Culinary Inspiration

Expert kitchen remodeling tips for every budget

By Maria Allen

The kitchen is the heart of most homes. It is the room where we prepare our daily meals, pack lunches for the kids and entertain our family and friends. After a while, even the most well-designed kitchens can begin to appear worn and outdated. While the idea of remodeling may seem daunting, giving your kitchen a facelift can be a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re looking to increase your home’s resale value. With so many options to choose from, we asked local industry experts to share a few of their top tips for updating kitchens, from modest makeovers to dreamy redesigns.


A Modest Makeover

Not everyone has the budget for a complete kitchen remodel. Here are some ways to breathe new life into your kitchen on a budget.

Paint The Walls

“Paint is inexpensive and can transform the look of a space. Painting your cabinets is also a great way to change the look and personality of your kitchen. this can be tedious and time consuming but there are companies that can professionally paint cabinets.”
— Jennifer Durfee,
Topnotch Design Studio

Keep Construction to a Minimum

“Some of my most rewarding projects are when I need to be creative within a budget. To achieve a modest makeover, avoid major construction. Working within the existing space but updating the layout and fixtures will reduce the overall cost drastically.”
— Michelle Flynn, South Shore Design

Install a Backsplash

“One of the most cost effective ways to update a kitchen without breaking the bank is to add or change out the backsplash. A backsplash really does have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of a kitchen. Depending on the tile selected and the size of the kitchen, a project such as this could be done for under $1,000.”
— Julie Ryan, Classic Tile & Stone

Consider The Countertops

“Installing new countertops can make a big impact. If customers are looking to save money, the major countertop suppliers produce their own private-label quartz slabs. These slabs are made the exact same way and most come in the same colors and have the same warranty. This can result in a tremendous value.”
— Michelle Flynn, South Shore Design

Swap out the Hardware

“Hardware is jewelry for your kitchen. Pick pieces that suit your style. Many people are opting for simple details—long pulls on the drawers and doors instead of mixing knobs with pulls.”
— Jennifer Durfee, Topnotch Design Studio

Create A Mood With Light

“Good lighting is key especially when you’re spending so much time in a space. LED under-cabinet lights, recessed ceiling lights and pendant fixtures that operate on dimmer switches create options for mood lighting, work lighting and everything in between. New windows, installed in just the right places, add natural light.”
— Cathy Follett, Renovisions

Improve Cabinet Functionality

“Simple storage updates can make life easier. Roll-out shelves beneath a sink cabinet provide easier access to cleaning products. Dish pegs in drawers adjacent to a dishwater are good in kitchens with limited upper storage. Pull-out columns for spices and oils keep cabinets organized and everything visible.” 

— Angelique V. Meader, Good Life New England

Update Your Appliances

“I believe appliances are the most important part of a kitchen. You could have the most efficient layout, beautiful cabinets and counters, but without appliances that work best for your lifestyle, your kitchen will not function for you. Not everyone can purchase all new appliances. Dishwashers are typically 24 inches wide so this is an appliance that can be switched out at any point. The refrigerator is the appliance that is most often used throughout the day. It should house your food in a way that will suit you the best.” 

— Jennifer Durfee, Topnotch Design Studio

Dreamy Designs

If you have a bigger budget, the sky is the limit when it comes to bringing your dream kitchen to life.

Customize Your Cabinetry

“Our customers come to us for custom cabinetry when they want a high-quality product, excellent service and when they want their cabinetry to last a lifetime. We fabricate and install all of our cabinetry and can create custom door profiles and moldings specific to each customer. We stand behind our products and service what we install. No project is too big or too small. We’ve been hired to build kitchen islands and entertainment centers and have also done expansive kitchen projects.”
— Jay Ellis, Ellis Cabinet & Millwork

Hire a Designer

“Investing in good design from the start is perhaps the single most important thing you can do. The difference is in the details and a good designer should not only be able to help with thoughtful cabinet features, but also guide the blending of materials and choreograph the complex dance of a kitchen remodel. The goal is to make the experience collaborative and fun.”
— Angelique V. Meader, Good Life New England

Splurge on Chef-Grade Appliances

“Choose luxury appliance brands such as Wolf and Sub-Zero. Not only do these higher-end appliances look amazing, they also provide a next-level experience for the home chef.”
— Michelle Flynn, South Shore Design 

Think Outside the Box

“In order to create a dreamy redesign, you must start with the layout. Assisting my clients in visualizing how their space can transform is extremely rewarding. Opening up the space to provide an open concept and a functioning entertaining space is a must. In some cases, this will require a steel beam or multiple steel beams.”
— Michelle Flynn, South Shore Design 

Explore New Tile Designs

“The options available in tile and stone today run the gamut. From the simplicity and classic look of a subway tile to the intricate patterns that can be found in mosaics, tile is not just functional but also plays an important role in the overall aesthetic of the space.”
— Julie Ryan, Classic Tile & Stone

Smart Storage Solutions

“Having an open floor plan allows for additional island cabinets to accommodate smart storage and better functionality when prepping meals, sitting to eat or gathering with friends and family. We believe having ample countertop surface space is a critical improvement in any renovation. A better flow in the kitchen eliminates the annoyance of the typical ‘bottle-neck’.”
— Cathy Follett, Renovisions