5 Things to do Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

5 Things to do Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

A kitchen remodel is an investment of both time and money, but the results are well worth it. As the center of your home, the kitchen should work well for your family, no matter the time of day or activity happening in the room. If your kitchen isn’t functioning quite up to par, it might be time to start planning a kitchen renovation. Before jumping in to a remodeling project, read through our checklist of five things to do as you plan your kitchen renovation.

1. Compile a lists of what you love & hate about your current kitchen

Start a list of things that you either love or hate about your current kitchen. Actually putting pen to paper will help you really think through what your ideal kitchen needs to provide. Think about things like:

  • How is your traffic flow? Do you have to wait for the kids to get out of the refrigerator before you can pass? Does someone always seem to be under foot while you cook dinner?
  • Do you have any wasted space? How do you get to things stored in the back of the corner cabinets? Do you have enough storage that is easy to access?
  • Do you prefer to keep your counters clear or are there certain things you like to keep out and handy?
  • Do you need more electrical outlets for small appliances? Do you need a drop zone for mail with a charging area for cell phones?
  • Do you need help staying organized? What items seem to pile up and fall out of the cabinets? Do things get lost in the cabinets?
  • Is cleaning an issue? What seems to never get or stay clean? Do you need room to hand wash and dry pots and pans? Is the broom or stick vac handy for quick clean ups?
  • Other than cooking, what activities do you and your family do in the kitchen? Is seating needed? How many people do you need seating for?
  • Do you need more light in your kitchen? Can you see to mince garlic? Can your lighting be adjusted for entertaining when you’d like softer light or when you need bright light to work on smaller details? Perhaps, dim night lighting would be nice for late night snack raids.

2. Determine what budget you’ll have for your remodeling project.

Why is budgeting for a kitchen so important? A kitchen renovation is a major investment. There are a lot of decisions when it comes to designing your kitchen. With so many changes to plumbing, electrical features, new cabinetry, and the structure of the room, understanding what a realistic budget is for the scope of your project will help keep you on course and save significant time. Sharing your budget with your designer is absolutely necessary so they can help you navigate the selection process and guide you on important details or where to compromise to keep the project on budget. Your designer will help you select cabinets and tops, decide which appliances are best, and specify all of the other materials, down to hardware, lighting, flooring, faucets, and fixtures. All of these products and choices come in a range of prices.

When it comes to budgeting for a kitchen remodel, most homeowners have no idea how much a kitchen costs or how to come to a budget number. This is an endeavor you will likely only take on once or twice in your lifetime, and most remodeling shows don’t share realistic budgets or timelines.

A good estimator for the cost of remodeling a kitchen would be to calculate 15-25% of your home’s value. This calculation will give you a ballpark range for a basic pull-and-replace project at about 15% to a full redesign at 20+%. These ratios will keep you from over or under designing for your home’s value. And, using these guidelines, you will see a significant return on your investment through an increase in home value after your kitchen is remodeled. And, remodeling well before you plan to move will allow you to enjoy the new space, and the investment you’ve made. Because kitchens are such an important part of the home, the investment to update and increase the function and beauty of your kitchen makes perfect sense.

Read our blog for more information about kitchen remodeling costs.


3. Research designers and contractors, and check reviews.

Do your research! Check reviews and references. The best way to get to know the renovation team you’ll be working with is to read their online reviews and talk to references. Others who have worked with them can give you insight into what it is like being their client.

Finding a good designer and a reputable contractor or team of skilled tradesmen for your kitchen remodel is essential. Both your designer and contractors need to communicate well with you and each other. Your whole team needs to collaborate to bring together your design style and materials selections. Your designer may have contractors and trades they have worked with, or your contractor may have a designer they work well with- this is a great place to start your search.

Over the past few years we’ve seen an increase in material costs of 15-50% and some items are back ordered for months. It is helpful to have an experienced team who can plan ahead, order and receive all of the materials, and stage your project schedule in order to complete the construction of your project in a timely manner.

4. Collect inspiration photos and pick your design style.

Once you have your pros and cons of your kitchen listed out, start thinking about how you want your new kitchen to look. Do you prefer stained wood cabinetry over painted? Do you want to bring in a punch of bold color? Do you prefer light and airy, or a rich and moody feel? Would you prefer a clean contemporary kitchen or a cozier, more lived in style?

Start looking around, go to home shows and open houses, collect kitchen and bath magazines that you can tag pages with post-its, browse kitchens on Houzz or Pinterest to create boards for what you like. You can also read blog posts, like ours, that help describe design styles and show examples of how that is incorporated into an actual kitchen remodel.

Try not to over do your collection of pictures, and don’t get lost in the minutia- you don’t want to fall in love with a single design element that will completely blow your budget. Your photo collection will help your designer learn your style, but she will offer you options to make your kitchen uniquely yours.

5. Make a list of unique, must-have kitchen design elements.

While you’re browsing photos for ideas, make a list of any unique details you love. These are items that your designer can easily incorporate into your kitchen, and would add function and character to the room. Some of these design elements might include:

  • An insta-hot or filtered cold water
  • A sit-down work station
  • A statement appliance in a vivid color, such as a French blue range
  • Hidden knife block or spice storage
  • Additional room mouldings to add depth- picture frame wainscotting or extending the crown onto the ceiling
  • An alcove for pet bowls or a built in area for beds
  • Lighting in the toe area or in an open area above crown moulding
  • Built in or integrated refrigeration, paneled to blend into the cabinetry
  • Floating shelves

If you have a unique need, we’d love to hear about it. We are always working with clients to incorporate particular features that will customize their kitchen to their family.

Click here to tell us more about your ideal kitchen remodel. We will call you to discuss your vision, goals, and next steps for your project. We can’t wait to hear from you!