You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t have a dream-worthy kitchen remodel in mind.

Most of us long for the day when we’ll finally be able to customize our cooking spaces. However, when that day finally arrives, doing so can feel like a Herculean task. There are so many unknowns: How do you even start something like this? Which improvements will appeal to buyers down the road?

If you’ve been asking yourself similar questions, this post is for you. We’ve compiled the essential do’s and don’ts of a successful kitchen remodel. Consider this your outline while planning your project and keep it on hand once the renovations are underway. Our tips will help you design a space that will be both functional and aesthetically pleasing for years to come.

DO: Consider how you’ll use the space

When most people think about a kitchen remodel, they have a similar finished product in mind: professional-grade stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and a huge island. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with this vision, it’s important to keep in mind that it isn’t your only option. Rather than just meeting the status quo, consider how your family will actually use the kitchen.

Maybe your kids do their homework there and you’d like a desk to be included in the design? Maybe you entertain often and need a long dining table to accommodate guests? Whatever your personal needs, make sure they’re a part of your design plan.

DON’T: Neglect your budget

This is true for all remodeling projects, but it’s especially important where kitchens are concerned. The average remodel costs thousands, so you need to make sure you’re spending your money wisely. As you design your ideal space, make two lists — a must-have list and a wish list. Then, price out each of your desired projects and compare them to your budget. The lists will give you a clearer idea of where to invest the bulk of your money and where to try and save.

There are many things you can do to make your remodel more affordable. Consider refacing cabinets rather than having them fully replaced or purchasing your appliance package from a wholesale supplier. If you’re working with a truly limited budget, simply replacing drawer pulls and fixtures is often enough to give the room a fresh look.

DO: Pay special attention to the layout

The layout is a crucial element of a kitchen remodels, yet it is one of the most overlooked. It won’t matter how nice your new refrigerator is if you’re unable to open it fully because your countertop gets in the way. To ensure your new space functions the way it’s supposed to, hire a contractor who will help you draw up a working layout.

However, if you’re going the DIY route — or even if you just need a little reassurance — we recommend previewing the layout before committing to any purchases. To do this, collect the measurements of all the design elements you’re hoping to include in the space. Then, set out a corresponding length of string to give yourself an idea of how much room each element will take up. As you’re considering how each piece will fit together, be sure to include extra space for walkways.

DON’T: Forget about storage

Kitchens are often one of the most overstuffed spaces in a home. Between cooking equipment and food storage, homeowners often find that they don’t have enough space to store what they need. If you’re going to spend the money on a remodel, be certain you include storage options that are both functional and stylish.

When undertaking this task, the first thing you’ll need to do is take stock of your current inventory. Be honest with yourself about which items you want on hand and which only get used on special occasions. Then, brainstorm options for how to store these items as effectively as possible. For example, you may want to include a cabinet for pots and pans next to the stove or include a pantry that will allow easy access to after-school snacks.

DO: Make sure there’s enough lighting

There are so many visual components to cooking a meal — chopping up ingredients, measuring them out, reading the stove temperature. The last thing you want is to attempt any of these while squinting for more light. For this reason, kitchen lighting is one occasion where more really is more.

Try to envision yourself working in the space while considering where to add lighting. Of course, you’ll want to include some light by the stove, near the sink and over a kitchen island. Also take into account personal preferences, like where you’ll do the bulk of your ingredient prep or if you have room for an eat-in dining area. If you can, consider adding extras like under-cabinet lighting to make the room a little brighter.

DON’T: Play it too safe

Return on investment, or how much equity you’ll get out of an improvement when you go to sell your house, is a common topic among those considering a kitchen remodel. It’s not hard to see why when you think about how often buyers name an updated kitchen as a top priority. Unfortunately, though, this intense focus often leads homeowners to settle for cookie-cutter designs. We’d argue that choosing a happy medium and adding a little personality will help your finished product stand out from the crowd.

For those who think they may be staying in their home for a while, the sky is the limit. Choose a colorful statement island or patterned tile floor to infuse the space with a little of your personality. Those who intend to hit the real estate market in a few years can still add visual interest through their accessories. Think about adding bold lighting fixtures, patterned rugs or using statement furniture to make your kitchen feel like home.

Remodeling a kitchen can feel like an overwhelming task. Since it’s often one of the most used rooms in a home and one of the most sought-after features for resale potential, it can feel as though every detail needs to be perfect. With a little planning, you can ensure your vision for space falls into place. Use our tips as a guide to start brainstorming and refer back to them, as needed. They will help you create the necessary framework for a successful finished product.


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