Are you thinking of remodeling your kitchen but don't have the extra money to spend $10,000, $20,000, or more on the project? If you focus on what improvements give you the most bang for your buck, you can end up with a fabulous space for a fraction of the regular cost. Here are five places to direct your energy.
Replace Appliances. If your appliances are a little dated, upgrade them with stainless steel versions. Don't go overboard with chef-quality, industrial appliances or modern gadgetry, though. A quality dishwasher, stove, or refrigerator -- matching units, of course -- will help make the entire room feel modernized.
Replace Countertops. Ditch your old countertop material and replace it with an inexpensive, but beautiful, builder-grade material. While many people can't afford high-end granite, take a look at lower-cost versions like Napoli, St. Cecilia, or Baltic Brown. Or, opt for less expensive ceramic tile, which comes in a myriad of colors fit for any kitchen.
Paint. Never underestimate the value of a fresh paint job. You can cover old wallpaper, get rid of dingy walls, and update the room all with a single can of interior paint. Consider painting old cabinetry as well, particularly if replacing it would bust your budget. Add new hardware and trim accents while you're busy painting.
New Flooring. If your budget can handle it, replace dated floors with a more modern choice. You don't need to choose expensive materials, though, since many modern flooring options look great and are durable. Vinyl flooring, for example, is stain resistant and easier to install than true hardwood flooring often is. Ceramic tile is another great way to get a good looking floor without spending outside your budget.
Reorganize. If you use your kitchen regularly, it may have become a repository for all kinds of clutter and excess cooking materials. You can make the room feel (and look) larger and be more efficient by simply putting some time into clearing out unnecessary stuff and organizing what will stay. Adding things like Lazy Susans, pull-out shelves, or some custom cabinets can help you take advantage of all the space your kitchen has to offer. Create hidden storage for small appliances normally left on the counter or a special storage cabinet for the garbage.
Even if you're remodeling on a small budget, you can make vast improvements in any kitchen by focusing on where is the best place to spend your money and time. Then, you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Go to sites that discuss kitchen remodeling for more ideas.