A kitchen remodel is one of the most expensive home improvement projects you can undertake. However, it’s also the one that gets you the most bang for your buck in terms of both satisfaction and recouping costs when the time comes to sell your home.
To help ensure a successful remodeling job, we offer the following kitchen remodeling tips to keep your project on time and on budget.
Allow Enough Time for Planning
If you’re excited about remodeling your kitchen, it can be tempting to jump right in and get started. Unfortunately, that’s a surefire route to disaster.
But, how long is long enough for the planning stage? Well, that depends on a few items. If you plan to finance the project, you need at least three months, since financing typically takes a minimum of six weeks to arrange.
Most experts recommend up to six months for planning, since you’re less likely to make changes mid-project, which results in change orders and increases in both time and money needed to complete the job.
Don’t Change Your Current Footprint
If at all possible, keep appliances and water fixtures where they are now. The most expensive part of remodeling a kitchen is when clients decide to make changes to plumbing and electrical. Not only is it expensive to move these items, it also significantly increases the odds of experiencing unforeseen issues.
A related consideration is maintaining the flow and feeling of your home. If you live in a 1940s bungalow, don’t try to create a sleek, ultra-modern kitchen.
You want your kitchen remodel to last, so look for high-quality, durable items. The ideal products combine a long warranty with low maintenance needs. An extended warranty may even prove a selling point if you intend to put your home on the market soon.
The items with the greatest impact on your kitchen’s overall look are the cabinets and countertops, so don’t skimp here. Your designer can help you find the perfect items.
Increase Storage, not Size
When you choose to keep your current footprint, it may feel impossible to increase storage, but you can do it. Consider the following ideas:
- Cabinets that reach the ceiling create space for rarely used items (you won’t mind the stepladder when you only need it a few times a year). They also save you from having to dust. Win-win!
- Hang items from the ceiling, such as large skillets and stockpots.
- Mount small shelves inside cabinet doors and on empty walls.
- The insides of closets and pantries are great spaces for hooks. There you can hang aprons, potholders, and cleaning equipment.
Your goal is maximizing the space you have, so get creative and ask your designer for more ideas.
Appliances: Keep it Simple
The goal with remodeling a kitchen is to improve its design and functionality. That doesn’t mean it isn’t tempting to go for the deluxe appliances. However, unless you’re a gourmet cook, you probably don’t need that commercial-grade, six-burner stove.
Instead of going for professional-grade appliances, look for brands with a good reputation for quality. And if you can, use matching brands. This gives your kitchen that designer look without the designer price tag.
Light it Up
The right lighting not only makes your kitchen look larger and brighter, it also makes it safer.
Ambient lighting creates an attractive room. Options include track lighting, wall sconces, and flush-mounted fixtures. Don’t forget a dimmer switch.
A remodel is the perfect time to install under-cabinet task lighting, since it’s so much easier to take care of wiring. To guard against shadows, you want at least two fixtures for each task area. Consider pendant lighting over an island and recessed or track lighting over the sink and prep areas that don’t have overhead obstructions (i.e. cabinets).
Be Realistic about Your Budget
The cost of the average kitchen remodel hovers right around $60,000. It can be significantly higher (think two to three times that amount), depending on project details, but it may also be significantly lower if your remodel is more along the lines of a revamp. Your cost depends on the size of your kitchen and extent of your remodel.
Talk to multiple vendors and compare quotes. Make sure, however, that you’re comparing apples to apples. If a vendor comes in significantly below the competition, you should look more closely at what they offer. Always look at a company’s reviews and never hire any contractor without checking the Arizona Registrar of Contractors to ensure they’re licensed and bonded.
Develop a Friendly Relationship with Your Remodeling Team
Be open with your design team and project manager so they know exactly what you want and there are no surprises later. During the project, drop by to see how the work is progressing, but don’t distract the workers. It’s okay to ask questions, but don’t spend a lot of time chatting.
Create a message board for easy communication with your project manager and make sure the team knows how to reach you, including cell and email. If you have particular rules you want followed, share them. This includes the rooms they can use (mainly the bathroom), how parking works in your neighborhood, and noise constraints.
Most crews have their own water, but it’s always kind to offer refreshments, even in a business relationship. And, if they’re doing a good job, say so. Everyone likes to know their work is appreciated.
Create a Temporary Kitchen
A full remodel will leave you without a kitchen for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the extent of your project. Even if you choose to rely heavily on takeout, you’ll need to create a temporary kitchen.
- Location matters: Look for an area removed from the construction. If you have a guest room with its own bath, that makes an ideal choice. The rest of us need to be more creative. Don’t forget, though, that you need an electric outlet capable of handling a refrigerator.
- You need a water source: You need a sink and wash area. And, make life easier with a bin for carting around dishes. A cooler with a drain plug does double-duty as both a carrier and a wash basin.
- Create temporary countertops: You need to perform meal prep somewhere. Folding tables work well, as will your dining room table, just protect its surface.
- Don’t forget your drawers: Portable drawers, storage bins, and wheeled carts all make great options for storing non-perishable food items, cooking utensils, dishes, and flatware.
- Look for items that perform double duty: You probably don’t want to microwave all of your meals. You can use an electric pressure cooker for just about everything, but also stock:
- An electric kettle for soup, oatmeal, tea, and more
- A blender
- An electric skillet
- Microwave-safe dishes for cooking, reheating, and storage
- Glass measuring cup(s) for heating items
- Protect your floors and furnishings: Kitchens rarely have carpeting for a reason. If your temporary kitchen space is carpeted, consider a throw rug (either an inexpensive new one or old one) to protect the floor. And don’t forget to protect surfaces against heat and staining liquids. You don’t want to scorch that gorgeous pine table with a hot pot.
- Keep supplies minimal: Cleanup is a lot easier with fewer dishes. If there are only two complete sets of dishes and utensils for each family member, you never have to wash so many dishes that you’re ready to chuck them all and buy a new set. If you go for disposable options, look for items that are biodegradable or compostable.
Talk to Professionals
If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, call the design pros at Stradling’s to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation estimate. Our team helps you design your new kitchen layout and can manage the entire project, from the floor to the ceiling.