanEveryone
Step 2: Measurements and a Shopping List
In my experience (in a past life I was a kitchen and bathroom designer), Ive found that a kitchen works best when the stove and refrigerator are near each other and the sink and dishwasher are in close proximity to one another. So, in our theoretical kitchen, Ive planned an L-shaped kitchen with the fridge and stove on the right leg and the dishwasher and sink on the opposite side. I can now see where cabinetry is needed and what sizes they should be. Ive come up with 16 lineal feet of wall cabinets and 10.5 lineal feet of base cabinetry.
So, I now know about the flooring and cabinets, but there are other details to nail down before we start shopping and making buying and installation decisions. Well need a new shiny countertop to place upon our cabinets. Based on our 10x10 drawing with the cabinets Ive specified, well need an L-shaped countertop that is 10 long on the left, turns a corner and extends three feet - the stove is next, so we wont need countertop there. On the other side of the stove we have another 18 cabinet, which will need a top.
Other small items well need to find include 8.5 of toe kick, a valance for over the window, 19 of crown molding, and 19 door/drawer handles.
Step 3: Bargain Hunting
Now that you know what youre looking for its time to go bargain shopping. That past life I mentioned? I worked at Lowes, so Im going to use them as an example. Lowes carries in-stock cabinetry and there are basically two types to choose from: knocked-down cabinets or unfinished cabinetry. Both of these options will require you to put in some elbow grease—youll either need to assemble the cabinets or paint or stain them yourself—and they both cost about $59 per lineal foot for base cabinets and $45 for wall cabinets. The knocked-down cabinets come in a much bigger variety of style choices, but they can be difficult to assemble if pre-drilled holes dont line up or pieces arent cut exactly correctly. They are, however, much easier to load up and get home since they come in relatively flat boxes. The unfinished cabinets are rather plain in style and difficult to transport since theyre large and assembled, but they come completely put together and give you the option of making them any color you choose.
Photo Credit: karen.tkr
With our kitchen example, either of these choices will run us approximately $720 for wall cabinets and $620 for base cabinets. Add another $200 for toe kick, crown molding, and a valance for a grand total of about $1,540 (plus sales tax).
Since this is my imaginary kitchen, Im going to opt for the knocked-down cabinets and assemble them myself to save money by being able to transport them home without paying for delivery and by not having to buy paint or stain to finish them. Personally, Im partial to maple, so well go with a natural maple Mills Pride cabinet at Lowes.
My next stop is in the hardware aisle to pick out some door and drawer pulls or knobs. Im all for simple elegance, but that can run $6-10 per pull and since we need 19 (Ill be getting 20 - its always good to have an extra on hand), that would cost an extra $200.
There are several very stylish knobs available for anywhere from $4-5 apiece in a variety of finishes. Im fond of theGatehouse Aged Bronze Birdcage knob,
which looks like its just been reduced from $5.57 each to $3.97.
Our total has now reached $1,620.
Photo Credit: Pingu1963, very busy
Since my days at Lowes, theyve started carrying many more colors and patterns in their stock countertops. The only problem with these is that well need a contractor to cut them to the proper length and make a sink cut-out in it so that we can properly place our kitchen sink.
Moderate countertop colors are best too light and you see every speck of dirt, but too dark and you see sponge swipe marks and fingerprints galore. With this in mind, Im going to choose the laminate top calledMilano Amber
. It really makes no difference, the in-stock counters will all cost about the same. We will need a 10 countertop with a right-hand miter cut, a 3 piece with a left-hand miter cut, and an 18 straight piece. Since there arent any in-stock pieces as small as 3, we can just buy one larger piece with a miter cut and use whats left over for our 18 piece. The Milano Amber top will cost $105 for the 10 piece and $64 for a 6 piece.
Weve now spent $1,790.
Flooring will take a little more thought since the in-stock choices are numerous and can be overwhelming in the comparison process. Youll generally always find that vinyl flooring is the least expensive option and Lowes has several available for about $1 per square foot. For about $1.67 per square foot, though, you can buy theSwiftLock Fireside Oak Laminate
flooring. Its a nice dark wood-looking floor that comes in planks and has an interlocking, glueless installation method. Sure, it costs a little more, but it looks so much nicer.
The Fireside Oak comes in packages of 8 - 51 planks for $35.80, so well need five packages to cover our 10x10 kitchen floor.
Weve now spent $1,970.
Step 4: Installation
This is good - weve bought all of the essentials now and not even used half of our budget. Keep in mind though that well need a contractor to help us with installation. Assuming the average homeowner doesnt have the tools or skills to cut and install the countertop and flooring or hang the cabinets, we need to reserve some funds for this. I just so happen to be married to a very experiencedcontractor
who tells me that you can probably find a reputable installer in your area that can install your flooring for about $5 per square foot, the cabinets at about $100 apiece, and the countertops at $35 per lineal foot plus $25 for the sink cutout.
Since this is a very small job he suggests trying to find a handyman or installer versus a contractor because they wont need to be as highly skilled or experienced in order to do a good job, and so theyll charge a bit less.
Photo Credit: Fazimoto
With Mr. Handymans installation calculations, we come up with a budget for installation at $500 for floors, $1,100 for cabinets, $532 for the countertop, plus another $300 for installing the sink and faucet in the countertop and connecting to the plumbing and installing the dishwasher. This brings our installation costs to about $2,432.
Weve now taken about $4,400 of our $5000 budget.
Step 5: Use the Extra Money for Appliances
This gives us another $600 for other items. Im thinking appliances. Hopefully when planning to remodel our kitchen it isnt essential to replace ALL of the appliances, but a new sink and faucet can really help spruce up a kitchen and we can afford to replace one other appliance - Id choose the one thats the oldest, most beat up, or dysfunctional.
I used to have a white porcelain sink and no matter what I put it through I could always use someSoft Scrub with bleach and it came out looking new. For $189 at Lowes you can get a white porcelain double bowl kitchen sink made by the very reputable American Standard and an AquaSource stainless steel faucet
with a pull-out sprayer for $100.
Photo Credit: tandemracer
Our total is now up to $4,700.
When making this scale of purchase in one place, you have a bit of leverage with pricing. I would take a list of the items you plan to purchase to the manager and see if they are willing to give you a cash discount. You might mention that if you were to open a charge account (which I HIGHLY do not recommend: plastic = BAD), they would offer you 10% off, so see if theyll match that for a cash purchase. Youre already under budget by about $300, but if you could save 10% of the material purchases, thats another $227 in your pocket (or a nice microwave).
Another bargaining chip that you can use at retail stores is the scratch and dent section. If you can find any cabinets that are slightly damaged (hopefully in places not visible after installation), countertops with chips in them (at places youll be cutting off anyway) or appliances that were display models, you may be able to get them to reduce the price.
You can see that its not so difficult to remodel an entire kitchen with a small budget by planning and purchasing the materials at your neighborhood big box hardware store, but there are other options as well. One of my husbands favorite stores is the Habitat for HumanityReStore
because they are constantly getting surplus items in from builders. Several visits spread over a few weeks can yield various brand new or slightly used (or slightly dented) appliances, entire kitchens worth of cabinetry, flooring, hardware, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and perhaps other items you hadnt even thought of buying for your home. The more you go, the more youll find and theyre pretty good about making deals.
The only thing to be aware of when shopping at places like the ReStore is that youre never guaranteed to find the same item twice or the correct amount of what you need, so be sure if you buy, say, your flooring there that they have at least as much as you need and hopefully a little extra.