Kitchen Remodeling Renovation Features to Splurge or Save On

Kitchen remodeling renovation features to splurge or save on is the focus of today’s conversation.

Okay.  You’ve made the decision to remodel or renovate your kitchen.  Let’s work with this area first.  Remodeling includes demo, construction and changing the existing design of a space or structure.  Renovating details an update or restore consisting of mainly cosmetic changes.  Let’s throw another R into the mix.  Resale value is a choice point to consider when remodeling or renovating.  I find the cost vs. value comparison from Remodeling Magazine both interesting and informative.  It compares the average cost for 29 popular remodeling projects with the value the project retains at resale in 99 U.S. markets.

Undertaking a kitchen remodel or renovation comes with a myriad of decisions.  The answer to the kitchen remodeling renovation features to splurge or save on question is subjective to personal taste and lifestyle, while strongly influenced by and tailored to the existing structure, layout and budget.

Now that that’s established, let’s delve into the topic of kitchen remodeling renovation features to splurge or save on.

Kitchen Island


Tiffany Farha Design

The well appointed standalone kitchen island is a multi-functional focal point center of kitchen activity that packs a powerful one-two punch.  The aesthetic lands the visual appeal while the design delivers navigational proficiency.  Kitchen spaces and sizes vary from house to home, style to space.  A large space with an open floor plan is a reality for some, a dream for others.  This is where thoughtful kitchen design becomes crucial to the prep, cook, store and clean environment.  Efficiency, distance and flow is key in regard to the design concept known as the kitchen work triangle.  The work triangle connects the main task areas of the sink, range or cooktop and refrigerator.  As a general rule, the sum of all three sides of the kitchen work triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet.  Factor in the proximity to the sink, range and refrigerator kitchen work triangle and design with convenience in mind.


Specialty Stations and Appliances

transitional-kitchen (2)Shenandoah Cabinetry

We are a thirsty nation with a design need to accommodate said thirst.  The increase in demand for kitchen specialty stations and specialty appliances is responsible for moving the gourmet coffee machine, commercial ice maker and wine chiller out of the luxury extra column and into the kitchen features splurge column.

coffee-wine-beverage-stationBetter Homes & Gardens

Optimum kitchen design successfully integrates lifestyle and necessity.

High-End Range, Rangetop or Cooktop 

black-barrel-kitchen-hood-black-viking-rangeMegan Winters

Gourmet cooks, home chefs, and entertainers extraordinaire know a high-end range, rangetop or cooktop is a must-have splurge of innovation, efficiency, functionality and performance.  In the words of interior design Miles Redd, “buy the best, and you only cry once.”

Many brands of mid-range appliances offer a quality smart performance with a modern aesthetic for an affordable price.  Quality is not necessarily accompanied by a budget busting price tag.

traditional-kitchen-rangetopDouglas VanderHorn Architects

High-end appliances are price justified if the homeowner has no intention of selling the home.  In terms of resale situation and return on your investment, high-end appliances may only appeal to niche buyers.

Pot filler


Convenience makes a fabulous sous chef.  My preference for cooking on a gas cooktop or range is of no secret to Dave the Builder.


A pot filler makes the kitchen features wishlist however, moving electrical, gas and plumbing is expensive.  Try, try as I may to justify the splurge on expense, a save on compromise is on the table.  Hello, new electric cooktop and kitchen sink faucet.


When Dave the Builder & Company renovated our kitchen, we kept the existing cabinet and drawer boxes and went with custom fronts.  This best of both worlds decision rendered significant savings.

cabinet-frontsBuckingham Raised Panel Cabinet Door


appliance-garageHouse Beautiful 2017 Kitchen of the Year

Customized countertop storage compartments, cabinets and drawers qualify as smart storage options to splurge on.

mixer-cabinetWood-Mode Custom Cabinetry

James Michael Howard

Dollars saved by going with a less expensive backsplash option such as  subway tile equals dollars well spent on details such as a custom range hood.  Subway tile is classic, on-trend, and budget friendly.  You gotta pick and choose your kitchen remodeling renovation features to splurge or save on battles.


