Kitchen Remodeling Guide: Tips & Advice

A convenient kitchen is a properly organized efficient workspace. You’ll have to pass through several basic steps:

  1. Hiring;
  2. Planning;
  3. Budgeting;
  4. Coping with it.

Let’s discuss every step in this kitchen remodeling checklist and browse through various renovation hacks.

Hiring a Kitchen Remodeling Contractor

Redesigning and renovation of kitchens and dining rooms are the most popular issues among the homeowners. Finding the right contractor is one of the trickiest things for dummies. Ask your experienced friends and neighbors about their successes and kitchen remodeling nightmares. Browse through the forums and web reviews. Here are the things you should bear in mind while seeking for a professional.

Three Basic Steps

  1. Study the last projects performed by the potential contractor, because overall reputation is not always illustrative. Find info about the latest projects completed by the contractor.
  2. Try to find a chance to see the job of the contractor in process. This way you’ll be able to evaluate the quality and neatness of work before you sign a contract.
  3. Best kitchen remodeling contractors are usually the busiest ones. Take your time to get quality.


  1. Start with official insurance documents. A reliable contractor is ready to bear full responsibility for his action and be ready to cover the damage in case if he spoils anything.
  2. Find out about the licensing requirements in your city. Kitchen remodeling without a permit will cause you severe difficulties, so consult your state and municipal authorities.
  3. Pay attention to the habits of the contractor – he should respect his clients, be always on time and able to deal with building and renovation matters on his own.
  4. Make sure he follows his plan and makes no changes in the layout or in the materials in the process.
  5. Follow your budget and timetable. The work should be done gradually without delays for no reason because a pro plans everything beforehand.
  6. Crises are possible, so don’t panic if something’s going wrong. A sensible contractor will resolve everything quickly.

Refreshment, Responsibility & Respect

These are the three R’s of successful communication with a contractor. Offer the workers some soft drinks or coffee for refreshment. Don’t be on the way in the process of remodeling, especially in the kitchen and make your children and pets do the same to be responsible for calm renovation process. Be respectful and don’t talk politics and family relationships issues. Following these three simple rules will make your mutual communication flowing in the process of kitchen remodeling.

IMPORTANT! Meet the contractor daily and never pay for anything that hasn’t been completed yet. Don’t pay until the contractor finishes his job. You pay only when you feel satisfied with the results. Check the plumbing and electricity, examine and test everything including doors and drawers. Don’t forget about the warranty and the contractor’s final payment affidavit to be sure that your payment is protected and you won’t be accused of non-payment.

If You Do Kitchen Remodeling Yourself

The DIY option is never prohibited and you can easily deal with kitchen remodeling on your own if you have a bit of experience and certain skills. This part of the guide is devoted to handy homeowners willing to do the renovation with their own hands.

The first thing you need to remember is that all materials you need should be preordered and delivered on time before you start the demolition. Otherwise, you’ll have to cope with the kitchen under construction for weeks or even months. Do you have the materials ready? OK, let’s pass on to the first step you can beat yourself and save money on kitchen remodeling.

DEMOLITION. If you decide to get rid of the walls or add extra doors and windows but have no idea how your electricity and plumbing are situated, hire a professional, who will tell you where you can use a sledgehammer and where it’s impossible or demands additional planning. A simple consultation will cost you dirt-cheap. This will prevent you from possible mistakes.

TILEWORK. If you’re a newbie in tile flooring but have certain renovation experience, you can easily cover your kitchen floors and walls with tiling on your own. If you want to do it faster, try the largest tiles possible. Besides, large floor tiles will help you save money on grout. Keep in mind, that even tiles need a proper preparation and underlayment materials. This information is not confidential and can be found in kitchen remodeling articles online.

PAINTING. Prepare the walls before seizing the brush. Keep in mind that prepping walls often takes more time than the painting itself. You can also paint the cabinets – this way you’ll make them look fresh and get rid of various structural flaws appeared in the process of cooking.

HARDWARE. Spend a little money on the update of the pulls and knobs of the drawers and cabinet doors. If you plan to reface the cabinets, replace the pulls and knobs first. The cheapest knob will cost you about $1.35 while the most expensive one can be $100 each or even more.

Smart Kitchen Remodeling Layout

Your kitchen-remodeling checklist should include:

  • A detailed scale drawing of the kitchen the way it is before the renovation including doors and windows, plumbing and electricity elements;
  • A list of kitchen remodeling must-haves (more working space, additional storage areas, more lighting or style);
  • A folder with ideas (before and after remodeling pictures of kitchens you fancy, desired materials, decorative elements, concepts and enjoyable kitchen furniture designs).

