How To Remodel A Kitchen:
Cheat Sheet

How to remodel a kitchen: Questions to ask yourself & ideas to try out.

How To Remodel A Kitchen
1. Taking Stock

Write down two lists that will help you focus your kitchen remodel project plan. (Check out Cyndy's example!)

A. What bothers you most about your current kitchen?

  • Things not where you need them?
  • Worktop too high/low?
  • Sink too deep/small?
  • Low quality cupboards or appliances?
  • Difficult to keep clean?
  • Not enough work/storage space?
  • Spaces/things hard to reach?
  • Poor lighting?

B. What do you like most about your current kitchen?

How To Remodel A Kitchen
2. The Big Wish List

Dream BIG about the look & functionality of your revamped kitchen. Pretend money is no object and you can have whatever you like! (Have a look at Tammy's dream list for inspiration.)

What would really make your kitchen ...

  • easier to use?
  • more enjoyable?
  • more time/energy efficient?

How To Remodel A Kitchen
3. Pick Your Priorities

From your 'Big Wish List', pick the three items that would make the biggest difference in your new kitchen.

Make sure you incorporate these three into your kitchen remodel project plan before all others. If any of them are beyond your budget - is there a less expensive version you could afford? (See below for ways to recycle/reuse cupboards and for strategic kitchen planning tips.)

How To Remodel A Kitchen
4. Tailor The Kitchen To Your  Needs

A. Placement

  • Installation costs for a sink can be high, so it's more budget-friendly to leave the sink in place & arrange the rest of the kitchen to fit in with that.
  • Ideally, your fridge, hob & sink should not be too far apart. However, if you want the oven right next to the fridge, make sure there's excellent insulation between them.
  • Your dishwasher is best placed near the sink.
  • Keep things you use often at just-below or just-above worktop height. For example:
    • Keep tools near your right hand (if you're right handed)
    • Keep ingredients (e.g. spices) adjacent to where you'll be using them (hob/microwave), but not in direct contact with cooking vapors.

B. Money & Space Savers:

  • tough, easy-to-clean materials that look just as good as their more expensive cousins,
  • space-saving floor plans & cupboard layouts,
  • hard-working, multi-tasking appliances,
  • off-the-shelf units that can be customized with quality doors & hardware (see Kim's kitchen for an example!)

C. Quality of Most Used Items/Areas

  • If you do a lot of ready-made meals, you'll want a quality microwave in the perfect spot.
  • If you prepare your meals from scratch, a set of excellent knives will be worth their weight in gold. Same goes for conveniently accessible storage of pots, pans & casseroles.
  • If you bake a lot, a decent-sized countertop (perfect for rolling out dough) also needs to be super easy to clean up.
  • Speaking of countertops ...
    • Shiny dark worktops show every little fingerprint!
    • Some countertop materials (e.g. marble) are susceptible to acid damage (vinegar, lemon juice) or stain easily.
    • Tiled counter tops can be a pain to clean, especially if the grouting is in a light color
  • Good lighting makes food prep more fun (this need not be expensive at all - check out Jai's elegantly lit DIY kitchen remodel!)

Basically, nothing that breaks easily is much fun in a kitchen (take it from yours truly, the most ham-fisted cook in all of London). Focus your kitchen remodel project plan on the things that work best for you!

How To Remodel A Kitchen
5. Budget Saver A: Reuse/Recycle

Stuff you can do with cupboards if they're in good shape:

  • rearrange/rehang them
  • give them new doors and/or hardware
  • retrofit them with lighting (inside and/or underneath)
  • paint them
  • top them with a new counter
  • reface them (inside and/or outside): Cyndy did this in her gorgeous budget kitchen remodel;
  • stain them: have a look at Kim's very successful, inexpensive kitchen makeover.

How To Remodel A Kitchen
6. Budget Saver B: Stick To Your  Top Priorities

Most cabinetmakers and kitchen planners will try to max out your budget with the latest gizmos and 'must-haves'. It's good business for them.

Stick to your guns. Laser focus your kitchen remodel on things that will make a substantial difference to your kitchen experience and that will give you the most bang for your buck.

In other words, the best budget kitchen remodeling strategy is to ...

... splurge on stuff that matters to you
and skimp on stuff that doesn't.

How To Remodel A Kitchen
More Small Kitchen Remodel Ideas: Click A Pic!

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