Five Basic Rules to follow for a Kitchen Remodeling project: Set Goals & Limits

Kitchen in luxury home with cherrywood cabinetry
I had the great fun, and the challenge, of brainstorming with a friend recently about her potentially new kitchen remodeling project. Before we got into what many consider the “fun stuff” of color, and style, and details, we first needed to address what I call the “Five Basic Rules to follow in a Kitchen Remodeling Project”. They aren’t tough to understand, but if you skip any of this, your planning will be more chaotic, and likely a little less fun.

1) Functionality rules first in the kitchen remodel. While remodeling, bigger isn’t always better, and lots of extra steps to get from one zone to the other efficiently is not what you want to do in the long run. It is important to consider the flow of work within the kitchen, and place the zones in logical places that work with adjacent rooms such as dining or a great room, as well as within the kitchen. You already have a kitchen—now is the time to improve upon it in its function, style, and comfort level. Functionality issues define what you want to keep, and what you want to change, and what you want to move.

2) Know your cooking style and get the right appliances to support that style is a must. Understand the impact of the right appliances and how things function within the space. For some, spending a bit more on the appliance package makes all the difference in a successful kitchen remodeling project, for others, good quality basics are just fine.

3) Understand the importance of adjacent opportunities in a potential kitchen remodel makes a big difference. For instance—providing better access to an unused formal dining room could make the kitchen cooking experience more engaging, and eating and entertaining within the space more inviting. Considering better access to outside areas that could lead to a magnet effect for entertaining outdoors—and planning for that in your kitchen remodeling just makes good sense—even if you can’t get to a completely reworked outdoor space just yet. Taking down a wall, providing a better ‘dining in’ arrangement, expanding a prep and bar area all can make a big difference in making the kitchen remodel worth the effort.

4) Understand the importance of how the previous considerations will determine your kitchen remodeling budget. This is a tough one for some and in the initial planning stages is not the time to just say “we can’t afford it” or that idea is “dumb”. It is important to brainstorm, to consider all the possibilities, and to really explore outside of the proverbial box. It is also important to then really consider what you can do without. Going through this process while planning a kitchen remodel is exactly what you need to do to find those ideas that can dramatically change and improve the flow of your home, and also to consider what you can do without. These choices, which will lead to multiple choices throughout the planning stage, each lead to costs. You need to know costs to best finalize your kitchen remodeling plans.

5) Understanding tricks to keep your budget in line. There are plenty of ways to plan a kitchen remodel. After going through the other steps, you should be able to honestly evaluate what you need, and what you really want in the kitchen remodel. Consider reusing and refacing your cabinetry if it is in good condition—completely changing the look. Consider keeping your granite countertop but changing out or adding an island top with wood or a contrasting material. Consider what happens to your storage needs if you add tall cabinets or a bank of narrow cabinets in the dining area. Consider standard sized appliances, keeping and refinishing a floor compared to a complete tear out. Consider a wall removal and adding cabinets, but keeping a previous basic layout to reduce new costs in plumbing and cabinetry. Add under cabinet lighting but don’t rewire everything if you can keep locations the same of major appliances. Consider what can stay, what must change, and what can be added, or subtracted.

Kitchen remodeling doesn’t need to be a dramatic change or a traumatic experience to your home life and bank account. Understanding the 5 basic rules can help you through it. And be sure to research Kitchen Remodeling Costs: Get a Return on your Investment if you are thinking about doing a kitchen remodeling project.