5 Kitchen Updates That Will Save You Big Bucks Sep 22nd, 2010 When deciding to remodel the kitchen, many of us consider the return we might receive when we sell our homes. Plus, we often renovate on a budget so while we may splurge in one area, we often look for cost-cutting decisions in others. Here are some great budget-friendly ideas for updating your kitchen with both resale value and your budget in mind. Use one or all—either way, you’ll be pleased with the results. Solid Surface Counters Solid surface counters are durable, water resistant, stain resistant, easy to clean, and come in many colors. Solid surfaces these days are not the linoleum of old—they are attractive and resemble stone closely. A great choice for an affordable price, solid engineered surfaces will make your kitchen look updated and fresh. Matching Appliances One of the biggest detractors to any kitchen is mismatched appliances. If you have a beautiful professional-grade stainless stove, it won’t make a great impact if the refrigerator is a bisque side-by-side from 1995. Many people make the mistake of falling in love with one major appliance, causing them to cut corners on the others. Especially if you plan to move—do NOT do this. Instead, use your budget to invest in matching appliances be they white, black or stainless. Lighting People often underestimate the importance of lighting when remodeling their kitchens. And truthfully, nothing makes your kitchen welcoming like a great lighting scheme. To take the most advantage of your lighting, make sure you have three types: * Overhead lighting in the center of the room or above the main gathering spot, such as the kitchen table * Spot or canister lighting to highlight certain areas * Under-cabinet or task lighting so you can see what you are preparing Refreshed Cabinets Notice we didn’t say “new cabinets.” That’s because it’s possible refinishing, painting, or refacing your cabinets might work just fine. In fact, you might even consider removing some cabinet doors for the trendy “open shelving” look. Most older cabinets are made of solid wood—often oak or maple. If yours are made of one of these and are not too beaten up, one of the above-mentioned options will work well for you. Our advice though, is to be realistic with what you’re working with—it may simply be time for new cabinets. Painting a dumpy, worn out cabinet does nothing besides make a dumpy cabinet a different color. Light Colors If you are improving your kitchen, do yourself a favor and choose a light color scheme. If you love loud or rich color, make up for it with dishes, towels and accessories. Your kitchen will look larger, brighter, and believe it or not, cleaner than if you choose a darker, or more saturated color. Colors that are fun and bright for kitchens include pale blues, yellows, and greens.