The planning step of a kitchen remodel might be one of the most important parts of a kitchen remodel—and it can be one of the easiest (other than enjoying the finished project) with this step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Consider your wants and needs.
Ironically, the first step of kitchen remodeling involves doing nothing (other than thinking!) Start by asking yourself: what do I like about my current kitchen? What do I hate?
As you look at your current kitchen, try not to get so caught up in the aesthetics that you don’t consider the function. Do you need more storage? Is it easy to work in the current layout? Would moving the appliances help with function? Do you need larger appliances? Would a kitchen island help with food prep? Do you need more countertops? Do you want to open up the space? Do you need more outlets?
Step 2: Set a budget.
A kitchen budget keeps your project on track and sets expectations. Depending on the scope of your project, break down your total amount into sub-costs such as: labor, faucets, appliances, cabinets, flooring, countertops, cabinet hardware, plumbing, and electricity. There may be additional costs for drywall and windows.
When setting a kitchen remodeling budget, always allocate a small amount of the budget for unexpected expenses, such as plumbing repairs and electrical updates. Unfortunately, most kitchen remodel projects—even in newer homes—incur some unexpected costs (or cost overages).
While it’s nice to have an unlimited budget, there are quite a few ways to make big kitchen changes on a tight budget. If you have a small budget, consider keeping the kitchen cabinets and updating them with a fresh coat of paint and undercabinet lighting. Don’t hesitate to ask your contractor for other ideas that give your kitchen a new look without blowing the budget.
Step 3: Decide how much of the project (if any) you want to take on.
Can you take on the entire kitchen remodel as a do-it-yourself project? Or just parts of it? Or would you prefer to just sit back and enjoy the finished kitchen? This decision is based entirely on your skill and budget. The third option gives you some middle ground: hiring a kitchen remodeling contractor and tackling some parts of the project on your own.
If you don’t have the time or expertise for a do-it-yourself kitchen remodel, it’s time to find and interview local contractors. The finding process starts with a simple ask—either to a local search engine or to family and friends for contractor recommendations—and ends with a list of interview questions for potential contractors (i.e. How long have you been in business?, Do you carry insurance?, etc.) When hiring contractors, always be careful about hiring a contractor who asks for a large up-front payment or a contractor that cannot demonstrate their experience (i.e. with photos, customer testimonials, etc.) Those tips—and other tips for hiring contractors—can steer you to an experienced kitchen remodel contractor who can make your dream kitchen a reality.