Homeowner Dreams on Hold

By Sharon Williams

Buying your first home is like a dream for most people. But the dream updated kitchenhas been placed on an indefinite hold by millions of Americans troubled by the financial crisis. Qualifying for a mortgage these days has gotten tougher with economic uncertainty.

There’s no doubt that in life dreams change over time, and needs change. The slumping real estate market has put plenty of dreams on hold. Markets across the country aren’t cooperating like the active markets they once were as many homeowners face foreclosure, selling at a loss or not being able to sell at any price.

An alternative to selling may be remodeling or updating the home you’re living in. Studies indicate families and guests spend more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house.

“A warm, beautiful and functional kitchen can have a major influence on how you and your family feel about your home and your lifestyle,” said Connie Edwards, certified kitchen and bathroom designer for American Woodmark Corporation. Best of all you don’t have to break the bank to create a kitchen where you’ll love spending time.

Before you take the first step towards remodeling, however, there are a handful of steps that professional designers recommend to help bring your dream kitchen to life and save time and money.

First – Determine what you’re budget is for the remodel since most people don’t have a lot of extra cash these days to throw around, and stick to your budget. Keep in mind hardware, paint and wall coverings can be updated inexpensively. Big purchases like cabinetry, countertops and appliances are what you will want to live with for years.

Second – Your new kitchen design should reflect the way you and your family live. How many people will be in the kitchen at one time? In addition to cooking, will you use your kitchen for dining, entertaining or homework? Prepare an inspiration folder of ideas you’ve seen in magazines or on the web and make selections carefully before going out and buying anything.

Third – When selecting kitchen cabinets, are your tastes traditional? Contemporary or somewhere in between? Think about what appeals to you, including styles, finishes and colors. From a practical standpoint, also review your priorities – your “must haves” – against your target budget.

Fourth – For a custom look, consider adding decorative accents like molding build-ups, ornaments and corbels to cabinetry. Including decorative accessories like hardware, glass door inserts and under-cabinet lighting can also make the room sparkle. Visit your local home center to discover more ways you can add the perfect touch.

Fifth – Regardless of your kitchen’s size use space efficiently since it’s vital to maximize space and keep things organized to meet your needs. Accessories like a Pot & Pan Organizer, Roll out Tray Divider and Spice Door Cabinet can be helpful for any cook.

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