Recently, we decided to give our kitchen a makeover. Unfortunately, we did not put much thought into it and as a result, we learned the hard way. We were set back tens of thousands of dollars, which we could have avoided had we just done a bit of prior planning. Instead of just sticking to the essentials, we went overboard and redid the whole kitchen and included so many things that were not necessary. I guess if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Although we do not in the least bit regret renovating the kitchen as it looks fabulous, our problem is that we took an expensive route. To avoid the mistakes we made, here are tips you need to consider to avoid unnecessary expenditure that may dig deep into your pockets.
Tip 1: Determine the Essentials
There are limitless options when it comes to kitchen renovation. Going out without a proper plan may lead to an uncontrollable binge of impulse purchases. Therefore, narrow down to the essentials and create a budget. Consider the following questions to help you narrow down to the must-haves only:
- Do you require more kitchen space?
- Do you require more storage?
- What do you dislike about your current kitchen?
- Do you need to change the kitchen layout?
- Which appliances are still working fine and which ones need updating?
- Are you looking to add more value to your kitchen to sell your house?
Tip 2: Create a Budget
Once you narrow down to your immediate kitchen needs, it is time to come up with a budget. A realistic budget as recommended by experts is 5% to 15% of your house’s total value. For instance, if your house is valued at $150,000, then your kitchen renovation should be between $7,500 and $22,500. However, we recommend you go with the upper limit for all the miscellaneous expenses, but always work below it. The next step is to divide the budget to accommodate different areas of renovation. The National Kitchen and Bath Association offers the best breakdown, however, you can always alter it depending on your needs. Here is the breakdown to give you the general idea:
- Cabinetry and hardware – 29% to 30%
- Installation – 17%
- Appliances and ventilation – 14%
- Countertops – 10%
- Flooring – 7%
- Lighting – 5%
- Walls and ceilings – 5%
- Design fees – 4%
- Doors and windows – 4%
- Plumbing and faucets – 4%
- Other/Miscellaneous – 1%
Tip 3: Hire Professionals
Unless you are a trained professional, we would advise you to leave the renovation to certified experts. Even if so, it is highly unlikely that you are proficient in all areas. For instance, you may be an electrician, but that does not mean that you can do plumbing work. Remember: cheap is expensive. The first person you need to hire is a contractor. On average, contractors charge between 10-20% of the total renovation costs, however, the cost varies with location. This added cost may seem too much, but there are so many advantages to hiring a contractor. For starters, they will take away all the responsibilities from you and all that will be required from you is to wait for the end results.
Also, the contractor will provide the best deals on materials and appliances, which will help you save a lot of money. In addition, the contractor will be responsible for hiring the right subcontractors, who will ensure the work is done with the utmost precision and within the set timeline for the renovation. In a nutshell, a contractor is a person who will ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. However, you should be wary of the person or company you hire, as there are so many quacks who will easily take advantage of you. Ensure the contractor is licensed, insured, has the necessary permits, cleans up after the project and also involves you in the renovation process.
You will also need a kitchen designer to come up with the right design for your kitchen needs. This is also an additional cost and may set you back about 8-10% of the renovation costs, however, this cost also varies with the location. Just make sure you get the right designer. You may ask for recommendations from family or friends or you may visit stores, showrooms, websites and magazines to get the right designer.
Tip 4: Give Your Two Cents Each Step of the Way
At times, the remodeling process takes longer than expected, even up to one month. The contractor may therefore lose track of your original goal. It is therefore imperative that you be part of the renovation process to keep everything in check. Ensure they are up to speed without compromising on quality to avoid overspending on takeaways and dinners from restaurants. In the scheme of things, ensure your remodeled kitchen adheres to the following:
Retain the Plumbing Lines
Keep the plumbing lines where they are to save yourself from a lot of unnecessary costs. Having a new configuration of water and gas lines is extremely expensive and should be avoided at all cost. Keep all water- and gas-connected appliances, such as the sink, stove, oven and dishwasher, where they are. However, this can only work in your favor if the elements were initially installed in the right places. If some elements were configured wrongly, then you have no other option but to incur extra costs to ensure everything is up to standard. For instance, if in the original plan the dishwasher was not next to the sink, then you will have to rearrange the dishwasher to be next to the sink. This therefore means that the plumbing line will have to be altered to accommodate the new changes.
Watch for the Right Kitchen Layout
A good kitchen layout should follow the kitchen work triangle, whereby the refrigerator, oven and sink are kept in a triangular fashion to cut down on the distance between them. The pathways should also be large enough to accommodate free flow of traffic. If you choose to include an island, then ensure there is at least 42 inches of clearance to allow two people to operate comfortably without squeezing or bumping into each other.
Make a Statement with Lighting and Wall Paint
There are many lighting trends that you can utilize to make a bold statement in the kitchen. You may go for glass bulbs for the modern look, or you may go for the classical and extravagant look of a chandelier or pendant lighting. Also, do not forget under-cabinet lighting. When it comes to wall paint, the color schemes, textures and patterns will depend on the overall design and décor you are trying to achieve in the kitchen. It is advisable to include different color variations to make the kitchen décor more vibrant and fun.
Choose the Right Flooring
There are also many kitchen flooring options that you can take advantage of. If you are working on a tight budget, then linoleum may be the best choice for you. It is an inexpensive option that comes in various colors, shapes and styles. You may go for hardwood flooring, but that is an expensive option. Instead of wooden flooring, you may lay laminate flooring as it is a cheaper alternative and even looks like hardwood. However, it is not water-resistant and you will have to control the moisture levels in your kitchen to prevent the destruction of the laminate floor. Alternatively, you may go for conventional concrete and ceramic tiles for durability.
Retain the Cabinets
As already mentioned, cabinets will account for the largest chunk of the budget (up to 30%). Retaining the old cabinets will save you a considerable amount of money. If the cabinets are still in good condition, then you can just give them a good paint job and they will look as good as new. You will have to install new ones, however, if your old cabinets are worn out. You may go for high ceiling cabinets, if your budget allows you. However, if you are working on a stringent budget, then you may utilize upper open cabinets and full lower cabinets.
Install a Fire Duct
This is a major requirement for modern kitchen design. Installing a fire duct or a range hood helps circulate fresh air in the kitchen. The system comes with a powerful exhaust fan that sucks all the smoke, nasty odors and grease vapors from the kitchen and expels them out. It also reduces fire risks. By expelling grease vapor, it reduces grease build-up in the kitchen which eliminates a potential fuel source for fires.
Follow these tips and you will have a brand new kitchen, without breaking the bank. Good luck!
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work at PlainHelp.