Taking the Phase Approach to Spread Costs

It’s no secret: Kitchen remodels are expensive. Between updating appliances, furniture, walls, and flooring, homeowners may be overwhelmed by the daunting task of renovating or building this part of the house. Though there are several ways to finance the project (see our article about financing your dream kitchen), they fail to consider the weeks—sometimes months—of living without a kitchen. Without access to appliances and at-home food storage, homeowners resort to expensive alternatives—takeout and pre-made meals. Furthermore, choosing to complete the project all at once results in hefty up-front costs.

The answer is simple. Rather than guaranteeing off your kitchen for a couple of months, preserve its habitability (and your credit) by remodeling in phases. By continuously improving the kitchen, you can stretch your budget/funding and continue to utilize it as a space within your home. Additionally, taking the phase approach allows for further personalization; if you don’t want to completely overhaul your kitchen, you can add or subtract aspects to get the room you want.

The first phase of a kitchen remodel should address your cabinets. These will have the biggest impact on your new design, and they will likely be the most expensive part of the process. Though replacing is a great option, those looking to save some money may want to consider refacing. Next, move to phase two: countertops. Ask for samples and match them to your new cabinet color.

The next phase should include appliances—from stoves and ovens to refrigerators and dishwashers. Take stock of what you already have: is anything salvageable? What do you need to replace? Do the colors work? This is an expensive but fast phase, as installation only takes a few hours. It is important to replace these mandatory items toward the beginning of the process in order to maintain the kitchen’s functionality.

The last phase includes flooring and walls. If you are doing a more basic remodel, this phase may not be necessary—flooring is the least of your worries. At this point in the process, everything should be functional, so choose a paint/tile and floor to fit the aesthetic of your new room.