I’ve got enough to say grace over in the kitchen.  I don’t want the extra headache of fretting over the flooring choice.  As beautiful as the hardwood floor is, it does present a water stain, spot and scratch issue.

kitchen remodeling renovation features to splurge or save on

I prefer ceramic tile flooring in the kitchen over hardwood flooring.  Tile is durable, stylish, design friendly, and affordable.  I vote save on for this one.

terracotta-tile-flooringSroka Design, Inc.

Porcelain tile in the style of hardwood flooring is gaining in flooring popularity.

porcelain-wood-tileMediterranea Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach Whitewash

If you ask me kitchen remodeling renovation features to splurge or save on suggestions:

A kitchen can never have enough electrical outlets.  The utility of a kitchen is found in the utilities.  An overhaul of an existing electrical panel by a licensed professional electrician updates the outdated and safely allows for additional lighting and outlets.  Save on the lighting fixtures, splurge on the electrical.

If your heart is set on granite, but your budget does not allow for tricking out the entire kitchen countertop in granite, consider going with granite strictly for the kitchen island countertop.

granite-white-kitchen-island Venegas and Company

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  The answer to the kitchen remodeling renovation features to splurge or save on question is subjective to personal taste and lifestyle.  Areas of splurge should give maximum return on investment, performance and expectation.  Areas of save should give a maximum return on quality and functionality while being both stylish and cost-effective.

love your style

Project On A Penny: Home Improvement Ideas on a Budget Part II

Our refreshed project on a penny home improvement ideas on a budget series continues with more money and time saving remodeling suggestions.

Home Improvement Ideas on a Budget

6.  Make the decorative call to replace outdated window treatments or elect not to use window treatments at all.


There’s no substitute for the beauty of natural light, but privacy concerns may trump this option.  If going with window treatments consider blinds, shutters, shades, panels or valances.  These are all great and affordable choices.

102084034.jpg.rendition.largestBetter Homes and Gardens

Dressing up a window frame with pediments, decorative corbels and/or architectural balusters is another decorative option that will help to achieve a custom look.

102133025_wMidwest Living

7.  Shed New Light On The Situation


New lighting fixtures instantly turn on the wow factor.  Pendant lights will be hanging around and on-trend for awhile. A well placed lamp on the countertop quickly becomes a focal point of function.  Battery-operated under cabinet lights are my first choice of affordable accent lighting. These types of lights cast a lovely light at night- an all grown up night light.


Recessed lighting or can lights or downlight accent beautifully as well. Wall sconce lighting is a versatile choice for ambient lighting in foyers, kitchens and bathrooms.

wall-sconce-lightingCushman Design Group via Houzz

It’s all about the lighting!



Bonus Suggestion**


Fireplace built-ins come in as one of the top remodeling projects I love to tackle.  It is amazing what you can do with a gallon of paint, new cabinet hardware and a double roll(s) of gorgeous wallpaper.  If time and the budget allows, travertine or marble wall tile enters the picture. Painting the built-ins and the bricks is a step in the right direction, but conducting a tile cover up over the bricks produces a powerful result.  Budget friendly?  Perhaps not, but in terms of adding resale value to the property it can be a justified expense.  Picture lights (very affordable) mounted at the center point at the top of each unit creates a stunning library effect, and wallpapering the back wall of the unit or painting in a fabulous designer color brings forth the decorative oomph in updated fashion.



8.  Places In The Home #1 rule of kitchen redesign & remodels: Furr-down be gone!

Furr-Down: A box-out at the ceiling typically 12″ high and 14″ deep. Often used for AC ductwork. Kitchen cabinets are installed up to it creating a step effect. Also called a soffit or bulkhead.

Furr-down. Soffit. Bulkhead. Whatever you call it I call it ugly.  I am no fan of the furr-down in kitchen design, especially if it is strictly for decorative purposes. Removing an ornamental furr-down takes years off the life of an outdated kitchen. May I suggest adding decorative crown molding to the tops of  kitchen cabinets to up the decorative ante and give a finished look.

crown-molding (1)

9.  Update (modernize) switches, plugs and the plates that cover them


Small changes make safe and stylish improvements.


