10 Tips from a Pro when Remodeling a Kitchen // Kitch Cabinetry & Design

The kitchen has been dubbed meeting central. Where everybody seem to assemble whether it’s family members or guests & even if dinner is still 2 hours away. It’s also #1 on the list of what most homeowners want or desperately need to remodel. Floors stuck in the 70’s? Wonder how people lived 10,20,30 years ago with limited pantry shelving? I mean, where do they put at least 3 cereal boxes? Those kitchen cabinets make you cringe? Yes, it’s time … to remodel your kitchen that is! I asked an amazing & experienced pro, Jenn of Kitch Cabinetry & Design here in Austin of her 10 Tips When Remodeling a Kitchen. Here you go!

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1. Ask yourself, what is the scope of your remodel and do you have a contractor? There are factors such as plumbing, electrical, hvac, permitting & structural questions that a qualified contractor can deal with so you do not have to do the leg work. I can’t imagine calling each trade professional and trying to schedule each one, especially in Austin’s booming housing economy!  In the long run, it will save time, money and lots of headache.

2. I hate to use the B word, but a BUDGET is vital to a remodel.  Many times when I ask my clients their budget for cabinetry, they have no clue.  I understand that, but everyone has a secret number floating around.  A contractor can help you establish a realistic amount of money your project will cost you.

White Cabinetry Kitchen

3. Educate yourself.  Consumers know less about cabinetry than any other item in the kitchen. It is easy to get online and compare appliances, tile and flooring.  But cabinetry is different.  They are the largest, most visible, and potentially most expensive purchase in your kitchen.  Your choices are incredibly varied and influenced by your needs and tastes, budget and floor plan. When shopping around, make sure you compare apples to apples.

4. We all know you have excellent taste, but a designer can take it to another level.  Todays designers are more than fluff and stuff. They often act as contractors, hiring the correct trades and scheduling, along with sourcing lighting, tile, flooring, paint…etc. Then the magic happens. They know how to pull it all together.  Designer’s work hourly, by room, cost plus, and may even offer package pricing.  Make sure your designer has qualified contacts.  Kitchen design is a bit different than overall interior design.  At Kitch, we deal with circulation clearances, appliance specifications, will this door hit that door.  We have all seen the drawer that won’t open because it hits the oven handle!  These things shouldn’t happen with a professional kitchen designer. We want to know what you like. Tear out magazine pages, save ideabooks to Houzz, go crazy on Pinterest!  My worst client is one who walks in and says “I don’t know what I like, let’s pick out cabinets”. Be prepared for a long, painful kitchen remodel!  It saves time, money and in the end, you get a space that YOU love, not one your designer loves.

Marble Island Gray Cabinetry Kitchen

6. Ask yourself what you liked about your old kitchen and what things you would change. Storage is the most common complaint, but sometimes it is a matter of accessibility.  I typically prefer designing with tons of drawers.  You pull it out, and wala, grab what you need…instead of digging in the back of a cabinet!  You may have a corner that is completely wasted.  Pull out corner storage is a perfect way to utilize that space. Appliance cabinets, microwave cabinets and spice pull outs can also hide items that clutter the countertops.

7. Be realistic. The kitchens in magazines are in magazines for a reason!  These pages and ideabooks should be strictly conceptual when planning your kitchen space. Be prepared to be shocked a few times when getting bids for your remodel!  HGTV has given us all the conception that you can have a brand new kitchen in 2 weeks with no hiccups. Be prepared that you’ll be eating a lot of take out and cleaning up lots of dust.

8. Look before you book. So you and your designer/contractor have settled on a bid, picked out cabinetry, tile, etc.  DON’T purchase anything until you know your vision can be completed.  Even if your contractor is 99% sure the main wall you want to remove is not load bearing, get it checked.  Whether you have to cut a hole in your ceiling or call a structural engineer, getting ahead of yourself can be a costly mistake.

9. Don’t be afraid to say no and communicate, communicate, communicate. As a kitchen designer, sometimes I can get a little wrapped up in what my vision is for my client’s space.  We all have wonderful intentions, but this is YOUR space and YOUR money.  Have an honest conversation with your designer or contractor if you do not agree with the design, time frame, material selections or scheduling.  But do this BEFORE completion.  Again, it will save you money and headache if you have an open line of communication.

Mosaic Backsplash Kitchen

10. If something goes wrong during the process, its not the end of the world!  As designers, we live in a world of compromise, problem solving and client expectation control!  We understand if the wrong tile shows up, it can usually be swapped out.  If a wall was cut too short, more can be added.  Give your contractor or designer the chance to make it right before you get your boxing gloves on! Sure, vent a little while we’re forming solutions right away. Most problems are an easy fix if caught in time.

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Thank you so much Jenn! Brilliant tips! Remodeling can be an arduous and long process and more expensive without the help of a Kitchen Design professional. Don’t forget to check out her work here.

