(ARA) - After a long, economically challenged year, many homeowners can look forward to one bright spot on the horizon: the expectation of a tax refund to help fund much-needed home fix-ups.
It's hard not to want a fashionable, newly remodeled home, especially if your cabinets are cluttered and crumbling from years of use, and the bathroom is so out of date you're embarrassed to have company visit. Now is a good time to do a little advance planning for remodeling to ensure every hard-earned dollar is used wisely.
One way to stay on budget is to take the advice of the National Kitchen and Bath Association and prepare a top 10 list of must-have items. Look around your kitchen and bathroom and decide what needs to be replaced and what can be added later. If you can't afford an entire kitchen remodel right now, perhaps you can update a kitchen island in a contrasting cabinet style, add a bathroom storage cabinet, put in new countertops or refresh paint and flooring.
Make Every Inch Count
To get all you can out of your budget, squeeze as much as possible out of your space. Many cabinetry designs offer built-in storage and organization features -- even in spaces just a few inches wide. A 3-Inch Base Filler Pullout, for example, is a vertical cabinet that features adjustable shelves with chrome rail sides and a full extension guide. This clever cabinet provides added storage in space you didn't even know you had.
Scope Out Design Trends
Remodeling on a budget doesn't mean you have to forgo fashion. A little research now will ensure you're up-to-date on the newest design trends, so look through decorating magazines and watch TV remodeling shows. And, since home design often follows fashion design, look through fashion publications to check out colors you might want to incorporate into your home. For example, in all areas of decor, the popular blues that remind us of sky and water from last summer remain prominent, even in the kitchen, according to the Color Marketing Group.
Complement Your Personal Style
Once you have an idea for the general design themes you're after, you'll find that many stylish cabinetry products are available at affordable prices. For example, simple, clean lines, can help you put a classic spin on contemporary style.
Stock cabinetry also allows you to create a custom look without paying a custom price. Style seekers have endless options to personalize cabinetry to create a one-of-a-kind look for kitchens and baths, whether it's choosing unique hardware, adding embellishments such as crown moulding, or incorporating fashionable wood finishes.
Go Online to Visualize
Try checking out remodeling products online before you go to a store or showroom. In 2007, 19.4 percent of U.S. shoppers researched home improvement items online before purchasing them in a store, according to a report by eMarketer.
"Browse" an online room gallery of completed bathrooms and kitchens in different styles, finishes and types of wood. Then, you can see how your cabinets will look in your space using an online visualization tool, and print out a plan to keep track of your selections.
When you have some design styles and trends in mind and an idea of how you plan to go about your remodeling project, it's time to visit cabinetry showrooms. Seeing products and construction quality in person can help you finalize your decisions. Share your ideas with the showroom's design staff and ask them to develop a plan that meets your objectives and your budget. As an educated shopper, you're more likely to get the most from your remodeling dollar.
Courtesy of ARAcontent