How To Prepare For Your Kitchen Renovation Project: Get Organized Now Or You Could Regret It Later
A kitchen remodel is no small undertaking and without proper planning and preparation, your dream kitchen can quickly turn into a nightmare. Before you get started, consider these tips on how to plan a smooth and successful renovation.
Before You Plan, Dream
And dream BIG! Check out design magazines and collect photos of the spaces that inspire you. It’s always good to start with an “if money were no object” vision of your dream renovation. Although such extravagance may not be in the cards for you right now, you can often find a couple of lower-cost options to replicate elements of your ideal space.
Whether you’re dreaming of upgraded appliances or new cabinetry, thorough research is crucial to making the right decisions. Determine which splurges are worth it by asking around and reading as much as you can online. With some choices being about function (appliances, plumbing and electrical changes) and others being strictly aesthetic (glass front cabinets, new backsplash), it’s important to know what your top priorities are. Make a list of your must-have items, like that new stove or a dishwasher, and make sure you don’t compromise on what’s most important to you.
Style matters, but in the kitchen, functionality is king. Assess how you use your kitchen to identify what improvements would have the greatest impact. Are you an amateur chef who could benefit from a second sink for food prep, or are you a cookware collector who is interested in improving your storage options with soft-close drawers to replace your cavernous lower cabinets? If available space or finances don’t allow you to have it all, make sure you prioritize well before you get talked into purchases you don’t really want or need.
Before You Buy, Budget
Before you meet with any contractors, or visit any showrooms, have a realistic budget set for the project. Once you’ve identified your budget, you may still be in the dark about what it will afford you in terms of materials and labor. While every job is different, on average, kitchen renovation budgets break down as follows:
- 29% on cabinetry and hardware
- 22% on design and installation
- 16% on walls ceilings floors, doors and windows
- 14% on appliances and ventilation
- 10% on countertops
- 9% on electrical and plumbing
Be sure to leave a healthy contingency in your budget for unexpected overages.
Consider the timeline of your project and how it lines up with the rest of your life. Are you planning to be out of town? Have houseguests coming in? Do you have a big work project coming up that will require great concentration and cannot be disrupted by construction noise and workers traipsing in and out of your home? Discuss these concerns with your contactor so you can prepare to work around any potential conflicts.
Choosing a Contractor
Finding a reputable contractor is key and the best place to start is by asking for recommendations from friends or family. And check with the Better Business Bureau, as well as local building associations in your county and state. Be sure to check out past projects, industry reputation, ask for copies of their insurance policies, and ideally, see if it’s possible to contact past clients for their take on what it was like to work with the company. Once you identify a few potential candidates, schedule consultations to see whom you feel is a good fit. You want someone you’re comfortable with and who inspires trust, to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
There is a lot to consider before undertaking a renovation, and the best thing you can do beforehand is to get educated. Check out resources such as the National Association of Homebuilders to find out green building options and certified building professionals, and the National Kitchen and Bath Association for tons of useful information and inspiration.
We always recommend having your plans reviewed by a third party, like a professional organizer. Organizers can review the plans to make sure your mixer will fit in the cabinet, your favorite platter will fit in the new glide out organizer and that you have enough utensil drawer space. It’s cheaper to catch the design flaw before the first piece of wood is cut.
Are you gearing up for a kitchen renovation or have you already completed one? Perhaps you’re a kitchen designer and have some suggestions? What was the most unexpected challenge you faced? What advice can you offer someone just getting started? Share your stories below so that others can benefit from your wisdom and experience.