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3 secrets you should know before remodeling cabinets

With all the time, expense and emotion invested in a home remodel, projects can spin out of control quickly. Below are a few secrets to remodeling that you should know before starting your kitchen cabinet project.

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1. Remodeling cabinets does not necessarily require major work

If your cabinets aren't worn or damaged but just out of date, consider adding or changing the hardware or moldings. Organizational elements, like trays, racks and Lazy Susans, can increase storage space in a cramped kitchen without the extra work.

If you don't mind your cabinetry's design but would like a new look, reface cabinets by sanding and painting or staining. Or, keep the cabinet boxes and replace the doors and drawer fronts. Home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe's, carry a variety of beautiful cabinet doors starting well below $100 each.

2. Maple is not your only option

Think outside the box! While traditional-looking wood grains are the top choice for cabinets in the U.S., a new wave of eye-catching materials is becoming increasingly popular in today's kitchens.

Melamine, for example, is scratch- and stain-resistant. Birch is also incredibly durable and can be sanded down and painted to suit virtually any style. Bamboo, teak and cypress are environmentally-friendly materials, and their density and strength make them ideal for both indoor and outdoor kitchens.

3. When it comes to budget, less is more

You don't have to spend a fortune remodeling cabinets. In fact, according to the "2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report," return on investment (ROI) actually decreases as spending increases. For example, the average "minor" kitchen remodel costs $21,695 and averages a return of 72.8 percent. However, a typical major kitchen remodel, which costs around $58,367, only averages a return of 68.7 percent. And in the upscale category, remodels averaging $113,464 only show a 59.7 percent ROI.

The bottom line is a little can go a long way when remodeling cabinets, so get creative before getting to work!

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