May your spaces scream of beauty and awe and your rooms effortlessly curated. Interior Design Austin and beyond.

Design questions or dilemmas? Drop me a line! Click here >>>

24 thoughts on “10 Tips from a Pro when Remodeling a Kitchen // Kitch Cabinetry & Design

  1. I really like how you said that a budget is vital to a remodel! My husband and I have been thinking about getting some custom cabinets for our kitchen so we will have to keep these tips in mind. We are really excited to start looking at some different designs, thank you for sharing!

  2. I have designed, remodeled, and redecorated several kitchens over the course of homeownership and have found Lowe’s Home Improvement to be an excellent resource for my kitchen needs. Today, I want to share with you 7 kitchen remodeling tips start to finish that will help you plan for your kitchen makeover.

  3. I am looking into remodeling my kitchen and the first thing i want to start with is my kitchen cabinets. I like the idea of asking myself what i liked and what would i change about my old kitchen. That was a good idea to put in a good amount of drawers and cabinets. Thanks for these great tips!

  4. I really like your third tip about educating yourself and comparing “apples to apples” when it comes to shopping around. My husband and I have been wanting to renovate our kitchen for the past few years but never got around to getting it started. I think that this information will really help us to get things started. Hopefully, everything will turn out how we want it and we will get the best bang for our buck.

  5. I really liked your advice to educate yourself when it comes to the kitchen that you choose. I think that a lot of people don’t understand the details of a kitchen renovation. Due to that, they often do remodels that they don’t necessarily like. Do you have any other tips about kitchen renovations?

  6. While I’m sure we’d all love to have our dream kitchen, remembering the importance of a budget is a vital part of the process. That way you can find places to compromise and save money, while also getting something you’ll enjoy.

  7. I couldn’t agree more that it is important to be realistic about things when planning a remodel, as the article suggests. What we dream of and what we can actually do are generally two different things. It’s important to realize this so as not to make initial plans that will end up not being a possibility.

    • hi gaston! I agree. with kitchen remodels, though the vision is important, we ask budgets right away to set client expectations clearly. kitchens on magazine spreads usually shows their most high-end finishes but we can always find an affordable alternative!

  8. I really like what you said about educating yourself about the remodel, and the things that you want. This is such a good idea, so when you are talking to the contractors, you know what they are talking about. My husband and I really want to remodel our kitchen, and so I need to start leaning about how that process goes, so that I don’t get lost when talking to the contractor.

    • Hi jackie! yes, sometimes professionals & contractors think everybody knows our/their lingo. do not hesitate to ask for them to expound on things that are not clear or let them draw it, find similar images, etc.

      don’t hesitate to ask me any q’s later once you decide to push through with your remodel.

  9. I agree that budget is vital to remodeling. My husband and I have been trying to decide on what cabinets to get for the past two weeks. I always find good ones, and so does my husband, but they turn out to be out of our budget range or not the right size. Hopefully we’ll be able to find the right cabinets soon.

    • Hi audrey! what kind of cabinets are you looking for? I maybe able to put you in the right direction on where to look.

      P.S. your hair is everything! 🙂

  10. I definitely agree that you shouldn’t book anything until you know that your vision can be completed! This will help you to ensure that everything that you want can get completed, which will save you stress in the long-run. Plus, this will help you to explore your options better and make sure that the choices you’re making are exactly what you want to do.

    • thanks lauren! I definitely couldn’t emphasize this enough as well. A vision helps ensure that everything will be cohesive & helps one stick to a master plan!

  11. I’m going to remodel my kitchen, and I’ve been looking for good tips to help. I’ll make sure that I don’t go over my budget, and that I make my kitchen better than my old one. That way I don’t overspend on my kitchen, and so I know that I did upgrade.

    • hi pancho! I agree, making a budget & sticking to it but being flexible when the situation warrants are important with kitchen renos.have fun on your project & i’m sure your new kitchen will be an amazing upgrade!

  12. My wife and I are planning a kitchen remodel for this summer. I really appreciated the tips and suggestions in this post. I particularly liked your suggestion to be realistic because often times there are hiccups in the process. Thanks for sharing.

  13. it is imperative that you have a clear vision of what you want and that you can communicate that effectively. I always recommend that you find a contractor that understands your vision and can communicate effectively. These are great tips, thanks for sharing!

  14. These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to create a budget when remodeling the kitchen. I’ve been talking with my husband about renovating our kitchen, and I think we’re going to plan on doing that sometime this summer. I’ll definitely start doing some research to find out what certain things cost, and I’ll start to build a budget for this project. Thanks for the great post!

    • Thank u Lillian! And most definitely, creating budgets & planning are so important! Especially with kitchens, I don’t think you can plan enough.

      Renovations are both overwhelming & exciting, in the end it will all be worth it. good luck!

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