The reasons for remodeling a kitchen vary. They can range from cosmetic issues like outdated cabinets or appliances, to full-on renovation jobs like rearranging layouts, opening walls, or updating wiring and plumbing.

Unlike the relatively inexpensive methods for sprucing up your yard, like using an electric lawn mower to keep the grass neat or adding some new outdoor furniture, kitchen renovations can be costly. You may be looking to do aspects of DIY with your oscillating multi-tool, which is a great way to save money.

But, regardless of the reason or strategy, a well-thought out plan can make the process go more smoothly.

The First Step in Remodeling a Kitchen

To start, make a list of everything you would like to change in your current kitchen. Add to the list anything you want to see in your future kitchen. From there, create priorities based on your must-haves, strong maybes, and lesser options.

In every renovation, the budget will decide what can and cannot be done. Preparing ahead to give up that expensive hardware to find cash to pay for your favorite flooring will ease the pain later on if you do have to make a sacrifice.

Kitchen Layout Drives the Biggest Budget Items

If you like your kitchen layout, congratulations, you’ve saved yourself thousands of dollars. The cost of new cabinets and appliances that will remain in their existing location saves significant dollars in plumbing, wiring, and structural changes. On the other hand, the layout might be the primary reason you need a remodel, so it’s important to plan carefully to get the most bang for your buck.

Space will also determine the best layout. A galley kitchen takes up the least floor space, while a U-shape with a center island needs much more room. Taking into account budget and space, always remember functionality. You will want the stove, sink, and refrigerator, which make up the kitchen triangle, to be sufficiently close to each other to get things done without excess movement.

Kitchen Design Tricks You May Not Know

Remember, you are not the first person to design a kitchen. A vast amount of resources exist that offer best practices for remodel and design. The National Kitchen and Bath Association in particular provides well-researched guidelines to help you make decisions. Consider some of the following that you may not be aware of:

● The total length of the sides of a kitchen triangle should be 26 feet or less for efficient workflow.

● The dishwasher should be within 36 inches of the work sink for ease of use.

● Space between facing counters should be at least 42 inches if one person primarily cooks, and 46 inches if two or more share the space.

● If possible, plan cabinet space for trash and recyclables to avoid having them visible and in the way.

● Ensure you have enough working counter space, with at least 12 inches to one side of the stove, 36 inches by the sink, and 15 inches next to the refrigerator.

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to design recommendations. Doing some simple research can spark new ideas to create the best kitchen layout for your needs.

Should It Stay or Should It Go?

Many aspects of your existing kitchen are likely perfectly fine and reusable. Cabinets, for instance, might not need complete replacement. Swapping out the doors with a new style or changing up the hardware can cost hundreds, rather than thousands of dollars. And, you can even do that yourself to save on labor.

For a more elevated approach that still saves money, consider painting the cabinets or having them refinished. This process will cost half as much as new cabinets, or even doing it yourself can cost less than a quarter the price of a professional.

New appliances are always desirable and often more energy-efficient. But, if you need to cut some corners or your appliances are fairly new, you can likely paint them all for less than $100.

Painted appliances with proper sealing coats can open the door to a wider color pallette. What’s more, you can paint small appliances like mixers, coffee makers, or microwaves to match for a unique design no one else will have.

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