Be patient and learn to select everything you need for the remodeling as early as you can. Thorough research will save your money. The last-minute shopping for furniture, kitchen hardware and materials will not only delay the process but also duplicate your expenses.

As soon as you’re ready with the cabinets and materials, pass on to the construction schedule. If you’re doing your kitchen remodeling with a contractor, make sure you’re familiar with every single step of the plan. Don’t add anything to the plan in the process.

Get on well with people working on your project. You should be open and always available to prevent any possible misunderstanding. Every professional helping you to reconstruct your kitchen should be aware of your plans. All subcontractors have to work in a team for the most effective result.

A smart kitchen-remodeling layout will result in a comfortable family area for tasty meals and delicious memories.

Speaking of the Cabinets…

Basic stock cabinets are perfect for fast kitchen remodeling. They are cheap, versatile and easily installed. They’re almost always in stock and generally delivered at once. Thanks to their simple look, their average cost is low. The only disadvantage is that your choice of designs will be very limited.

If you’re a bit more sophisticated homeowner, you can try semi-custom kitchen cabinets presented in a wider variety of styles. That’s a pricier option, but you’ll have a chance to add fancy elements to your kitchen remodeling overall design: glass doors, moldings, and side panels. Besides, you’ll get a variety of coloring options. Such cabinets are generally preordered.

If you’re planning an extreme kitchen makeover, opt for custom cabinets that fit all spaces and tastes. They’ll cost you a fortune, however, they’ll be customized in tiny details. Remember, that when you pay for kitchen furniture like this, you get top quality and longevity. That’s a perfect investment for a family home. If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen for resale, better opt for stock cabinets.


If you’re limited on budget, consider the right pick of material. There are several options available:

Laminate. That’s the cheapest option. Budget countertops are also manufactured from the laminate. That’s a neutral naturally friendly idea. It is released in flat panels and cannot be reshaped. However, if you’re devoted to simplicity, these sleek minimalistic laminate panels will look contemporary and neat.

Vinyl. Produced from the same material as laminate. It tightly wraps the cabinet doors providing you with more design options. You get attractive kitchen cabinets with simple maintenance for a moderate price.

Wood. If your kitchen remodeling plans include a design with oak cabinets and stone flooring, you must realize that it’s the priciest option possible. Nonetheless, your kitchen will look classy and cozy. Wood is easily stained and painted. Natural wooden pattern varies depending on the type of wood you choose. The price range is huge as well as the variety of styles and coloring options.

Take time to find out what’s new in kitchen remodeling that can help you add creativity and functionality to your cooking and dining area. There’s a ton of available kitchen hardware on the market. Combine your cabinets with custom elements: raised glass panels, valances, corbels, functional shelves, towel rings, hooks and custom knobs.

Pay special attention to the drawers, because they are used very actively. Opt for metal glides – they provide more stable support and live longer than the ones made of plastic.

A half of a typical kitchen-remodeling budget will be spent on cabinetry. So, make sure you purchase the furniture before you proceed with the further renovation of your kitchen.

Short Kitchen Remodeling Questionnaire

The following five questions will help you out with kitchen remodeling design ideas.
First: How many people spend the most time in the kitchen?

  1. More than two;
  2. One;
  3. None.

Second: What’s your attitude to cooking?

  1. Devoted;
  2. Casual;
  3. Neutral.

Third: Who else can be in the kitchen?

  1. Regular weekend guests invited for night parties;
  2. Your whole family using the kitchen for everything except playing team sports;
  3. No one except for you and your microwave dinners.

Fourth: How neat do you want your kitchen to be?

  1. Extremely neat;
  2. Neatness is not as important as quickness, cause your kitchen has too much activity;
  3. Automatic recycling systems would be perfect.

Fifth: What would you choose among the following three luxurious items?

  1. A huge Viking range stove with six burners;
  2. A built-in office desk with a family computer;
  3. A microwave with a self-cleaning function.
Do you have more A’s?

You need a professional kitchen remodeling design. You’ll need a spacious fridge and a spacious cooker. Install cabinets and counters with glass doors to display the contents. You’ll also need proper lighting to brighten every dark corner. Your choice of materials for kitchen flooring is hardwood or linoleum because you’ll have to spend quite a lot of time standing on it every day.

