A successful kitchen renovation can completely transform your home and is one of many reasons why you should consider hiring a professional general home renovation contractor to get the job done right the first time. As one of the most used rooms in a house, an updated and functional kitchen provides enjoyment every day. With careful planning and execution, a kitchen renovation will enhance your home’s value and significantly improve your quality of life.
Define Your Goals and Establish a Realistic Budget for Your Kitchen Renovation Project
The first step in any successful kitchen renovation is to clearly define your goals. Consider how you currently use your kitchen and how you’d ideally like to use the space. Do you cook for a large family and need more space? Do you need more light or better ventilation? Is your kitchen layout inefficient? Pinpointing your objectives will inform important decisions throughout the renovation process.
For inspiration, browse kitchen photos online or in design magazines. Clip or pin images and make note of features you like, from cabinetry styles to backsplashes. Use these examples to help articulate your ideal aesthetic to contractors.
After defining goals, establish a renovation budget. Obtain quotes from contractors early on to determine realistic costs. Kitchen renovations vary greatly in price due to factors like the scope of work, choice of materials, number of appliances, and more. Be prepared to make some trade-offs to work within your budget.
Leave a 10-15% contingency in your budget for unexpected expenses. Securing financing ahead of time is wise to cover all costs.
Hire an Experienced Kitchen Renovation Contractor in Your Local Area
Choosing the contractor to execute your kitchen renovation is one of the most important decisions. Be sure to research and vet general contractors thoroughly. Look for the following credentials:
• A permanent business address, website, and phone number
• Liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage
• Established customer reviews and references
• Membership in industry associations like the National Kitchen and Bath Association
• Knowledge of permit and inspection processes for your area
• Experience completing renovations similar to yours
• Be wary of contractors who offer the lowest bid without seeing the job site. A remarkably low estimate may signal inexperience or cutting corners.
Interview at least three contractors in-person and request to see examples of past kitchen renovation projects. Ask plenty of questions to gauge their expertise in kitchen design, storage solutions, materials, appliances, plumbing, electrical, and more. Ensure you feel confident they can deliver on your vision.
Define the Scope in a Written Contract
Once a contractor is selected, protect yourself legally with a comprehensive written contract. This should outline all project details including:
1. Contractor’s full name, address, and license info
2. Scope of work with specific materials and requirements
3. Itemized cost breakdown
4. Payment schedule and method
5. Project timeline with start and end dates
6. Plan for securing permits and inspections
7. Contingency plans for potential delays
8. Warranties on work and materials
9. Clause for mediating disputes
A watertight contract sets clear expectations and minimizes miscommunications. Never let work begin without signing this agreement. Require a lien waiver too, to prevent liens against your home.
Brace for Disruption and Noise
While the end result will be worth it, a kitchen renovation inevitably causes major disruption to your household. For starters, you will likely lose complete access to your kitchen for days or weeks. Certain phases like cabinet installation may make the kitchen partially usable, but full access is unlikely until the very end.
To cope, set up a makeshift kitchen in another area if possible. Have an electric hot plate, microwave, slow cooker, and basic kitchen tools on hand. Stock up on paper plates, cups, and utensils. A mini fridge will allow you to keep food and beverages close by.
Also prepare for noise, dust, deliveries, and workers entering your home daily. Protect other rooms by sealing them off with plastic sheeting. Moving valuable items and electronics out of the work zone is wise too.
Stay Flexible Through the Kitchen Renovation Process
Renovations rarely go exactly according to plan, so staying flexible is key. Be prepared to make minor adjustments to your materials or design to accommodate unknown structural issues, building code requirements, appliance dimensions, or other changes. Having contingency funds will allow you to pivot without busting your budget.
Maintain patience as well, since delays can happen. If your contractor needs to push back the timeline, cooperate to get the project back on track. Extending the end date is better than rushing important steps.
Frequently Communicate with Your Kitchen Renovation Contractor
Consistent communication ensures you and your contractor remain aligned throughout the renovation. Touch base regularly to discuss progress, ask questions, and head off potential issues before they escalate. Politely voice any concerns you have sooner rather than later.
