Kitchens are the number one most remodeled room by homeowners. And that makes sense. It's a bit of a cliche to say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but it's still true. In many homes, the kitchen isn't just a place to cook. It's a place to eat, to gather, and to hang out. And with the popularity of open-concept home layouts, the kitchen is often an integral part of your living space. So if you've grown tired of staring at the same four walls, maybe it's time to shake things up a bit. The perfect kitchen remodel takes planning and good choices. But with these tips and tricks, you can have the kitchen of your dreams.
Plan, Then Plan Some More
The planning stage should be the longest stage of your kitchen remodel. The more time you spend in this phase of the remodel, the less trouble you will have in the construction phase. And going into the construction phase with a clear plan ahead of you is the best way to minimize time and cost overruns.
So how long should you spend planning your new kitchen? Experts suggest six months. While that may seem like a long time, it gives you some advantages. First, it gives you the time you need to seriously consider every aspect of your kitchen—and there are plenty of details. Second, the more time you spend planning, the more comfortable you become with your decisions. Last-minute changes can drive up costs, so avoiding them is the best way to make the most of your budget.
When you begin planning, start by creating a detailed sketch of your kitchen with all of the measurements. Don't just measure your counter and appliances. Include measurements of aisles and doorways. The last thing you want is to order a beautiful new appliance only to find out it won't fit through your door. Don't forget to include height in all of your sketches, too. Knowing how much headspace you have is critical when you start designing cabinets and selecting light fixtures.
Consider The Rest of Your Home and Match It
It can be tempting to completely toss out your old kitchen and go for something stunningly different. But that may not always provide the most satisfying results. There are a couple of considerations you will have to make before you can start designing the kitchen of your dreams.
First, you need to determine a budget. If you want to completely remodel your kitchen, it won't be cheap. The median cost of a full remodel is around $65,000. But that can vary a lot based on the extent of the changes you're making and the materials and appliances you select. Think about local home values and the possible resale value of your own home. Install the most up-to-date appliances in an old ranch, and you may not recoup much of your money when you sell. But even worse is underspending. If you can't afford to fully remodel your kitchen, you can make some significant upgrades for just a few thousand dollars. But don't get caught up on budget materials and appliances. If you try to sell a high-value home with a budget kitchen, you could end up costing yourself far more than you saved.
Second, you should consider the style of your home. You may think you live in just a plain old house, but every house has an architectural style. Putting a sleek, modern kitchen in a 60-year-old ranch home, it will look like it fell from space. On the other hand, a rustic, cottage-style kitchen in a more modern home will clash with the rest of the house. There are no strict rules, but try to consider whether your kitchen will match the other rooms in your home. Thinking about that in the early planning phase will avoid trouble down the line.
Keep the Footprint
If you've watched a little HGTV, you're undoubtedly familiar with those 30-minute time capsules of a full-home reno' project. And the most fun part is when the homeowner picks up a sledgehammer and punches the first hole in a wall. Twenty minutes and three commercial breaks later, voila! A beautiful new kitchen.
But the reality is a bit different. Two of the most expensive things you can do are to break down walls and move plumbing or electric lines. Unless your budget is truly expansive, it's best to keep the plumbing and electric where they are and plan to keep your appliances more or less in the same place. You can still design a fantastic kitchen around your existing utility lines.
Also, breaking down walls is just asking for trouble, especially in older homes. You never know just what you might find when you start demolition. Often, the combination of outdated building codes and years of sub-par handiwork can result in expensive updates you could have done without. In short, don't break down walls and move your utilities unless you really need to. Even then, if you don't have the budget to handle extensive work and absorb unforeseen cost overruns, steer clear of breaking things.
Keep Your Cabinets
Besides breaking down walls and moving utilities, one of the most expensive components in a kitchen remodel is new cabinets. But in many cases, you can cut costs by keeping your old cabinets. One of the first things any good designer looks for is quality, solid wood cabinet frames. If you have a good frame, there's no point in trashing it. There are plenty of ways to breathe new life into perfectly good cabinet frames. First, you can add new cabinet doors and drawer fronts. If the frame is structurally sound by showing its age, you can re-laminate the front and sides. And you can always paint them to match your new design.
