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(BPT) - Home remodel projects don't have to require an extensive budget or look cheap when using less expensive materials. If you're interested in updating the look of your kitchen this year, you can find products and materials that allow you to create a beautiful and stylish home without paying a high price.


The trick to finding these products and materials is keeping an open mind, says Summer Baltzer, interior designer and former host of HGTV's Design on a Dime.

"Most homeowners are surprised by how reasonable kitchen redecorating can be when they use and reorganize existing furniture and cabinetry in new ways, or by taking a new look at how technology has improved the products their grandmothers had in their kitchens," Baltzer says. "We can save money without skimping on style, using what is already there and bringing back what has worked for years with a new look."

For example, laminate was the kitchen countertop surface of choice "back in the day." Today's laminate has evolved to improve its style - looking like real wood, stone or tile. Wilsonart Laminate has many new designs that look and feel like natural stone, like granite or marble, as well as wood, making visitors to the home think they're seeing the authentic material on surfaces like countertops, tables and even walls.

When remodeling your kitchen, consider ways to use what already exists, but upgrade it with a fresh, new look. For example, if your kitchen countertops are faded, covered in stains and worn out, don't try to replace everything. Instead, consider replacing just the tops with granite-styled laminate - designed to mirror the look of granite, but at a fraction of the cost. The laminate is resistant to scratching and marring from sharp objects. This way you can keep the existing cabinets, but change the color and look of the room simply by switching out the countertops.

Or consider turning a former countertop or table into a beautiful faux butcher block - without the expensive cost or ongoing maintenance of real wood. From darker oaks to light maples, laminate can transform the look of your kitchen quickly and easily.

Another way to give your kitchen a fresh new look is modernizing the style. Backsplashes by the sink are very trendy in restaurants and homes these days, but tiling a large area with stone or granite can be both time-consuming and costly. Instead, consider choosing a laminate that will bring out the colors of the room, and add a bit of patterning to the walls.

Switching out the fabrics in the kitchen will help you finalize the entire project within a reasonable budget. Keep the counter-height chairs, but add new seat cushions or replace the current seat cushions for a fresh style. Swap out the curtains in the window to enhance the new color scheme. Hang some new towels - you may be surprised, but the room will look completely different.

As you begin to plan your kitchen remodel, keep an open mind and take a new look at those long-term products that have improved over the years. Consider how laminate designed to replicate granite, marble, stone or wood could drastically improve the look of your kitchen.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. 2014. All rights reserved.

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