Renovating Your Kitchen: Luxury Looks – Part 1: Appliances

If you’re like many homeowners these days, you don’t have an unlimited budget to renovate your kitchen. However, with the economy tight and unemployment high, even if you do have a sizeable budget with which to renovate, say $15,000 to $30,000, you still might be hesitant to even start shopping around. And even for those of you who have more than $30,000 to spend, you’ll still want to spend wisely.
This is the first of a five-part series that will advise you to make the most of your budget, regardless of size. We’ll look at appliances, flooring, cabinets, countertops, and spending traps that you should avoid.
The result will be a lovely, efficient kitchen that your friends and family will enjoy. Only you will know that your expensive kitchen only looks that way.
Let’s take a look at appliances.


Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that going high-end when it comes to appliances will result in the best performance. But let’s see.
High-end appliances such as silent dishwashers or 36-inch ranges complete with high-BTU burners are expected in luxury homes. Many luxury homeowners think midrange appliances don’t belong in a luxury home.
Steam ovens, in addition to regular ovens, are common in high-end homes. They’re marketed as being a more healthful way to prepare foods like vegetables and fish, and they can add several thousand dollars to your budget. There are even combination steam/convection models that keep the moisture in some foods while browning others.
Be aware, though, that not all high-end appliances give you the performance for the money you pay. KitchenAid’s electric and gas ranges are prone to repair, while Jenn-Air’s electric ovens, cooktops, and ranges are, too. Some Viking Professional-series built-in refrigerators have been rated quite poorly by Consumer Reports.
As a result, consider lower-priced models that don’t skimp on quality. Many of these so-called “faux pro” models look great and deliver high-end quality. GE makes a gas range for around $1,500 that is a top performer as rated by Consumer Reports. An induction range is a great choice, as it uses electromagnetism to cook more efficiently. And there are plenty of cabinet-depth, streamlined refrigerators that look built-in, yet cost much, much less.
A final thought on appliances is stainless steel. Of course, for a long time now – decades, really – stainless steel has been king. But that might not be the case anymore.
Merchandisers and other industry experts believe customers are weary of stainless and are looking for alternatives. Some less conservative offers, such as oil-rubbed bronze or cobalt blue, might not be the next big thing. But a more neutral finish, such as metal with  a white glossy sheen that resembles frosted glass, could be a hit. Whirlpool is offering such a line called White Ice, and it will be introduced in stages the rest of the year on their microwaves, refrigerators, ranges, and dishwashers.
Of course, you must choose the best set of appliances that suit your tastes, your budget, and your kitchen or house style. But make sure you’re aware that there are choices, even ones that are lower-priced, and that big money doesn’t always equal comparable quality.
Part 2 of our series will continue with flooring.

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