10.  In with the new countertops.  Or not.

In real estate it’s all about location, location, location.  In decorating it’s all about enhance, enhance, enhance.  If the existing countertops are free of stains, marks, scratches and the like, are workable with your color palette and are not overly antiquated, you may be in business. Countertops are the utilitarian workhorse of the indoor and outdoor kitchen, and as such should be crafted from quality materials coupled with a quality look.


If a quality, style and affordability tops the list, consider laminate countertops. Certain products experience an ebb and flow of popularity. Laminate countertops are back on the radar of kitchen design. Today’s laminate countertops offer a stylish and affordable solution. Manufacturers pay very close attention to the design and decor needs and wants of the buying and remodeling public, and the kitchen design industry has made huge strides in bringing to the retail marketplace affordable alternatives to expensive kitchen countertop materials.


Working with, enhancing and home improving upon what you have with home improvement ideas on a budget, affordable materials, design ingenuity and DIY vision does a remodeling budget good.

Project On A Penny: Home Improvement Ideas For Updating The Outdated Part I

This post is refreshed and ready for a reread.  Asking Dave the Builder not to bring his work home with him is like asking the man not to breathe. The man eats, drinks and lives the all things house that make a home life. Our how did your day go question and answer sessions somehow loop back around to remodeling, updating and home improvement ideas on a budget.  Who am I kidding?  Many of the conversations around Places In The Home center around remodeling, updating and home improvement ideas on a budget.  We speak fluent house & home and we do like change! Keeps things fresh and current.  We also like when remodeling, updating and remodeling projects leave a little change in our pocket.  Design on a dime is good, but project on a penny is even better!

home improvement ideas on a budget

Purchasing a new house doesn’t always mean purchasing a new house. Older properties appeal to a large portion of the buying market such as first time home buyers, downsizers, and the fixer upper-more bang for the buck inclined. Both our flipping and personal home owning portfolio has consisted of pre-owned homes in established neighborhoods flush with properties primed for remodeling.  It’s a fact of real estate and home owner life that not everyone can afford a total remodel of their new older home after purchase. A business associate shared with me her philosophy as to why so many occupied properties on the real estate channel are sparsely furnished. “Too much month at the end of the money.”  Hey, it happens to the best of home buyers.


When there’s too much remodel at the end of the dollar, and the budget is shy of taking things down to the bare walls, work with what you have. Good bones and budgets pair well together.

Stand back.

Take a design and decorative inventory.

Make a priority list.

Decide what one space or one part of the space is first in line for remodeling take off.  Let me share with you Dave the Builder’s short and to the point philosophy. Remodeling projects are like eating an apple- take it one bite at a time.  The info I want to share and suggest is making for a long post, so I will divide this into two posts.  Let’s look at 10 affordable, obvious, not so obvious and decorative ideas to enhance the spaces and places in the home on a budget.

outdated kitchen


1.  Function isn’t always stylish so dress it up!

Fluorescent lights offer reliable affordable lighting for main and task lighting in a kitchen.  That’s the good.  The bad?  Basic fluorescent lighting fixtures.  I’ve got a couple of solutions for this dilemma that are relatively simple and inexpensive.  Frame a plain fluorescent light with decorative crown molding.  Painting the crown molding in a favorite designer color is another way to introduce a custom look to the project. Another option is to take down the fluorescent light and replace its ceiling footprint with a decorative panel.



2.  Home on the Range


A new and improved range hood is both an investment and instant update that has the decorative power to draw the eye.  A contrasting finish can make a commanding focal point. Decorative embellishments such as corbels, onlays and appliques will give the range hood a custom look.

3.  Kitchen, Bathroom and Built-In Cabinets and the Techniques That Improve Them


Paint. Electing to paint kitchen cabinets, walls, ceilings, molding and even countertops will bring change with instant visual gratification. Select your colors, grab a brush, bucket, roller, pan, painters tape, a couple of drop clothes and proceed to color your world!

101899218.jpg.rendition.largestBetter Homes & Gardens

How about adding a glass-front insert to an existing cabinet door? DIY instructions here.  Once the cut out is complete, I prefer to take the doors to a local glass company. The pros measure, cut and install the glass, and the costs involved is surprisingly affordable.  Farmhouse is in, vintage is hot and chicken wire fronts will achieve that unique decor look. Instructions here.


