Budgeting a Kitchen Upgrade

Kitchen upgrades can increase the asking price of a house when selling. However, these upgrades can cause homeowners to spend a huge chunk of money, especially if they don’t have a plan. Creating and staying within a budget can be difficult, but it is possible with a few steps.

Homeowners should set a budget based on the increase in value they believe they can get when they sell. Spending a ridiculous amount on an upscale kitchen in a middle-class neighborhood probably won’t reap a positive return.

From there, the costs should be broken down into percentages. Labor usually makes up between 20 to 35 percent of the budget costs. Then break up the costs based on the priorities. For example, the appliances may be in decent shape, but new cupboards and countertops may be in desperate need of an upgrade. It is also recommended to set aside about 20 percent of the budget for unexpected costs such as water damage.

Homeowners should also have a plan for how they are going to go about paying for the upgrade. Many people need to borrow money to finance a kitchen upgrade and they have multiple options for doing so. They can take out a home equity loan, a personal loan, refinance, or borrow against a retirement plan. It depends on the state of their finances and what will work best for them.

One detail that can get overlooked when doing a kitchen upgrade is the cost of not having a kitchen for a period of time. Homeowners will have to eat out or rely on take-out while the kitchen is being worked on, depending on what projects they are doing. This should be worked into the main budget as well.

Don’t just set a budget and then forget about it. Keep checking purchases and quotes against it. The easiest way to do this is to put it in a spreadsheet. This will help homeowners stay on track.

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Updating Old Kitchens

A lot of kitchens get stuck in outdated styles from the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. Homeowners end up leaving them looking outdated instead of remodeling them because of the cost and time it would take to complete the project. However, updating a kitchen doesn’t need to break the bank or take weeks to complete.

There are some simple decorating projects, along with some surface refinishing by Refinish First that can transform a kitchen from being stuck in a previous decade, to a current and stylish space.

In the past, many kitchens had natural wood or dark colored cupboards. This can make the space look small and dark. This can be remedied by painting the cabinets a lighter color. Lighter colors reflect light better, making the room feel more open. If the handles and knobs don’t match the new color, buy and install new ones. There are many unique drawer knobs available that can bring a little flare of style into the kitchen.

Many of the countertops in older kitchens are laminate. Over the years, they become faded and damaged, dating the kitchen even more. Laminate is a surface Refinish First can refinish. If the countertops have become worn out or they just need to be a new color, Refinish First can help. They can create almost any custom color, match an existing color or make it look like a stone accent.

Backsplashes can add color and a fun design element in the kitchen. They don’t have to exist only behind the sink. They can also extend farther along the walls underneath the cabinets. Backsplashes also double as an easy surface to clean if food splatters on it from the sink or stovetop.

By brightening up the room with lighter cupboards and countertops, and adding some fun decorative pieces, the kitchen will no longer be stuck in the past. Contact Refinish First to help bring the kitchen up to date with some new kitchen surfaces.

Spring Cleaning

Just as the warmth of spring brings with it new life, spring cleaning can bring with it a renewed and refreshed feeling to the home.

When the sun starts shining, people are more likely to open the blinds to let it shine into the home, only to find that over winter the windows have become dirty. Some cleaning experts say windows should be washed twice a year, so why not do it during spring cleaning?

One of the best ways to clean windows is with a squeegee, which isn’t all that surprising considering that’s how people clean their car windshields. Using warm water and dish soap, making sure there aren’t too many suds, soap up the window. Then with a squeegee, pull it across the pane, wiping the blade clean after each stroke with a rag. Then dry with a clean, lint-free rag.

If there’s a sliding door in the house, use a dry toothbrush to loosen the debris before vacuuming it up and wiping it down with a wet sponge. Other overlooked areas to clean include the baseboards, door frames and walls. Give them a good scrubbing with warm water, dish soap and a sponge.

Winter can track in all sorts of dirt and other debris, getting it lodged into the carpet. Spring can be a good time to hire someone to professionally clean the carpets or renting a deep cleaner to do it. While deep cleaning the carpets, be sure to move all the furniture and clean under it as well.

For the outside of the home, power-washing the exterior can get rid of the grime that mold and mildew feed on. Also, focus on the gutters. With the heavy rain that happens in the spring, they will need to be cleared and repaired.

Post-Holiday Cleaning

The holidays can bring with them a lot of clutter and mess. Going into the New Year with a cluttered house can make for a stressful start. There are simple ways to keep the mess down to a minimum and get the New Year started with a clean, clutter-free home.

With family and friends visiting to celebrate the holidays, spills and stain are inevitable. Stains are harder to get out the longer they sit, so they should be remedied as soon as possible. Using warm water and a mild dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle is usually an easy fix. Just spray it on the stain, blot with a paper towel and continue this until it is no longer visible. Then it should be rinsed with water and blotted once more before left to dry.

Kitchens should be deep cleaned after the holidays. Mop the floors and clean all of the countertops. If the countertops have become damaged from all the prepping and cooking, contact Refinish First about refinishing them to look brand new.

Separate recyclables from what needs to be thrown in the trash during the festivities instead of after. Also, try to do dishes right after they are done being used. Many people find cleaning as they go to be less stressful than walking into a kitchen with piles of dishes the next morning.

