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Remodeling Your Kitchen

A kitchen remodel is one of the most common construction or upgrade projects for a home, and for good reason: The kitchen is the heart of the home, and as such, it’s subject to a great deal of wear and tear. It doesn’t take long before countertops, paint, appliances, and even the flooring and cabinets appear quite dated. Some are perfectly content with a minor kitchen remodel that updates the flooring, cabinets, and paint on the walls, leaving you with a fresh, new look. Others want to tear out the whole thing and start from scratch to create the kitchen of their dreams.

Which type of project suits your needs best? Though a kitchen remodel can often lead to an increase in home value, if you’re planning to stick around awhile, you’ll want to create something that makes your life easier from a practical and functional standpoint – not to mention the pleasing look you want to achieve. To choose how to handle your kitchen remodel, make a list of things you want to change about the existing space, and then dive into how much those changes might cost. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the process.

kitchen remodeling

How to Plan a Kitchen Remodel

When you’re considering just how wide-ranging your kitchen remodel might get, think about what you really need. Start out by getting crazy and writing down everything you want to change. Once you’ve done that, get more reasonable and start narrowing down the list of “wants” to a list of “needs” – plus a little room for a splurge here or there. Here are some points to keep in mind:

Kitchen Layouts

You’ve likely heard of the “triangle” in kitchen design. This is a formula that points to ease of use. Essentially, the distances from the sink to stove to refrigerator should add up to at least 12 feet but no more than 22 feet. Each side of the triangle matters too; no side should be less than four feet or more than nine feet. This helps ensure it takes only a few steps to get to the essential parts of your kitchen and makes cooking in it much easier.

Kitchen Cabinet Remodel

Cabinets are a focal point in most kitchens, so rethinking them during a kitchen remodel is a good idea. If you’re keeping the same layout, you can easily keep the same cabinet boxes, assuming they’re in good shape. You can choose to replace or resurface the cabinet and drawer fronts. Replacing costs more but might be worth it if the cabinets are very old and you need a new look; resurfacing can be an excellent budget-friendly option is your cabinet fronts are still in good shape.

New Kitchen Countertops

Ample counter space on either side of the sink and near the stove are both a must; counter space near the fridge can come in quite handy, as can a kitchen island that adds immediate sophistication to the layout as well as additional counter space. Are your countertops in good shape? Are there discolorations, gouges, or even some lifting away from the cabinets? In that case, you might need entirely new kitchen countertops. Consider that a typical kitchen will do well with at least 20 linear feet of counter space. Explore the best types of kitchen countertops.

Kitchen Lighting

There are three types of lighting for your kitchen: recessed, under-cabinet lighting, and ceiling fixtures. Incorporating all three can give you the best experience in the kitchen. Ceiling fixtures often take the form of pendant lighting, which lowers the lighting center just a bit and better illuminates the room. Under-cabinet lighting should be bright enough for serious cooking tasks, and recessed lighting can provide quite handsome ambient light.

Electrical Outlets and Kitchen Plumbing

If you intend to do a minor kitchen remodel that leaves the sink where it is, you might not need any changes to plumbing. When it comes to electricity, make sure your kitchen can handle plenty of current from high-load products like a powerful blender, and keep the outlets handy – one every three linear feet is recommended.

If your kitchen is a bit older, water problems could have had time to build up. This means looking at areas of the countertop that are lifted thanks to water infiltration, spots on the walls that indicate slow leaks, or even lifting where the floor meets the wall, from years of mopping or spills allowing water to creep underneath. How can you mitigate those problems in your new kitchen?

New Kitchen Floors

Is your flooring in good condition, with little signs of wear? Does it still fit your vision for your kitchen aesthetic? Keep in mind that often a new type of kitchen flooring was put down over existing flooring; look at the threshold of a doorway to see what materials might be underneath. You might be delighted to find hardwood or some other material you could refinish.

Painting Your Kitchen

Not only will you want to paint your kitchen in the color you please, you’ll also want to paint the ceiling. Look up and you’ll likely see some discoloration from moisture, smoke and the like. Choose a contrasting color to create some visual fun in the space.

Kitchen Design Flow

Consider your appliances, the aforementioned triangle, and the placement of the kitchen island, if you have one. Are there any areas where appliances will collide? For instance, can you open the oven door and the refrigerator at the same time? Also keep in mind the typical foot traffic through your kitchen. Will the island be a hindrance?

Costs of a Kitchen Remodel 

Let’s be honest: Remodeling a kitchen is not cheap. Even if you bring it down to the most basic elements to spruce up or replace, you’re still looking at a hefty bit of cash. A realistic budget is usually between 5% and 15% of your home’s overall value. What’s your home worth? Take 10% of that number and you’re in the ballpark.

But where does all that money go? The National Kitchen and Bath Association breaks down what you can expect to pay for each element in a remodel:

  • Cabinetry and Hardware: 29%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances and Ventilation: 14%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Walls and Ceilings: 5%
  • Design Fees: 4%
  • Doors and Windows: 4%
  • Faucets and Plumbing: 4%
  • Other: 1%

Of course, your budget will depend upon what you really need. For instance, you might be happy with your cabinets and want to pour more money into flooring. If you’re not doing anything with doors and windows, you could forgo that line item altogether.

You should also think about ongoing and long-term costs. For instance, appliances have one big price tag, but they also have the smaller price tag that builds up over time on your electric bill. When choosing the best ones for your kitchen, look for Energy Star models. The higher the energy rating number, the more energy-efficient the appliance is, and the more money you could save in the long run. And speaking of saving money in the long run, it’s important to calculate your potential return on investment for the kitchen project before diving in.

For the overall remodel, keep in mind that there are also labor costs. How large the project is helps determine who you must pull in to help you with the remodel. Will you need a designer to help you figure out your dream kitchen, or can you simply use low-cost online software? What will demolition and removal cost? You’ll likely need a carpenter if you’re working with new cabinets, and you’ll need a plumber if you move the sink. An electrician is likely as well, as you’ll probably want to relocate some outlets or add new ones.

Hiring a Kitchen Remodel Contractor

Hiring a kitchen contractor is a big step. It gets that ball rolling and lets you get truly excited about the upcoming changes. Modernize can help by pairing you with contractors in your area so you can get started on the search in earnest.

When you do narrow down the options in your area to a few promising contractors, there are some questions you should always ask. Here are a few of them:

  •   Are you fully licensed, bonded, and/or insured in my state?
  •   Are your subcontractors licensed, bonded, and/or insured as well?
  •   Will you be responsible for obtaining the permits?
  •   What are your payment options?
  •   May I have a list of references to call?
  •   How does project demolition work? Will you handle cleanup?
  •   How often will we communicate throughout the project?
  •   What kind of access will you need to my home? What are your typical working hours?
  •   When can we schedule a quote?

When it comes to quotes, always expect free quotes from the contractors you want to compare. Look for an apples-to-apples comparison to help ensure you’re getting the numbers right, and don’t hesitate to ask questions to clarify the quote before you make your choice.

When you’re ready for your kitchen remodel, let Modernize help. We’ll connect you with contractors in your local area who are more than happy to give you a quote and create a strong working relationship to get your kitchen looking just as you want it to look.

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