A few years ago, I got a call from a homeowner looking for a kitchen remodel. She and her husband had been thinking about doing the project for going on five years, and you could tell.
She’d already gathered a pretty extensive Pinterest board of ideas, as well as hand sketched a slew of possibilities for the space. The couple’s only stumbling block was their extent of options.
Should they take out the wall between the living room and kitchen? Would a better option be the wall between the dining room and kitchen? How about both walls? What about bumping out the exterior wall another 2 feet? Would that work? Was 3 feet enough room to walk around a table? And that was just their spatial concerns.
They also a ton of other questions, like what kind of cabinets should they install? Would IKEA cabinets hold up to two active kids and one Jack Russell terrier? Were custom cabinets a better option? Or were custom cabinets even in the budget? What were the best countertops: stone or quartz? Is tile a good selection for the kitchen floor?
When they’d finished sharing their ideas, the homeowners looked over the table, laughed and said, “I think we just aren’t sure what idea is best for us.”
So, we started working through a few steps that I’ve always found helpful when making decisions for any type of remodeling project:
1. Weigh the pros and cons. Take the time to weigh and discuss some of the high-level pros and cons of each idea. For example, what would it mean to remove the wall between the living room and the kitchen? What will this do to both spaces? What will it do to the flow of the rooms? Will you be sacrificing something in the process?
2. Look at your budget. Ask yourself what you’re willing to spend to get what you want in the space. Is it doable for your budget? Is there a more cost-effective option that could meet your needs?
3. Look at the averages. Most contractors can provide you with the average costs of similar remodels they’ve done in the past. Ask them for these numbers. I also recommend referring to the Cost vs. Value report for your location to get an idea of the average cost for your type of construction.
4. Bring in a designer. Designers do so much more than help you pick out finishes and furnishings. They’re really problem-solvers. I brought in a designer early on to help these homeowners. She drew out 3 to 4 options that made sense in a program called 20/20. This gave everyone a bird’s eye view of what things could look like, and it also gave us the view of what it would look like if we were standing in the kitchen.
Going through these steps really helped the homeowners decide what they wanted to do and spend on the space. And within a matter of weeks (two and a half, to be exact), they had a kitchen plan that they loved and were ready to start moving forward with construction.