Remodeling a kitchen is a big undertaking. A lot of things need to be considered before taking the plunge. Frankly–a lot of fun things need to be hashed out. For me–I would probably have to just step back, and be relegated to doing the labor. Anything other than that–my wife would decide. She has literally hours of experience, so it is natural she would make the remodeling decisions, right? (Plus–she is a woman. It is a kitchen. I am not being sexist, I’m being a realist. No decision of mine will last longer than 89 seconds–80 of those seconds my wife is thinking of a smart-aleck retort to my awesome suggestion).
Let’s do a list. I love lists. Plus–they look all organized and stuff. If you think about it…most things in a home happen around the kitchen. The obvious: Cooking, eating, entertaining. The not so obvious: Cleaning tools in the sink (Shhh!), drinking beer, and late night staring sessions into the wondrous land of the fridge. Sometimes these forays eventually lead to a snack. Our new fridge has a door water/ice dispenser and the dog now thinks ice cubes are some magical treat. Hey–if she’s happy. So am I. Untreated Labradors lead to destruction and possibly death of some important shoe/dress/purse/entire living room ensemble. Homeland Security obviously missed the Labrador as a weapon of mass destruction.
Onto the list. Things to consider before you rip up the kitchen.
Need vs. Want: Obviously you need a refrigerator, microwave–but do you really need a trash compactor? Setting clear goals of what will come out of the project cost will help you predict total cost and timelines of the project.
Skill vs. “Sounds Easy”: An admitted Achilles heel of mine. We are all boss DIYers here–but somethings are best left to the professionals. There are certainly things that you can do yourself to save money: (demo, light framing, sheetrock, etc.) After a decade of pounding nails for my primary profession, I figure I could take on most of a kitchen remodel–but I would not bother with the plumbing, or electricity. There are just things I don’t know how to do. Clean-up can surprisingly save you money too. Some contractors are receptive to the idea of coming in, making a mess–and leaving the clean-up to you. Keeps them on the saws longer, and trust me…carpenters hate cleaning up. They will love you for it.
Budget: Hopefully my wife doesn’t read this–because I can hear her peals of laughter already. Make a budget for your kitchen remodel, and stick with it. Like–to the letter. Part of the budget process is sound planning. Come up with a design and stick with it. I am not opposed to changing plans mid-flight, but it does drive up your cost. Going forward, only to go back because something wasn’t thought out costs you time, and money. Your kitchen is pretty much the center of your home. Find a lay-out, appliances, cabinets, counter-tops that you love (and can afford) before you start–then you can streamline the process avoiding overages.
More Planning: Unless you feel like eating out every day–you’re going to need something temporary to make/eat food while you’ve destroyed your usual space. For those of you with additional humans in your homes–this is even more important. Kids still need lunches/dinners and whatever else they eat. I hear CPS frowns on people not feeding their kids. Even for a remodel. Having a temporary kitchen area planned out before you start will just ease the process.
Do you want to Supersize that?: Nothing in the DIY manual says you have to rip out the entire kitchen and start over. Ugly, old cabinets can be replaced. A simple re-do of the counter tops and backsplash can alter the look of a kitchen dramatically. Again–it is going to depend on your budget, time, and skill. If the old green formica counter tops that were installed in 1965 are driving you nuts–start there. You can always take a break and get back at it when the energy and coffers are re-filled. Bite sized chunks are sometimes good.
As remodels go–doing a kitchen is probably one of the more complicated, and certainly expensive. It also tends to be the focal point of potential buyers, so a good-looking, useful, and well planned kitchen can really drive the value of your home.
This list is certainly not meant to be comprehensive–but gives you food for thought (Haha! Oh man…I kill myself.) before you embark on your kitchen destruction remodel.
6 thoughts on “Kitchen Remodeling, 5 Must-Read Tips to Consider Before You Start”
For budget, you can get several itemized estimates with associated labor costs for each step/craft. These estimates will help you figure out what you could save by doing some of the steps yourself. It can also help you tell which steps merely sound easy or actually is easy. If it costs a lot or takes a lot of time, it may not be your kind if easy. Budget for unexpected surprises. You never know what you’ll find until you actually start demo.
Love the article, you’re funny and you’re right, unless the male is the Chef of the house, then let the female do the choosing. My hubby and I are planning on remodeling our kitchen and I want a trash compactor, I have a very small kitchen and hate that the garbage can takes up my floor space, and the fact that I have to wipe it down daily. I’ve never owned one before so I know nothing about them. I need to convince my husband that its important as well, I thought of the “green” approach but is there anything you can tell me about their usefulness that I may not know, or am I just being stubborn? Another question if I may, can I get one smaller than 15″ wide?
Thanks for your help,
K (that’s what everyone calls me)
Hi K! Thanks for stopping by.
Tell you what–I’ll do some digging around on some trash compactors and see what I come up with. I can’t imagine there isn’t one specifically designed for smaller spaces.
As far as the garbage can–I can relate. I am constantly running that thing over, and as far as wiping it down…yuck.
Check back soon!
I am striking out on locating a trash compactor under 15”. My inclination is there is one…but I can’t find one. If you’re not already knee-deep in demolition I’ll talk to my cabinet guy once I’m back in town. (Everyone has to have a “guy”: tire guy, sprinker guy, rocket launcher guy…) I have found them in nearly every finish you can imagine–so if you can squeeze in a 15”er you can make it look like a cabinet.
As to your hubby’s possible aversion to a compactor:
A. Wives hating anything ends up being evil for us.
B. “Green” is good. More trash compacted, less bags used.
C. When you are not looking he can try different things to compact that do not belong in there.
D. If you can fit one under the counter–it may make the kitchen appear a bit larger if there isn’t a GigantoCan sitting out freely.
E. Kids can go on “Time-Out” in there.
Right–so when I start making kid jokes–it’s time for me to leave. Let me know if I can help out anymore and thanks for stopping by!
I’m not sure this would fit into the top 5 tips but one I’ve found useful in the pre-planning stage is to go out and see as many good examples as possible. Go to the building shows when they are in town, go to the Parade of Homes if there is one in your area, visit open houses. Take the mix of ideas and put them together into a design that fits for you.
Great kitchen remodeling tip Jeff! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!