If you plan to paint your cabinets, don't just pick up a paint roller and have at it. While you might be able to do a decent job painting a new wall that way, you can't get the same results with cabinets. If you want your cabinets to look like new, you will have to clean and lightly sand all the surfaces, then hire a professional painter to apply the new color. The professional will tape everything off, place the necessary tarps, and use a spray gun to get that like-new look you are after.
Make the Most of the Small Things
Sometimes, what stands out most about a kitchen remodel is not the big, expensive stuff. There are some low-cost updates you can make that will ultimately make or break a remodel. First, never underestimate hardware. Handles and drawer pulls are relatively inexpensive but don't skimp. Plan ahead and choose the right hardware for your new kitchen design, and the results will far outweigh the costs. In many instances, more expensive is not better. Choose the right style for your kitchen, and as long as they aren't budget bin quality, you should be fine. And pay attention to the details. Replacing painted-over hinges with shiny new ones to match your new hardware creates a massive amount of bang for very little buck.
Another area where a little cash goes a long way is with your sink and faucet. Sinks can get pricey, but you don't have to drop a lot of dough to get startling results. Almost any new sink will have your kitchen looking fresh and updated. Choose a sink you like and don't get hung up on fancy commercial-grade sinks—or appliances, for that matter. Unless you are a high-end chef, you should do just fine with reasonably priced equipment.
Faucets are a great place to make a statement without breaking the bank. Spend a few extra bucks to get a quality faucet. Choose one with a pullout sprayer, and you'll be glad you did. The difference between a mediocre faucet and a really nice faucet can be under $100. If you are spending thousands on a remodel, this is one place where you can make a big improvement with minimal investment.
Finally, you don't have to spend on the most high-end, high-tech appliances on the market. You'd do better off to spend your money on high-quality appliances from reliable manufacturers and make sure you get pieces that match. Most manufacturers sell appliances in sets that go together. Don't spend the big bucks on a fridge that does your grocery shopping for you. Instead, buy something reliable and spread your budget evenly across your appliances.
Don't Forget the Lights
One of the best ways to make a kitchen feel larger without breaking down walls or expanding your footprint is to install well-planned lighting. Lighting falls into three main categories: task lighting, ambient lighting, and decorative lighting.
For task lighting, make sure that all work areas are brightly lit to make working easier. Take the opportunity while you have your cabinets stripped to the bones to hardwire under-cabinet lights. The added illumination can turn a dark corner of your counter into a favorite workspace. Also, add extra lights over your sink so you can better see the things you are washing. Handing fixtures work well over an island where there are no cabinets overhead.
Ambient lighting allows you to see your way around your kitchen. Recessed lights, flush-mounted fixtures, and wall sconces are all options. Just make sure you have enough light to avoid dark shadows. Adding a dimmer to your ambient lighting can help set the mood when you're not actually cooking.
Your ambient lighting can often serve double-duty as decorative lighting. Recessed can lighting is popular because it provides good coverage and is out of the way. But a few accent fixtures are a great way to liven up a kitchen remodel. Just make sure you leave enough headroom.
Enlist Trusted Professionals
One of the best ways to make the most of your budget and get the results you want is to enlist trusted professionals. While some big box stores—and popular tv shows—may make you think this is a DIY project, professional help may be well worth the cost. Unless you are very handy, experienced, and have lots of time, now is not the time to experiment. Call in a professional contractor to bring your plans to life. A good kitchen remodel contractor can also help you plan your remodel. Their experience alone makes them useful advisors on your project.
If you want to find kitchen remodel contractors you can trust, you're in the right place. Choose a TurstDALE certified kitchen remodel expert. You'll get service and value, plus you'll be covered by Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right™ Guarantee.