If a kitchen remodel is in your future and you are on a budget, here are some tips to get the kitchen you want for less

Kitchen remodeling is one of the best investments you can make when it comes to home improvement. To most families, the kitchen is the center of the home. It often serves as an informal gathering place as well as a place to prepare meals. Therefore, careful consideration and planning are important when undertaking a kitchen remodeling project. And if you are on a limited budget, the following money-saving tips will help you get the kitchen you want without too much damage to your pocketbook.

The first thing to consider is your budget. How much money can you afford to spend, and will you have to borrow or use credit cards to pay for some or all of the remodel? Keep in mind that the "average" kitchen remodel runs from $15,000 to $25,000. If your budget can handle this amount, well and good. If it can't, you will need to think of ways to cut costs so that most of your plans can be realized. Once you know how much you can spend, it's time to decide what you will do. There are some online sources to help you plan for your kitchen remodel, from painting to new cabinets, floors, windows, lighting, and appliances:

  • HGTV Kitchen Design was one of the first sites we checked. Here you'll find how-to instructions and videos as well as tips from others who have "been there, done that."
  • Guide to Kitchen Remodeling has an online form you can complete for help in locating a design center near you.
  • ImproveNet's Kitchen Remodeling site can help you, whether you are looking to do just a few things, or a complete remodel.

Of course, your friendly, local Home Depot or Lowe's will also give you good ideas for your kitchen. And if you have friends who recently completed remodeling projects, be sure to get their opinions as well on where to go and what projects to take on.

When planning your kitchen remodel budget, here are a few things to keep in mind

On average, kitchen cabinets take about 40-50% of your remodeling budget. Allow 20-30% of your budget for appliances, 20-25% for countertops, another 10-15% for flooring, and 5-15% for lighting.

You can save a lot of money on your cabinets by refinishing what you have rather than installing new ones

Don't fill all your space with cabinets unnecessarily. Use space for something else, like more seating or office are, and save money at the same time. Empty cupboards just beg to be filled, tempting you to go out and buy more "stuff" to fill them up.

Do as much of the work yourself as you can. If you are having cabinets installed, you can save money by removing the existing cabinets yourself. Painting is a task that you can easily do to save money. And today's flooring products also lend themselves very well to the do it yourself-er.

Once your plans are finalized, don't change them. This gets very expensive.

Avoid current trends. This can save you money since the trendy appliances and cabinets will be more expensive. And in a few years, your kitchen will be dated and you'll be wanting to remodel once again. Try to keep a classic look to your remodeling job.

Curb your enthusiasm and resist the temptation to go over-budget. It's easy to add cabinets you don't need.

The little touches like plants, books, a bowl of fruit, or your collectible knicknacks can add to the decor with little or no cost. These touches add life to your kitchen and make it warm and friendly for all who enter.

A kitchen remodel is a lot of work, takes a lot of time, makes a big mess, and can be very costly if you're not careful. However, the benefits in the comfort and enjoyment of your new kitchen, along with the increased value in your home if you decide to sell it, should far outweigh all the inconveniences.

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