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February 23, 2007
SGN.org
Volume 35
Issue 08
 
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Real Estate
Remodeling your kitchen on a budget
Tired of the look and feel of your kitchen? Want to try something different? If so, you're not alone. Kitchen remodels are one of this country's most popular home improvement projects, but they aren't cheap.

According to Remodeling magazine's 2006 Cost vs. Value Report, the average kitchen remodel, which includes new cabinets, appliances, lighting, fixtures, countertops and flooring, now costs $57,241, but don't let that figure scare you off. There are plenty of simple things you can do to liven up your space without spending a fortune.

NEW PAINT
It cannot be said enough, you get the most bang for your buck in any kind of remodel with new paint. If you want to make your kitchen warm and inviting, go with neutral colors. Bright and bold colors or the use of faux painting techniques will help make the room feel hip and trendy. Not only can you re-paint your walls, you can re-paint unsightly cabinets as well. One tip, high gloss works best for the kitchen.

UPDATE YOUR LIGHTING
If you have an older kitchen, you probably have a single fluorescent tube in the middle of the room that doesn't provide much light. Replace it with recessed lighting in strategic locations throughout the room to offer better and more even lighting. Pendants are also a great addition. They offer not only a design element, but task lighting as well. Under cabinet lights that highlight your counters are also a nice touch.

UPGRADE THE COUNTERTOPS
If you don't have countertops worth highlighting, why not upgrade them. Highly polished granite and stainless steel were the hot trends in the 1990s, but because of their expense and need for greater upkeep and care, there's now a renewed interest in synthetic countertop materials that combine both style and function.

One that's getting a lot of attention these days is Wilsonart HD, a high definition laminate that resembles the look and feel of materials such as granite and quartz, but is less expensive than natural stone. And since it's available in hundreds of colors and patterns, you're guaranteed to find exactly the look that you want to compliment your cabinets, whether it's the elegant look of stone, metal or wood.

Laminate also offers more edge choices than other materials. Besides a range of rolled and beveled edges, you can edge your laminate countertop with wood, or use solid surface inserts to create an eye-catching decorative edge. And only laminate can be formed into a seamless cove backsplash to keep spills from seeping behind the cabinets. Log on to www.countertop.com or call (800) 433-3222 to learn more about the material, or to request samples.

CHANGE THE FAUCET AND SINK
Faucets are easy to change, and by doing away with your plain, boring stainless steel set you can make a huge design statement. These days, faucets are available in a variety of styles and finishes. Among your choices, single handle, dual handle, wall mounted and pullout spray. The most popular colors include shiny chrome, brushed nickel, black iron, vintage-look aged bronze, copper, brushed brass, and more.

As far as sinks go, they can make a design statement of their own by complimenting your countertops and faucets Among the materials gaining in popularity in modern kitchens, cast iron, stone, metal, wood and ceramic.

CHANGE OUT THE CABINET HARDWARE
And if you still have those 1970s era knobs on the cabinets, get rid of them too! Not sure what you'd like to replace them with? Visit the kitchen section of your local home improvement store and you'll find a display with dozens of different options to choose from.

No matter what you decide to do, remember that change is a good thing -- and it doesn't have to be expensive. Happy renovating!

Courtesy of ARA Content

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