4.  Hardware Schmardware


Replace cabinet drawer and door hardware for an instant update. Consider replacing the hinges for a totally refreshed look.  Clearance bins, Overstock, Amazon and ebay are excellent places to pick up super affordable cabinet hardware.


5.  Floors & More


Older properties sometimes surprise you with their quality design and decorative features, such as original hardwood or tile flooring. Unfortunately, older properties can also mean older color palettes where orange, yellow and avocado green reign 1970s supreme!


Here’s a few suggestions:

Replace the existing outdated flooring

Well, duh!  Who wouldn’t want to replace outdated flooring?  What we want, and what we can afford, don’t necessarily line up.  Don’t you hate that?  If new flooring is the area of priority, first search clearance bins, salvage stores, discount building supply warehouses, liquidators, online retailers and ebay for discounted deals.  If buying local, shop prices! Inquire about flooring goods left over from large jobs. Retailers will often sell these at great discounts. Dave the Builder wants me to share with you all a trade secret.  Shop flooring installation prices as well.  Negotiate the best price with the flooring retailer on the flooring and get a quote for the install.  Contact other independent and reputable installers in your area to see if you can negotiate a better price.

When Replacing Is A No-Go, Kick It Into Clean & Save Gear


One bucket, one bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid, cold water, a mop and good old fashioned elbow grease does an existing floor good.  In our flipping days there was many a time the budget left no room for new flooring.  I hired a professional floor refinisher to come in and clean the existing flooring.  He swore by the dynamic cleaning duo of Dawn dishwashing liquid and cold (yes, cold) water.

Cover It Up!


More times than not older properties come fully equipped with a case of the design and decorating uglies.  Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like a stylish home filled with stylish accessories.


A well placed  area rug covers a multitude of outdated sins.  Jute, sisal, seagrass and wool blends in natural palette choices colors inside the neutral lines.  A reliable non slip rug pad will aid in the fight against bust your butt syndrome.


A patch of sheet rock, framed piece of art or decorative architectural wall piece can cover yet more design sins of days past.  Unless your interior decorating style is retro chic, not that there’s anything wrong with that, conduct a cover up that only you and your work crew are privy to.

Project On A Penny: Home Improvement Ideas For Updating The Outdated Part II is on deck for tomorrow.

Renew Home Decor With Leviton Renu

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Leviton Renu. All opinions are 100% mine.

Home decor revolves around the desire to create a look with style and function in mind.  When function meets style without compromise, decor synergy exists.  Small changes and “freshen ups” through color, accents and accessories breathe new life into your decor, maintains affordability and in most cases is instantly recognizable.


I have focused attention on both my bathroom remodel and the upcoming master bedroom and bathroom remodel.  Paint colors, wallcoverings, and fabrics set the look but accessories pull it together.  Traditional  switches, wall plates and dimmers have their place, but when decorative lagniappe-that little something extra would better suit the space and perfectly bring it all together, a choice is now available.


As seen on the DIY network, Leviton Renu is the way to update the look of a room in a snap. The Leviton Renu collection includes switches, wall plates and dimmers with faces you can update yourself whenever you’re ready for a new look.  Available in 20 popular paint colors picked out by decorating experts, Leviton Renu products can blend in or contrast with a room’s walls or trim.  Leviton Renu turns the electrical device into a decorative, easy to change accessory.

The Leviton Renu Collection includes:


Combination Switches

Wall Plates


Tamper Resistant Outlets

Tamper Resistant GFCI Outlets

QuickPort Connectors

The Leviton Renu color palette offers trend appropriate color choices for today’s traditional, modern and classic tastes.  Replacing the traditional electrical hardware in my bathroom with Renu switches, wall plates and dimmers in tranquil Sea Spray is the all important gorgeous pop of color needed to further accent the wall covering, wall tile and marble countertop.  Whispering Wheat is under consideration for the soon to be under construction master bathroom.

leviton Renu

A major decorative impact for minimum costs, attractive color choices and easy installation shed new light on any home decor situation. Please do visit Leviton on Facebook for more Renu information, ideas and inspiration.  When only the perfect color will do, Renu!

Love your style!



