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Upgrade your Kitchen Without Emptying your Wallet

The kitchen is the heart of the home—a veritable hub of activity where we gather, eat and entertain. So it’s no surprise that, in terms of “bang for your remodeling buck” kitchens are king. Experts agree that kitchens provide the highest return on your investment of any remodeling project. The secret, of course, is to do it right and avoid overspending. Here are some ideas for getting the most from your makeover investment.

Maybe you just need to redecorate.

Before remodeling, look around your kitchen and ask yourself, “Is a remodel necessary or can I just redecorate?” Sometimes a little paint and some wallpaper can have a huge impact. One of the easiest and least expensive upgrades is to stain or paint cabinet doors and to change out the hardware.

Organize, prioritize and compartmentalize.

If redecorating isn’t enough, list the things you want to change and prioritize them. Check the Internet, browse catalogs and read magazines for ideas. Visit stores and showrooms to see samples and get pricing. Don’t try to do it all at once. Reduce the stress by taking it in stages and allowing for adjustments along the way.

Also, make sure you do things in the right order. For example, don’t start with new flooring before the cabinets and appliances have been installed or you could end up damaging one of your major investments. If you’re going to splurge somewhere, real estate professionals recommend putting your money in the countertops rather than the floors.

Brighten things up with good lighting.

Lighting can really make the difference in a kitchen makeover. Aside from just illuminating workspaces, the right lighting fixtures can add to the overall aesthetic of a home while accentuating cabinets and countertops. Try adding under-cabinet lighting to showcase those new countertops. Install a decorative fixture over the dining table with a dimmer switch that allows you to control the mood.

It doesn’t take a top chef to know how rewarding kitchen makeovers can be. If you want a recipe for happiness, remodel your kitchen and put your money where your mouth is.

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