Kitchen remodeling: when it comes to choosing a “Do It Yourself” project, there aren’t many tasks that seem more daunting. Unlike potting plants, arranging side tables, or building small shelves, any remodel is a significant undertaking. By the time it’s complete, you will transform an entire room of your home.
Why Is Kitchen Remodeling So Challenging?
Your kitchen is a workspace, but it should also feel inviting. It’s functional, but also hospitable. Above all, it should be safe as well as stylish. From a practical standpoint, the kitchen is also one of the most complicated rooms in your home. There’s running water, which means plumbing. There’s electricity, which means wiring. There’s often gas, too, and a host of appliances and safety issues to keep in mind. Before you get started, here are some things to remember so that your remodel goes as smoothly as possible.
11 Kitchen Remodeling Tips for Your Next DIY Project
#1 – DON’T: Underestimate the Task
Because this is such a large project, it’s best to go in with a precise plan. In your home, there may be some rooms where you have a little more flexibility to change your mind partway through. You can sometimes transform a bedroom or a study with a minimum of forethought. When it comes to the kitchen, though, the old adage “measure twice, cut once” should always be in the back of your mind. A kitchen is a space where one minor change can affect everything else around it. Change the size or location of an island, and suddenly you need to rethink your lighting plan. Change your mind about a stove or dishwasher, and suddenly you might need to remeasure your counter length.
#2 – DO: Create an Exact Plan
Before you start cutting holes in your wall or knocking out your cabinet, create a master list of everything that you’ll be changing. The things you should be considering include:
- The functionality of the kitchen
- The style of the kitchen
- Safety aspects
- Traffic flow
- How you want the space to feel
- What appliances you’ll use
- Counters and workspaces
- Storage spaces
- Options for water, gas, and electricity
- Your budget
#3 – DON’T: Ignore Storage Spaces
It’s easy to become focused on large items like counters, sinks, stoves, and refrigerators. But don’t forget storage features that will help you make the most of your pantry, like drawer dividers or pullout features for your cabinets. These small features can make a big difference to your kitchen’s functionality.
#4 – DO: Consider How You Will Inhabit the Room
Think about what it will be like to cook in the room once it’s finished. Where do you want items to be when you are using the kitchen? When your storage spaces line up with this, you’ll find that your “user experience” of the new kitchen will increase exponentially.
Spices and cooking utensils typically are best within reach of the stove, while cutting boards and kitchen knives should live near a counter or island. Plastic bags, foil, and food containers can be closer to the refrigerator.
#5 – DON’T: Forget About Your Life During the Remodel
Kitchen remodeling can take days or weeks, depending on the amount of work being done. While the remodel is in progress, will your kitchen be usable at all? How will you be preparing for meals? If your regular refrigerator isn’t accessible, where will you store food (especially perishables)? Planning ahead for these questions can make your life much more pleasant once the work actually starts.
#6 – DO: Set Up a Temporary Kitchen
If your house has a little bit of extra room, try setting up a backup “food preparation” space. Simply move a few of your most necessary items out of the remodel area and designate a corner of another room as the temporary kitchen. Small refrigerators and microwaves can be a real blessing here and save you from having to order meals every single day.
#7 – DON’T: Forget About the Rest of the House
Kitchen remodeling often takes an extended period of time and can create noise, smells, and disturbances in the rest of the house. A good remodeling plan should consider how other rooms will be affected by the project.
#8 – DO: Shield the Other Rooms
You can shield the other rooms in your house by putting up tarps or plastic sheets in the kitchen doorways. As much as possible, line the entrances of the kitchen to keep debris and dust from spreading to other areas.
#9 – DON’T: Spend More Than You Can Afford
One of the biggest problems with kitchen remodeling is that it’s deceptively easy to overspend. There is no limit to the ways you can watch your money disappear. Even if you save on labor costs by doing everything on your own, you’ll still have to purchase building materials, appliances, and tools to do the job properly.
#10 – DO: Create a Detailed Budget
Know exactly what you’ll be spending and where. Pick out the appliances you want to use. Price all of the materials you think you’ll need ahead of time. Try to aim below your maximum budget, just in case you need to make a last-minute change that costs a bit extra. On average, counters will take up about a third of your remodeling budget. And when it comes to appliances, don’t forget to include the delivery or shipping fee if you aren’t bringing it home yourself.
#11 – DO: Get a Professional Opinion
Even if you plan on doing all the building yourself, it doesn’t hurt to get an outside opinion. A professional designer might be able to spot anything that you’ve overlooked. Get some feedback from a designer after you’ve drawn up your plans, but before you start work. That extra bit of experience could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
The Kitchen of Your Dreams
In the end, your kitchen is more than just another room in your home. It’s an extension of your sense of hospitality, personality, and your own unique style. When you start the process armed with a detailed plan, a smart budget, and a strong vision of the end result, you are well on your way to the kitchen of your dreams.