Leafing through glossy magazines, scanning websites and drooling over luxury kitchens can be a dangerous obsession. Most people would balk at the price of a $100,000 kitchen, the likes of which grace multi-million dollar condos and homes. That doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to Formica countertops and starter cabinets. Going high class for a low cost is possible.
To save the most money on your kitchen update don’t change the layout. Knocking down walls and changing plumbing and electric lines can be expensive and should be avoided if you want to stay on budget. Also, if you own a co-op you may have to get approval from the board before walls come crashing down.
“There are 4 types of cabinets,” says Scavolni Kitchens (Brooklyn) designer, Muna Irsheid. ”On the high end is high gloss lacquer and matte lacquer. Then there’s wood and the least expensive is laminate. Some people have a stigma about laminate cabinets but if the design is done well, they can look really good” she says. “We have some customers who like to combine them with wood cabinets. All our multi-family projects tend to use modern laminate cabinets.”
Less costly still is refinishing the old wood or laminate cabinets providing they are in decent shape. A cabinet refinishing system is available from home improvement stores for around $80. Many do not require sanding or stripping. Upon purchase, the store tints the paint to accommodate the desired cabinet color.
“We’ve had a lot of success using the Rustoleum kitchen cabinet refinishing system,” says John Anthony of Turnkey Property in Pittsburgh. “It’s a huge money saver and makes a tremendous impact on the kitchen,” he says. “If you can cut costs on cabinets you can eke some more out of your budget for higher grade appliances and tiles which are big sellers in a kitchen remodel.”
While tile has traditionally been the first choice for kitchens, hardwood, flowing seamlessly from other areas of the home has gained favor. There’s only been one problem with this. Wood is susceptible to water damage and so doesn’t make the most ideal flooring surface for a kitchen.
Enter laminate flooring. Don’t worry, the new school of laminates are not those tacky artificial looking planks of yesteryear. It’s often genuinely difficult to tell the replica wood flooring (now known as Luxury Vinyl Plank – LVP – flooring) from the real thing. Expect to pay $3 – $7 per square foot for LVP. Here’s the real bonus: any homeowner with a set of knee pads, a pull bar, a hammer, and a utility knife can install LVP, saving thousands on paying someone to do it.
Here’s where you want to loosen the purse strings a little. Spending on upscale fixtures can add some serious bling to your kitchen, uplifting the entire feel. A large new sink, goose-neck faucet, and stylish metallic door pulls give a booster shot of glam for a relatively low-cost investment.
Here again is where the savings you have made elsewhere could be reinvested for long-term gains. It’s a particularly wise move to think luxury when it comes to appliances. Not merely to show off but because quality appliances last a lot longer and are far more energy efficient than less expensive models which have to get replaced and maintained more often. It doesn’t mean breaking the bank, either. There is a line between luxury and affordability that can be bridged.
Samsung is the number one brand sold in the US. High-end brands would recoil at having to compete with them, unless through their ultra-premium Dacor subsidiary. They may have to, though. Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator may feel like a gimmick to some, with a giant tablet on the right-hand door. However, its massive 27.7 cu. ft. total capacity and a multitude of useful smart features, it’s a mid-range appliance that would assimilate nicely in the highest echelon of homes.
Another way to save money on luxury appliances is to visit showrooms where older appliances are being replaced on the floor for newer ones. Deals can be struck and no one visiting your home will know the difference. Another good resource is contractors. Those that work in high-end homes often install brand new appliances, whilst the older ones, in great shape and only a few years old, are sold at a reduced rate or even given away.
New York City personal trainer Adam Figueroa of Adam’s Apple NY recently found himself in a similar circumstance.
“I have clients who I train in their home,” he said. “When they decided to renovate their kitchen they wanted to get rid of their older appliances which were amazing. We’re talking Viking, Sub-Zero, and Miele.”
If you don’t have wealthy friends willing to swap out luxury appliances there’s still a way to get more for less.
“Buying appliances and furniture as part of a package is definitely the way to go,” says Appliances Connection Marketing Director, Jared Arena. “When you’re buying three or more items you can get an appliance thrown in for free,” he says. “It means spending a more upfront than if you were just buying one item but the overall savings are huge.”