Do you have kitchen envy, daydreaming about Shaker cabinets, farmhouse sinks, or sleek marble countertops? Join the club: Kitchen remodeling is one of the most popular kinds of home renovation projects, with the typical “small” kitchen redo costing upwards of $28,000. These kinds of upgrades can be worthwhile, with more than 70% of the cost being recouped when the home is sold.
Perhaps you’re planning a kitchen refresh. If so, one of the first steps is likely to figure out what your dream kitchen will look like. Once you know that, you can begin to delve into what exactly you want to do and buy and then how to finance it.
So, first things first: To help you get in touch with your inner kitchen designer, consider the three broad categories of styles: traditional, contemporary, and transitional. Which one is for you?
Read on to:
• Learn more about kitchen styles
• Take a kitchen personality quiz to zero in on the best fit for your taste
• Understand how to afford the kitchen you crave
Traditional Kitchen Style
Even when other styles rise in popularity, the traditional kitchen continues to hold its own, remaining among the most popular. At the core of traditional kitchens is a time-honored approach to design that refers to the styles of the past.
Among the signature touches:
• Raised-panel or glass-front cabinets
• Warm wood tones
• An earthy, rustic color palette
• Classic sinks, faucets, and knobs, such as a farmhouse style in porcelain or marble
• Molding, whether at ceiling, along the top of cabinetry, or elsewhere
• Country or European touches often find a place in traditional kitchens, whether that means floral backsplash tiles or lace curtains.
Contemporary Kitchen Style
At the other end of the design spectrum is contemporary kitchen style. Just as the name suggests, these spaces tend to be clean-lined and sleek. Among the typical features are:
• Cabinets are often slab-style (meaning without knobs) or otherwise minimalist.
• Typically, these kitchens use sleek materials, whether wood, steel, or lacquer.
• Color schemes tend to be neutral, from all white and futuristic to grays and beiges to moody black. However, some people like to mix in pops of color.
• Appliances are typically disguised as cabinetry (you may hear this called paneled appliances) to keep the clean-lined look going.
• Decorative accessories are discouraged. If you like showing off your teapot collection, this look probably isn’t for you.
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Transitional Kitchen Style
If you find that you appreciate some elements of traditional style and some of contemporary, then a transitional style kitchen may be just right for you. This style combines elements of both styles in a unique way.
• Transitional kitchens might include classic, simple Shaker-style cabinets but in bold shade, like teal, which makes them look more modern.
• Countertops are often quartz or quartzite, which can have the warmth of natural tones but sleek edges.
• Appliances are often built-in or stainless steel.
• Pendant lighting, with its clean lines, is a signature of the transitional style.
• Wood plank flooring, with its traditional warmth, is often incorporated in these kitchens.
• If you think you’ll be selling your home, then going transitional can be a safe bet to make your home appealing to a broad swath of potential buyers.
Kitchen Style Quiz
Now that you have a basic grounding in these three looks, take the kitchen style quiz.
Now that you have insight onto the kitchen look you gravitate towards, learn more about what remodeling involves.
Remodeling Your Kitchen
A kitchen remodel can be a good way to boost the value of your home, with possibilities ranging from fairly inexpensive — new paint, new faucets, and new cabinet pulls, for example — to a full-scale remodel that could cost you more than $100,000. A few smart strategies:
• When remodeling, it makes sense to prioritize your spending in a way that creates a kitchen that works well for your lifestyle.
For example, if you and your partner love to cook gourmet meals and experiment with new recipes, it makes sense to allocate your budget to be a true chef’s kitchen, perhaps with a commercial-style range. If, on the other hand, you’re envisioning a kitchen where all the neighborhood kids will gather for pizza and homework, consider that in your design and perhaps budget for a cushy, built-in banquette.
• It can also be wise to create a budget and keep an eye on which options can wind up being very pricey maneuvers. The cost of rewiring and moving plumbing lines, for instance, can be quite steep. Have a couple of well-recommended tradespeople pitch your job (don’t skimp on checking references) before picking one.
• Build in contingencies for your project to go over budget and past the deadline. It happens, and being prepared for that kind of wiggle room can help you avoid a lot of stress. For instance, inflation’s impact on kitchen remodeling can be significant so it’s wise to plan ahead on that front.
• Also stay aware of what changes require a permit (you may be surprised at how often one is needed) and prepare for how that will impact your timeline.
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Financing Your Remodel
Once you’ve decided how you want to update your kitchen and have considered the average cost of a kitchen remodel, then one of the next considerations is how to pay for it. If you need to finance the project, you may have such options as:
• You could do a cash-out refinance if you have equity in your home. This involves refinancing your current mortgage for its remaining balance plus the amount needed to do your remodel.
• A home equity line of credit might also make sense if you have equity. This involves using your home as collateral and opening a line of credit (like a credit card) to tap as work is done on your kitchen. You then repay the debt over time.
• Another secured option is a home equity loan, which gives you a set amount of money to use towards your renovation.
• It can make sense to consider an unsecured home improvement loan to help you get the remodel done, too.
Because this is a kind of personal loan, this means you don’t need to have home equity nor put your home on the line as collateral.
Like all loan products, there are pros and cons to personal loans. What matters most when financing your kitchen remodel is finding the option that suits your financial and personal needs best.
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