The Joy Is In The Home Furnishings and Home Decor Accessorizing

The color foundation is laid and now comes the fun part, home furnishings and home decor accessorizing.  The home decor marketplace is on its game with stylish options at every price point.  Manufacturers and retailers have done a great job of offering beautiful furnishings that can be easily found,  regardless if the interior design and decorating budget is on a shoestring or the sky’s the limit.

master bedroom moodboard

Our existing furniture archives will fill out the spots.  Dave’s favorite piece of furniture we own is an antique Walnut Scottish chest, and it will stand out against the wall color.  I have an 18″ X 30″ oil painting of a Victorian lady in storage that I can’t wait to retrieve and display.  The painting will complement the color scheme and furnishings beautifully.  There will be plenty of time and room to fill in when this part of the remodel comes to pass.  I am on a constant treasure hunt for a treasures that will look great. That’s the real fun of all of this!  The Gotta Have It list is growing!

Now for a little housekeeping and the disclosure portion of this post:

As it in life and disclosure policy compliance with FTC rules, honesty is the best policy. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links I have an affiliate relationship with and make a purchase from the retailer, I receive a commission from the sale.  To read the disclosure policy in full (fun, fun) please read my disclosure policy.



glidden marshmallow whiteMarshmallow White from Glidden

dana landing by Mohawk

Mohawk  Dana Landing Series in Ice Plant ~ Price available through Mohawk retailers

Kravet acanthus

Kravet Acanthus Gilded Silver Drapery Hardware ~ Price available upon request

Duponi silk pewter

Dupioni Custom Silk Drapes in Pewter

schnadig compositions carleton arm chair

Schnadig Compositions Carleton Series

Emelia Cotton PillowEmelia Cotton Pillow

carly pillowCarly Pillow

Portfolio-Canvas-Decor-Girl-in-Dress-by-Bridges-Painting-Print-on-Wrapped-CanvasGirl in Dress by Bridges Painting

BestMasterFurniture-3-Drawer-Chest3 Drawer Chest by BestMasterFurniture


Marble-top Louis Philippe Chest

artisana table lamp

Artisana Half Corinthian Column Table Lamp 

cardoni gloss white table lamp

Uttermost Cardoni Gloss White Hand-Blown Glass Table Lamp


Antique Gold Rectangle Wall Mirror

Aubrey-Wall-ShelfAubrey Wall Shelf 

antique accent chair zebra upholsteryFrench Carved Wood & Zebra Cowhide Chair

Jennifer Adams gray throw pillow

 Inspired By Jennifer Adams Pillow

leopard gold throw pillow

Metallic Leopard Throw Pillow



Master Bedroom Remodel Ideas

We are on a remodeling roll here at Places In The Home.  Between the DIY projects, the oppressive heat that takes no prisoners, and the decorating tweaks over the last month we are in full-on “what can we do next?” mode.  The next project to eventually tackle is the master bedroom. Due to difficult circumstances beyond their control my parents now live with us and occupy the master bedroom. Dave the Builder and I insisted and would have it no other way.

A picture shows it all and here it is~the master bedroom  in all its pre-overhaul glory.  This photo was taken the day before the new carpet was installed last March.  The reason I am posting this photo is to demonstrate the space I will be working with when the next phase of the remodel commences.  What is not pictured is a very nice master bathroom, dressing area, and walk in closets the length of the sleeping area.  We are talking nice square footage to work with- 800 sq. ft. to be exact. I’m going big with the master bedroom remodel ideas.

master bedroom remodel ideas

I am forever working and tweaking the master bedroom accessory board, and may I just add I am in home furnishings heaven!  I’m not one to jump into the trend pool too quickly or strictly attach myself to one particular style.  If I have a signature style I guess it would be simply classic. Classic styling is the foundation I work from.  It is timeless and can be tweaked by adding current accessories.  The  all important  pop of color  is obtained through paint, wallcoverings, and/or window treatments.

