4 places to save big on a kitchen remodel

Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | October 6, 2015

Chances are, if you're reading this article, you're bummed that your dream kitchen could cost you a lot more than you're willing or able to spend. Sure, you'd like to splurge on some of those awesome creative kitchen remodel ideas you've seen online, in magazines, and at the kitchen showrooms, but then reality sets in.

What if you want to spruce things up for a quick sale -- change out those antiquated appliances that still don't quite pass as "vintage" or replace the chipped countertops with butcher block or a nice slab of stone?

You don't want to spend an arm and a leg when you probably won't recoup 100 percent of your kitchen remodel investment. On the other hand, a freshly upgraded, move-in ready kitchen sometimes motivates a finicky buyer to make an offer.

According to Remodeling 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, nationwide, a minor mid-range kitchen remodel of $19,226 returns 79.3 percent of your investment. That's 11.5 percent more than a major mid-range kitchen remodel of $56,768. and 20.3 percent more than a major upscale kitchen remodel costing $113,097. Spending the big bucks, especially if you're planning to sell in the near future, doesn't necessarily make good financial sense.

What if you plan to enjoy this home for another decade? Is there a way for you to indulge your creative kitchen remodel ideas without robbing the piggy bank? Like any large purchase, it pays to be a good shopper.

Either way, here are some of the best resources for keeping kitchen remodeling on or under budget.


  • Sears Outlet stores. You can find clearance appliances at 15 to 50 percent below retail. All appliances come with a Sears guarantee.
  • Floor models and scratch-and-dent. Your favorite major appliance store may have floor models discounted. If the cabinetry hides the tiny blemish on the side of your appliance and you can save a couple of hundred dollars, then overlook minor imperfections that don't affect performance.
  • Manufacturers' and retailers coupons. Do you have a particular brand of appliance or favorite retailer in mind? Check the manufacturer's website or search for store coupons and promo codes online. Offers may be good for a few weeks or even months, so you have time to research exactly which model you want.
  • Blow-out holiday sales. Retailers famously discount appliances during major holiday weekends.


  • The Home Depot and Lowe's. If laminate strikes you as passé, maybe you haven't seen Formica's large-scale, stone-patterned countertops paired with seamless ogee or bullnose edges. Easy to install, durable and -- best of all -- far less expensive than real stone, Formica could make you change your mind about laminate when you find out how much it can save you compared to other materials. Big box stores like The Home Depot and Lowe's sometimes have special order materials on clearance that were never picked up. Clearance items at The Home Depot can sell for up to 70 percent off.
  • Local stone and tile suppliers. You don't have to be a contractor to shop local suppliers for discounts on slabs. Do an online search for "stone fabricators."
  • Lumber Liquidators. If you're hunting for wood counters this is the place for reasonably priced butcher block. They sell a large variety of 25 inch-by-8 foot counters online with free shipping to their store nearest you.
  • IKEA. For either solid wood or laminate, shop IKEA's selection of affordably priced counter top options.


  • Salvage shops. Both online and offline, salvage shops can be a great place to find everything from vintage to contemporary treasures.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStores. You can purchase new and gently used building supplies including cabinetry donated by contractors and DIY remodelers. Proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity, a volunteer organization that builds homes for community members in need.
  • IKEA. Buying ready-to-assemble cabinets saves money, and IKEA's cabinetry gets the thumbs up from budget- and style-conscious remodelers.
  • The Home Depot and Lowe's. You can find unfinished real wood cabinets at the big box stores to stain or paint yourself at a substantial savings over finished wood or laminated cabinetry.

Plumbing and lighting fixtures

  • HomeClick.com. Find bargain prices on well-known brands of new kitchen sinks, faucets, and lighting. They also notify you of "exclusive" sales in exchange for divulging your email address.
  • Yard sales and flea markets. You can pick up second hand sinks in good condition at garage sales and swap meets for a fraction of what they cost new. Faucets, however, can be dicey, and you want to plug in lighting fixtures to make sure they work before you take them home.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStores and salvage shops. Do some scouting for plumbing and lighting fixtures at your local ReStore or salvage store. You may find truly incredible bargains on new, nearly new and used fixtures.

Photo credit to Nam Phan

About the Author

Iris Price is a single Baby Boomer whose antidote to a lack of retirement funds was to launch a long-delayed career as a writer. While others her age concoct bucket lists and travel the world, she bought a new-construction home and obsessively creates lists of must-have home improvements and personal realization goals. She specializes in writing about home services and self-motivation.