Hot Tips for a Successful Kitchen Remodel

reidreginald/morgueFileOkay, so you’re planning to remodel your kitchen at last. You’ve been browsing kitchen makeovers for months -- to the point where you actually see your dream kitchen in … well … your dreams. That is, if you can sleep at all. Most nights, one part of you is too excited and the other half is too nervous about what you can do to make your long-awaited project go right. Relax and read these tips to achieve the successful kitchen remodel you’re hoping for.

Keep it to scale. “Scale” is key when it comes to planning a kitchen renovation you’ll love to live with. Scale the project, and the resulting kitchen remodel cost, to your budget. For example, if you have limited funds (and who doesn’t?), consider refinishing your cabinets rather than replacing them. Scale to the standard of your neighborhood, as well. The latter is particularly important when you are about to sell your home; potential buyers won’t be looking for a $60,000 kitchen if local prices run about 200K for an entire house. A third aspect of scale is the actual physical size of your kitchen. Keep appliances, furniture, and architectural features in proportion to the square footage of space you are dealing with.

Eat, eat, eat. Set up an alternative cooking space for the duration. It can be as basic as a microwave and stack of paper plates next to your laundry sink. Typically, a complete kitchen remodel takes 6-8 weeks, possibly longer if things go wrong … as they so often do. That could make for an awful lot of eating out. If you are really organized, cook and freeze some simple nutritious meals ahead of time.

Make up your mind. Avoid delays and extra charges. Decide on – and order – all materials (think plumbing fixtures, appliances, flooring, countertops, tiles, paint, and so on) before the crew arrives. But do consult with your remodeling contractor beforehand to get the benefit of his expert recommendations, professional discounts, and verified measurements.

Consider traffic flow. Part of designing a kitchen that’s a cozy space for living is allowing space for activity. Sorry to break it to you but your kitchen may be simply too small to accommodate an industrial range or an oversized island AND several people rushing to get a bite to eat on a busy morning. (The good news is that you can purchase or build a kitchen island on wheels, which rolls out of the way when not in use.) And placing the refrigerator in a spot where anyone seeking a drink or a snack will seriously inconvenience the cook is not the best recipe for household harmony.

Optimize storage. Lots of kitchen storage is lovely indeed, but it will be even lovelier if it is customized to fit your individual lifestyle. Those currently fashionable tall skinny cupboards that hold a dozen upright cookie sheets or a temperature-controlled wine rack can be great; if you happen to be a teetotalling low carb-er, not so much.

Vary lighting. In most homes these days, the kitchen is a busy multi-purpose area … which makes installation of a variety of lighting types and strengths an excellent idea. You’ll need focused task lighting under the cabinets and on other prep areas; bright reading lights for homework sessions, and to wind down over a cozy casual supper, a warm-looking overhead fixture equipped with a dimmer switch.

Vent. No, we’re not talking about staging a family intervention right in the middle of your kitchen, but rather a stove hood to get rid of cooking smells (garlic is great but not when it still lingers in the atmosphere the morning after your Italian feast) and steam. Check that you buy the type that vents to the outdoors, rather than simply removing odors, to avoid excess moisture in the air and eventually in your kitchen appliances, walls, and ceiling, where it can wreak all kinds of havoc.

Laura Firszt writes for

Get Free Quotes

Looking for a Pro? Call us at (866) 441-6648

Top Cities Covered by our Remodeling Contractors

Get Free Quotes
  • Service Needed
  • Zip Code
Get quotes from qualified local contractors