For owners looking to add value to their homes, kitchen makeovers can provide a lot of bang for the buck. Just keep in mind that this type of renovation doesn't come cheap. Even a minor kitchen remodel averages $19,588, according to Remodeling magazine's annual "Cost vs. Value" report, though homeowners can expect to recoup 72% of the cost at resale.
Here, we've rounded up before-and-after photos of five kitchen makeovers that cost about $25,000 or less to show how far your remodeling money can stretch. Take a look.
From Not So Pretty in Pink...
Designer: Robert Criner, president, Criner Remodeling, in Yorktown, Va.
Before: "The pink cabinets in this kitchen were the obvious problem," Criner says. Since they were the focal point and made the room look dated, the homeowners wanted to get rid of them. They also wanted to open up the space by removing the wall that separated the kitchen from the dining room. Other areas on tap for a much-needed improvement included the countertops.
...To Understated and Open
Cost of renovation: $20,000 - $25,000 (excluding flooring and appliances)
After: Criner replaced the pink cabinets with new, stained ones, and the laminate countertops were swapped for a Corian solid surface. He also took out the wall by the dining room and relocated the stove to the other side of the kitchen. The homeowners, at their own additional expense, updated the tile floor with hardwood and purchased new appliances. They also removed the existing cabinets themselves. "This helped cut down the overall cost of the remodel (to the homeowners) from my end," adds Criner.
Tip for homeowners: If you decide to do some work on your own to help reduce costs, Criner strongly recommends consulting with your contractor first: "The work needs to be done on the front- or back-end of the contractor's start date -- not at the same time." Any work the homeowners decide to tackle also should be strictly cosmetic -- think painting or removing drywall, not structural work.