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Home improvement on the cheap

How to get top-shelf looks without spending top dollar on popular home-improvement projects.

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Pro-style appliances
Pro-style appliances
To save: Try house-parts recycling centers
You pocket: 50% to 75%

Look for house-parts recycling centers in well-heeled zip codes. A growing number of them now stock gently used high-end appliances from the likes of Viking and Sub-Zero.

"When a multimillionaire buys a house, he or she redoes the kitchen, and that usually means replacing the perfectly good appliances that the previous owner installed just a few years earlier," says Steve Feldman, president of the nonprofit salvager Green Demolitions.

He has hundreds of ranges, cooktops, wine fridges, vent hoods, and warming drawers that have been donated by homeowners or dealers. Donors get a tax write-off, and you get a deep discount on the resale.

Just keep in mind that these appliances come without warranties, so have them checked out--and possibly tuned up--by a repair pro. Still, if you're getting a nearly new Viking range for thousands less than retail, you'll come out way ahead.


NEXT: Stone Countertops
Last updated March 31 2008: 2:19 PM ET