For many homes across the US, the kitchen is usually the place where family bonding occurs during meals, where party guests congregate for refills on drinks and refreshments, where masterpieces are made by unintentional culinary geniuses, and it’s where one can find peace and serenity while sipping a cup of tea in the middle of the afternoon. These are all the more reasons why people are willing to spend thousands of dollars to make this highly utilized and popular room as modern, as functional, and as beautiful as possible with a thorough kitchen remodeling.
When you mention “kitchen remodel” to a homeowner the common reaction usually involves nervous laughter, a blank stare, a frightened expression, a shocked look, a muddled response, or the quick 1-2 “change the subject” approach. Everyone knows that remodeling your kitchen can be a daunting task with frequent nightmarish circumstances that seem to arise out of nowhere and drain away your money. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
When it comes to dealing with contractors and hired labor, purchasing materials, choosing appliances, and getting all the right permits, expenses can quickly add up, and if you’re not careful you could easily be paying too much for services or spending money on unnecessary items. Prevent this by following these 10 tips for remodeling your kitchen. These tips can save you a lot of time, headache, stress, and money on kitchen remodels making your overall experience a much better one.
- Set a Budget – Before you can start designing your dream kitchen or hiring contractors, first thing’s first. You have to set a realistic and reasonable budget. The budget sets the boundaries, keeps you on track, and prevents you from becoming a homeless bum with a nice kitchen. Depending on the level of your remodel, you can expect to spend at least a couple thousand dollars on your kitchen if you plan to do the basics such as new flooring, new cabinetry, and upgraded appliances. Doing a kitchen remodel for only a few hundred dollars (like you see on TV) is unlikely unless you’re simply updating aesthetics. In addition to the budget, you also need to set aside extra finances for unexpected expenses, e.g. replacing rusting pipes, a broken water line, rotted wood, etc. Setting aside an additional 15%-25% of your overall budget would be a good starting amount.
- Plan Everything Ahead of Time – Planning doesn’t only consist of a budget and deciding on a design. You also need to plan for temporary kitchen or living arrangements since your kitchen (and maybe even other parts of your home) will be out of commission. You can try to stick it out in your house by isolating all activities from the kitchen and cooking on a hot plate, or you can choose to live with friends or relatives for the meantime. Planning must also be done for who you’re going to hire as a general contractor, where you’re going to purchase your materials, the estimated time span on the remodel, etc.
- Research and Get Educated – Never go into a kitchen remodel blindly thinking that everyone will lead you honestly and openly throughout the entire process. Do your homework and research everything from the cost of supplies, the functionality of the design layout, and a general knowledge of basic construction. If you don’t like what you hear or see from the people that are working on your kitchen, get a second opinion and search out the facts. If your GC tells you that it’s going to cost $10,000 for new granite counter tops, don’t settle for his word alone. Shop around and get quotes. You never know, maybe you’ll find a better deal for half the cost.
- Choose a Realistic and Functional Design – Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s efficient. If you’re not looking to knock down walls and change the complete layout of your kitchen, choose a design that works well with your kitchen’s size and existing layout. Also be realistic with your kitchen. Don’t try to create a gourmet looking kitchen with double stoves, a large island counter, and a sit-in booth when your kitchen is no bigger than 10 x 15 feet. Make sure everything flows in the room; have the fridge, sink, and stove follow a general line of accessibility and don’t choose pieces that are too big for your space.
- Hire a Reputable General Contractor – Next to the budget, this is probably the most important decision of your entire kitchen remodel. A general contractor can make or break your kitchen remodel. When choosing a general contractor you want one who’s trustworthy with a lot of experience, great credentials, good work ethics, doesn’t make faulty promises, and respects your home. Also, request references and see if you can’t get direct feedback from previous clients.
- Oversee Work and Supervise as Much as You Can – While many homeowners would like to leave all the overseeing and supervising to their contractors, it’s always good to be just as involved as they are in the remodel. Your idea of how the remodel should be done may not be what’s happening in the kitchen. Ever so often, inspect the work that’s been done, and always speak up if you have a concern or a suggestion. It’s better to catch mistakes in the process than after everything has been done.
- Keep Communication Clear and Constant Between Homeowner, Designer, and Contractor – It takes a village to raise a child; it takes a team to remodel a kitchen. And everyone who has a hand in the remodel, from the designer to the contractor and everyone in between, is a part of the team. Keep communication open between all parties, making sure everyone is working toward the same goal. Doing so can also help prevent costly errors.
- Do NOT Take Short Cuts – Sometimes cutting corners on a job just so it can be done sooner or you can save a little more money isn’t always a good idea. You never want to compromise the quality of your kitchen remodel for quick and cheap shortcuts. In the end, those quick and cheap shorts cuts may end up costing you more than if the job was just done right in the first place.
- Be Decisive – There’s no room for fickleness in a kitchen remodel. Every part of the construction takes time and money, and the more changes you want to make to your original plan, the longer and more costly the project will ultimately be. Know what you want, know what you need, and make those decisions firmly and confidently.
- Less is More and More is Too Much – Sometimes simplicity is the key to happiness and satisfaction. Don’t over analyze your design to where it takes you months just to decide on a design plan. Over-accessorizing can make your kitchen look cluttered and feel crowded. Keep features of your home simple yet elegant, minimal yet efficient.
One can experience a delightful and stress-free kitchen remodel by avoiding the common pitfalls and mistakes first-time remodelers tend to make. Remodeling your kitchen can prove to be a great investment as it can increase the value of your home as well as improve the quality of your home life.