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The Cost of Remodeling Your Kitchen

Dreams of the Perfect Kitchen

If you have an idea of what your dream kitchen would consist, then you have something in common with nearly every adult you've ever met. So, we're all dreaming about these kitchens, but do any of us actually own one? Trends in kitchen design seem to change as often as companies change their TV ad campaigns. Small improvements are being made to kitchen gadgets all the time. Now and then a new fad necessitates the use of a gadget nobody's ever seen before. All this new kitchen stuff requires space to store it and money to buy it; but when it comes to the crunch, kitchen remodeling costs often prove prohibitive.

Kitchens and the World's Longest Suspension Bridge

When I'd been living in Denmark for a couple of years, I noticed that kitchen remodeling was turning into a national obsession. At that time, the Danes were also busy constructing the world's longest suspension bridge. Once complete, it only held onto its world title for about six months, but it remained the world's most expensive suspension bridge for quite a while longer. However, the year it opened will be remembered for one stunning statistic: that year Danes spent enough money on kitchen remodeling to build the suspension bridge SIX TIMES.

That's a lot of kitchen remodeling. It also shows how high kitchen remodeling costs can be.

The Fabric of Our Dreams

What kind of kitchen are we all dreaming of? Why are our kitchen remodeling costs so high? To answer the first question, all you have to do is turn on your TV and try and sit through a few cooking programmes. Twenty years ago, these programmes were made in studios with kitsch sets and bright lighting. All that has changed. Now we get Jamie Oliver in a moodily lit country mansion, or Jack Ramsay in a cosy connoisseur's kitchen. Even most sitcoms seem to be set in open plan kitchens. All the gadgets are on display, all the top kitchenware is in use, but the surroundings are vaguely familiar. These kitchens are not too far removed from our own dens of dirty dishes and sticking drawers. We can just about make the mental leap between our old kitchen and the modern, well-designed space the celebrity's tossing his pancakes in. The gap is one we yearn, with lots of encouragement from sponsors and advertising, to bridge. Here we have the blueprint, ever changing, for our own dream kitchen.

Why Kitchen Remodelling Costs can escalate

Kitchen remodeling costs are so high because a modern kitchen requires such sophisticated services compared to a humble living room or bedroom. It has more in common with the average nuclear power station control room. All these gadgets and gizmos need special housing. Each one becomes a mini project in itself: map it out, plumb it in and wire it up. If you have little or no experience of D.I.Y., you'll end up relying on professionals and your kitchen remodeling costs will go through the roof.

The D.I.Y. Option

If you can eliminate the expense or hiring a professional team to install your new kitchen, you will be able to seriously reduce your kitchen remodeling costs. You will need to devote a lot of your free time to the project and expect to live in a bomb-shelter-like environment for a good few weeks while work is in progress. If you are already confident of your handicraft skills, you could view this as little more than a challenge. For the rest of us it's more like embarking on a quest for the holy grail. I know of more than one family that has been forced to call in the professionals after an uncontainable outbreak of D.I.Y. confidence threatened the very fabric of their beloved dwelling. By all accounts, it's harder to negotiate a fair price when water is gushing out of a severed pipe inches from a cluster of bare live wires. In short, this is not the best way to reduce costs.

How to Keep Your Kitchen Remodeling Costs Low

There are, though, two sure-fire ways of keeping your kitchen remodeling costs low. The first is to save on hardware. Try and buy the cabinets, ovens and sink apparatus direct from wholesalers. Spend a bit of time phoning around your local suppliers. They will often put a very attractive deal together if it looks as though they can supply and fit the whole kitchen themsleves. Even if you insist on donning overalls and going in the D.I.Y. direction, visit a few kitchen showrooms and engage the sales staff in detailed conversation about the installation. Try to make out that the apparent difficulties in this particular kitchen's installation is the only thing stopping you from buying the whole kitchen on the spot. You should get a few good tips.

Second Hand

You might even be able to pick up some very servicable second hand parts. Some people are changing their kitchens so frequently, it would seem, they often sell cabinets, sinks and the like which are far from worn out - and some designs are timeless. E-bay is full of people selling classic and antique kitchenware.

Don't Reduce your Costs - Eliminate them

There is, however, another way to keep your kitchen remodeling costs low - very low. A good friend of mine, no stranger to the drill and hammer, remodelled his kitchen a couple of months ago at the behest of his wife. He spent time shopping around for the best deals, did all the installation work himself, including plumbing, wiring, masonry and plastering, and even laid a new floor for good measure. When he finished we met in the pub to celebrate.

'Well,' I asked, 'How has it turned out?'

He took a long pull from his pint and said, 'It's OK. But I preferred the old one.'

So, you can always cut your kitchen remodeling costs in their entirety by enjoying your kitchen. As it is. And if this means never watching another cookery program or sitcom on TV, all the better. Why not prop up your old kitchen counter, pour yourself a generous measure of your favourite drink and tuck into a good cook book instead. Cheers.

About the Author: Eoin Beckett is a freelance writer and editor. He writes both short fiction and non-fiction for both online and print publications. Although he stems from Ireland, he currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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