Guide to a Kitchen Remodel
Remodeling your kitchen can make you feel like you have a brand new home. Everyone gathers in the kitchen, so it’s a great room to remodel and make more functional. However, because it’s one of the most important rooms in the home, you must know what to consider.
What is the Average Cost of a Kitchen Remodel?
The average cost for a full kitchen remodel is $26,241, but you can have kitchen remodels that cost as little as $10,000 or as much as $140,000. You can do a minor kitchen remodel that involves small changes like painting the kitchen, refinishing cabinets, and upgrading small fixtures, like lighting or faucets.
If you want to upgrade further, you can consider remodeling tasks such as replacing the flooring, adding an island, replacing the sink, and adding new appliances.
A full kitchen remodel could mean completely changing the kitchen’s layout, adding high-end countertops or flooring, and installing custom cabinetry.
No two kitchen remodel projects are the same, and your project should depend on your budget and desired outcome.
Steps to Remodeling a Kitchen
Before stepping into a showroom or hiring a contractor, you should understand how to remodel a kitchen.
Set your Budget
The first step is to set your budget. This will determine what you can and can’t do in your kitchen. Knowing the budget allows you to prioritize and determine where to cut corners.
For example, if you’re on a limited budget, you might consider doing some of the work yourself and saving money for the jobs you can’t do, such as plumbing and electric work.
Always keep a 10% – 20% cushion, no matter your budget. This allows for unforeseen circumstances that increase the costs. For example, without a cushion, one emergency could leave you with a kitchen only half renovated because you ran out of funds.
Before looking for contractors, shop the showrooms yourself. Get an idea of what you want in your kitchen and what it will cost to achieve those goals.
Find ways to order the fixtures you need at a savings rather than paying full price. Don’t wait for the contractor to order the items for you; chances are you’ll pay marked-up prices for the convenience.
Instead, look for wholesalers or discontinued products you can save money on while creating the kitchen of your dreams.
Create a List of Non-Negotiables
Create a list of everything you want and need in your kitchen. Your list of non-negotiables should be prioritized in your budget. You should always aim for high-quality cabinets, flooring, and countertops in your kitchen. They will hold the best value in the home when it’s time to sell.
The nice thing about higher-quality materials, like granite countertops and custom cabinetry, is they last much longer than less expensive materials, making the investment worth it.
Review your list of non-negotiables to ensure they fit your budget while leaving room for other items to make your kitchen how you want it. Don’t fall for the gimmicky or trendy items, though. They will only use up your budget, and you’ll likely be quickly over the ‘newness.’
Consider the Layout
The most important factor in the kitchen is the layout. If you’re doing a minor remodel, you’ll likely leave the layout as is. But, if you’re doing a full renovation, think about how to make the kitchen the most functional.
Consider how many workstations you need, the proximity of the sink, refrigerator, and stove, and enough floor space for appliances. For example, your countertops should take up at least 36 inches, if not more, and account for any appliances with swinging doors to ensure there’s enough room to walk.
Get Building Permits
If you’re working with a contractor, they might get the permits for you. If not, find out what building permits your area requires and apply for them. Depending on the work you’re doing, you may need electrical, plumbing, or building permits.
In What Order Should you Remodel a Kitchen?
If you’re doing a full kitchen remodel, working in stages is important. A full kitchen remodel can take a few weeks, but the more organized you are with the order of the renovations, the quicker you can get back to normal life.
Consider the Layout
If you’re changing the kitchen layout, map out where everything will go to account for any new plumbing, electrical, and lighting. Map out where the sinks, appliances, and electric outlets will go and have any necessary electrical or plumbing work completed first.
Take Care of Drywall
You may need drywall work if you knocked down walls or changed the kitchen’s layout. This is the next step in the process. But first, complete the drywall, including insulation, so you can begin renovating the kitchen.
Once the drywall is complete, it’s time to paint the walls and ceiling. This is the easiest time because no appliances or furniture are in the way. Take advantage of the space to move and paint the kitchen the desired color.
When the paint is dry, it’s time to add new flooring. These flooring trends are sure to add value to your property. Installing the flooring before any appliances or furniture makes the job much easier and faster. When the floors are in, you can begin installing all the finishing aesthetic pieces of the kitchen.
The cabinets are the next step and will feel like the finishing piece! They add a layer of depth and decoration to the kitchen. Whether you bought new or refaced your existing cabinets, installing them after the flooring ensures everything fits properly, with plenty of room from floor to ceiling.
