Oh yea, starting a remodeling project comes with lots of decisions – many financial – but there are upgrades that won’t break the bank.

Quality improvements don’t have to be expensive.

“When building or renovating, it’s often best to put your money where your water is — that is, in the kitchen and bathrooms,” explains Houzz contributor Nicole Jacobs in a recent piece published on the popular site. “You will find more function and resale value in upgrading those areas of the home, and many of the following suggestions are for upgrading those rooms.”

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Jacobs’ suggestions for upgrades that won’t break the bank include:

1. Extra-height kitchen cabinets. We’re all looking for extra space in the kitchen, and sometimes it’s best to look up. Your builder’s standard upper-cabinet height may be 30 inches, but if you can increase that to 36 inches or even 42, it’s worth the upgrade.

2. Pots and pans drawers. Pots and pans drawers are deeper than standard drawers and are perfect for — you guessed it— pots and pans. They’re also useful for storing small appliances such as toasters, blenders and coffee grinders.


3. Deep over-fridge cabinet. Standard upper cabinets are 12 inches deep, and your builder’s standard cabinet for over the fridge may also be that depth. If you are able to upgrade to a deeper, 24-inch cabinet, it’s absolutely worth it.

4. Custom-painted cabinets. Depending on the cabinet supplier your builder uses, it may be possible to have the supplier spray your cabinetry a custom color of your choice. This is a wonderful upgrade that not only saves you the expense and effort later on, but also makes your new house unique to you.

5. High cabinets. There really seems to be no end to the kitchen upgrades available, but extra cabinetry is always high on the wish list.

6. Designated microwave spot. Finding a place for your microwave should be a priority when designing your new kitchen with a builder, or when renovating, for that matter. After all, you don’t want to use precious countertop real estate. A common space-saving location for it is over the range, using a unit with a built-in fan.

7. Glass cabinet inserts. Glass-fronted cabinetry in the kitchen is usually an upgrade. If glass cabinetry for display items is important to you, do it now through your builder’s cabinet supplier because this may be difficult to do afterward.

8. Upgraded tile. Some builders have a vast selection of stylish standard tile to chose from, and if this is your experience, you’re fortunate. Others have upgrades available that are modestly priced.

9. Special grout. Sometimes you don’t have to upgrade the tile to get the look you want.

10. Wood in the upper hallway. Upgrading from standard carpet to wood flooring is less expensive to do after you take possession of your new home, but if you decide to spend a bit of money on your flooring, wood in the upper hallway is a nice upgrade to do.

11. Upgraded carpet pad. You usually don’t need to upgrade your standard carpet, but sometimes it’s worth it to upgrade the underpadding. This upgrade is typically not high-priced, is softer underfoot and lengthens the life of your carpeting.

Read all of Jacobs piece here: