Originally Published: March 18, 2010 2:10 p.m.
When renovating a kitchen, a bathroom or a child's room on a fixed budget, it's best for the homeowner to consider the scope of the project first.
Licensed contractor Turc Hartman, owner of Prescott Valley-based Able and Ready Painting-Remodeling, shared tips on what homeowners can do to make over a kitchen on budgets of $1,000, $4,000 and $10,000.
He also dispensed advice about how to re-do a bathroom on $400, $1,000 and $2,000-plus, as well as a child's room on $400 or less and $400 or more.
"You're going to get the most money for your investment by doing work in the master bathroom, the kitchen and the master bedroom," Hartman said. "You usually get anywhere from 60 to 85 percent return on your investment in kitchens."
What follows is a breakdown of Hartman's recommendations.
$1,000 budget: Depending on the size of the kitchen, Hartman said it's possible to put fresh paint on the drywalls and/or change the color entirely. Re-facing one's cabinet doors is also affordable.
"You might have fake plastic laminate doors, but you can get some real wood-stain grade doors pre-finished and get those hung," he said.
$4,000 budget: Hartman said a homeowner couldn't afford to buy all new cabinets in this price range. Instead, it would be best to install different door fronts.
"You could possibly, depending on your cabinets, cut out the middle panel and put some glass with some under-cabinet accent lighting inside where you have your good china and glass," he said.
A homeowner also might replace his or her countertops with granite, which is fairly inexpensive right now. Hartman said many businesspeople bought hundreds of granite slabs in advance for bulk purchasing power anticipating the economy would improve.
"Now they have all that inventory in stock, and granite's going for a lot less than it used to," he said.
If a homeowner's cabinets are in decent shape, Hartman said he or she should have enough money to buy new countertops and flooring, such as engineered wood, laminate or tile.
Hartman said he recently installed a granite countertop for a customer with a large kitchen that cost $2,000. He added that polished granite is a solid investment because of its durability and the value it adds to a home.
"If I was to do that same granite countertop about two years ago, it probably would've been about $3,800," he said.
Essentially, those with a $4,000 budget have three options: replacing their countertops and flooring; installing countertops, cabinet faces and lighting; or adding new countertops, lighting and fresh paint.
$10,000 budget: With this amount, the sky's nearly the limit, as a homeowner could install all new custom-designed solid wood cabinets as well as a Lazy Susan and a trash can pullout. A new paint job, sink, garbage disposal, granite countertops and flooring are not out of the question either.
If there is money left over, one might consider buying a stainless steel refrigerator and a dishwasher, and perhaps even complete a minor remodeling job.
$400 budget: This kind of money likely won't go too far for a typical small bathroom makeover. However, depending on the size, a homeowner might be able to paint the walls, install ceramic tile or porcelain tile to replace the sheet vinyl, and put in a new toilet.
It costs about $225 to paint an average bathroom.
"You could change out the light fixtures and put in a more modern one," Hartman said. "You could also add one of those medicine cabinets that go inside the wall."
$1,000 budget: With slightly more dough, a homeowner could paint the room while installing a modern cabinet style with a different kind of vanity countertop and sink, a new light fixture and floor tile.
A new vanity and top typically cost around $400, while a light fixture is about $85 and tile runs from $225 to $300.
$2,000-plus budget: Once a homeowner gets in this range, he or she has the luxury of remodeling the master bathroom in different combinations.
"Depending on your needs, you could add a second sink," Hartman said. "And, depending on the size of your room, you could add a Jacuzzi tub."
Some master baths have 6-foot-high by 4-foot-wide artificial marble or vinyl shower surrounds. In this case, one could replace the surround with tile.
"You could change your shower valve and you can get a fancier rain-head shower head," he said. "And you could get tile flooring, paint, change out the fixtures, medicine cabinets and mirrors, and add a skylight and big window (with obscured block glass) for natural lighting."
$400 or less: Depending on the child's needs, a homeowner could change the design of the closet system to add more shelving and paint the room.
"You could do a wallpaper border with something such as basketballs or spaceships," Hartman said. "And you could do flooring."
But if the room itself is in good shape, it might be best to spend the money on furniture.
"Most kid's bedrooms are really small, such as 10x10 or 10x12 (feet), so putting in organizing units with plastic shelves to organize their toys, that might be the best," Hartman said.
$400 to $1,000: In this price range, a homeowner could get a desk built into the room where it's set in a corner and can fold up.
"If the kid is limited in space, we could build a desk for him to do his homework on," Hartman said. "Then, when he's not using it, it could fold up against the wall and open up that space for playing or livable space."
Another option is building a bunk bed with a desk underneath it that is custom designed based on the child's needs. Adding new paint, carpet and furniture are typically the best choices when re-doing a kid's room.