Do you have more B’s?

You need functionality. Your kitchen remodeling ideas should include lots of counters and storage solutions. A microwave should be installed so that the kids can easily use it. You should also consider an energy efficient lighting and appliances. Find a way to keep the clutter hidden. Your kitchen is planned for inevitable family activity.

Do you have more C’s?

You tend to be practical. You need clean lines and sensibility. You need only basic appliances all together with recycling conveniences. Invest in a dishwasher. Your basic kitchen will be perfect if you’re not planning your place as a family home. Top quality basic devices will certainly add value to your kitchen to attract the potential buyers.

Kitchen DIY Remodeling Mistakes

Remodeling or renovation order of work should be strictly followed if you don’t want to throw your budget away. Your plans may be under $50,000 or $3,000, but you’ll never goal with your budget if you don’t follow the basic kitchen remodeling rules and study every single issue beforehand. Avoid common mistakes:

Mistake #1: Setting the Trifles Aside

Sensible kitchen remodeling, especially for small kitchens, should include not only the basic layout but also a ton of additional useful storage spaces. Plan additional dividers for the drawers, add pegboards, nesting tables, shelves, cubbies, magnetic racks, and don’t forget to use the top parts of the cabinets to keep the items you need only for specific occasions.

Mistake #2: Forgetting About the Kitchen “Work Triangle”

It includes the fridge, the sink, and the stove. These kitchen appliances should be located efficiently. All efficient kitchen-remodeling projects have these elements located in a position resembling a triangle.

Mistake #3: Useless Counter Space

Add more room to your countertops. Get shelving supports and corbels in your local kitchen remodeling stores and make the surface of the counters wider and spacious.

Mistake #4: Doing Everything on Your Own

You can easily make everything with your own hands following various kitchen remodeling DIY tips on resources for dummies in building, construction and renovation. However, a top quality remodeling is a result of a professionally arranged follow-up steps and schemes. Invest in a professional kitchen remodeling help. An experienced home renovation expert will advise you where to start. This way you won’t have to correct mistakes on the go.

Mistake#5: Forgetting About Protection

Take care of debris, stains of paint and unwanted scratches. Box up your personal staff, get large sheets to cover the furniture and use tape to fix it. Invest into polyethylene plastic sheets to cover the floor and the walls and keep them 15 cm overlapped.

Mistake#6: Ignoring Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

That’s the vital issue in sensible renovation on a shoestring budget because a properly remodeled kitchen is one of the largest investments into the value of your home. Note that approximately a third of your money will be spent on kitchen cabinets renovation.

Mistake #7: Getting Past Possible Upgrades

If you want to raise the value of your house and start remodeling the kitchen to sell it, add new practical features to the basic space. It’s especially important if you’re planning this house to be a family home for many years. Make a list of things you and your family generally do in the kitchen and plan it according to your lifestyle.

Mistake #8: Appliances as a Last Resort

Make sure you purchase them first because a sensible kitchen makeover starts with plumbing and electricity. Besides, installing a fitting furniture is easier than finding fitting appliances for the installed furniture.

Mistake#9: Skimping on Ergonomic Storage Solutions

Use bins for the open spaces to get rid of the mess, install additional cabinets above the window, use hooks for mugs and fit in pullout pantries or organizers. One of the best kitchen remodeling ideas for small homes is installing swing stools that easily disappear when they’re not used. Pullout cutting boards with a trash bin fixed underneath are not only about convenient space usage but also about enhancing your cooking process.

Mistake #10: Ignoring Spaces Underneath

Install toe-kick storage drawers right under the cabinets. You can use them for items you don’t use on a regular basis.

Update Your Kitchen without Remodeling

This is always affordable and can easily be done on your own. Besides, a weekend will be enough for a light update. It’s easy because you won’t have to demolish the walls and take off the cabinets from the walls. A fast kitchen update can be done in a few simple steps:

  1. Paint the cabinets. That’s the most affordable way to freshen their look if they’re in good shape. You’ll hide the stains and scratches with a fresh coat of paint. The choice of color is up to you, but experts and designers in kitchen remodeling advise to use neutral tones, like gray, white, or creamy. Don’t forget to prepare the cabinets – clean them thoroughly to remove fat stains. Sand them if they’re made of natural wood.
  2. Paint the walls in brighter colors to make your kitchen look energetic and exciting. Make the walls durable by using a semi-gloss finishing.
  3. Replace the kitchen cabinet hardware. This tiny step may significantly alter the general look of the room. Combine it with a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets and enjoy the freshened look of your kitchen.
  4. Replace the lighting. Brighten your kitchen with additional lighting and LED garlands under the cabinets.
  5. Remove or replace the moldings from the cabinets. Plain looking cabinets have a more attractive look and they are easier to clean.
  6. Replace or renew the bar stools if you have ones.

