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Kitchen remodel: splurge vs. save

Kitchen remodels are ever-increasing in popularity and with entire cable TV networks devoted to both food and remodeling, it’s no surprise. Celebrity chefs have become household names, fueling an obsession with all things gourmet. When planning a kitchen remodel, it can be tempting to order caviar on a fish stick budget. Here are a few guidelines and options to help you determine what’s worth allocating extra funds to and what can be scaled back on.

Save: Appliances

I’m not saying that you should hit up the free section of Craigslist for your kitchen appliances. And, I’m not even saying that stainless steel should be ignored. However, by shopping smart you can save big on appliances. First, make a list of your must-have features in each appliance. This way, when you do cost-comparison shopping, you’re comparing appliances with similar feature sand you’re not buying an appliance based on features you don’t need. Additionally, if you shop in the fall when the next year’s models are coming out, you can often score a deal on a floor model or get close-out pricing because the store is trying to make room for new models.

Splurge: Windows & Skylights

In the vast majority of cases consideration for natural light in a kitchen is an afterthought and seems like an easy target when budget cuts are needed. Natural light in a kitchen, whether it be windows or skylights, is necessary. Natural light in a room as heavily utilized as a kitchen is crucial to providing a welcoming atmosphere. Additionally, an adequate amount of windows and skylights provides for cross ventilation which assists in keeping your indoor air quality as high as possible. Opt for energy efficient windows which will keep your heating and cooling costs in check.

Save: Light Fixtures

Ample lighting in a kitchen is a must. However, light fixtures don’t need to be a budget buster. There are several affordable options both at big box stores and online. Saving money on fixtures allows you to opt for trendier options that can be changed out more frequently. Be sure the finish you select coordinates with other fixtures in your kitchen.

Splurge: Cabinets

The adage “you get what you pay for” very much applies to cabinetry. Most new cabinets are aesthetically appealing but it’s important to select a design and material that will stand the test of time. To keep costs in check shy away from custom sizes and stick to basic clean lines.

Lindus owns Lindus Construction, which is a remodeling company in Baldwin, Wis. Read his home improvement AreaVoices blog at

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