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cosmetic kitchen remodel

If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen, deciding between a cosmetic remodel and a full remodel is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll make because it will inform all your future kitchen decisions.

A cosmetic kitchen remodel can be a great way to give your kitchen a fresh look and feel. When it’s done right, you get beautiful results with less time and money than a full kitchen remodel.

In this post, we’ll go over the timeline for a typical cosmetic kitchen remodel, how to get the most bang for your buck, and common pitfalls to avoid.

How Does a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel Work?

The timeline for a cosmetic kitchen remodel is 3-6 weeks. Compare that to 10-12 for a full remodel!

A cosmetic remodel might include:

  • Replacing the countertops
  • Changing out plumbing fixtures
  • Painting or re-facing cabinets
  • Installing a new backsplash
  • Adding decorative lighting

It typically does not include:

  • Replacing cabinets
  • Making structural changes
  • Major flooring or electrical work

Think of it like a makeover for your kitchen. If you have a good layout that just needs a few updates, a cosmetic kitchen remodel can work wonders!


5 Cost Saving Tips for a Cosmetic Remodel

My advice is to make decisions about where to splurge based on what’s important to you. Consider these 5 tips for keeping costs down:

  1. Reuse appliances and fixtures if possible. These are fairly easy to replace down the road.
  2. Keep a spreadsheet of all your costs to find areas where you can cut. Anything you can do yourself, such as painting or demolition, will save money.
  3. For a great deal on countertops, look for remnant. Typically, these come in smaller pieces, so even if you can’t do the whole kitchen, consider doing the island or a portion of the kitchen you want to accentuate.
  4. If you currently have stained or damaged wood, you can usually sand it down and refinish it instead of replacing it.
  5. Choose an inexpensive tile like ceramic subway and lay it in an interesting pattern such as a herringbone, vertically stacked, or a third offset (instead of the typical 50% offset).

Cosmetic Remodel Pitfalls to Avoid

The goal of a cosmetic kitchen remodel is a timely and cost-effective kitchen makeover with beautiful results. Getting a good return on investment takes planning. Here’s my advice:

1. Choose Materials Well in Advance

Select and order materials prior to starting your remodel to ensure availability and avoid delays or be forced to choose something in stock. Delays, even on a small remodel, could snowball and affect other trades and run your schedule off the tracks.

2. Match Cabinet Finish and Door Style

If you are adding cabinetry, make sure you get the best possible finish and door style match or it will look “added on.” If you’re adding an entire new island or buffet piece this can be a completely different finish and style to add interest.

3. Hire a Professional Painter for Existing Cabinetry

It’s more expensive, but cabinetry is the workhorse of a kitchen and, if not done properly, the paint can crack, chip, and peel right away.

Tip: If you want existing oak cabinets painted white, your painter will need to add a fill primer coat to eliminate the grain pattern. This can be a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. Another option for oak is to stain or paint it a dark charcoal or chocolate, which adds a fresh modern vibe.

Is a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel Your Best Option?

cabinet vignette portland kitchenNow you know how a cosmetic kitchen remodel works, how to keep costs low, and how to keep your project running smoothly. But is it right for your kitchen?

The answer depends on how well your current kitchen is meeting your family’s needs. Your kitchen may be a little old and outdated, but is it still fairly functional? Is the layout working for you? Are you happy with the basic structure? If you answered yes, yes, and yes, a cosmetic kitchen remodel may be perfect for you!

If your kitchen has major structural flaws, is too small, or needs a significant amount of remodeling work, you may be better off with a full remodel. At the end of the day, it’s up to you!

If you have questions about cosmetic remodeling, I’d love to help. Get in touch!