"Brass offers a classic and timeless look while still feeling bold and contemporary," says Amy Biller Switzer, marketing manager at Emtek and Schaub. "We will see that continue into 2020." The finish blends nicely with most kitchen design styles, but we especially love the look of brass hardware against dark, moody cabinetry or a polished brass faucet that acts as a shiny focal point in a neutral kitchen. 
When the goal is rustic simplicity, there's no need to spend tons on custom cabinetry and granite counters. Paint transformed oak cabinets, bought off the rack at Lowe's and topped with Ikea's birch slabs, while the same white semigloss brightened stools from Walmart. An old tablecloth was used as a skirt for the farmhouse sink, and classic glass cannisters, also Walmart finds, were used for storage instead of upper cabinets.
You can remove walls and cabinetry if you have the space and the budget to do it. You can even combine this space with the dining room for one large, unified area, instead of having a bar or tall wall separate the two. If you live in a condo, check building codes to make sure you can knock out walls. Also, consult with a contractor, as they could recognize that the wall is connected to a supporting beam.
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In a well-designed kitchen, lighting serves various functions. For example, an overhead fixture brightens up the overall space, while sconces illuminate specific tasks. "For kitchens, there’s definitely been an uptick in pendants for use over islands," says Ashley Fothergill, creative director at Mitzi and Hudson Valley Lighting. "Sconces are in demand, too, for lighting the washing of dishes in the sink or as an accent along a backsplash behind the stove."
If you’re thinking about updating appliances or adding new ones, a kitchen remodel is the perfect time to do so, as your cabinet design will be built around your appliance specs. New appliances can give your kitchen a fresh look, but it’s important to choose the right appliances for your needs. If you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, standard appliances might be sufficient. If you enjoy cooking, baking and entertaining, top-of-the-line appliances may be essential.

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the countertops might be called the heart of the kitchen. Therefore, as you can tell above, it’s one of the most popular kitchen remodeling projects. The average cost of having new countertops installed is $3,401, but it's important to realize how much this can vary from project to project. The price will depend on the size of your kitchen, the simplicity of the layout and the materials used.


Once you have an idea of your kitchen remodel budget, play around with a loan calculator to figure out your next move. Determine how much your monthly payment may be considering your credit score, how much you borrow and how long you are willing to pay your loan. Also consider how your new monthly payment will affect your monthly cash flow and personal finances overall.
Although the following figures are for each project done separately, you’ll likely be able to save on each project when completed as part of a total kitchen remodel. However, these amounts will give you an idea of how much money each specific area of the kitchen will require. Then, you can add items together that you want completed to come up with a budget objective.
When you're working with $15,000 to $30,000, you can leave more work to the professionals instead of doing it yourself. This might include refinishing or refacing your cabinets, painting the walls and ceilings, installing new lighting and rewiring some electrical work. You can also focus on replacing your flooring, if it's particularly worn, and look at more high-grade countertop material like stone (granite, Corian, Formica). You might be able to invest in custom cabinets, move some plumbing, or have an island installed in this price range, but you might have to compromise on other upgrades in the process.

Keep in mind, however, that some personal loan companies let you borrow only up to $35,000 or $40,000, which means you may need to consider another option if your borrowing needs are greater. Also note that while personal loans can offer fixed interest rates as low as 4 percent, the best rates and terms tend to go to borrowers with good or excellent credit.
Sadly, most home remodeling projects do not return 100% of your investment. In fact, according to Remodeling’s 2017 Cost Vs. Value report, only one project will return a positive investment (attic insulation). Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean you should skip all remodeling projects. After all, if you plan to live in your house for another 10 years, you will enjoy those long overdue upgrades. You’ll get a higher sale price down the line and a higher quality of life living with a remodeled kitchen.

Case in point: Photographer and designer Erin Kestenbaum transformed her kitchen as part of this fall’s One Room Challenge and thoughtfully included enhanced storage space. Kestenbaum’s creative solutions included vertical tray storage above the fridge, a narrow drawer for oils and spices by the range, and a coffee bar built into a full-height cabinet. "I love designing upfront ways to hide the clutter and appliances that, without a home, will inevitably end up on your countertop occupying space," she says. 

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