Install Countertops, Sinks, and Faucets
The final touches include installing the countertops, sinks, and faucets. With this step, you’ll hook up the plumbing and have an almost working kitchen ready for use.
Install the Backsplash
If you want to add a backsplash in your kitchen, install it after the countertops and sinks. Without any appliances in the kitchen yet, you’ll have more room to work to install the backsplash.
Add your Appliances
The final step is adding the appliances. Whether you bought new or are reusing your existing appliances, bring them in, hook them up, and your kitchen is ready!
Top 3 Tips for a Kitchen Remodel
Remodeling a kitchen may help increase your home’s value, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the cost and decisions involved.
Here are the top three tips for a kitchen remodel.
Plan as Much as Possible
Experts say you should spend more time planning your kitchen remodel than doing it. So don’t just wake up one day and decide to renovate your kitchen.
Instead, make plans, sit on them, and ensure they are right. Consider planning your renovations months before you do them. This gives you time to really consider your choices, envision them in your kitchen, and make changes.
Being too spontaneous can lead to mistakes and regrets. Some things to consider include the following:
- How much traffic does your kitchen get?
- What don’t you like about your existing kitchen?
- What look or style are you considering?
- What are the trends in the area?
- Is space an issue?
Keep the Layout the Same
Unless your kitchen layout is so absurd that you can’t stand it, keep it the same or similar to avoid excessive costs.
When you completely change the layout, you must consider plumbing and electrical changes, which can greatly increase the costs.
Keep appliances, sinks, and fixtures in the same spot to keep costs down if possible.
Focus on Quality
Even if you’re on a budget, consider focusing on the quality of the renovations you make. Avoid cutting corners on materials like countertops, cabinets, and flooring, and save money on other aesthetic changes that won’t matter as much.
Prioritize your budget so you can afford materials that will last and provide you with a high resale value, even if that means sacrificing in other areas, such as doing the painting yourself or hanging your own light fixtures.
How to Cut Costs When Remodeling a Kitchen
Kitchen remodeling can be expensive, but there are ways to cut costs and keep yourself on budget.
Buy Appliances on Sale
Time the purchase of new appliances around major holidays like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and New Year’s. Even President’s Day is a great time to buy appliances as many retailers shave 30% – 50% off the price.
Even if you buy the appliances before you start remodeling, you can store them until you’re ready to install them, but you can save hundreds of dollars.
Update Cabinet Hardware
If there isn’t room in your budget for new cabinets costing $13,000+, consider updating the hardware. If your cabinets are in good condition but need some aesthetic appeal, updating the hardware can make a tremendous difference while saving you thousands of dollars.
Get Multiple Quotes
Don’t accept the first quote you receive for your kitchen remodel; shop around. Get quotes from different contractors, and make sure it is in writing. Then, when you have the quotes, you can compare them side-by-side and decide which offers the best deal while sticking to the design and work you desire.
Do Work Yourself
Consider doing any work you feel qualified to handle and have the time to do. We’ve put together some DIY kitchen projects to help you transform your space. You can save thousands of dollars on labor if you do some of the heavy work yourself. Of course, don’t take on work you can’t do right, or it will cost you more in the end, but try doing some to keep your costs down.
Is it better to have a stove or sink in a kitchen island?
In most kitchens, it’s better to have a sink in the island instead of a stove. However, if you place the stove in the island, you have a range hood in the middle of your kitchen which isn’t aesthetically pleasing or convenient.
What time of year is best to remodel a kitchen?
If you can handle remodeling your kitchen around the holidays, the end of the year is the cheapest time because contractors are slower and can cut their charges. However, if you’re worried about not having a usable kitchen, late summer and early fall months are the best time because you can still use the outdoors for cooking and eating.
What is the biggest expense in a kitchen remodel?
The cabinets are the largest expense in most kitchen remodels, taking up 25% – 35% of the total cost.
In addition to cabinets, other significant expenses in a kitchen remodel include countertops, appliances, and flooring. Upgrading countertops to premium materials like granite or quartz can increase costs by thousands of dollars, as these natural stone countertops are more expensive than laminate or tile. High-end kitchen appliances can also add considerably to a remodel budget, especially if choosing top-of-the-line brands and models with specialized features.
A kitchen remodel can increase your home’s value and make your home even more functional. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it makes sense to focus there. But before you start, be sure you’ve carefully created your plans, shopped around, and figured out where you can save money to keep your costs down.