Here’s your complete kitchen remodeling guide

This article was originally posted here.


There are few things more daunting to a homeowner than a kitchen remodeling projects. After all, there’s much to consider and many decisions to make. We’ve put together this kitchen remodeling guide to help assist you in planning your kitchen remodel, making key decisions, and finding the right materials and installation team for the right price.

Start by making a plan

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. How well does your kitchen function now?
  2. How do you use your kitchen?
  3. How much storage do you need?
  4. What kitchen style works for you?
  5. What’s your budget?

Write down the answers on a piece of paper. You might find this helps clarify what you’re looking for going into a full kitchen remodel. Of course, you may have some difficultly with the fifth item. After all, how should you budget for such a project?

Put together your budget

How much should you spend? Well, that’s really up to the size and scope of the work involved. If you’re working on a small remodel with just a few upgrades, you might have the cash-on-hand to complete the project. However, if your project is far more ambitious, a small home-improvement loan from the bank might be in order.

Using the answers you wrote down above, consider what your “line” is. This line is how much you can afford to spend. You don’t want to exceed this, so you’ll want to stick to it as much as possible, and work backwards from there.

Do your research

Now that you’ve determined your budget, it’s time to dive into some research to know just how much you need to budget for this kind of project.

Here’s some things to ask about:

  • Warranties
  • Return Policies
  • Reviews

While you’re at it, you should also look at, or ask, how durable the products are. One cabinet or countertop might be slightly cheaper, but if it is less durable, you may end up spending more money down the road to repair or replace it.

Again, this depends on your needs. If you’re a property manager, some wear-and-tear on countertops and cabinets may be expected and therefore acceptable if it means you’re getting the expected return-on-investment out of the project. Homeowners, on the other hand, are less concerned with ROI and more concerned with things that last.

Your guide to cabinets

Cabinets are the center point of focus for your new kitchen. There are many different styles, colors, and options for your kitchen cabinets. It’s important to have done your research and know what your tastes are.

Consider your space when picking cabinets. Dark cabinets will make a small space feel smaller. Conversely, too much white in your space may make your kitchen feel sterile. Some color contrast can be appealing, but make sure your cabinets, flooring, backsplash, and countertops will complement each other.

Selecting cabinets for your space

Consider your space and what you can do with it.

  • How many cabinets will you need?
  • Do you plan to keep the same floorplan?
  • Do you need a new floorplan?
  • Do you need both upper and lower cabinets?

If you have some ideas on the answers to these questions in advance, that’s great for our team to know. If not, no worries: when we meet for your free in-home estimate, we can help you figure things out.

Once these issues have been resolved, it’s time to move onto some questions regarding aesthetics:

  • Quaker style vs. Modern
  • Wood vs Veneer
  • Glass doors or solid panels
  • Color vs stain
  • Finished vs unfinished

Having old cabinets removed

If you are replacing your cabinets with new ones, you’ll need to remove the old cabinets. This is a big project and will create a lot of mess. Here’s some things to consider if you’re removing your own cabinets:

  • Start with wearing the appropriate safety gear.
  • You may want to rent a roll-off dumpster for the project. Factor that cost into your overall budget.
  • Cabinets are generally screwed into the wall, the floor, the countertop, and to each other. You’ll need to locate all the screws and remove them before attempting to remove the cabinet. This will prevent damage to your floors and walls.
  • You may be able to preserve the cabinets enough to donate them as well.

Having new cabinets installed

For your new cabinets, you’re probably going to want a pro to help you. Have one of our installers install your new kitchen cabinets.

Choosing cabinet hardware

After installing new cabinets, you may be in the market for new hardware. When picking new hardware it’s important to consider the colors or your kitchen, your whole home, and the style of your cabinets.

Traditional cabinets may not look as appealing with modern hardware and vice versa. Also, keep in mind that a kitchen with chrome finishes will clash with brass hardware on the cabinets.

Likewise, a home with outdated or gold-colored door hardware may clash with a chrome kitchen. If you’re investing in a new style, you should consider updating the rest of your home (especially adjoining rooms!) to match your new kitchen.

Everything to know about countertops

Granite or quartz countertops are the statement piece of your kitchen. They tie the whole kitchen together in color and style.

Selecting your new countertops

As with new cabinets, don’t lose focus on the size of your kitchen—or your budget—when choosing countertops. An already-small kitchen may feel even tighter and more restraining with dark countertops installed. More kitchen, more problems, too: if you have a lot of counter space, it’s going to take up more of your kitchen remodeling budget.

Consider your family’s lifestyle and needs when choosing a countertop style. Certain countertops are stain-resistant, while others stain easily. Likewise, some countertops are more hygienic compared to others.

