We’ve all dined at home more often than usual during the past couple of years, and for some of us that’s meant realizing it’s time for a facelift. No, not that kind. The kitchen version. Because nothing takes the spice out of prepping a home-cooked meal like trying to dish up deliciousness in a cramped space with outdated appliances and decor that’s stuck in 1987. If you’ve got an appetite for a kitchen remodel — and now’s a great time to invest in your home! — read on for our menu of tips to consider as you get started.
What is the cost of a typical kitchen remodel?
This depends, of course, on your definition of “typical.” If your taste runs toward imported Italian marble countertops and an LED screen built into your fridge, plan accordingly. But undertaking a re-do in an average-sized home will generally run $30,000 to $75,000, depending on how much of the space you want to revamp. More specifically, the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends that you budget 15%-20% of the value of your home for your own kitchen remodel.
What is the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel?
Cabinetry and hardware will take the biggest bite out of your budget, totaling close to a third of the cost of remodeling a kitchen. New cabinets are pricey but likely the design element that defines your new kitchen, so it’s a good idea to get what you want rather than skimping too much. If you do want to cut costs a bit, try replacing your hardware and fixtures instead, or perhaps painting your existing cabinetry for a brand-new look without the heavy lift.
Regardless of your overall budget, it’s important to establish a budget at the get-go. Otherwise, the temptations of, say, stainless-steel backsplash ideas and expensive kitchen flooring may get the better of you next time you’re cruising the aisles at your local home improvement store. Calculate how much you can spend, and try your absolute best to stick to it. The pros from the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommend allocating your funds as follows:
- Cabinetry and Hardware: 29%
- Installation: 17%
- Appliances and Ventilation: 14%
- Countertops: 10%
- Flooring: 7%
- Lighting: 5%
- Walls and Ceilings: 5%
- Design Fees: 4%
- Doors and Windows: 4%
- Faucets and Plumbing: 4%
- Other: 1%
How do I find the best kitchen remodeling ideas?
Google is a wonderful thing. You’ll find a wealth of information on small kitchen remodeling ideas, kitchen remodeling ideas on a budget, and more. You can also go old-school and peruse design and home improvement magazines for kitchen countertops, options for kitchen islands, and overall kitchen layout ideas. Magazines and sites like Pinterest that offer kitchen remodeling ideas before and after renovation are a fun resource, too — seeing other kitchen transformations can provide inspiration and also calm your anxiety if you’re feeling a bit cautious about the cost.
And speaking of going old-school, don’t feel like you have to only stick with current trends when it comes to remodeling your kitchen. Your kitchen doesn’t just need to be functional; it needs to be you. Here are some hallmarks of different kitchen styles:
A Classic Look
Keep it timeless, but never styleless, by opting for simple features and minor details. You’ll want functionality here, so always consider how you will use the kitchen and plan your design according to that. It’s a lot like Goldilocks: nothing too much, nothing too little, but just right. Some of our favorite elements include:
- Shaker-style cabinets with a touch of molding.
- A fresh, clean paint job in the white or stone-colored family.
- Avoid the “smart” appliances. No need for touch screens here.
- Opt for stainless steel fixtures where possible to keep a sleek look.
- Beautiful granite countertops.
A Modern Feel
Bring your kitchen into the 21st century with sleek minimalism and striking details. For this look, we recommend keeping things open and accessible. Think about taking down any walls that may separate your kitchen from the other rooms in the house for a seamless transition into the space. Consider installing a bar space to your kitchen island and outfitting it with simple, yet elegant, barstools. To get you started, here are a few ideas we adore:
- A dark countertop with square edges. Keep things angular throughout the kitchen.
- Stainless steel or black appliances. Don’t shy away from the smart ones here — this is about modernization, after all.
- An accent piece. This could be anything: an industrial-style light fixture, a piece of contemporary furniture, cabinetry with a bold color, or a unique wall decoration.
- Simple cabinets. No frills here, just clean design.
A Throwback, Vintage Style
There’s a certain je ne sais quois to those kitchen designs of the mid-20th century. Kitschy to some, but a fun, colorful space to others. Here are our top tips if you’re looking to be brought back to another time:
- A farmhouse or apron-front sink.
- Ditch the island altogether and opt to keep all your appliances running along the wall. Use the middle of the room for a small dining table.
- Checkerboard floor tiles. Nothing says mid-century like those beautiful ceramics.
- Vintage appliances. Luckily, you don’t have to scrounge around old junkyards or hunt second-hand markets for one. Companies like Big Chill and Elmira Stove Works make new fridges, stoves, and ovens in that nostalgic style.
- Wallpaper or wall tiles. Opt for a seafoam green if you’re going for tiles, or another popular color from the era. For an easier, faster refresh, think about a polka-dot wallpaper.
In what order do you remodel a kitchen?
Treat your kitchen remodel as you would any important project: Start by making a plan. Here’s a high-level recommendation for how to proceed:
- Design your dream kitchen: Keeping your budget in mind, put together the specs of your new space — perhaps with the help of a professional designer. Think about kitchen designs you’ve seen and liked, and use those images to choose the kitchen flooring, kitchen cabinets, and kitchen countertops you want. Home-improvement stores are super useful for seeing side-by-side examples of kitchen layout ideas, as well as color ideas for kitchen tile and other design elements.
|Insider Tip: You know those high-end retail stores that you think you can never afford? Who says you can’t go there for some inspiration? Even if the products are way out of your budget, you can get great ideas. Then, you can go on the hunt for more affordable look-alikes.|
- Figure out where you’re going to keep everything while the work is going on: Home remodeling projects are notorious for the perpetual mess and clutter they generate. They’re also notorious for taking longer than expected. A perfect solution for all of this? Have a PODS portable storage container delivered right to your driveway. Fill it with tools, pots and pans, flooring tiles, old and new appliances, and anything else you want to keep out of the way while you transform your kitchen. And keep it for as long as you need it. Maintaining a neat and orderly workspace will not only keep you from losing your mind, it can help speed up the remodeling project, as well.
- Hire a contractor: Unless you’re doing a minor renovation and going the DIY route, it’s essential to have a professional guiding the project. For starters, permits are required for major renovations, and an experienced contractor can navigate that process for you — saving you time, money, and a massive headache. And second, with a pro at the helm, you’re far less likely to encounter costly errors in installation, wiring, plumbing, and all the other systems a kitchen remodel involves.
Do your due diligence in the hiring process. Ask for recommendations from friends who’ve recently tackled renovations. When you’ve narrowed your search to two or three finalists, read online reviews from customers, and ask for — and check — references. Also make sure you interview your candidates. You’re going to be spending some quality time with your contractor, so you want to make sure you pick someone you’re comfortable having in your home.
And finally, get your agreement in writing, with all the details and costs spelled out explicitly. Presumably the contractor you’ve selected is trustworthy and the process will go smoothly. But as with any transaction, it’s a best practice to have everything on paper.
- Get ready for construction: The final stages of redoing your kitchen constitute the heavy lift: demolition, build-out (if you’re going that route), plumbing/wiring/HVAC installation, installing your kitchen island, walls and ceiling, and painting. Thankfully, you have a contractor to manage these processes (right?). Your job at this point is to think about kitchen decorating ideas for your finishing touches once all the work’s done.
Shannon Jacobs is a Tampa-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to the PODS blog. She has lived in Atlanta, the Berkshires, and Nashville, but always returns to the warmth of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
- Cost of remodel: Remodelingcosts.org