How to Start a Kitchen Remodel Project: The Ultimate Guide
Remodeling your kitchen is a big undertaking and one of the top ways to add value to your home. For example, the cost of upgrading finishes ranges from $6,363 to $25,149 and the cost of a full kitchen renovation in Las Vegas can span $27,402 to $126,326. It’s also a surefire way to recoup your investment – especially in a hot real estate market.
Remodeling your kitchen is more than just a way to increase equity in your home. It can also create a functional and fun space where people will gather to eat, do homework, socialize around the table or island and, of course, cook.
In addition to being the heart of the home, kitchens must also be functional and have plenty of prep and storage space and appliances situated so that there’s no need to criss-cross the kitchen when going from sink to stove. Before you start your remodel, weigh your options and review these steps:
Consider how space is used
Before undertaking a kitchen remodel of any size, first consider how the space is used. For instance, is it currently closed off, is there good traffic flow or is it an inviting or a cramped space where no one wants to spend time? Are you a professional cook or is the microwave your best friend? Do you host big family dinners, entertain the neighbors or host cocktail parties? Is your kitchen big enough to accomodate guests and do you have sight lines into other rooms so you can talk to guests while prepping food? When a kitchen is thoughtfully laid out, it becomes one of the most popular and enjoyable spaces in the home.
Will you be utilizing the same layout or will you be removing walls? Using the existing layout and keeping appliances in the same place will save money as you can avoid moving plumbing lines. If you decided to keep the same floor plan, you can still adjust the location of cabinets, remove or add an island and create additional storage by removing unused features such as bread drawers or countertop appliance “garages.” Adding an island may take up floor space but can ultimately free up counter space if features like a microwave drawer are built into the island.
Create a design
Once you have determined how you will use the space and layout, you can begin turning your dream kitchen into a (virtual) reality. Select your favorite images and map out a design for your kitchen. Creating styleboards or lookbooks is a great way to decide on appliances, cabinets, lighting, materials and colors, but it will also help you determine if you like the look of under cabinet lighting or light grout versus dark. Many design sites also now list the prices of the items featured in photos so this step will do double duty by helping to create a rough budget and eliminate costly design elements. It’s also a helpful exercise because it will create a resource you can share with designers and contractors.
Finding a contractor
Whether your remodeling project is $6,000 or more than $100,000 you will likely need to hire a professional for the job. A contractor will be responsible for any demolition, securing necessary permits, space planning, budget and even fixture cabinet recommendations. This person should be qualified, come with credible references and be someone you can see yourself working with (remember, this person will be in your home for weeks at a time). Hiring a pro who was referred by a friend or family has historically been the common method to starting a project, but it’s important to source multiple bids. The most responsible way to solicit contractor bids is to prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) document which clearly conveys the intended scope of your project (Emprove can you help you with this!). After receiving your contractor bids, narrow your list and interview a handful of contractors to discuss construction costs, timelines and quality expectations. Once you have made a decision, make sure everything is in writing and referenced in a proper contract form (see sample here.)
Make final selections
Once you have your design finalized and contractor selected, you can begin ordering all of the materials you have saved in a folder on your desktop (this can be cheaper than having the contractor handle this step). Pro tip: If you’re ordering cabinets, countertops, refrigerators and appliances, kitchen sink, light fixtures, flooring, backsplash, doors, windows and vents, think about where all of these items will be stored between when they arrive and your project start date!
You’ve made all the tough decisions – now get ready for the fun. It’s demo day!