A kitchen can be much more than just a place to eat—it can be where people gather, where kids do their homework, where you unwind after a long day at work. You’re probably spending a fair amount of time in this room every day, familiar with all of its quirks and tasks.
It’s easy to get used to it—maybe you’re a little too used to jiggling that one tricky drawer in all the time, or having to deal with a shortage of counter space. Maybe your pantry shelves aren’t exactly convenient, and your fridge is definitely in the wrong place. What do you do? Do you just deal with it—forever?
It might be time for a kitchen refresh! While there’s more to a remodel than new paint and some new hardware, a good kitchen renovation doesn’t have to be a major headache. In this article, we’ll break down seven smart strategies to help you get started and stay on track with your kitchen renovation.
Kitchen Renovation Strategies and Tips
Remodeling always needs a solid plan and some basic analysis. Jumping off into the deep end and just ripping down cabinets is not the way to go! These seven strategies will help you revamp your space to create a new dream kitchen that you love being in.
1. Get inspiration and create a plan.
If you could snap your fingers and have your dream kitchen, what would it look like? Do you imagine that it’s just a little different, or is it dramatically new? You’ll save yourself some time and money if you start with an idea of where you actually want to end up.
- Spend time gathering inspiration: As you browse ideas, think about:
- Your basic needs: Consider what you need in terms of appliances, storage space, and seating arrangements.
- Pain points in your current kitchen: Spend some time understanding how you use the kitchen. What are your pain points that a remodel could help alleviate?
- Design tastes: What does your ideal kitchen look like? What colors, materials, and finishes do you like? How will it all fit in with the overall design of your house? Write it all down.
Even if you change your mind, it is good to have a starting point. This will help you when it comes time to build out a budget, which we will talk about in a bit.
2. Put your money in the right places.
As you plan, you may find that you change the scale of your initial ideas. For example, a top-of-the-line, commercial-grade stove may sound like a good plan, but if you are only an occasional cook, your budget can probably be better spent in other places.
Be sure to balance your kitchen dreams with your actual lifestyle and practicality. Focus on renovations that will add real value and improve your time in the room.
3. Consider the layout of your kitchen.
Thinking of really changing things up? Knocking down walls, adding electrical outlets, and relocating your sink can significantly increase the budget and amount of time that your project will require.
Unless you are looking to invest a good chunk of change in the project, keep the same kitchen footprint. This means that anything that requires electricity— such as your fridge or stove— or plumbing— like your sink and dishwasher— will stay in the same place.
If you’re not up for a major do-over, focus on things that are relatively easier to change like cabinets, countertops, wall color, tile backsplash, new flooring, and light fixtures. These small cosmetic changes can make a huge difference in the overall feel of your kitchen.
4. Know how to work with what you have.
If you’re keeping the same layout, this means learning to work with what you have. For instance, you may not be able to create more space. But you can create more storage, such as open shelving or additional cabinets on a bare wall.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and reimagine what your kitchen already has going for it. You’d be surprised how much you’re able to adjust the function of your kitchen without making huge changes.
5. Determine whether you need to hire a professional or whether you can DIY it.
How do you decide if you should do it yourself or get the help of a professional? There are pros and cons to both. Do-it-yourself remodeling projects can help keep costs down, but they can also be more time-consuming for a homeowner. Using a professional may involve a higher cost upfront, but it probably also means less work and time on your part.
Consider your handiness, time availability, budget and time frame for the project. If you aren't sure, it never hurts to consult with a professional and get a quote.
Most remodeling companies will provide a free estimate. If you are thinking of getting professional help, talk to multiple companies before selecting one. Get project details and payment information in writing before you get started. And if you get estimates and decide to do the project yourself in the end, that's fine too.
6. Establish a budget.
It can be really easy to overspend on even a minor kitchen remodel if you go into it without a budget. Creating a budget beforehand gives you an overhead view of what things will cost. This allows you to make adjustments or changes to your plan if costs are going beyond what you’re comfortable with.
Start by using your design plan to tally up expenses. Check online to find local store prices and give yourself a range of what materials will cost. If you’re going to hire a contractor, use their quote to get an idea of labor costs.
7. Expect the unexpected.
Last but not least, always expect the unexpected when taking on a kitchen renovation project. You may get under your sink and notice a slow leak that has gone unnoticed for months. The contractor may put down half of the tile floor and you realize it isn’t exactly what you wanted. You may get a little carried away at ripping out old cabinets and take a chunk of your wall, too.
Always plan to spend around 10% - 20% of your total budget on unplanned expenses.
How to Finance Your Kitchen Remodel
Worried that you don’t have the funds on hand to take on the level of remodel that you want? Consider financing your project with one of these financial products:
- Home equity loan: Have equity in your home? If so, you can use it to secure a home equity loan.
- Home equity line of credit: A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is similar to a home equity loan. Instead of getting funds in one lump sum, however, you can borrow as you go— much like a credit card. You’ll be pre-approved for a maximum amount, but you’ll only be charged interest on the amount you actually draw from the line of credit.
- Home improvement loan: A home improvement loan is a type of unsecured personal loan that can be used to pay for materials and contractors for home improvement projects.
Keep in mind that a home improvement project is something that can oftentimes pay for itself when it comes time to sell your home. Kitchen renovations have some of the highest returns on investment out of all home improvement projects.
Get Started on Your Kitchen Upgrade
Ready to get started on your kitchen renovation project? Get started by browsing ideas and figuring out your financing situation. Reach out to Amplify to get more information about getting the funds you need to create the kitchen you want!