When we decide to remodel such an important room, it typically comes from months or even years of minor frustrations with our space. These frustrations begin to build the wish list that makes up our remodeling vision. When we finally decided to move forward and exercise our vision of that perfect kitchen, it can bring with it a great amount of excitement. This article is designed to support your enthusiasm and also point out ten important aspects to consider before beginning the project. We hope you enjoy our article and find it helpful in your remolding journey.
1. IDENTIFY KEY GOALS
Identifying and recording the precise goals you want to achieve from your new kitchen and placing those goals in a visible location, like on the fridge, can keep you focused! During the planning of your new kitchen, it is common to become distracted by choices for new appliances, flooring type, upgrading the furniture, etc. Keeping your list front and center will allow you to enjoy getting engrossed in those choices but bring you back to the center each time you reflect on your goals.
We suggest keeping this list short with three to five brief items that are general in nature. Getting too specific leaves little wiggle room in your goals as you want this list to be your guide and not change. These identified items may come to you quickly due to the amount of time you have been anticipating this remodel. Write them down and revisit the list a day or two later, finalizing them on the second look. Finally, hang them on the fridge!
2. COST OF REMODELING
Remodeling projects do come with a cost, both financial and mental. The first step is to prepare yourself for both and decide how much of each you are willing to dedicate to this project.
Coming up with the financial cost is typically the easier of the two. If you don’t already have a budgeting number in mind; you will have to visit your own unique financial circumstances to decide what that number will be most appropriate. If you have a budgeting number in mind but aren’t quite sure what the remodel will cost. Search out some estimates from local contractors or do a quick online search of average remodeling costs in your area. The online search may not be completely relevant to you but it’s a good starting point.
Now for the mental cost. It’s two-fold, the excitement and anticipation will likely carry you through the initial planning and hiring a contractor. However, remodeling projects take time to be done correctly and this you may be less prepared for. Talk to your contractor and get a project plan so you understand what you’re getting into and decide beforehand how you may handle certain phases of the project. Remodeling your kitchen is worth both costs, being prepared for them both is the major hurdle.
3. CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR
Choosing the right contractor is a crucial first step in your project. Finding a great contractor that fits your needs, can take some time. DO NOT rush this step. Meet as many as necessary, make sure they have experience in your type of project and ask for references. Do some homework on them, make sure they are properly licensed and insured. Be sure you like them as people, they will be in and out of your home regularly for a period of time.
A few words of caution: getting this wrong can turn your remodeling dream into a remodeling nightmare rather quickly. There are plenty of platforms out there that screen contractor and do some of the heavy lifting for you like Home Advisor or Angles’ List. We suggest checking those out as well as using your network to get some referrals. A quick Google search will reveal some of your areas contractors but not all are created equal. We cannot stress the importance of hiring a qualified contractor enough, so much so that we wrote a blog article dedicated to that topic. You can read more about this process by viewing our blog, “Hiring the right contractor.”
4. PROJECT SCHEDULE
Once you have made all of the necessary decisions for your project, a project schedule can be generated. This will generally come from your contractor, who should have experience with how long certain pieces of the project will take. The schedule is formed from their experience, discussing your needs, talking with their suppliers and taking into account a variety of other factors. You can expect them to arrive at a schedule everyone can work from.
Of course, there are many unforeseen circumstances that can cause your schedule to become altered. An altered project schedule is common, and a good contractor will be diligent in keeping things inline as much as possible. Be aware that it may be necessary to change things once the project is underway and your contractor will be schooled in handling these changes. These changes may come from many different places including mother nature, your contractor, a supplier, and yes even you. This might seem odd, that the homeowner would be the cause of project delays, but it does happen. This is where that list on the fridge comes in handy once again, discuss changes with your contractor and allow that original list of key goals to help guide your decisions.
5. KITCHEN LAYOUT
No matter the size of your kitchen, your final layout should be functional and make the most of your space. Depending on your particular circumstances, this can mean varying levels of complexity in achieving your goals. This complexity is where your designer and/or contractor shine, they can take your wants/needs and show you how to achieve them within your kitchen’s limitations.
This is most commonly demonstrated with a computer-assisted layout that can be printed with varying view types or walked through on the computer with a 3D generated effect. Looking at the proposed designs up close can give you an immediate feel for the space and the potential design(s). Doing the layout in this manner also gives you the ability to try out different layouts and quickly compare. Our suggestions here is to bring your goals and ideas to the table with your design professional and collectively come to a layout. Being flexible and open to ideas from your designer can yield a compromised layout that exceeds your expectations.