More Useful Kitchen Remodeling Tips

  • Try kitchen counters customization. Try using different heights for the counters in order to separate the working space into different zones for food preparation and for keeping meals ready for cooking aside. You can also use taller kitchen counters with widened countertops as a bar area.
  • Use soft materials for the flooring. Cork, rubber or wood are very comfortable for legs. If you’ve got stone tiling or ceramics, place soft rag rugs or mats in certain areas in the kitchen.
  • Fewer doors, more drawers. Spacious drawers for cookware are a way better than cluttered cabinets.
  • Install European cabinets with flip-over doors. They are a way more practical than the ones opening to the side.
  • Don’t forget about the storage options right under the cabinets and make sure you’ve got electrical outlets on different heights.
  • Place the wall hangers for utensils to the left if you’re right-handed.

Frequently asked questions

Where to start?

Start by choosing professional workers. In addition to the kitchen-remodeling contractor, you’ll have to find:

An electrician. There’s no difficulty in installing lighting elements. However, if you don’t want accidental fires, power cuts or spoiled appliances in your kitchen, trust electrical outlets, sockets and wiring to the experienced electricians.

A plumber. Installing a new faucet or a dishwasher is tricky for a newbie. If you have no wish to study the kitchen remodeling guides for dummies and waste time for an unwanted result, find someone to deal with the plumbing hardware. Besides, a plumber will help you work out the basics of your renovation plan. Remember, that your renewal should start with plumbing and electricity. Appliances go first. Then goes the furniture.

A tilework professional. You can cut the tiles on your own and there’s no necessity to buy the equipment. You can rent it – just search for the ads in your district. However, if you’ve already invested the greater part of your budget into the high-end furniture and appliances, don’t try to save on flooring and hire a professional, who will be able to make a floor plan for your kitchen remodeling and advise you better materials.

A countertop fabricator. He will take the measurements and help you deal with the solid granite or quartz countertops.

Start to finish. Be wise and consistent. Ask yourself a question: Why do I need the remodeling? You should start doing this only in case if this work changes the life of your family for the better. Don’t spend too much of your budget on the kitchen if you’re planning to resell the house – it won’t add value to your house if you ignore overall home remodeling and invest too much in the kitchen.

Will kitchen remodeling add value?

Kitchen remodeling benefits in case if you do it professionally and appealing to most people. It means that a kitchen makes your home more valuable for the resale. Spend your budget on functionality but not on a unique art-deco design, because every buyer has his own kitchen-remodeling concept. Your kitchen and your home will be appealing to potential buyers in case if you:

  • Consult experienced real estate agencies to know the key issues the buyers can be interested in your neighborhood.
  • Stick to simplicity in design, materials, and colors.
  • Avoid exotic and luxurious elements.
  • Add space to your kitchen by widening up space and getting rid of unwanted walls and dividers.
  • Add extraordinary elements of convenience like pullout pantries, lighting in the corners and under cabinets, countertops made of high-quality stone.
  • Choose granite or quartz for countertops.

How much does kitchen remodeling cost and how to afford it?

The price tag may vary because it totally depends on your needs. If you’ve already answered the questions in a short quiz above, you’ve probably understood what you want from the kitchen remodeling project. The best way to afford the remodel and actually cut corners is to follow these tips:

  • Purchase appliances in late autumn – they will cost you less at the end of the season;
  • Try buying refurbished appliances if they don’t have any structural damage;
  • Shop where you can get discounts for high volume purchases and buy all appliances in one place;
  • Save up to twenty percent ordering doors and windows from the local retailers;
  • Keep in mind that some of the kitchen furniture retailers have free planning services – they’ll measure your kitchen and help you make a scale plan;
  • Buy granite for the countertops and tiling directly from the supplier.

Keep in mind that a kitchen remodels never costs less than you plan. Be ready that you’ll always have to pay at least 20% more

How to calculate kitchen remodeling costs?

If you really want to add value to the focal point of your home, don’t spend more than your house can support. The best way to count your budget is to evaluate the general price of your home and pick out no more than 10% of the value. This will be the basic sum for sensible renovation.