Kitchen flooring

Let’s be honest: flooring is an afterthought for some kitchen remodeling projects. For some, it’s essential. For others, they want to keep their current tile, or have already replaced the flooring. If you’re in the former camp, choosing flooring can be a challenge, no matter which category your project falls into.

The first step is deciding which flooring will work best for your space and your family. Hardwood floors are in style right now, but in families with children or in high-traffic kitchens, the hardwood may be quickly damaged. Also, watch that water-resistance: spilled drinks and water from the sink are big problems in the kitchen.

Who will be using your kitchen?

We know that hardwood floors throughout your home may be your dream, but that may not be very reasonable. Hardwood floors are especially susceptible to water damage, so putting hardwood floors in a kitchen is not the best idea for families with young children.

Families with older children or couples with no children may be better candidates for hardwood flooring in the kitchen. Bear in mind, water damage can happen to anyone.

High traffic kitchens may also be poor candidates for hardwood flooring. Families that spend a lot of time in their kitchen may want to consider a more durable choice.

Selecting the right flooring for your kitchen

After considering your family and your habits, it’s time to choose the right flooring. If hardwood flooring still sounds like an unbeatable option, you may consider a high-traffic and waterproof laminate alternative.

Moulding and trim

Depending on the age of your home, moulding, trim, and millwork may be things to think about. Moulding and trim add a finishing style that makes your home look more elegant and polished. Consider purchasing moulding or trim to make your kitchen feel finished.

Of course, this greatly depends on the style and age of your kitchen. Many of the homes here in Phoenix have simplified moulding and trim; you may not need a lot of work or investment in this area unless you own a historic home. (Even then, be sure to check with local ordinances and laws regarding what you can change about the interior of a historic property here in the Valley!)

Lighting

Lighting can turn a drab and dreary kitchen into something far more exciting and invigorating. Here’s how you can find the perfect lighting for your home and kitchen remodel project:

Picking your light fixtures

When choosing lighting for your home, consider the size and style of your kitchen and your home. Large light fixtures can make a small kitchen feel smaller, while a small light fixture can make a large kitchen seem dark.

Farm-style kitchens work with iron, bronze, and glass light fixtures. In contrast, modern kitchens make good use of combinations of chrome, steel, and glass.

Replacing your light fixtures as part of your remodel

After picking your new light fixtures, it’s time to install them. The first step is removing the old light fixtures. If you’re nervous about this, please don’t hesitate to hire a licensed electrician. However, if you’re forging ahead, ensure that all the electrical for the circuit is turned off. Remove the lightbulbs from the fixture and carefully remove everything.

Anything that requires major rewiring should really be done by a professional electrician, who will have the training and equipment needed to make the changes you’re seeking.

Adding some extras that go a long way

Some projects feel incomplete without the cherry-on-top to tie the kitchen design together. Let’s dive in:

Wallpaper

Wallpaper is making a big comeback in home design, and some Valley homes are now returning to the styles popularized in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s. Whether you’re adding or removing wallpaper, make sure that your plans fit in with what you’re doing for the rest of the home.

Backsplash

More modern than wallpaper, backsplashes are now popular in kitchens, where they can add a pop or color or style to a space. In fact, it’s the final decorative item to match your countertops and your cabinets. Of course, it’s not just for the eyes: a backsplash will prevent food and water from damaging your walls.

To choose the right backsplash, again consider the size, style, and color of your kitchen. A plain kitchen may look good with a brighter and more decorative backsplash, while a festive kitchen may become overwhelming with a busy backsplash. Also, a small kitchen may feel smaller with a dark or busy backsplash.

Consider also the style and color of your countertops, flooring, and cabinets. Take samples of your colors and materials when picking your backsplash to see how the colors, styles, and textures will look together.

Keep in mind, tile is not your only option for a backsplash. You may also consider glass, aluminum, or stone.

How to install a backsplash

When you have chosen the perfect backsplash for your new kitchen, it’s time to install the backsplash. Installation may vary based on the material you chose for your backsplash. Aluminum backsplashes may require only some glue and a few screws, while glass, stone, and tile require grout and tile cement.

You’ll need a level, tile spacers, and patience to complete this part of the process. You may also need a tile cutter to complete your backsplash depending on the style of backsplash you chose.

If installing a backsplash seems overwhelming, you may need to do more research or hire a contractor to complete this part of your kitchen remodel. The backsplash may take a few days to complete depending on the style of your kitchen and backsplash you chose.

It’s time to get started

As we mentioned at the start: a kitchen remodel is a big project. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take a pause. It’s time to call in the professionals.

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