6 Sensible Steps to a Successful Kitchen Remodel – Part 1

Attractive young adult couple looking at house plans.Remodeling a kitchen isn’t the sort of thing where you can just “wing it.” It may not seem readily apparent, but there are several ways to fail a project like this. In the next few blogs, we’re going to cover a guideline of six sensible kitchen remodel steps; if you follow these, along with saving money by using RTA cabinets, you’ll have the best chance at success!

Step 1: A Realistic Budget

The most common way of failing a kitchen remodeling project, or any DIY home improvement project for that matter, is to run out of money. In order to avoid that, first you need a realistic figure that you know you can afford to spend. Come up with this figure based on your life goals and your domestic budget, not what you think a kitchen remodel will cost. If it turns out the most basic remodel you can put together later on in the process costs more than your budget, then you probably just shouldn’t do it, or scale it back to something much cheaper.

Pro Tip: Once you have a number in mind, reduce it by 20%. If you then work with this 80% number during your planning, you’ll have some cushion in case things go wrong, like if you find water-damaged floorboards or walls under or behind your cabinets, which is the most common reason for a remodel to go over budget.

Step 2: A Solid Plan

You’ve probably already done some of this, but in a more dream-like state. Now it’s time to turn the dream-kitchen into a solid plan. Note that this isn’t the part where you actually start doing specific layouts of particular cabinet models and the like. Before you can do that, you need to know a few things.

  • Are you going with the same fundamental layout, or changing key locations of appliances or fixtures? Note that moving appliances can easily double the cost of a remodel, as it typically involves opening up walls to move plumbing, high-voltage wiring, or gas lines.
  • What specific appliances are you going with? At the very least, you need to know the exact dimensions of your new fridge, stove, dishwasher, and any wall ovens or rangetops, so why not pick out actual models now?
  • What proportion of your budget did your selections of appliances use up? If it’s more than half, you may need to scale back a little on the feature levels, sadly.
  • Are you adding major features like islands or peninsulas, or keeping the same cabinet layout?
  • Are you replacing flooring or lighting? What about a tile backsplash?
  • What level of countertop are you going with? At this point, you should be able to get an idea of the square footage from your basic layout, so you can make a rough estimate of its cost.

By the end of the planning phase, you should know what overall layout your new kitchen is going to take, and you should know what proportion of your budget needs to go to each major category: appliances, flooring, lighting, any remodeling of the room itself, cabinets, and countertop.

There’s a lot of information to digest in the budget and planning phases of your kitchen remodeling project, and it’s not uncommon to need a little help generating ideas. While home decorating magazines and websites are a start, they can tend to create unrealistic expectations. Learn more about this and other common kitchen design pitfalls in our helpful e-book, The Consumer’s Guide to Kitchen Cabinets.

We’ll also give you a Kitchen Remodel Survival guide to help you keep your family fed with the kitchen out of commission, without breaking the bank by eating out every meal, plus our 12 Most Popular Design Ideas! Download them today, and we’ll pick this up in our next blog!


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