If additional costs arise, verify their validity within the contract before approving. Change orders may be necessary but should not be excessive. Keep a paper trail of all communications and agreements in case disputes arise.
Pay according to the set payment schedule, but retain a percentage until the job passes final inspection. This incentivizes the contractor to address any outstanding items.
Make Design Choices to Enhance Functionality
Aesthetics are important, but a kitchen must function efficiently too. There are many ways to optimize storage, workflow, and convenience:
• Incorporate pull-out drawers for pots, pans, and cooking tools. These make items easily accessible.
• Include a Lazy Susan in corner cabinets to maximize tricky spaces.
• Opt for deep lower cabinets with roll-out trays to neatly organize everything from mixers to canned goods.
• Install cabinets all the way to the ceiling for maximal storage.
• Choose drawer microwaves and ovens placed at an ergonomic height.
• Arrange the sink, stove, and refrigerator in a convenient triangle formation.
• Opt for deep sinks with drainage racks and high-quality faucets.
• Install LED under-cabinet lighting to illuminate work spaces.
• Include multiple outlets spread throughout for small appliances.
• Think through how you use your current kitchen and how you’d like to enhance it. Discuss workflow, storage, and convenience solutions with your contractor.
Select Materials that Balance Form and Function
Kitchen materials must be durable given heavy daily use, yet offer the aesthetics you desire. Research options to find finishes that marry form and function:
Countertops: Granite, quartz, marble, and solid surface materials like Corian hold up well against wear. Laminate is very affordable but less durable.
Cabinets: Stained hardwoods offer natural beauty, while painted cabinets provide any color you like. Opt for plywood box construction.
Tile: Ceramic and porcelain floor tiles are long-lasting choices. Use tiles rated for floors to avoid cracks and chipping.
Backsplash: Glass, ceramic, metal, and stone tile suit backsplashes. Avoid paper-faced mosaics which deteriorate.
Faucets: Look for solid brass construction and high-quality finishes. Pull-down and pull-out faucets increase flexibility.
Hardware: Stainless steel and brushed nickel handles and pulls withstand frequent use.
Evaluate options together with your contractor to select finishes matching your kitchen’s style.
Plan Lighting for Function and Ambience
Proper lighting transforms a kitchen from drab to dramatic while allowing you to cook, prep, and dine safely. Use a combination of lighting types for maximum appeal and utility:
• Overhead fixtures like semi-flush or pendant lights brightly illuminate tasks and surfaces.
• Undercabinet lighting highlights the counters and backsplashes.
• Track lighting adds directional illumination perfect for an eat-in dining area.
• Recessed can lights contribute ambient glow without taking up space.
• Decorative fixtures like chandeliers or lanterns introduce striking style.
• Smart bulbs allow you to control lighting via voice commands or your phone.
• Position common task areas near windows to utilize natural light. Dimmer switches give you flexibility for different lighting needs.
The Finishing Touches
As your renovation nears completion, turn your attention to decorative finishes and accessories that customize the space:
• Crown molding, trim, and panels create architectural interest.
• Paint or wallpaper selected walls in colors complementing your cabinetry and counters.
• Add window treatments like blinds or curtains in suitable styles.
• Incorporate functional pieces like a message board, chalkboard wall, or spice racks.
• Include decorative touches like floating shelves, wreaths, art, rugs, or plants.
• Take time to accessorize and make the kitchen feel like home. Once construction debris is hauled away, do a deep clean before moving back in.
Enjoy Your Fresh, Functional Kitchen – Let Us Help You with Your Next Project!
With ample planning and clear communication, your contractor will deliver the kitchen of your dreams. Transforming this vital space will make meal prep, cooking, and family time more enjoyable for years to come. Savor the results, and remember – the effort invested makes the payoff even sweeter.
Here’s to many memorable meals in your fresh, functional kitchen! If you’re interested in wanting a project like this done, give us a try today! We are a local Atlanta renovations contractor ready to offer free quotes and estimates. Once you’re ready, we send an invoice with a deposit you pay upon receipt. You pay the rest of the invoice off after we’re done with your project. Contact us for more information! And check out our kitchen modeling tips guide for even more great tips on how to get the most out of your new kitchen.