7 Things to Consider Before You Remodel Your Kitchen
The home improvement magazines would love for you to believe that every kitchen in America is bright, warm, updated and uncluttered. Pretty pictures sell magazines, but what is driving the unwavering desire for kitchen renovations? According to a recent study by Trulia, 90% of homeowners in the18-34 age group wanted to renovate their homes – and 50% of them would choose to remodel their kitchen first.
You’re not alone if you find yourself paging through the magazines, fixated on transforming your kitchen. Here are seven guidelines to consider before diving headfirst into your renovation project.
Budget and value
It’s important to do your homework so you can start with a realistic budget range for what you want to accomplish. Without a preliminary budget of what you are prepared to spend on your remodel, two problems arise:
The first is the sticker shock and find custom cabinets can range between $60,000 – $100,000. According to Trulia, most homeowners would like to remodel their kitchen for $5,000 – $10,000.
The second is powerful temptation to over-improve the kitchen, spending more money than they will ultimately see in the home’s resale value. This is the case when a homeowner needlessly overspends on high-end upgrades like granite and stainless appliances when their neighborhood home values suggest they will only recover a portion of that investment when they sell. To avoid over-improving, cap your kitchen renovation budget at 15% of your home’s value, suggests John Bredemeyer, president of Realcorp, a national appraisal firm based in Omaha.
The best first step is to come up with a budget and find a cabinet company that can work within it to deliver your new kitchen. For budgeting purposes, figure about 30% on cabinets; 14% on appliances; 10% on countertops; 5% on lighting; 4% on plumbing fixtures; 2% to 3% on paint; 1% to 2% on tiles, and 35% on construction costs, such as windows, flooring, and labor, according to Mr. Bredemeyer.
Footprint and workspace
Many homeowners overlook the actual size of their kitchen when shopping for new cabinets. The kitchen layout and shape is the first factor a designer considers when recommending cabinets. Not every kitchen has the right workspace for an island or a wider base cabinet. When you start with the right footprint you will choose the best cabinets to function well in the space, as well as provide the appropriate amount of storage.
It’s also essential to keep workflow in mind. When you prepare food, you don’t want to walk all the way across your kitchen to get to the refrigerator and back – those extra steps quickly become inconvenient. Your workspace should form a triangle, with everything you need just one or two steps away from a central countertop. This gives you easy access to the sink, refrigerator, and prep area within a couple of feet.
Homeowners often choose their kitchen appliances last. This is a big mistake. Pick out appliances before you decide on kitchen cabinets. Appliances come in standard sizes –, it’s much easier to install cabinets around the appliances than to learn – too late! – that you need a custom refrigerator to fit a small space.
When it comes time to choose the kitchen cabinets, your first focus should be on quality – of building materials, hardware and finish. There aren’t many homeowners eager to remodel their kitchen every five years because cabinet shelves or drawers start to sag or doors no longer hang square. Another quality problem involves finishes flaking or peeling in a humid environment.
Quality kitchen cabinets do cost a little more but can still be affordable. Framed cabinets are more sturdy than frameless, but frameless will last a long time with the proper installation. Framed cabinets are used in traditional American kitchens while frameless cabinets are normally found in European construction and have a smooth, modern look. Look for cabinets made from all-plywood construction instead of particleboard or MDF. All-plywood construction is the most durable and long-lasting material used in cabinets, second only to single-sourced wood. Kitchen cabinets built the right way – with i-beams in the corners, under-mount drawer glides and inset nickel hinges – will keep your kitchen looking beautiful and functioning well for 20 to 30 years.
Style and color
Style and color are usually a homeowner’s first focus when they consider their kitchen remodel. After finding ideas and inspiration on TV or in a magazine, it’s now time to choose the style and color of the cabinet you’d like to see in your home. A few things to keep in mind: First, you’ll want your cabinets to compliment the rest of your home. If your home’s style is modern, you will want to stay away from rustic-looking cabinets and vice versa. Find a style that complements the rest of your home before you get your heart set on specific cabinets.
Cabinet color is also an important factor in your home decor. If you have cherry hardwood with cherry trim, you will not want to install blonde oak cabinets. Again, choosing complementary colors will bring a feeling of renewal to your entire house when your kitchen remodel is complete.
Timeframe and contractors
No one wants their kitchen to remodel to drag on for months, like the horror stories you see on HGTV. While you want your project to proceed as quickly as possible, don’t be tempted by the contractor who claims he can swoop in complete your perfect kitchen in 5 days. With promises that big, there will inevitably be small details left undone, and you will likely not be happy with the contractors and their process.
Instead, understand what a reasonable timeframe looks like, and keep itin mind before starting your remodel. A full kitchen from start to finish might be possible in three to four weeks, depending on the homeowner’s schedule. Since it’s usually best to plan time for factors outside your control – such as? – six weeks is a realistic timeframe to plan for having your kitchen out of order.
Cabinet companies will work with a contractor you’ve hired to install the cabinets and the countertop. The best companies will have their own licensed and insured contractors, professionals they hire on your behalf. If you have never engaged a contractor and don’t want to worry about what you’re getting into, ask your designer to include contractor services in the cabinet quote.
Time to design
You’ve decided on the layout for your kitchen, and chosen the appliances, the style, and color … now it’s time to put the choices into the 3D design software and design your kitchen. Designers at the big box home improvement stores may not your best option when it comes to kitchen design since many lack specific training to help you plan for how you will use your kitchen at all times, not just for cooking.
When you work with the best cabinet companies, they have professional in-house designers who consider your wants and needs for both your new kitchen and the adjacent spaces in your home and bring it all to life. Your designer will help you choose the right sizes of cabinets for your space, and recommend accessories to arrive at best functionality, in the style and color you’ve always wanted.
Thinking about a kitchen remodel can be scary and intimidating. It doesn’t have to be that way. When you work through these seven steps before you begin your project, you’ll have a full design for your new kitchen within days of meeting with your designer. To learn more about the design process at Simply Kitchens USA, visit our Free Kitchen Design page.