Just as you have to study for a test in order to pass it, you need to do your homework in order for a kitchen remodel to earn an A+. There’s no textbook that’ll tell you exactly how to remodel your kitchen. But we’ve got seven tips to help you achieve a successful kitchen remodel.
1. Establish your goals
It’s not enough to decide you’d like to remodel your kitchen. You’ll need to develop a vision for your kitchen:
- Do you want a modern feel or something more classic?
- What color palette do you want? A mix of muted blue and gray? Traditional white? Eye-popping green accents?
- How do you use your kitchen? Is it primarily for cooking? Or is it more of a cooking/dining/living/working space?
- How long do you plan to stay in your house? Two years? Ten years? The answer might help determine the grand plan for your remodel.
2. Make sure the remodel fits your needs
Yes, it’s natural to wonder about your home’s resale value when you’re embarking on a kitchen remodel. However, the remodel should be tailored to your enjoyment of the house rather than the enjoyment of a future owner.
Once you’re ready to sell the house, your real estate agent can let you know whether you should make any tweaks to the kitchen to improve the home’s marketability. But in the meantime, the kitchen should your dream kitchen, not someone else’s.
3. Don’t fall for fads
At one point, barn doors were all the rage in kitchen design. So were formica countertops and brown everything. Of course, fads fade. That’s why it’s best to stay away from the latest buzzworthy trends in kitchen design.
Instead, go for more timeless elements in a kitchen remodel. Chances are, quartz countertops are going to stick around for a long time, as are Shaker-style cabinets, hardwood floors, big sinks and undercounter appliances. You can never go wrong with timeless.
4. Create a budget
Every kitchen remodel should start with a budget. Putting together a spending plan will help you pinpoint how much money you’ve already got for the project and how much you might need to borrow. The budget should include estimates for labor, materials and construction permits.
Plan on spending 10% to 15% more than you thought you would in case labor or materials wind up costing more. This way, you’re ready for surprise expenses. For a full remodel, you can use this breakdown as a guideline.
5. Set a schedule
Look at the calendar and pick a start date and end date that suits you and your family. Make sure to plot every step from start to finish. It’s difficult to stick to a plan if there isn’t one!
Make sure you build in time for unplanned delays and understand that the average kitchen remodel runs 4-6 weeks. Know your material lead times as you don’t want material purchases to slow down your project. Don’t be hard on yourself if you run behind, but commit to completing the project as soon as you’re able.
6. Put everything in writing
Once you’ve singled out a contractor, you should ensure that both sides agree to a written contract. This document should include:
- Start date
- End date
- Project scope of work
- Exact price with an outline of labor and materials
You should be in regular contact with the contractor about progress on the kitchen remodel, such as various milestones.
You should share any concerns you have about the project to make sure they’re resolved before becoming bigger issues. For instance, if you have questions about how the kitchen cabinets are being installed, let the contractor know as soon as you can. Raising the issue after the project is done might add to the cost.
Be sure you and the contractor have each other’s phone numbers and email addresses. But keep in mind that the contractor is probably busy with other customers, so they might not be able to respond immediately to your phone call, text message or email.
Solid two-way communication can lead to a great relationship — and a great kitchen remodel!