$40K or Under: Sinks and AppliancesSinks: Make a design statement with an eye-catching color, like this turquoise-hued, apron-front sink from Kohler. Look beyond traditional drop-in sinks and consider a trendier undermount style for a seamless, custom look. "Homeowners have become more sophisticated consumers," says Diana Schrage, interior designer at the Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wisc. This is the price range where add-ons like a water purification system or an instant-hot system are the little extras that can really make your kitchen perform better than ever for you.
Appliances: "This is the level where you may want to splurge on a Viking range if you're someone who entertains a lot," adds Janice Anne. Or go for a less costly cooktop like this one from Kenmore so you can splurge on reconfiguring the traffic flow in your entire kitchen.
$40K TIP: Who can forget that ubiquitous avocado green kitchen of the '70s? Before you pick out that Jadeite green countertop color, remember that neutral colors are timeless and won't date your kitchen as fast as trendy, stronger hues.
Erinn Bucklan is a New York City freelance writer.