But on second thought…

glidden marshmallow white

Gold & silver are consummate favorites of mine.  Empire Gold from Sherwin-Williams is a maybe contender in the wall color competition. Marshmallow white in all its neutral gorgeous goodness is the front.  I can’t help it- I’m a fan of carpet in a bedroom.  I  swooned when I found the Dana Landing series from Mohawk in the color Ice Plant.

dana landing by Mohawk

The other night we were watching a movie that I can’t remember the name of at this moment. It must not have made an impression.  The big scene with the male star of the movie came up.  I put down my magazine (when a movie doesn’t hold my interest I tend to multitask) and Dave noticed I was paying close attention.  He inquired when the movie was over if I liked it.  He mentioned he noticed the male star got my attention. No, it wasn’t the actor.  It was the crimson red dupioni silk drapes in the scene.  Talk about a scene stealer!

Love your style!

Cucina Construction: A Kitchen Remodeling Project

Oh my decorating & designing goodness, this kitchen remodeling project was a doozy!  Our home is my childhood home and I realize I’ve gone full circle in my house to home life.  Familiarity and fabulous memories from the past, the nail & hammer present, and the next generation future offers a comfort we can, and are, easily living with.  Design tweaks, adjustments, and repurposes have been met and mastered.


Eight foot ceilings I love to hate have been embraced, especially when the architect gave us his bid on raising these puppies two feet.  Heavy, and I mean h-e-a-v-y five figures later, that’s a big negatory!

Please excuse the fact that I can’t help myself with the homage to Convoy. Casey Kasam’s Classic American Top 40 is on the radio.  Between the before pictures and the tunes I am swimming in 70s nostalgia.

outdated kitchen

The kitchen is a multipurpose high traffic area of the home and ours is no different.  When my parents built the house in 1965, the kitchen was a design marvel among the ranch house set.  It underwent two decor remodels that simply did not stand up to the test of time or design.  When we took our first real look at the kitchen as the present homeowners, we realized this space needed some space.  To give you some idea of what we were working with, I am posting before and way,way before pictures of the space in question.

kitchen remodel

First order of demo was to take down the wall at the end of the first picture of me and my paternal grandparents.  Immediately after first demo we tore down the breakfast bar, broom closets, and cabinet built ins shown in the second picture of a dinner with family, our preacher, and his wife.  My thought process was to incorporate the formal dining room.  I’m all about removing walls to open up a space.   We are picture deficient of the demo process.

Just imagine dirt, dust, and chaos.


We salvaged, saved and strategically placed existing cabinets in with purchased solid wood prefabricated cabinets.  We took the door and drawer fronts off both the old and new cabinets.  Dave the Builder ordered 60 MDF cabinets doors and 29  MDF drawer fronts.  He primed all with oil base KILZ interior oil stain block and primer from Lowe’s.  The cabinetry color is Sherwin-Williams Pure White.


The wall color is (was) Sherwin-Williams Anjou Pear.  Counter tops were born from sheeting the new cabinet tops with 3/4 ” CDX plywood as the base.  I selected MS International 12″ square granite tiles for the counter tops.  For the backsplash we went with 12 X12 ceramic paired with 6″ copper half round rope metal molding wall tiles.



Slab granite was definitely a consideration, but the $$$ difference between the two is money we can spend elsewhere.  Dave won the “discussion” of bull nose vs. wood trim for the counter top front edging.


We dressed up the upper cabinets, existing fluorescent light fixture, and ceiling molding with decorative molding from Home Depot.

sub zero refrigerator

The Sub-Zero refrigerator was moved from our previous home and repainted to match the new cabinets on site.  A casing was built to house the refrigerator to match the new cabinets.  Dave repurposed the doors as side casing decoration, adding them to the refrigerator casing.

painted kitchen cabinets

We removed the original windows and installed Pella replacement windows from Lowe’s. I knew from the get- go I wanted 13″ X 13″ ceramic floors with the tiles laid diagonally, and I am thrilled with the result. I was adamant the original Baccarat crystal chandelier my mother selected forty years ago fit into the overall look.  The breakfast area chandelier is from Lamps Plus, and the pendant light from Home Depot.

decorative corbels

Amerock cabinet hardware was purchased on clearance from Lowe’s. Let’s build something and save money while doing it together, Lowe’s! Both the corbels framing the window above the sink and the ceiling medallion were purchased from Wish I Had That.

And now, without further ado, may we present a preview picture of our new kitchen.



Click on the picture to begin the updated kitchen remodeling project tour