Dream it Green: Your Eco-Friendly Kitchen (at a Price You Can Live With)

by Owner on June 14, 2010

The perfect modern kitchen is a marriage of functional architecture, sophisticated aesthetics, and eco-friendly products. You want plenty of storage with easy access, the sleek lines and stylish color palette you see in the designer magazines, and materials that will not only look and work great, but also cut down on the damage done to the planet. Of course, you have to be willing to pay for perfection. So how can you keep your dream kitchen remodel green when you’re on a tight budget?

1. Keep your cabinets. Okay, this is not feasible for everyone. Poor planning, shoddy construction, and just plain ugly cabinetry needs to go. If your old cabinets are in decent shape, think about an eco-friendly option like painting or new veneers to freshen them up. However, if they’re totally unusable, you probably have no choice but to send the whole kit and caboodle to the scrap heap. But when you go to buy new cabinets, consider a reclaimed set as a green alternative. You should be able to find something that works great for your kitchen (and keep another load of lumber from going to the landfill).

2. Use recycled tile. Whether it’s for the floor or the countertops, you can’t go wrong with this cheap and easy option. Not only are there a million possible combinations for design, at an average cost of $10/square foot (or even less) it blows away the competition. Plus, it is one of the few remodeling projects you can do yourself.

3. Research recycled glass. This eco-friendly alternative can cost a lot if you use if for your counters, but sheets of small glass tiles will look great on your backsplash (they come in a variety of colors and sheens), clean up easily, and keep your wallet fat and happy.

4. Consider cork. Green flooring can get a bit pricey (stained concrete is more expensive than you’d imagine and even nice laminates can soar into the double digits). But cork is affordable, durable, and renewable, with prices starting as low as $2-$3/square foot.

5. Invest in a built-in recycling center. You’re willing to allocate space for a dishwasher, trash compactor, and wine fridge, so why not a recycling center? You can finally hide all those unsightly bins for glass, plastic, and paper, making your kitchen both functional and eco-friendly.

Of course, there are tons of ways to make your kitchen (and your entire home) green. And when you have the money to invest in making your house more environmentally friendly, you should definitely consider all of your options. But if you’re trying to remodel on a budget (who isn’t on a budget in this economy?), then seek out some of the many chic-o-friendly options that will give you the kitchen of your (green) dreams.

Today’s guest post is courtesy of Jennifer Kardish, a communications coordinator at Discount Kitchen Cabinets. You can check out their free design tips for your kitchen and home.

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