It’s always stressful undertaking a big remodeling project, especially with something as central to your everyday living as a kitchen. This blog post will give some tips and hints that will hopefully remove some of that stress from your shoulders.
For those of us with a limited budget, it is generally good advice to use what you already have. Just as the bathroom remodeling post mentioned using the pipes that are already there to determine where you put your appliances, you should take note where the gas and water supplies enter your kitchen. This usually means you won’t be able to move your oven and sink (and dishwasher, if you have one) by more than a few inches, which should be considered in your design sketch.
Another constraint to take into account is the state of your current appliances. If you have a perfectly functioning fridge, you’ll want to keep it; they aren’t cheap. This might cause a problem if you want to have all of your appliances built into cupboards and otherwise invisible. It’s very difficult to convert a standalone fridge into a built-in one. If you have old appliances that would be a hassle to transfer into your vision of the next best kitchen, it might be worth replacing them anyway, considering they are bound to need replacing soon enough. You might even save on future costs by buying new energy-efficient versions. It should be noted though that built-in appliances do cost more than standalone units, and are harder to replace. Also, if you want one standout piece in an otherwise uniform kitchen, you can use a nice-looking standalone appliance to kill two remodeling birds in one stone.
Every kitchen is different. This is true even if you buy a complete set from a showroom. Still, there are some pieces of advice that will apply to everyone. First off, it’s important to resist the urge to overdesign. It’s good to have one big eye-catching piece, which could be a fridge or some colorful tiles. However, if you have too many different things vying for attention your brain tends to overload, and you won’t ever be able to relax in your own kitchen.
In order to figure out how much space you’re really going to need in your new kitchen, and how you would prefer to organize your stuff, it is useful to empty out all of the drawers and cupboards in your kitchen, and sift through what you own. By figuring out how you would ideally want to organize your things, and dividing them into storage spaces, it’s easy to see how much room you’re going to need. Often, you will find you need less room than you initially thought.
Once you have an idea of what you own, this will also give you a much clearer idea of what you are lacking. This is the point where you should make a wish list. Then once you have started remodeling, you can refer back to the wish list to make sure you are not making any needless purchases. A wish list based on what you know you have and need is much more useful than one based on vague ideas and the often unhelpful later suggestions of your friends or design magazines. You’re the only one who knows exactly how you use your kitchen, so you’re the only one who can determine if you need a dedicated tap that dispenses boiling water, for instance.
Going more into detail, I would recommend selecting cabinets that reach the ceiling, not just because it looks better, but also to stop them from collecting lots of nasty dust. To ensure plenty of practical counter space, I would furthermore advise leaving the countertops next to the sink and oven clear, and making sure the countertops are deep enough for your personal preferences. That said, if you are planning to move in a few years, it’s not worth the extra cost of getting everything custom-made. A prefabricated kitchen might fit perfectly anyway.
Finally, you will probably know how important it is to find a contractor you can trust, and who understands your vision. If you go into the remodel with a clear idea of what you want, it saves the contractors a lot of guessing, and possibly a lot of problems. Still, no matter how much you trust the contractor, it is never advisable to pay them in advance. Considering the importance of the kitchen, and the magnitude of any work done on it, you should never undertake the remodel yourself unless you already have experience remodeling other people’s kitchens, in which case you’re probably not reading this blog post.