How to renovate your kitchen to make it more eco-friendly

You probably know people who have just finished renovating their kitchens or who are in the process of planning a kitchen remodel. The kitchen has become the heart of the modern American home, with more and more people opting for wide-open rooms that bring together their cooking and dining areas.

Unfortunately, kitchen renovations can cost tens of thousands of dollars. They can also result in perfectly functional kitchen cabinetry and appliances being banished to the landfill in favor of the latest trends.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can give your kitchen a fresh look while saving money and resources and preventing unnecessary additions to your local dump. In the process, you can also put in place improvements to reduce your kitchen’s environmental footprint.


Paint your existing cabinetry.

If you like the layout of your kitchen, re-use your existing cabinetry by giving it a facelift. Remove the doors and sand, prime and paint them. Painted cabinets, especially in white, are absolutely trendy these days.

Replace your hardware.

Simply changing out your cabinet pulls and drawer handles with different ones can dramatically impact the look of your kitchen without waste. If you’re tired of brass, try a different metal. If you’re tired of knobs, try pulls.

Reface your countertops.

Instead of throwing out your old countertops, consider refacing them. There are companies that will resurface old laminate countertops with a resin-type material in the finish and color of your choice, creating a completely different look without the need for removal or re-installation.

Buy energy-efficient appliances.

You don’t need to get rid of your appliances right away, but when it’s time for them to go, replace them with appliances that feature a government-regulated “Energy Star” label. Your utility bills will show the difference. This especially applies to refrigerators.


Buy used.

Get to know your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, or any other consignment store that accepts donations of building supplies and resells them to the public. Contractors often donate entire sets of cabinets and other kitchen items here after demolishing a kitchen before a renovation. Such stores are also great sources of vintage items that can give your kitchen a unique feel or preserve its period look.

Check the classifieds.

If you need newer appliances but don’t want to pay full price at a home improvement store, check online listings for bargains on second-hand ones. There are so many people renovating kitchens these days, you are likely to find a great deal on “old” appliances that are really almost new.

Install a water-saving kitchen faucet.

If you can’t afford to replace the entire faucet, add an aerator to your existing faucet. That will cut your water usage by half.

Install a dimmer for your lighting.

Recessed lights are becoming increasingly popular in kitchens. Whatever your existing lighting, consider installing a dimmer that will let you determine the intensity of the light according to your mood. Lowering the lights will add ambiance to the kitchen when it’s time to eat and reduce your electricity consumption at the same time.

If you follow these tips, you’ll have a beautifully upgraded kitchen but not the debt to show for it. Pat yourself on the back for making eco-friendly and financially responsible choices in your kitchen renovation, and then make sure you have enough home insurance to cover the upgrades. Check out for quotes and rates.


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