6. KITCHEN DESIGN
Layout and design may sound like the same thing but in practice serve very different functions. Simply, the layout is where things in the kitchen will go and the design makes up the visual elements that will occupy the kitchen. They should attempt to achieve a symbiotic relationship and provide a functional ambiance.
Paint colors, surface types, and appliance finishes are some of the elements that make up the design of your kitchen. These are usually the items that interest homeowners the most and can provide much of the excitement with this type of project. In fact, this topic makes up the majority of the articles written on kitchen remodels because of its importance to the homeowner.
While you design your new kitchen it’s important to keep a few things in mind. One is that these elements can have wide swings in cost from one finish to another. Also, trendy design elements may date your project prematurely and be tough easily update. Spend the most time on those elements that will be in the space long-term like cabinets, counters, and flooring as changing these later will be difficult. However, wall coverings and lighting sconces, for instance, can be changed with little effort down the line. Achieving a great kitchen design requires that all of the elements in the kitchen complement one another.
Lighting is an essential element in your kitchen that plays a part in both the design and functionality of your space. You should have a pleasing (standard level) amount of light through the general area of the kitchen and task lighting for those areas that you will spend more time in. These tasks areas generally include the cooking and cleaning zones.
Some of these lighting options may include overhead room lighting, cabinet lighting, task lighting, natural light, direct or indirect lighting and or a combination of these options. Overall, you want all the lighting components to work together to supply the best light combination at the right time. An easy way to achieve this is with automatic controls for the electrical lighting fixtures and automatic shades for natural lighting.
8. FLOORING AND SURFACES
Like every other room in your home, the flooring selection is also quite important. There are a variety of choices and each brings their own pros and cons, check with your contractor or supplier for a list of these for each choice suggestion given here. The major flooring choices being tile, stone, hardwood, vinyl, laminate and perhaps concrete. Of course, a variety of products are included within each of these flooring options and considerable research should be conducted on those options that interest you the most. You may be able to narrow your choices given your home’s current construction, its ability to carry excess weight, your potential desire for heated flooring and cost.
Much like flooring, countertops have a wide variety of product categories and vast product lines with those categories. Some of those choices being wood, natural stone, concrete, laminate, and synthetic hardtops. There are a few things that can narrow your choices here as well including durability, level of desired care, tasks being performed, cost and weight.
9. APPLIANCE AND CABINETS
Many of us have difficulty walking past the appliance selection in our neighborhood big box store without checking out the newest stove or refrigerator. But there are only a few things you need to consider narrowing down the options that will fit within your goals. Are you cooking with gas or electric? Do you have a brand preference? Are you looking for stainless steel or a color finish? Are you looking for a standard cooking experience or more of a chef’s experience? Do you have custom or standard sizes? Answer these few questions and it will help guide you and your design professional to the right appliance options.
Cabinets can set the design tone for your kitchen and many people spend time on the look bypassing their purpose, to store our items. Brings us back once again to the design vs functionality topics. There are many dozens of cabinet choices with different types to finishes to constructions but no matter the design choice, be diligent to consider what you will put in them. Take inventory of your kitchen items and what you would like to store in the cabinets, then investigate the various storage options to help be more efficient with your space.
10. PROPER VENTILATION
Unlike design, ventilation is something that may not be top of mind for most homeowners. It is, however, an important aspect of any remodel. Often taken for granted, when done properly, ventilation can help keep your space comfortable, free of odors and safe from hazardous cooking fumes. This element of your project has the potential to seamlessly complement or hinder the enjoyment of your finished kitchen. Ask your contractor how this will be handled in your remodeled space.
The decision to remold a kitchen is an exciting thought on its own, and successful completion of the project is rewarding on many levels. Proper planning and adequate preparation can help you successfully execute the project. It is a best practice to research, understand and decide on what you want before beginning the renovation process. By identifying your goals upfront, you can be focused on those goals and allow them to guide you when project hurdles arise. Finding the contractor that compliments your needs and personality is the number one goal that should be on your list.
We hope this list helps you get through your project successfully. These topics are merely an introduction to each element that goes into a kitchen remodeling project. Please let us know what you think of this article and how it has helped you with your project. Lastly, if you are looking for a remodeler in Montgomery County or Bucks County Pennsylvania, you can Additions by B&H located in Chalfont for help with your upcoming project.
They are BBB accredited since 2014, and they enjoy an A+ rating. Additionally, B&H has passed the screening process and is approved by HomeAdvisor for their high-quality of service over the past five-plus years. Additions by B&H has been completing home improvement projects for the last 38 years and is well established in the local community. Their online reviews speak for themselves and we encourage you to review them. Good luck with your next project!
Additions By B&H