Cabinetry is one of the biggest investments you put into your kitchen, so it’s important to get this design choice right the first time.
Whether you’re building new or remodeling, this step-by-step guide will help you map out your dream kitchen. With the right combination of cabinets, you can easily create a space where everything stays neatly in its place.
Inventory What You Have
List everything your kitchen currently has according to its layout. Also include the number of drawers and electrical outlets. Jot a few notes about how the kitchen makes you feel, mentally and physically.
Are there spaces that make you feel cramped? Do you find yourself frustrated during meal prep because the prep station is too small? Do you have a lot of small appliances filling the countertop due to lack of hidden storage? Don’t forget to record what you currently like about your kitchen, too.
What Are You Missing?
Now that you have inventoried what you have, you can determine what your kitchen is missing. Did your list reveal that your kitchen is lacking a large prep station? Does it need more drawer space or smarter cabinet organization?
Make a second list of all the things your new kitchen needs. You can split this list into two sections: Items you must have in your new kitchen and items you would like but may not be necessary.
Any level of remodeling requires the mapping of a successful plan and budget. First, based on your above lists, decide what needs to go, what needs to stay and what needs to be added to your current kitchen.
Next, you need to estimate how much it will cost to implement these features. I use this online renovation calculator as a starting point. Before you run to the bank to apply for a loan, reach out to a couple of local contractors or an in-store kitchen designer to get a more accurate estimate of costs.
If the estimated costs seem too high, you may need to weed out a few features that are wants, but not necessarily needs.
This is where a refacing project, paired with a pantry shelving overhaul, could save you big bucks and achieve the same aesthetic and functional results as new cabinets. Perhaps the basic structure of your cupboards is solid and you can live with your current drawer space, but you’re just not happy with your cabinets’ tired appearance.
Be sure to investigate your Return on Investment (ROI) before making final design decisions, as this will help you decide where to splurge and where to hold back. The annual Cost vs. Value Report is a handy tool for estimating ROI.
Now the fun begins: It’s time to design your kitchen layout. If you’re not hiring a designer or using an in-store designer, then patience will be a virtue, as you have a lot of work and research ahead of you.
Interior designer and author Sarah Lynch notes that the key to success when devising your kitchen design plan is to remain flexible and take as much time as you need. She says that professional kitchen designers take upwards of 80 hours to create precise floor plans and elevation drawings, so allow for several weeks if you’re going it alone.
Get to Work
You’ve done all the needed research and your design plan is in place. Now it’s time to get messy. Depending on the size of the remodel, you may have to plan for numerous nights of eating take-out from a box, but it will all be worth it in the end.
Fortunately, refacing can be done in just a few days, whereas with new cabinets, you should plan on losing access to your kitchen for a longer period of time.
Remember to stick to your budget and remain flexible. Renovating mistakes and mishaps sometimes occur, and while some are avoidable by hiring the right, responsible contractor, issues that arise can require a calm demeanor and a back-up plan.
Perhaps you will opt for a less intensive refacing project or go all-out with a complete kitchen remodel. Regardless, a kitchen remodel of any size is a great way to make the heart of the home a happier place to live.
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