Should I Work With What I Already Have?

Should I work with what I already have?

Many times, when people start considering a remodel, one of the first things    that they’ll ask is whether they should work with what they already have in their home. There are many reasons someone might ask this, including potential cost or time savings, but there are definitely some things to consider before going that route.

Are you happy with your current layout?


woman admiring her new cabinets

Suppose you’re doing a kitchen remodel and you’re considering reusing your existing cabinets to save some money.

Cabinetry comes in incremental sizes and it may not be possible to arrange things as you envision within the limitations of your existing cabinetry.  Even if cabinets can be relocated, often it will require ordering more parts from the original cabinet manufacturer to finish now exposed ends, add fillers, or replace the moldings.  When reworking the design using existing cabinetry, this will only be worthwhile if you love the cabinetry you already have.

Perhaps you’re looking into some bathroom renovations. If you’re fine with leaving things where they already are, there is a major cost savings with not having to relocate plumbing, even if you’re replacing all the items in the bathroom. So, leaving your sink, toilet, and tub where they are, but replacing the actual sink toilet and tub could be a great way to go.

Will the look be consistent?

old, dilapidated interiorThe remodel process can be daunting for the average homeowner—there is so much to consider to make sure your design decisions are all cohesive.  Existing materials also age, so ideas that seem simple from the outset may have more implications than originally considered. You may want to use your existing cabinet bases, but maybe swap out the doors. Can you match the new doors to the old bases? Will the look of your existing cabinets be cohesive with the new countertops and backsplash that you’re putting in?

Suppose you’re adding new cabinets alongside your existing ones. Can you get the same cabinets? Are your existing cabinets sun-faded, dinged or scuffed, giving away their age? The fact is that it is nearly impossible to match new to old, especially in rooms that receive a lot of sun or have high traffic.

Appliances are another consideration. You may want to keep your fridge but replace your range and oven. Does the new range and oven match the style of the fridge, or will it stick out like a sore thumb? Though keeping the old fridge may save you some money in the short term, it may drive you crazy that your beige fridge contrasts so starkly with the new range and backsplash in the rest of the kitchen.

One more thing to consider is how an old item will look next to new things. When you consider the look of your old bathroom, you don’t necessarily see the age of the items that you’re looking to keep. Afterall, you’ve lived with them for years, so you haven’t noticed the impact that age has had on the finish or even style of the things you’re looking to reuse. However, if you install a new shower next to your old toilet, the age of the toilet will suddenly become much more obvious. Putting an old item next to a new one will make the old one look much older.

Are there things that you hate that could potentially drive your decisions?

woman with back to camera, leaning on cabinetsSometimes that decision to work with your existing pieces comes with the idea of compromise for something we may not like. Perhaps you have painted cabinets, and you decide to keep them to save some money, but you hate the way a painted cabinet looks. How much can you tolerate those painted cabinets that you hate in order to save a few dollars? If this is something you’ll likely want to change later on, then it may be worth it to change it now instead of living with it a while longer.

Or perhaps you hate the fireplace that’s visible from your kitchen because its tile work is extremely bold. Don’t design your kitchen around the bold tile of the fireplace just because it can be seen. If that thing that you dislike is driving other design decisions, then perhaps it’s simply time to change that thing as well.  Is it worth settling for something that doesn’t meet your ideals when you’re already making other major changes to your home?

Is it time to replace any appliances?

Told, junky applianceshere are appliances that we often forget have a definite life span and need to be replaced every so often. However, they are tucked away out of view, and we never think about them. For example, your disposal should be replaced every 7-10 years, however because it’s out of sight, under the sink, we think we can just reuse it and not have any issues. But unless your existing disposal is only 2-3 years old, then it would make more sense to simply replace it when your new sink is installed. The same goes for things like hot water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and even ovens and microwaves. So, unless these are relatively new, it may not be a bad idea to simply replace them due to potential failure in the near future.

When you’re considering a remodel, it’s important to think through what you want to use to save money, but also how you want to use that old item. If you like where it is, it isn’t time to be replaced and you are genuinely happy with it, then it is probably worth it to reuse it, however if the answer to any of those is no, then consider replacing it with new pieces and completely enjoy the space. And ultimately, if you just aren’t sure talk to one of our designers and get their opinion! They’ll walk you through the options and help you make the best decision for your budget and your lifestyle. So, schedule a free no-hassle consultation today!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *