The kitchen is the heart of any home. This where we cook, eat, converse, and much more. From improving functionality, to upgrading fixtures and appliances, and everything in between, there are several reasons you may want to remodel your kitchen. Remodeling your kitchen is a great way to spruce it up and add value to your home if you ever consider selling.
Here are the steps you should take to begin your remodeling journey.
KITCHEN REMODELING WANTS VS NEEDS
If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen the first question you should ask yourself is Why do I want to remodel? What is it you want to accomplish, and what are your motivations? Don’t just think about these questions, write them down, and if you think it will help, talk about them with the members of your household.
When planning to remodel your kitchen, you should start with determining your wants and your needs. When trying to choose what is needed for your kitchen, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the main purpose of the kitchen?
- Does the layout need to be changed?
- What needs to be upgraded? Cabinets, dishwasher, countertops, etc.
- What do you need less of?
- Do you plan on selling? What upgrades add value?
- What do you like about your kitchen?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin to get a sense of what is needed for your project. This is important because the more precise you are, the better kitchen designers and contractors can understand your visions. From there you can begin to develop things like your budget and timeline.
SET A REMODEL TIMELINE
The timeframe of your remodel is determined by the scale of your project. If you’re unfamiliar with the general gist of how home improvement construction works, the general timeframe you can prepare for is nine months. Six months are allocated to planning activities like researching, shopping, designing, ordering, hiring, and scheduling. The other three months are allotted to contractor work.
While you can start creating a timeline on your own, you can work with your kitchen designer and contractor to get a better sense of how long certain stages of the project should take. Your timeline should be somewhat flexible because as things come up – and they will – it’ll help if you’ve built in buffer time instead of trying to rush work at the last minute. Below are common kitchen remodeling phases you should think about:
- In-Home consultation meeting
- Electrical layout
- Flooring and cabinet installation
- Electrician finalizations
- Countertop fabrication and installation
- Plumbing and appliance installation
- Backsplash and Tile Work
- Cleanup and final touches
CREATE A BUDGET
Kitchen remodels come in all shapes and sizes, and setting a budget is unique for every project. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of remodeling your kitchen is $25,000, or around $150 per square foot. Lower end projects can start at $5,000 and go up to $60,000 or more for higher-end and major renovations. When trying to determine a realistic budget for your remodel, a good rule of thumb is to allocate 5% – 15% of your home’s total value toward your project.
Now is a good time to refer back to your list of wants and needs and divvy up your budget by putting more money toward the things that are most important to you. The experts at Cliqstudios suggest the following sample budget breakdown:
- Cabinets: 29%
- Appliances: 17%
- Install: 13%
- Countertop: 11%
- Lighting & Electrical: 10%
- Plumbing: 6%
- Flooring: 5%
- Backsplash: 5%
- Miscellaneous: 4%
It’s important to note that contractors and kitchen designers are an additional expense. As we explain the following sections, it might be worth it to carve out some money in your budget to enlist the assistance of these experts.
BRING IN THE PROFESSIONALS
After you’ve completed your plan and have set a budget to remodel your kitchen, it’s time to find the professionals to get the job done. Hiring a kitchen designer and a contractor can help you stay on track and budget.
HIRING A KITCHEN DESIGNER
Kitchen designers don’t physically do any remodeling. Their job is to help you design the way your new kitchen will look and select the materials that will be used for the project. Hiring a kitchen designer can be beneficial because they have expert knowledge on things like floor plans, appliances, and much more. Their insights can help make your remodeling process smooth and easy.
Before hiring a kitchen designer it’s critical that you shop around to find the best fit for your project. When searching for a qualified kitchen designer, it can be helpful to start with a list of local designers certified by the National Kitchen & Bathroom Association (NKBA). It’s also a good idea to look up kitchen designers online and read their reviews. You might also ask friends or family for recommendations. When vetting a potential kitchen designer, here are some questions you should ask:
- Are the previous examples of your work I can see?
- What is the communication flow like?
- How does your design approval process work?
- What are your payment terms?
HIRING A CONTRACTOR
Contractors are the ones who will bring your visions to life. Your contractor will be the point person for your remodel, sourcing and delivering materials, managing subcontractors, and making sure everything runs smoothly. Although hiring a contractor is an additional expense, they can have the best deals on materials and may help you save money in the long run.
Selecting the right contractor is a key factor in the success of your remodel project. You’ll want to make sure that you and your contractor are on the same page and will work well together. Research licensed contractors in your area with positive online ratings and review. Look up your local Home Contractor’s Association online, or check recommendations on platforms like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List. Recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors can also be helpful. Make sure you ask these questions when you’re deciding on the right contractor for you:
- If permits are needed will you obtain them?
- What are your payment options, and do you offer free quotes?
- Do you communicate throughout the remodeling process?
- Are you and your subcontractors bonded and insured?
- Are you licensed?
- Can you share some of your past or current work?
- Do you have any testimonials or client references I can speak with?
SET UP A TEMPORARY KITCHEN
Setting up a temporary kitchen is important because you need a place to make meals while your permanent kitchen is under construction. Try to set up your temporary kitchen in a place where there is low foot traffic and as far away from the construction as possible. Setting up near a water source like a bathroom will be helpful. Places like your basement, garage, or utility room are also good locations to consider.
Here are some additional tips for setting up your temporary kitchen:
- Pick out the essentials and pack everything else up. Set aside the essential items that will move to your temporary kitchen. You won’t need your full set of plates and glasses, or several different sets of measuring cups. Stick with the bare minimum to make cleaning up easier and to stay decluttered. Everything else can be packed away until your remodel is finished.
- Plan your meals. One of the biggest expenses during a kitchen remodel can be going to restaurants or ordering take out. Plan simple meals that require fewer ingredients and can be cooked with smaller appliances, like the crockpot instead of your oven for example. This will allow you to eat at home and save money by avoiding eating out.
- Create a prep space. Use folding tables and plastic drawers for temporary countertops, kitchen prep space, and storage.
- Keep things cool. If you don’t have access to your main refrigerator, consider getting a mini fridge for food that needs to be kept cool or frozen.
- Get creative. Microwaves, crockpots, or camping stoves are all space-saving ways to cook up a variety of hot meals. If you plan on remodeling during the summer and have a grill, that can be the perfect solution!
READY TO START YOUR KITCHEN REMODEL?
Remodeling your kitchen can be a long process but it is a great way to spark new life into the heart of your home. Not only does this give you a new aesthetic to look at, but it also can increase the value of your house. If you’re considering giving your kitchen a makeover, we’re here to help you achieve your goals. There are several renovation loans and refinance options that may be the right fit for you.