How to Plan for a Kitchen Remodel
If you’re seriously considering renovating, chances are it’s an idea that’s been floating in the back of your mind for quite some time. A kitchen renovation, especially, isn’t a decision you make overnight, as it’s a large investment you’ll have to look at every time you step foot inside your home. The longer we help clients plan their kitchen renovations, the more we realize the importance of the planning process. A thoroughly planned renovation leads to a stress-free construction experience where your field team knows exactly what to do, all your materials are on hand, you know exactly what to expect, and your project is completed with very little or no change orders. In this blog, we’ll describe the steps you should go through to set yourself up for a successful project.
- Decide the Purpose of Your Renovation: Before you jump into imagining what your future kitchen or bathroom will look like, it’s important to focus on why you’re renovating. Think about what you want to get out of your finished renovation. Are you hoping to sell in the near future, or is this a forever home? Are you renovating to make your kitchen easier to use? Impress guests when entertaining? To help you declutter and organize? Your reasons will determine what kind of budget you allot for the project which in turn will determine the design flexibility you’ll have and the type of contractor you hire.
- Understand What You Want: If the purpose of your renovation is geared towards resale, what you want will be dictated entirely by your budget. You’ll have some choice, but the majority of your decisions will be focused around meeting or going under budget. If you’re renovating for yourself, you’ll need to determine exactly what you’re hoping to achieve within the space. Are you happy with the overall layout but can’t stand the colors? Are you hoping to completely redesign and start from scratch? Are you envisioning floorplan changes with wall removal or working within the existing space? Do you want a new design but could care less what it looks like? Once you determine these answers, you’ll be able to give your contractor the direction needed to budget and design with you.
- Understand Your Style: Even if you’re working with a designer, your planning and decision making will go much faster if you have a general idea of the style you’re going for. Spend some time on platforms like Houzz and Pinterest tagging pictures of kitchens you love. Do you like one or two-toned kitchens? Do you want your cabinets to be white, a color, or a natural wood with a stain? Do you want the overall look to be clean and contemporary, or do you want to add a traditional feel with embellished cabinetry and loud colors? Do you want a natural stone countertop with heavy movement, a simple quartz, or a marble pattern with dramatic veining? The more you know what you want, the easier your material selection will be.
- Pick a Good Contractor: At this point in your planning process, it’s time to get a professional involved to help you start putting your ideas together, help you budget, and give you a realistic timeframe. You need to decide the type of experience you’re looking to have. Do you want to save money by being your own project manager? If so, you’ll need to source all your materials independently, find a one or two-man operation who is willing to install, find a countertop fabricator, find a plumber and electrician, and manage the project to make sure everything actually goes according to the plan in your head. Sound complicated? It is – but sometimes you have to learn the hard way….;P. If you want a turn-key experience with someone walking you through the design and material selection process and then handling construction and ordering entirely for you; you’ll need to look for a reputable showroom with designers on staff and be prepared to invest a small amount of your project budget into the planning process.
- Set a Realistic Budget for Your Purpose: Kitchen renovations, no matter how cheap you go, are a major expense. If you’re going to work with a showroom or a designer, you should prepare yourself to spend around 10% of your home value. If you’re in a million-dollar home and dropping your jaw, just remember that the last thing you want to do is put a kitchen in your home that is worse quality than what you currently have in your home. That being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a 50K or 60K renovation in a million dollar house. You’ll just have to be very budget conscious with every decision and be okay hearing “no” from your designer to ideas that just won’t work in your budget. Your designer on a construction team will always have your budget in the back of their head as we want to design a kitchen you’ll actually buy!
- Spend Time in the Design and Material Phase: Our final piece of advice is to not rush through the planning process. Once you’ve selected a company to work with and set your budget, you’ll be eager to get construction started. Make sure you take time to explore all your options and view everything you’re going to install in your home. Trust your design team to let you know when you need to take time to visit a showroom or two. There’s nothing worse than picking off a website or a small sample piece and finding out it looks nothing like what you envisioned. Make sure you enter your contract with as few TBD items as possible. Not only will it allow you to fully focus on preparing yourself to renovate, but it will allow your field team to have all your materials ready for a smooth project.