Have a designated box for Holiday cards. Update addresses and lists as necessary. Holiday cards should be recycled after the holidays are over, there is no real need to keep them around for a whole year.

When packing away decorations, people sometimes decide to throw everything into a box to sort later. However, later tends to not come around and next year those decorations are tangled and misshapen. Packing away holiday decorations neatly will help limit stress and frustration when they are needed next year.

Many people consider the easiest way to stay away from clutter is to get rid of one thing when they add something new. This can be done with clothes, kitchen gadgets and much more. While doing this, it could be a good time to get rid of things that are no longer used, such as toys or shoes that are no longer worn.

Holiday Refresh

When family and friends gather for the holidays, the kitchen and bathrooms become high traffic areas. If the kitchen or bathroom is looking a little dingy and old, consider refinishing the surfaces before the holidays hit.

Refinish First can get those floors, countertops, sinks and bathtubs looking brand new before guests arrive. They can refinish surfaces in days, and there is still plenty of time before the holidays hit to get it done.

Whether homeowners are wanting a completely new look or just their old one spruced up, Refinish First can deliver. They can match any color or create almost any custom color. They also offer a variety of stone looks.

If the kitchen or bathroom needs a little love, but the price of a renovation is overwhelming, contact Refinish First for a free estimate. Refinishing costs a fraction of what a renovation would.

Fall Cleaning

Fall is an important time to clean and organize the house. The children are back in school and winter is fast approaching. Use that spring cleaning checklist, with a few more chores added on to make sure the house is prepared for the cold winter months ahead.

Wash the windows and window treatments. With the windows open all summer long, dust can accumulate a thick coating on the blinds. Walls also need a good scrubbing after being exposed to the elements during summer months. Vacuum the carpets and wash all the hardwood or linoleum flooring in the house.

For the kitchen, reorganizing the cupboards can really help take the stress out of preparing for holiday meals. Discard old Tupperware and other items as needed. By reorganizing, it will take the guess work out of finding items needed for cooking holiday meals and dishes can be returned to the original owner if they were kept from last year’s festivities. Also go through the pantry. Items such as sugar and flour get used more during fall and winter when baking, so make sure there are plenty of each stocked up.

Check on the furnace filter, it may need to be replaced before the furnace can be turned on. Also if there is a chimney in the house, have it inspected and swept before winter arrives. Check the weather stripping around doors and windows so the cold air stays out. Clean and store patio furniture away until next summer.

When the cold weather starts to hit, get the winter linens out of storage and change the bedding throughout the house. Get blankets and winter clothing out of storage as well. Make sure the guest rooms are prepared for company. Flip mattresses if needed and fluff pillows.

If planning on entertaining during the holidays, refinish the surfaces around the house so they look like new. If the sinks, counters or bathtubs need an update, call Refinish First.

Clean and Clutter Free

Kitchen counters get a lot of traffic. They get spilled on, dripped on, burned, scratched and more. If not cleaned properly, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria, something nobody wants near their food. Kitchen counters are also a place of clutter. Dirty dishes, appliances and other items get left there, making cooking an obstacle course. Having a regular cleaning routine can help cut down on kitchen messes and clutter.

Food prep areas should be cleaned each time they are used. Warm water and dish detergent work well for this every day type of cleaning. Make sure to dry the counter completely to discourage the growth of bacteria. For deeper cleaning, a nonabrasive cleaner and sponge or microfiber towel can be used. Some surfaces, like natural stone, concrete, wood and engineered quartz, require the use of a soap and warm water mixture to clean them. Vinegar shouldn’t be used on wood counters due to the possibility of it dissolving the glue holding it together and bleach or ammonia can ruin the sealant and dull concrete counters. Researching the best type of cleaners for different kitchen surfaces is always a good decision before cleaning them.

If kitchen counters have become damaged, old or worn out, Refinish First can refinish laminate, tile, solid surfaces and cultured marble. The surface will look like new for a fraction of the cost and time associated with a kitchen remodel.

For keeping the counters clutter free, it’s all about developing habits. Many times, things get tossed and left on the counter. Junk mail is a pretty common culprit. Instead of bringing mail into the kitchen area and leaving it, sort through it at the door. Get rid of junk mail right away to keep it from building up. Have a basket set somewhere for the important mail.

When cooking meals, pots, pans and all sorts of other cookware can pile up in no time. If possible, the best option is to wash them as soon as they’re done being used. Or wash them right after the meal is over. Also, if dishes are air-dried, try not to leave them on the counter overnight. Have a routine for putting them away once they’re dry.

Find more practical places for items. Kitchen towels can be hung up on the oven, the refrigerator, or a special hook. They’re also less likely to get lost that way. Appliances that don’t get used often can be put in cupboards, if there’s room. One idea to free up the counter space that the coffee maker occupies is to create a little coffee bar or station. Get a simple roll cart or shelf and place it against an empty space on the wall. The coffee maker can go on top while all the fixings can go down below on shelves. This can be a fun little craft project and ensures everything for coffee is in one spot.

Creating routines and habits can help keep kitchen countertops clean and clear. This can have a positive effect on other life aspects, such as stress levels.