Kitchen remodels can be expensive. To help keep costs down, homeowners should prioritize “must-haves” over luxuries that won’t add much to functionality or aesthetics.
Consider hiring a professional contractor to do structural changes, like removing a wall or moving plumbing and venting, says Starmer. It could save you money in the long run by avoiding costly mistakes.
Kitchen cabinets are a big-ticket item in any remodel, accounting for up to 40% of the overall cost. But they’re also one of the most important elements to get right, because they’ll be around for decades.
After the walls are framed and drywall is hung, your GC will install cabinets. This is usually the first step, before the plumber and electrician can get to work.
If your cabinets are in good shape but the finish is dated, consider painting them instead of replacing them. It’s a labor-intensive job, but you can do it yourself with the help of an experienced painter or hire a pro for less money than new custom cabinets. Or give yourself more open storage by removing the doors on upper cabinets to create open shelving.
Countertops are one of the first things people notice in your kitchen, so they’re a big design element. “You want a material that fits your aesthetic and can hold up to the wear and tear of a busy kitchen,” says Block Renovation designer Carrie Schulz.
Concrete countertops can create a sleek, modern look. Marble and other natural stone countertops add traditional elegance but require specialized care to protect their surface. Granite and quartz are durable, low-maintenance materials.
Laminate countertops offer a classic, affordable option that can be customized with extras like edge profiles and dowel rods to make it look more upscale. Upgrades like these often pay off when you’re ready to sell, as homebuyers appreciate a well-functioning and stylish kitchen. The scope of your kitchen remodel can vary from a simple cosmetic refresh to a complete gut that may require demolition and reconfiguration.
The backsplash is that finishing touch that can add personality and balance to your kitchen. It peeks out between your cabinetry and counters to protect the wall from water stains and grease while providing an opportunity for creative design.
One of the most popular backsplash materials is tile. It is versatile, affordable and can be arranged in various patterns to create unique designs. It’s also durable, resists heat and stains and hygienic.
If you’re on a budget, consider peel-and-stick tiles. However, you should know that this option requires a lot of patience and precision. Before you make a decision, tape samples to the wall and observe how they look throughout the day as natural light changes. You might be surprised by how much your opinion changes!
The flooring in your kitchen is a big design element that must be durable to hold up to spills, heavy foot traffic, and regular cleaning. It also needs to be comfortable underfoot and aesthetically pleasing.
Tile is a popular option, offering versatility in style and color. Some tiles even mimic natural materials like stone or wood.
Concrete is another durable flooring option, and can be stained in a variety of ways to suit any kitchen design. It requires proper preparation, however.
Hardwood is a classic option, but can be difficult to maintain if you have pets or children. Consider adding radiant floor heating to your kitchen if you choose wood floors. This will make them warm underfoot and cut down on future maintenance costs.
One of the most important aspects of a kitchen remodel is installing the right lighting. This will make the space brighter and create a more inviting mood.
Recessed ceiling fixtures are a popular choice for kitchens. They can be used to light the whole room or focus on work zones like counters and sinks.
Consider adding under-cabinet lighting to illuminate dark areas and prevent items from becoming a tripping hazard. LED lights are a good option for this as they emit less heat and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Decorative lighting like pendants or chandeliers add style to the kitchen and are a great design feature. They can also highlight wall art, architectural features, plants, and other focal points. This is a great way to make your kitchen feel unique and reflect your personal taste.