How to Plan a Kitchen Remodel

Kitchens remain the most popular room in the house to renovate. It’s a big job, both in terms of cost and the amount of work that gets done. So before you hire a contractor and start bashing down walls, there are some important things to do. Namely, setting a budget, determining what you want, and planning how it all will fit.

Set Your Budget Before You Remodel a Kitchen
As you go about planning the new kitchen, you must be realistic about the cost.

Do Some Research
Visit kitchen showrooms and home stores to figure out the cost of items, and then figure out what you need and what you can afford.

Prepare for the Unexpected
Establish an initial budget, then add another 10 to 20 percent for unplanned expenses.

Consider “Hidden” Costs
Remember to factor in the cost of labor and materials as well as taxes and any shipping or delivery costs that might come up. These can add up very quickly, so it’s important to take them into account when you’re setting the budget.

Quality Should Come First
Always buy the best you can afford. When it comes to kitchen renovations, you want to have high-quality, functional items, both for you own use and for potential resale value if you sell your house in the future.

Think About Your Needs vs. Wants
Be practical and don’t buy unnecessary items. It can be tempting to buy all sorts of gadgets and fancy appliances, but it’s better to go with the reliable basics that you know you’ll use and get your money’s worth from.

Think About the Layout
More than any room in the house, the kitchen needs to be practical and functional. Think about how you use your current kitchen to identify your priorities for the remodeled space. What works and what doesn’t? Give considerable thought to the layout and assess what will work best for your household.

Whenever possible, you should try to make use of the classic work triangle. Arrange the sink, refrigerator, and stove (the three features used the most) in a triangular pattern. This is generally considered to be the most convenient setup because it saves unnecessary steps.

Also think about how many people usually work in the kitchen at the same time. If it’s more than one, you might want to incorporate more than one workstation. Or, if there’s enough space, consider adding an island or purchase a wheeled cart that can be moved around the room and put away when not in use.

Kitchen Space Planning
A good remodeling contractor can help you make sure things are laid out to ensure proper safety, but it’s up to you to plan for convenience. Here are a few things to remember:

Plan to have at least 36 inches of counter space for food preparation, with at least 24 inches on one side of the sink and 18 inches on the other. If you can fit more, do so.

Leave adequate floor space in front of appliances so the doors can be opened and you can still walk in front of them. You’ll need at least 30 to 48 inches.

Leave enough room for traffic flow. There should be at least 42 inches between the counters and the island (if there is one) so that people can easily walk through without disrupting anyone working at the counters.

Discuss all of your hopes and requirements with your contractor or designer to make sure space is planned in a way that will ensure convenience and ease of movement for you and your family.

Once you know what you want, and what you can afford, you can hire a contractor and get started. Remember to stick to your plan, and don’t get caught up in the excitement or let yourself get talked into things you don’t want or need.