The most common mistakes when remodeling your kitchen

The time you invest in doing your homework will pay off big dividends in the long run. Visit kitchen showrooms.

Get an idea of the price of cabinets, granite, appliances, faucets, etc., and set a budget within your means. Then subtract 20 percent and make that your target.

One of the sad realities of any construction project is that it will always cost at least 20% higher than your estimated cost. This will give you the room to upgrade on some of the final touches should the budget allow it.

If you are trying to remodel your kitchen on a budget, here are some things to consider:

1. REFACING – You will be surprised at the cost savings of just doing a refacing job on the cabinets, countertops, pulls and faucets—assuming your cabinets are structurally sound.

Refacing will give you the look and feel of a new kitchen. It may include changing the hinges and drawer slides and with all the new technologies available, you can splurge on items such as full overlay hinges, self-closing drawer slides, as well as an array of accessories that will make your kitchen more functional.

2. PREFABRICATED GRANITE – With the influx of imported prefabricated granite comes an incredible bargain price on real natural granite.

This is not imitation granite, but granite that was mined from a quarry in one of these locations:  Brazil, India, Italy or China.

The granite was transported to China where it was polished, cut to the standard depth of a kitchen cabinet and finished with a bull-nosed edge. When you see how much you will be saving, you won’t even remember what an Ogee edge looks like.

3. PRIORITIZE – Analyze what is really important to your present lifestyle and cooking habits.

Buying a $10,000 48-inch viking range may not be the best investment-especially if you do not really do the type of cooking that merits a semi-professional range.

On the other hand, investing in a good range hood or adding a cabinet to maximize storage may be a better investment.

4. BE REALISTIC – Colors are awesome, but an orange kitchen may not be a good long-range plan for your kitchen.

A safer option will be to stay with neutral colors and go wild with the knobs and pulls. If you get tired of them in a month or a year, it will be only a nominal investment to change them as long as you stay with standard pull sizes (3” 3.5” or 4”) or knobs.

5. CONSIDER LIGHTING – You will be amazed at how much difference the proper lighting will make. Recessed lighting is one of those things that will add a touch of class to any kitchen.

If you are tight on budget, consider looking into track lighting. If you can imagine those hideous off-white track lights that you remember in Grandma’s house back in the 70s, you will be surprised at the selection available nowadays.

6. SELECT YOUR FAUCET VERY CAREFULLY – Go for function first—aesthetics second. With the selection available, you won’t have to compromise form for function.

7. BE CONSISTENT WITH THE REST OF THE HOUSE – Look at your home design and make sure there is some continuity.

8. MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE – Make all the changes you want on paper at the planning stage. Changing your mind and making changes once the project is underway may prove to be a costly proposition.

And one final point—Unless you are planning on making this your retirement home and don’t plan to ever sell it, it would be wise to consider your ROI (return on investment).

Corbels and cool gadgets may add enjoyment to your kitchen but it may not give you a good return. That is unless you are in a price range where the market demands an upscale look and is at par with the other homes in the neighborhood.