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Kitchen Renovations: Where to Save and Where to Spend

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Frigidaire Professional_R2R_Scott McGillivray

Making generalizations when it comes to where to spend money on kitchen renovations can be tricky. What’s important to one person may not be important to another – particularly when it comes to those who love to cook and those who don’t. But when it comes to ROI (return on investment) there are certain elements that are more important than others.

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SAVE – Tile

Some people disagree with this because they want the tile to be a feature, but good-looking, good-quality tile can be found for cheap so I say save on the tile and use the savings to invest in the counter. That said, if you’ve fallen in love with a really expensive tile use it as a feature in a small area and surround it with a less expensive tile. If you try to use an expensive tile all over you’ll see how quickly the cost of your kitchen renovation goes up.

 

SPLURGE – Countertops

If you have the budget, nothing beats a quality stone countertop. They’re durable, they offer a great ROI, and they look great. Since countertops take a lot of beatings (dishes clanging, spills, knives scraping, etc.) making the investment in something that won’t get damaged is well worth the price.

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‘Reno to Reveal’ Callout

The waterfall counter in Andrew’s basement isn’t just a work surface, it’s a design feature, so we invested in a beautiful Quartz that doesn’t just serve a practical purpose, it looks stunning. And because it’s so durable there’s no concern about it getting scuffed or marked.

Reno to Reveal - Cambria Counter

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SAVE – Cabinets

Custom cabinets are great if you have the budget, but if you’re looking for a place to save money there’s no reason not to go with flat-pack cabinetry. These standard-size cabinets (available at many big box stores) have come a long way and now you can get great-looking, well-made cabinets for a fraction of the cost of custom. You can even give them a custom look by trimming them out and adding high-end hardware. Another option if you want something a little more suited to your personal style is to go with semi custom. You get the look of custom cabinets but at a far lower price. Or you can always consider open shelving instead of upper cabinets. If you’re comfortable with having your dishes exposed it’s a great money-saving option.

 

SPLURGE – Hardware

Since cabinet knobs, pulls and handles are used all the time it’s worth it to invest in ones that feel good and are top quality. When hardware looks cheap or dated it can make the entire room feel that way. It’s one of those details that has a small footprint but a huge impact. Given that the investment is relatively small, splurge on the best looking and best quality hardware you can find.

 

SAVE – Sink

Sinks see a lot of action, but it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on them – particularly undermounts. Unless the sink is a major feature of the space (like a farmhouse sink) a simple, inexpensive stainless steel option is enough. They’re durable, look fine, and can be purchase for a couple hundred dollars.

 

SPLURGE – Faucet

Just like with cabinet hardware, you can literally feel the difference between good quality faucets and bad. Something sturdy that works well is a must. I also highly recommend a pull-down model because it will make washing dishes much easier.

 

SAVE – Lighting

Kitchen lighting is very important for safety, functionality and decorative purposes, but fortunately it doesn’t have to cost a lot. As long as you have a mix of ambient and task that’s the right wattage and focused in the right places it’s all you need. While decorative lights can be great for expressing your personal style, you won’t see any return on investment from them.

 

SPLURGE – Appliances

Since appliances are something you use every day you want something you can count on. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy top-of-the-line models full of features you’ll never use, but it does mean it’s worth it to buy quality appliances with good warranties. And if ROI is what you’re looking for opt for stainless steel. It’s versatile enough to fit in with different styles of kitchens and it’s unlikely it will go out of style any time soon.

 

SAVE – Flooring

The great thing about kitchen flooring is that you don’t have to go high end in order to get a decent return. Tile and hardwood floors are considered the most desirable (and yes, you can put hardwood in an above grade kitchen), but vinyl, linoleum, cork and laminate are all fine choices that won’t compromise your ROI. No matter what you choose they key is to make sure it ties in with everything else in the room (cabinets, countertops, tile, etc) and if your floor plan is open concept make sure it flows with the rest of the space.

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‘Reno to Reveal’ Callout

Since Andrew’s basement has an open concept kitchen we chose to use vinyl flooring throughout. Vinyl is durable and waterproof, making it the perfect choice for the entire basement.

Reno to Reveal - Vinyl Floor

 

 

Top photo courtesy of Frigidaire

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#ScottTip

Don’t be afraid to call your municipality’s permit office to discuss your project. They can help you understand the process and make it run smoother.