8 Ways to Update Your Kitchen, Affordably

If your kitchen is outdated or your style has changed over the years, you may be dreaming up a new kitchen. However, your bank account may not agree with your renovation aspirations. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is more than $20,000. To help, Erie Insurance has eight affordable ways to give your old kitchen a fresh new look.

Paint your cabinets. You don’t have to completely replace all of the cabinets in your kitchen to make them feel new again. A fresh coat of paint can do the trick. If your kitchen is on the small side, use white paint for a clean, fresh look that’s sure to brighten up your space. Dark colors can make a bold statement but are best for larger kitchens.

Add new hardware. New knobs and drawer pulls will help give your kitchen a new look for a small investment. Your local hardware store should have plenty of style and color options. And if you’re really on a tight budget, you can update your old hardware using a can of bronze or silver spray paint.

Install a new kitchen sink. A new sink can make just as much of an impact as new flooring or cabinets at a fraction of the cost. Just measure your existing sink and buy a stainless, composite or granite replacement that will drop right in. Complete the look with a new pulldown faucet.

Add lighting under your cabinets. A dark kitchen can make your space seem smaller and less inviting. Under cabinet lighting is an easy way to brighten up the entire room. And with battery, plug-in and hard-wired options available, there’s a simple solution for every skill level.

Install a new countertop. Custom granite countertops cost thousands of dollars. But today’s laminate countertops have sharper graphics and better embossing than the laminate of years past. Laminate can be a durable and stylish alternative that can give you an upgraded look for far less. Other materials like soapstone or butcher block can be a bigger investment than laminate, but still make a statement for less than the price of granite.

Add more counter space. Pushing two kitchen carts together is an easy and creative way to give you more counter space. A butcher block island can also give you extra storage space without installing new cabinets.

Revitalize your backsplash. A stylish backsplash can be the focal point of any kitchen. With some DIY skill, a tile backsplash can be relatively inexpensive. If you’re uncomfortable with grout and mortar, consider using peel-and-stick tiles or a solid surface like beadboard.

Reface outdated appliances. That almond-colored refrigerator was stylish when it was new. But today, stainless is the way to go. Bring your old appliances into the 21st century by applying stainless steel contact paper or covering them with appliance paint.

Homebuyers: This Could Be Your Moment

Has talk of inventory shortages and rising home prices prevented you from getting out there and searching for your first home…or moving up to your dream home? Well, according to a recent report from Trulia, the tide is starting to turn, and conditions are becoming more favorable for homebuyers in many areas across the country, with the share of home listings with a price cut growing to its highest level since 2014.

For much of the first half of 2018, the share of listings on Trulia with a price cut was largely unchanged from 2017, before shooting up in July and August. In August 2018, 17.2 percent of U.S. listings had a price cut, up from 16.7 percent a year ago.

Coupled with home price growth that’s begun to slow, and inventory levels that are creeping back up in some places, a higher rate of price cuts could be a critical third confirmation that things may finally be shifting in buyers’ favor, says Trulia Housing Economist Felipe Chacon.

“Buyers should be encouraged by the signals we’re seeing in the market,” says Chacon. “But not all buyers will benefit equally, and it pays to do research on your preferred neighborhood. Price reductions typically aren’t uniformly spread out across a given city. Our research shows that price cuts are much more prevalent in higher-cost neighborhoods.”

According to the analysis, of the top 100 metros, 63 had a higher share of listings with a price cut this August than last August—and some of the priciest and/or fastest-growing markets experienced the biggest jump. In fast-moving Las Vegas, for example, the share of listings with a price cut rose from roughly one-in-eight a year ago (12.6 percent) to more than one-in-five currently (20.8 percent)—the largest percentage-point jump among all metros analyzed. In San Jose, where the median home is worth more than $1.2 million and home values are growing more than 20 percent year-over-year, the share of listings with a price cut in August more than doubled compared to August 2017.

While increasing price reductions is welcome news for most, not all homebuyers are likely to benefit equally, says Trulia. In 79 of the largest 100 metros, a higher share of homes listed in more-expensive neighborhoods are experiencing price reductions than those listed in less expensive areas.

And although the report points to more price cuts nationwide, the reductions themselves are getting smaller. For the 12 months ending August 2018, the median price reduction nationwide knocked 2.6 percent off the listing price. This has been declining steadily since 2012, when the median price reduction was 4 percent. The median value of a price reduction today is less than the median price reduction at the outset of the recovery in 97 of the 100 largest metros analyzed.