Help! What to do with this kitchen!

MhenggelerOctober 19, 2013

Hi Everyone....I need some advice. So this is my new house and as a first time homeowner I don't have a lot of extra money for updates. The cabinets are low grade quality and I want to replace eventually but not right away. The kitchen is small so I would like to take out the wall where the pantry and refrigerator is but I don't know how the layout would work then. What are your suggestions that will give more bang for the buck? I Don't want to spend more that $10K as this is not a full remodel just some updating to make it more my style. I like transitional style, light cabinets and counter tops, dark floors, and stainless steal (industrial handles).

Thanks for any advice!

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It actually looks like a pretty functional layout to me - especially with a pantry! The big thing you're missing is a landing spot by the fridge. It's quite a bit bigger than my kitchen.

I think most here will recommend you live with it for a year or so, to figure out what works for you in the current layout and what doesn't, how you use the adjoining spaces, what your needs really are. What's on the other side of the fridge/pantry wall?

A coat of paint, perhaps a new laminate countertop might make a world of difference!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 9:52AM
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We will need to know what is on the other side of the fridge would help as well.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 10:14AM
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I'm with the others, live with it awhile. I think the layout is great, except no landing by the fridge, but not the worst thing in the world. A movable cart/mini island could help with that.

I don't have a problem with white tile counters. Yours look in really good shape, including the grout. I wouldn't take those out for laminate. It looks like you might have enough cabinet space, although I don't know why they made them so short on top.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Agree with everybody else. Just paint, and then put that 10K into permanent changes when you have a chance to live with things.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 11:50AM
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moulding on the cabinet tops, different hardware, stainless steel accessories from IKEA (Grundtal). Also, do you think you may have space for a moveable SS steel cart?

And different rug.

Here is a link that might be useful: updating builder grade cabinets --- no painting

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 11:52AM
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These "small updates" waste money because the materials can't be reused in the "real" project.

I'd put a couple hundred dollars into paint and the $10K into the savings account for the real remodel.

You could paint the cabinets a pale grey, add the industrial handles you like, and replace the appliances with stainless steel.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 12:52PM
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If you want to take out walls, we'd need to see a floor plan and get some dimensions.

With what you have...maybe replace your appliances with stainless steel. What do you think about changing the microwave to a vent and including the microwave with the oven stack? Hopefully, you can reuse these appliances, if you decide to do a larger remodel.

If it were me, I'd have a long term plan of what I want/hope to do with the kitchen, so I'd know what will stay and what needs to move. I wouldn't want to buy something new and find out it won't work with the design, a year or two later....

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 1:20PM
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I agree with lazy gardens. To me 10k is alot to spend for a quick fix when a complete reno is on the horizon. For 10k I got all my cabinets, granite counters, and a hardwood floor.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 4:21PM
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Your budget is 10k......on a kitchen where you want to replace the cabinets eventually......

I'd say buy a can of paint, paint the cabinets a grey or blue to break up all of the lightness and live with it. You're going to really find out what you love and what you hate about the kitchen.

Then, down the road, use that 10k when you do your real remodel. Believe me, it'll be put to better use then then throwing it into a temporary update which is really throwing it away.

The best advice I ever got was to live in a house for a year before you change anything.....sometimes that teaches you that certain things are done for a reason and if you change it you may wish you hadn't.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Despite the colors you don't prefer, the teensy cabinets over the fridge (!), lack of lower drawers, etc. I still say hold off. Nothing is terrible, the layout is quite functional, and you'll be so happy to have $9,965 ($10,000 - a can of paint) to prime the pump on a total reno down the line. With better, more ergonomic cabinetry plus that lovely pantry, you may find that you don't really want more kitchen space after all. You may want the wall down for other reasons, but I'm not sure kitchen space is one of them. Live with it, use it, figure out what works and what drives you nuts, and then go for it when you have the money to do what you really want.

P.S. I might add some knobs and/or pulls because lack thereof drives me nuts, but that's just me.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 9:57PM
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I'm SO SORRY!! We must really be frustrating you telling you not to do it when you're looking to do something. HOWEVER.....look at it this way:

Lots of people on here say "I really wanted the X but I got the Y b/c X wasn't in my budget." Not spending the 10 will get you your X's. Even the appliances, I would not touch b/c if you spend money to swap them out now, you won't get exactly what you want and then when it comes time to renovate you won't be abe to justify replacing them.

If you live with the pantry, you may decide you can't live without one (and trust me, after living with that big pantry for awhile, you won't be able to live without it) and when you renovate you'll work a good sized pantry into the design.

I don't know what pace you save at, but I'm sure keeping the 10k will get you to your dream kitchen ALOT sooner than spending it now.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 10:12AM
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I agree with waiting. Actually, you may find with all the research and investigation, it will take almost a year to determine what you want and you can tweak along the way as you decide how you want the kitchen to function. That will also help establish what budget you need for the reno, which could involve more tweaks. Trust me time passes pretty quickly and you'll be more satisfied with your choices. I know I was.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 11:36AM
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